The Vine: August 10, 2012
So, I am a book-loving gal who majored in English back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. I married a guy whose idea of in-depth reading is the back of the cereal box. This has never really bothered me; I just have to go to an extra store around the holidays to get him a remote-controlled helicopter or robotic vacuum since everyone else on my shopping list gets books for Christmas.
But much to my surprise and delight, my husband has announced that he wants to start reading history books! He just finished listening to this very lengthy podcast about the history of Rome. He started listening to it when my daughter was a newborn because he discovered it put her right to sleep during her evening feeding — she's nine months old now and it's just coming to an end. As a side effect, he has gotten rabidly interested in Roman history and wants to continue his learnings. However, my taste runs more to memoirs, and I have no idea where to begin finding books that might be up his alley. I am hoping you and the readers can be some help.
What I'm looking for is books hopefully about very early Roman history (though, if you know of any great early history books about other civilizations, I would gladly check those out too). They would hopefully be a little lively and off the wall — what my husband enjoyed about this podcast was the really weird details that came up. In an ideal world they would also come in audiobook format. My husband claims he would totally read an actual book, but he barely even checks his email,so I'm trying not to get too crazy here.
Looking forward to your suggestions!
I Tried To Convince Him That Andy Cohen's Memoir Was A Riveting Historical Text, But He Didn't Fall For It
I have a couple of suggestions that might make good jumping-off points even if they're not totally his thing, or don't come in audiobook format. The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found had a lot of cool, random detail about Roman sidewalk construction, layouts of houses, et cetera; the writing is on the clonky academic side, and it's not available as an audiobook, but if he sees a few pages of it on Google Books, maybe Amazon's or Goodreads's algorithms can recommend something similar.
I've also just waded into this puppy, which is part of a series about daily life throughout history. I don't know for sure if there's a Roman version, or if it's any good; the medieval one isn't the most exciting, prose-wise, but it's designed to give tons of accurate details and terms to aid the historical-fiction writer in nailing details, so if it's the micro stuff he likes (I learned what a toft is yesterday!), those might work.
Neither of these is going to satisfy the audio requirement (or even the topic, necessarily), but if you guys want to plug them into a book-constellation website and see what other possibilities come up, they might help. And we'll see what the readers have to offer. Readers: books on early Roman/other-civ history, ideally with an audio format, heavy on cool details. Three (3) suggestions per comment, please!
Tags: Ask The Readers popcult