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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

a pilot-light of research

Again, a day focused on copywriting. Kimmie is back to part 2 of her in-house corporate course, "The Principles of Buying". She will be hitting the books hard again tonight, gearing up for the final exam on Monday. The day itself is dull, with a light rain falling through the cool air.

What can I say that is at all project-related? On Sunday, while Kimmie and I did the grocery shopping at Save-On Foods at Park & Tilford Centre, we checked the magazine and book section on our way toward the checkout aisles. The best part of their small book section is the one set of shelves labeled Biography, but which in fact usually carries various nonfiction titles. There I spied two copies of Persian Fire by Tom Holland, a history of the Persian-Greek wars. Even though these events, in the 6th and 5th centuries BC, are rather before my period, I felt drawn to the book, and decided to buy. I had read Holland's Rubicon, and found it most useful. Plus I'm intrigued with any information I can find on the Persian empire and its contributing peoples, for this was the empire taken over by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC, whose systems and statecraft became fused with those of Greece to become a melting-pot of ideas.

Amid all my other reading, which these days is mainly about petroleum and its influence on geopolitics--and the implications of this for humanity--I plunged into this text when I got home, the first ancient-history work I'd read in months. I was immediately drawn in by Holland's energetic, dramatic prose, spiced with modern-sounding terms like "terrorist" and "hit man" to try to bridge the great gap of time. I'm still on chapter 1, but so far, so good.

Another project-related purchase has also arrived. I trudged down to the post office on 3rd Street today to pick up a box of DVDs from Bibleplaces.com--the excellent site featuring digital pictures of the Holy Land. These are not stills but aerial videos, with narration. I decided to splurge and get the whole set of four: The Coast, Galilee, Samaria, and Jerusalem. It seems like a unique opportunity to get a good feel of the geography there, without having to travel there myself--and rent an aircraft!

So I've actually saved a bundle. Yeah, that's it.

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