NYRB Classics collector. Reads anything, so long as it's good. Sometimes historian. Frequently grumpy: you've been warned. Also at aliceunderskies.tumblr.com.
Quick poll: does anyone know an Actual Teenager who has read and loved, or even liked, this book? Truly, I'd love comments on the question. I liked this book, but I am a semi-grownup with a documented interest in both the philosophy of identity and the history of science--both major aspects of Octavian, and easily the parts that kept me fascinated. Anything with Natural Philosophers I gobble up voraciously. Long sentences and unusual words are a bonus thrill. Not to sound terribly pretentious or anything, but this set of interest points are pretty much a post-college development for me, and I wonder if I'd have been (a) patient and (b) strong-hearted enough to make it through this (appropriately; I somewhat contradictorily hate it when horrific history is dumbed down for the meek) grueling book back when I was a Young Adult. Is this just one of those YA books that's actually meant for adults? If so, are the awards that deface its cover essentially meaningless? Is it destined to end up one of those books that's only ever read in high school and is unanimously despised for its difficulty?