Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Book 62 of 2014: Classical Stories edited by Mike Ashley

I've been sharing reviews of the books I read last year in the run up to Christmas, but when I'm working my way through all the Christmas books I have on my Kindle I like to alternate between those and other books of a slightly less Christmassy flavour.

One of those that I read last December was Classical Stories which is a collection of short stories and extracts from longer works which feature the Greeks and Romans. I struggled to find this book online and from what I can work out is that it was originally sold as a pair of two books; Classical Stories and Classical Whodunnits. I got my copy on its own in the bookshop at Wemyss Bay. I always stop in there on the way through (when it's open) and I have a rule that if a book catches my eye and I don't buy it the first time I'm in there, if it's still there the next time I go, then I'll pick it up. This was one of those times.

As usually happens with collections of short stories, you can't help but enjoy some more than others. Out of the whole collection my two favourites were 'The Banquet of Death' and 'Fortunatus'. They were two of the stories set in the earlier period, on the whole I enjoyed the earlier ones over the later ones.

I did like the fact that the stories in this book are arranged chronologically from time period when they are set. I know pretty much nothing about the Greeks and Romans so this was perfect for me because it meant I didn't have to adjust to different time periods, or flick back and forth between the Greeks and the Romans.

It was also really handy to have an introduction to each story. This served to set the scene, introduce the characters in the story (if they were real people) or historical facts that were relevant to the story. It also helped to introduce the author of each story. I appreciated this because I don't think there was a single author that I was actually familiar with. It was interesting to know whether the stories were a departure from their usual writing genre, or if the story was part of a larger collection.

I'm definitely going to watch out for a copy of Classical Whodunnits so I can read the companion book in the future.


  1. Sounds like a book that's right up my alley. :-)

    1. I'd say it's a must read for anyone interesting in Greek or Roman life, myths and legends. I struggled with it in places but only because it's not something I read very often.


Let me know what you think. :-)