December 13, 2010

My Next Book Pick - Cleopatra: A Life

I just started reading a really enjoyable new book on my Sony Reader, Cleopatra:  A Life, by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stacy Schiff.  If you weren’t able to join me for my last book pick, you really shouldn’t miss this one.  Cleopatra was the last queen of Egypt more than 2,000 years ago and many of us think we know her from our studies in school or from watching a certain Hollywood drama.  But, Schiff brings to light an extraordinary and powerful woman, living in the lavish city of Alexandria.  Her descriptions are detailed and vivid throughout the book.  One clearly envisions wide avenues, ornately carved columns, and intricately woven silk awnings.  Reading about a banquet in which there was a knee-deep expanse of roses, you can almost detect their fragrance.

Cleopatra became a queen at 18 and was a brilliant ruler in her own right.  At the height of her power, she controlled nearly the entire eastern Mediterranean coast.  Cleopatra’s story is filled with intrigue – illegitimate children, incestuous marriages, and murder of family members.  It’s also filled with seduction – she was, after all, mistress to both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.  And it’s also a story of incredible power and immeasurable wealth.  Cleopatra:  A Life is wonderful.

For the next few days Sony is offering $30 off the Reader Pocket Edition.  Please read along with me at tweet your thoughts about the book using the special hash tag #booksimreading.