Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cleopatra: A Life - Stacy Schiff


So...here's the thing. I have been wanting to read Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff since I first laid eyes on it and when I found out there was going to be a readalong for Nonfiction November I was all "heck yes, I'm there." I quickly requested the book from the library and then became impatient and downloaded the audiobook. Well, from time to time the downloading of audiobooks gives me trouble and does this glitchy thing where it jumps back to some random place and I have to find my space again. It is some error when it downloads and I haven't figured out if it is to be blamed on the app or my phone but it is extremely annoying. So of course this happened with the beginning of Cleopatra.

Why am I telling you all this? To explain that I am aware some of the difficulties I had with the book may very well be attributed to my unfortunate downloading of the first few chapters.

Why didn't I just read the book you had checked out from the library instead? Excellent question. Allow me to explain some of the difficulties that I know were actually attributed to the book. There were so many facts! Yes, I know it is a biography and as such will include important things like FACTS but at times they were flung at me one after the other after the other. For example:


Is it really necessary to take a page-long paragraph to explain the value and amount of money Cleopatra had? Maybe. But when this way of explaining is happening on every other page, it get exhausting. Every time I tried to pick up the book to read, I didn't get very far before I was wishing I was reading or doing something else. I realized the multitasking I could do with the audiobook was key.

I didn't finish the book in time for this readalong post. I know, major fail. I'm about 3/4 of the way through. But I still wanted to share my thoughts so far. On the positive side, I successfully downloaded almost the rest of the audiobook and have been much more into it since then. See, some of my problem was technology. I am getting more into the story of Cleopatra's life and less hung up on other things. I think I'm going to finish with a combination of reading and listening. There is so much to learn.

I have been fascinated with Egypt since I was little. Cleopatra has always been a familiar name but I knew so little about her actual life. I am enjoying learning so much about such a powerful and yet mysterious woman.

A special thanks to the ladies at I'm Lost in Books and Doing Dewey for hosting this readalong. To Becca especially, whose tweets helped me to feel less like I was failing the book when I was struggling through.

2 comments:

Leila @ Readers' Oasis said...

HA, well you know from my post .. . it was not just you!! Yes, too many facts. Definitely overwhelming at times!! I'm amazed that you listened to Cleopatra as an audiobook (at least part of it) . . . I think some of the parts might have put me to sleep!

Well, since you like ancient Egypt . . . have you read Kara Cooney's book on Hatshepsut, The Woman Who Would Be King? I'm interested in hearing some perspectives on that one. Not sure I'm ready to travel back to ancient Egypt quite so soon, but it does sound intriguing!

Despite some of my issues with the book, I did learn quite a lot, and I do love participating in a readalong!

Becca Lostinbooks said...

Yes, it was exhausting, wasn't it? Overwhelming amount of info, page after page. I've read academic journals less dense. It was a lot. I think both you and Leila really hit two major points about the book's readability.