Thursday, July 01, 2010

Book Review: HOW TO MELLIFY A CORPSE by Vicki Leon

Finally, A tasty non-fiction treat I will not pas out reading. Vicki Leon has written many books but her Uppity Women books are very popular and now I see why. They are hilarious. The first thing that caught my eye is that the book is a unusual size. Her books are smaller and wider and would make a perfect small coffee table book. Even Upitty Women are this size; very cool I know I thought so too.

“How” to Mellify a Corpse” is a compilation of histories oddities that relate to “ancient science and superstition”. Breaking it down by location ancient locations that at one time dominated vast empires. What makes it such a breeze to read through is that the read is broken down into brief three to five small page quick reads. Not only are they short and painless most have depictions that are very amusing along with Leon’s witty modern humor. She gives history a modern view point and breaks it all down to the leftovers from the war that were melted down to make what would become one of the seven wonders of the world: the Colossus of Rhodes. How she knew I wanted to know that I will never know but it is fascinating. Egypt was a amusing section that shocked me on quite a few things.

Some of my favorites were “How to Birth a Bouncing Boy” The ancient practices that were enacted to perform this one was a hoot from weird to just plain non-sense. My top, most unexpected favorite would have to be “The First Surround Sound” because I had no idea that the Greeks designed their theaters that half moon shape way for a reason. Acoustics were a hard thing to master back then and they did it with style and modern thinking with out a stitch of electricity. Taking genius to a whole new level when it came to sound. The raised seats really got me in the theater, I really did not know they had baffles in them to turn it into a surround sound theater. The Greeks were ahead of their time but then again even they more than likely knew that.

4/5 Really liked it, but I am not the typical all the time non-fiction reader. The last non-fiction read I had was back in January of this year. This book is the perfect lure into historical reads, it could ensnare anyone it comes into contact with history buff or not. The fast paced accounts of odd events could be a wealth of conversation in itself.  The type of book that stirs everyone to pick it up and say “hu…this is cool”.

FTC: This book came from Vicki Leon, thank you Vicki I really enjoyed the read.

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  1. Hi, I just discovered your blog- it's brilliant! I love reading historical fiction but as I'm only 13, I can only read ya/teen historicals but I have run out now. Can you reccomend any good CLEAN AND INNOCENT historical books for me such as Jean Plaidy and Nora Lofts?


    (You can find me at

  2. Stephanie, throwing me a hard one, clean and innocent is hard when it come to HF royalty. I did do a post a while back on a cool YA writer named Anne Rinaldi who writes about Tudors. Here is the link for you:

    I think that might be a good place to jump off of. I will think about it some more but right now I am off to check your place out.

  3. I linked to her site from Allie's and spent an enjoyable 30 minutes not getting anything done but laughing and smiling and learning. As I commented on her blog, if history books were written like this, the kids might actually learn and retain something.

  4. Librarypat, I could not agree with you more it was a very expressive history teacher that made me fall in love with history. Vicki is a riot and you are right it just takes one thing to inspire a life time of loving history.

  5. Hi, I'm a total ancient Egypt freak. I was wondering if there were any books besides Nefertiti (Michelle Moran) and Sphinx Princess on Nefertiti, that you know of also, is the book Memoirs of Cleopatra good?

  6. CupCake Gril, me too I love anything related to Egypt. I have only have way completed memoirs I just remember it is really long but good. I am not too sure about any other but one does come to mind "When we were Gods" by Colin Falconer I heard that was really good. I have that one and another one that is coming out this next year is "Lily of the Nile", I will be doing a whole event on that one probably more at the end of the year though. I hope that helps, let me know if you find any other good ones.

  7. Thanks lizzy I'll be sure to look them up .


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