In February I aimed to read 12 books from my to-be-read pile each of which was to be set in a different country. This is part of my 12 in 12 Challenge for 2020 which I hope will reduce the number of physical books I haven’t yet read but which I currently store in a spare bedroom. January’s theme was crime books and I exceeded my target – today I can review the twelfth book from February and have, therefore, achieved my reading target two months in a row. This book was actually listened to on audio so doesn’t really assist with the aim of the challenge but as I also have quite a considerable store of unread audio books I think that it can be excused – after all, I have made up my own rules !
This book is 24 Hours in Ancient Rome by Philip Matyszak and is written in an attempt to help the reader understand what it might have been like living in the city at the centre of the Roman Empire. To achieve this the author tells the story of Rome hours by hour through the day and night concentrating on a different imaginary person each time – a carter, a prostitute, a gladiator, a baker, a slave, a hostess, a guest at a dinner party, and so on.
The format of the book made it very engaging to listen to and I particularly enjoyed how it linked the little stories and tried to help you understand the physical environment of the city and its buildings as well as what the characters were doing. It is not very dramatic but it is excellent to listen to on the daily commute as you don’t have to retain a lot of plot in your head and you can grasp easily where you are when you come back to it. This book isn’t a full history of the city or its people but it is interesting and it gives a flavour of the times and the activity. I enjoyed listening to it.
I may get another book, set in another country, finished before the end of the month and if I do I will review it here on my blog. I am pleased though to have achieved my February target and will start gathering together the books for my reading in March.