Friday, May 25, 2007

Impulse Buys and Byzantine Things


I'm reading four books so far this weekend. All at the same time. Don't worry. I do that. I start several and then I jump around until all are done. I especially do that with non fiction, but sometimes with fiction too. This weekend its two of each.
I'm reading Daily Life in the Byzantine Empire by Marcus Rautman, which is an absolutely amazing book, with all the details one could possibly want about life in Medieval Constantinople. (Not yet Istanbul.) Everything from court life in the palace to farm life in the countryside. Really nifty book.
Also reading Sunset Express, a novel by come back kid, Robert Crais. Not up to the level of The Watchman or Demolition Angel, but a decent mystery so far.
Third is Mapping Murder, by Professor David Canter. Canter is pretty much considered THE authority on Geographic Profiling, which is the science of determining the probable living areas of serial criminal offenders by extrapolating from the locations of their crimes. Canter has had a lot of success with this technique. In fact, on a percentage basis, Geographic Profiling has been more effective than the type of psychological profiling done by the FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit in catching serial criminals. Interesting stuff.
Finally, and this brings us to the eponymous impulse buy, I'm reading The Ring of Inkribu, which is one of six Red Sonja novels written in the early 1980s by David C. Smith and Richard L. Tierny. I wasn't really looking for the Sonja books, but someone had them up on EBay for like two bucks for the set of six and no one else bid, so what the hey, I bought em. Weird thing was, when they arrived they looked almost like brand new books and they're at least 25 years old. Shiny and tight and obviously never read. "Ring" has been okay so far. Serviceable prose and fairly standard plot. Basically reads like the Marvel Comic Red Sonja turned into prose. In fact, according to the introduction by Sonja's main creator, Roy Thomas, the books occur in the Marvel continuity, but earlier in Sonja's career.
So it's my usual eclectic mix of mystery, history, and mayhem.

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