Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Friday, November 27, 2009
Book Report: Hannibal: The Novel by Ross Leckie (1996)
Well, after reading Scipio Africanus: Greater than Napoleon, of course I picked up this book, a novel about Scipio's adversary which I'd picked up a while back.

The book is an interesting combination of first person narrative with historical fact in that the battles are in the right order makes a pretty compelling read. We get bits from Hannibal's childhood as the son of Hamilcar Barca and his growth into the leader of the Carthaginian army in Europe. It talks a bit about his disdain for politics and whatnot and intimates at the hard drilling between battles and the preparations that the general had to make.

Unfortunately, the book stalls a bit after the Battle of Cannae; we don't get much about what Hannibal did in the 15 years he spend in Italy after the battle. The Battle of Zama seems an afterthought. Then the book ends with Hannibal's death in exile.

The author made this the first of a trilogy; I would have figured out how to do it, but I guess the second are from Scipio's point of view and the third is simply titled Carthage. The author lets us know how well researched the book is by including quotes in the original Greek throughout. So I'm sure he's researched it quite a bit, but one cannot take the events in any novel as true. I won't cite it in a paper.

Pretty good read if you're into the history of the period and want something more narrative than scholarly.

Books mentioned in this review:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The Value Proposition of Magazines
Lileks finds a value proposition in printed magazines versus online versions:
    Some of the happiest moments of my life consisted simply of sitting in an airplane reading the Economist, lost in the big thick glossy parade of news and stories from everywhere, assembled with skill, and presented without a slime trail of ignorant comments at the end.
Another, of course, is that they lack PointRoll-intruding, Trojan-sharing, and memory-leaking advertisements.

One wonders if printed magazines will enjoy a resurgence based on a backlash against those detriments. Probably not.

Sunday, November 22, 2009
Book Report: Homes and Other Black Holes by Dave Barry (1988)
I liked this book. It involved a lot of aspects of home buying, moving, and whatnot with which I've recently been reacquainted. Also, it's old school Dave Barry, written when he was young, married to his first wife, and before he became a brand. You know how you can tell? Is his name above the title or below it? There you go. As Amazon shows below, this book was later rebadged with his name above the title (Dave Barry's Homes and Other Black Holes).

Additionally, behold how I make a brief cameo in the book:

Barfits Noggles

Hard to argue with that.

Books mentioned in this review:

To say Noggle, one first must be able to say the "Nah."