I'd read most of it before, but there's something different about the book - selected, edited, bound in paper - that makes it more real. Beard herself muses on what is lost from the blog - the links, the interaction with commentators (some of them, I notice, my mates). Books and blogs mean different reading experiences - still, just. This is the sedate, slower-moving version, for putting down to posterity.
She's often funny, with an eye for the absurd detail. There's the inevitable vicarish use of any incident to enthuse, "in many ways, that's like the story of..." - in her case a Greek or Roman text rather than Jesus - but mostly with some new insight to offer. She doesn't need to tell us that classics is still relevant today but shows it by example.
I could have done without the repeated defence of the interview, living conditions, examination and culture of Oxbridge students. As an alumnus of a trendy New University and then of a red-brick, I have a bias against sympathy for the nobs. A post listing her day's emails is also an odd choice for this best-of.
But generally it's a fun, companionable and layman-friendly read, which prickles in me need to explore the ancient world further.
(I've also read quite a lot of A Short History of Parliament, edited by Clyve Jones, as a work thing, plus there's a stack of other research books littering my desk. And I'm on p. 107, p. 124 and p. 341 respectively of other books, so next month should be a bonanza.)
I'm the writer of the short films Cleaning Up starring Mark Gatiss and Louise Jameson, Revealing Diary, The Plotters, Wizard starring David Warner, and Modern Man, and the creator of the science-fiction series Graceless. I've written books, comics and audio plays based on Doctor Who, Blake's 7, Being Human, Primeval, Robin Hood etc.