Read Any Good Books Lately?

 

During the spring I went on a mini detour into Greek Mythology. Of course, it all started with a book…

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

This is such a gorgeous book in terms of both the writing and the story. Miller re-imagines the story of Achilles from the point of view of his childhood friend. Exiled and awkward, Patroclus is mesmerised with the beautiful golden boy and half-God, Achilles. He finds his feelings are reciprocated when he follows him to Mount Pellion and then into the Trojan War. This is first and foremost an uncommon love story.

 

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Greek Myths by Kathryn Waterfield and Robin Waterfield

The Song of Achilles made me curious to learn more about the Greek myths. This book appeared to be pretty accessible which is what I was after. It’s not too difficult to follow at first, but my goodness, the Greek myths contain a cast of thousands.  I found it impossible to keep track, not least because many of the names are a mouthful to non-Greek speakers. However, it gave me a good idea of the main protagonists and stories.

 

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood (Canongate Myths Series Book 2)

Reading the Greek myths often feels like a never-ending succession of sex and violence (and not in a good way). Needless to say, women tend to get a raw deal, so it was good to find a book that gives voice to the women who are used and abused.

Much is made of Odysseus’s wily character but what happened to his wife Penelope while he was off fighting the Trojan War and undertaking his legendary odyssey? Here Penelope looks back from her place in the underworld during the present and tells her side of the story.

I enjoyed it and liked the wry asides about modern life.

 

Penelopiad

 

For The Most Beautiful by Emily Hauser

I started a sample of this take on the Trojan War/Helen of Troy story with once again, a female slant, but didn’t go as far as to download the book. Please let me know below if you’ve read it or any of the original Classical literature such as The Iliad.

 

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

I enjoyed The Hobbit and felt prepared to tackle The Lord of Rings trilogy. I enjoyed the chapters I read but I was going at a snail’s pace. I concluded this was because it didn’t seem to fit the hot, sunny, summer weather. After barely progressing over the course of a month, I decided to shelve it until the autumn.

 

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

This book proved I wasn’t in a reading slump because I whizzed through it. Admittedly it’s a quick YA read with short chapters, but I loved the characters. It’s the tale of two teenage friends, Dante and Ari, growing up in El Paso during the late 1980s. Although it’s a simple story, I found it beautiful.

 

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We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie    

This is a slightly extended version of Chimamanda’s wonderful TEDx Talk. It’s only 65 pages and available on Kindle for 99p. I must read one of her novels soon. Please let me know below if you have a favourite or can suggest the best one to start with.

 

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What have you been reading lately? Any good reads to recommend?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16 Comments

Filed under Book Review

16 responses to “Read Any Good Books Lately?

  1. I just finished my second read of The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It’s about American heiresses marrying English aristocrats. It’s really good. Shades of Henry James. I bought it at the Persephone book shop, which is an indie publishing house in London. They have a very good collection. Hope you’re well. x

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    • I’m good thanks, hope all is fine with you too.

      If you’ve read The Shuttle twice that’s a great recommendation in itself. Libreria bookshop on Hanbury St is worth a visit if you don’t know it already.

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  2. Old but good – The Firebrand by Marion Zimmer Bradley. The Trojan War from Cassandra’s perspective, I love it!
    Will look into your tips asap! 😘

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  3. Jillie

    Again, old but very good: the Mary Renault novels based on legendary characters like Theseus and non-legend Alexander the Great.

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  4. Funny Fellowship of the ring is on thr list, I just started with LoTR as I’m on vacation and finally have time to devote to it. I wanted to re-read it for the longest of time. Ever since the movies came out, I only watched them, I haven’t gone back to the books.
    So this is me basically saying I have bo recommendations. 😉

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    • Hahaha! I just love hearing from you Ines. I miss us hanging out.
      At least I now feel like I’m not the only one late to the party 🙂 Hope you stick with it. I’m looking forward to getting back into come autumn.

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      • I miss us hanging out too. I think about you all quite often and since it’s going to be quite a busy summer at work, I’m even happier that I used the time I had to spend it with you.
        Btw, you are a bit late to the party. I’ve read the books long time ago (3 times I think), now I just want to refresh my memory.

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        • Ah I missed the re in front of read 🙂 I really am the last one but that’s okay, I’ll get there this year.
          I’m so glad we all took the opportunity to get together when we had it I think about it often too.

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  5. I did Latin at school, and went on a school trip to Greece in April 1973 to visit a number of classical sites. Indeed I was very likely in Delphi or Mycenae on the day you were born…:) I have a copy of the Iliad and the Aeneid knocking about somewhere, from which my favourite line (still tickles me!) is “Anchises remained fixed in his seat and in his purpose”. The myths I can most relate to are Sisyphus and the one about cleaning out the Augean Stables – in fact housework neatly unites the two.

    To my shame, I have not wanted to read anything else on this topic ever since, other than to check my facts here and there. But you may have piqued my curiosity in the topic again, 40 years on…

    Good reads lately? Ian McEwan Sweet Tooth snd Nutshell.

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    • That’s great about being at the ancient Greek ruins on the day of my birth. I feel that is quite auspicious 🙂
      I like reading the modern interpretations of the myths. I feel I should try and read the Classical versions but am intimidated to put it mildly. The fact the one I looked up is all is verse didn’t help.
      I haven’t forgiven Ian McEwan for breaking my heart with Atonement. I am easily traumatised…

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  6. I am reding a fantasy triology at the moment, The Oversight. Set in Victorian England. A great read with lots of interesting characters and unusual ideas. Would definitely recommend.

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