Books: ‘Greenlights’ and ‘I, Claudius’

Greenlights and I Claudius

“Greenlights” by Matthew McConaughey
If you told me five years ago that I’d be reading a book written by Matthew McConaughey, I would’ve been hard-pressed to believe you. But read his book I have. The prose is so pleasurable that I read it in just a few sittings. The writing flows smoothly, and the stories are very entertaining. McConaughey gives us a memoir that doubles as a philosophy of how to live. It’s funny, surprising and profound. I can see people from different walks of life taking away some wisdom from this book of “outlaw logic.” To offer just one example of the many nuggets: “Words are momentary. Intent is momentous.”

“I, Claudius” by Robert Graves
More than 20 years ago, I bought a Penguin 1953 edition of this classic historical novel that was originally published in 1934. I finally got around to reading it. I was inspired to pull it from the bookshelf after watching a documentary on Caligula, an emperor of ancient Rome who was notorious for his deviant behaviors. Caligula was succeeded by his uncle, Claudius, who was belittled for his stammer and physical ailments before he became leader of the empire. The novel is a fictional account of Claudius’s life until the moment he becomes emperor. The story is very gossipy; full of human drama, which makes it an engaging read. I was amazed by the amount of intrigue and deception–even if only part of the tale is factual, it makes ancient Rome look crazy, which kept me turning the pages.