Smoke free yesterday, the first time. I had to go to bed early to avoid the after-dinner temptation though. But that wasn't too bad 'cos they were watching an absolutely crap movie. So I read for a while. Did I mention I'm reading a new book? Antony and Cleopatra by Colleen McCullough. It follows on pretty much from where her Caesar series left off. Huge book, as the others all were. I loved the Caesar series - the research that she's done is amazing. This is promising to be more of the same. Antony and Cleopatra have just met and decided to make a go of it - she because she needs a daughter to marry off to Caesarion, her son by Caesar, and he because he needs her money. Not a love story in any way, shape or form. Meanwhile, Octavian, Caesar's adopted heir and the future first Emperor of Rome, is waiting in the wings to enter the story. Fascinating stuff.
It took me ages to get into her first Rome book, The First Man in Rome, because the detail is immense. Romans, the noble variety who ran the show, came from a few select families so they all had the same names. Very confusing at first. Women don't get their own name at all. (For example, all women from the Julian family were called Julia.) But once I got the hang of it and concentrated on the flow of events it turned into compulsive reading. I don't know if there are any more planned after Antony and Cleopatra. Perhaps she'll stop with the end of the Roman Republic. I'd be quite happy for her to continue into the Empire.
Speaking of books, I finished Magician by Raymond E Feist last week. I read this because it's a huge seller in the shop and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Just don't get it. It was okay but not the earth-shatteringly fantastic story that I'd been led to believe it was. I don't like the way Feist writes. He doesn't develop his characters beyond the superficial. Then, when he needs to show some deeper emotion or whatnot, he throws in a sentence or two to explain. To me, a properly developed character shouldn't need these asides to explain how/why a character reacts to a situation. It should just flow.
I've started Silverthorn, the second book in the trilogy, but ditched it as soon as I saw the McCullough. I may go back to it, but probably only if there's nothing else around to spark my interest. So it could be a while before I finish that trilogy. :)
Oh yeah, before I forget - happy Valentine's Day to those who give a damn about yet another commercially driven spendfest.
Bird watching special
8 hours ago