Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

Red Land, Black Land

If you are a fan of ancient Egypt, then you must read Red Land, Black Land: Daily Life in Ancient Egypt by Barbara Mertz. It was pure pleasure to read this book detailing the daily life of ancient Egypt based on the archaeological record. Mertz approaches the issues in this book with all the scholarly reservations necessary to make her a trustworthy source, while at the same time writing in an informal style that feels like having a conversation with an old friend. I especially liked the way she wove anecdotes about various archaeologists and their discoveries and writings seamlessly with the historical information. I also appreciated that she continually explains which things are controversies among Egyptologists and explains the arguments for both sides of each issue. It's no wonder that this book has been continually in print since its writing over 30 years ago.

This would be a good book to supplement a historical survey of Egypt, as background for writing fiction about ancient Egypt, or for anyone who simply would like to spend some time looking at the lives of men and women in a long-forgotten past.

5/5 stars


Erica said…
Still working on it. I finished Return of the King, so I can start reading this before bed. (Hopefully that means less odd dreams. I swear I had a dream about Gollum last night...)