Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Baby, it's cold outside

I know, weather reports are not my thing. But it is true it's been cold out, with snow here and there. My winter malaise spread to suddenly feeling that words without pictures weren't making it for me. Thus, a tour through Neil Gaimen's Sandman collections and some fun time with Cartoon History of the Universe 1 Vol. 1-7 (Cartoon History of the Universe) (Pt.1), and devouring every magazine and newspaper in reach this past week. Also, lots of Google-surfing. Hyperlinks are like crack to me, I can always follow one more link.

The book on my night table has been Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae, by Steven Pressfield.

I like historical fiction, and I even like some improbable historical fiction. But sometimes, there's an aspect of what I am reading which acts like a constant irritant. I'm a fairly generous reader, I'll happily take a few inaccurate facts, an implausible storyline or even an unbelievable hero, if the story works in other ways. For example, one of my favorite books to reread is The Physician, by Noah Gordon. It has a lot of my favorite elements of fiction - it's about the history of medicine, there's a lot of travel, and there are Jews. However, I found out that some of the historical aspects of the story, including the hero's name, were not very accurate. (Apparently, the style of his name was not used in that time frame.) Knowing this did not change my enjoyment of the story.

But I am getting a feeling that Gates of Fire will not survive to go onto my re-read shelves. I'm only up to page 90 out of 400 and change, so, things may change. But in 90 pages, the only mention of male-male relationships was a joke about armored loincloths.

Now, I wasn't picking this up to read a hot book about studly Spartans engaged in hearty rounds of buggery - although, you know, I wouldn't be too horrified by something like that. And there is plenty of room left for something to turn up. But so far, reading this book has been a period of waiting to see if it gets better in the next chapter.

Good thing I have a healthy stack of books to peruse when I finish or get tired of this one.

1 comment:

Mad said...

Surprisingly (to me at least) Reginald Hill writes some very good WWII-era historical fiction, despite being far better known for his Dalziel and pasoe novels. If historical fiction that recent is at all interesting to you, it might be worth a try.