Bookies thoughts on Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff (and a picture of our very own Cleopatra!)

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (November 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316001929
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316001922

Though her life spanned fewer than forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world. She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first when both were teenagers. She poisoned the second. Ultimately she dispensed with an ambitious sister as well; assassination was a family specialty. Cleopatra appears to have had been with only two men. They happen, however, to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, among the most prominent Romans of the day. Both were married to other women. Cleopatra had a child with Caesar and–after his murder–three more with his protégé. Already she was the wealthiest ruler in the Mediterranean; the relationship with Antony confirmed her status as the most influential woman of the age. The two would together attempt to forge a new empire, in an alliance that spelled their ends.

This was our book club read while I was in Honduras.  I had the best of intentions to read it before I left, but life happenings, a very sick dog, and hard decisions made that… ummm… not happen.  Upon my return from Honduras I connected with a couple of the girls in the group and they shared not only their thoughts… but also pictures!!!

We were all surprised by the role of women in Egypt during this time.  They had so many rights and were held in such high esteem.  They were able to own land and many riches and sometimes the husbands were the ones left at home weaving by the loom.  We wondered what created the shift in our culture to relegate women as so far beneath men that we had to struggle in the last century to get some of our rights back.  One of the questions in the discussion guide asked if women could ever go backward in rights again and all of us believed it would not happen to us again. 

While we still do not know a lot about Cleopatra even after reading the book, what we did learn was fascinating.  She was very rich and slightly manipulative.  She was charming and even (look at the pictures in the book) kind of ugly. 

The Bookies advice to me.. dont bother reading it.   Most of the girls did not finish it, finding it hard to get into.  However I was also told it is not as long as it looks.. the last 60 pages are pictures. 

Overall with 8 Bookies in attendance, the book rating was way below average.

The food however – was fun:

A sampling of appetizers!
Fig Newtons because Cleopatra called for sweet figs on the day she committed suicide and also Greek yogurt because that is just fun. 🙂

and finally – Amy was our very own Cleopatra:

Amy - really gets into the book club book

Which leads me to burst with pride for our AWESOME book club!  As I sit here and write this review I am prompted to jot down a few (ok maybe more than a few) reasons I enjoy the Bookies so much:

1.  We go the extra mile to make the reviews interesting

2.  Special event months like our Summer Queen event, Classic Hat and Read month, and Christmas party

3.  Digging deep for bonus info on books and authors

4.  We value each others opinions

5.  We agree to occasionally disagree 😛

6.  Food that is prompted by the books we read

7.  An amazing and passionate group of girls that have turned from a group of book lovers to friends

8.  Stretched to read books and genres I may not have chosen but found out I enjoyed

9.  It’s ok to not read the book.  😯

10.  10+ years of Bookies, started in August 2001 with 3 girls and now 10 years later we have 14. 

31 thoughts on “Bookies thoughts on Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff (and a picture of our very own Cleopatra!)

  1. Wow, I’m surprised – I really liked this book!

    I also worry that women will slip backwards and lose rights. Our reproductive rights, especially, are constantly under attack.

    Your book club looks like a lot of fun. I’m currently book-club-less, which makes me sad! I miss talking about my reads. Blogging helps, but it’s not the same as getting together in person with a group of friends.

    1. My copy of the book is currently loaned out to a fellow Bookie but I think I may give it a “skim” when it comes back….
      I have read a bit on Cleopatra in the past and found her fascinating…

      And so sorry you are book club-less! You need to fin that – books and friends and staples of life 😀

      1. Angie S.

        Not me! I haven’t been able to fit in my wedding dress since two years after I got married (that’s what kids do to you!) I’ll dress up as…the wedding photographer! 🙂

  2. I love that your book club is so enthusiastic, flexible and fun! The book club I am in is awesome, but attendance has been way down lately (several months of just three people). But since we’re usually in a coffee shop gabbing for hours we still have a fantastic time.

    1. I am glad your group is fun Alyce! For awhile we were at 18 and we had a hard time finding places to meet where we all fit and where we could all be heard.

      We are not always consistent attenders, but even those who can not attend the meeting usually email their thoughts on the book so that is cool 🙂

  3. Elisabeth

    We read this in my Book Group too, and we all hated it, it will be our worst read of the year I am sure. Very disappointing!

  4. This book club sounds awesome, I really wish I could find one in my hometown. Reading reviews online is fun, and finding sites where discussions are going is fine too but nothing beats social interaction.

  5. I’ve been quite enjoying this read, actually, though I’m a bit more of a sporadic reader in this case. Definitely planning to finish the read though.

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