A funny reader moment happened to me last week when I got together with one of my favorite cousins. “I remember how you used to devour books,” he said, as we reminisced about our childhood. “You’d carry around these big books. I’d ask you how far along you’d gotten, and you’d say, ‘I finished it.'”
I have no recollection of this happening, but it sounds legit. And a fitting memory to introduce this week’s reading roundup, yes? Now let’s get to the books!
What are you currently reading?
Harry Mount’s Odyssey: Ancient Greece in the Footsteps of Odysseus by Harry Mount. His account of tracing Odysseus’ path includes a mix of memoir, history, and travelogue. I’m enjoying it! It’s not a book I want to rush through, though, as it’s giving me quite a bit to think about ancient Greek literature and culture.
I’m also reading Stargazy Pie by Laura Lockington. This is a totally random selection that I stumbled on at an Athens bookstore nestled among a modest selection of English language novels. Contributing factors to my purchasing decision included: It was inexpensive and in hardcover. (I share this to highlight the randomness of book choices.) Truth is, the novel is a pleasant surprise (*surprise* because I knew exactly zero about it before purchasing it). The story begins with Poppy, a London shopgirl, heading to Cornwall to spend Christmas with her boss/friend Davey’s eccentric upper crust family. Her traveling companion is a monkey called Jicky whose hobbies include … well, let’s leave that bit unsaid. It’s silly, fun, situational hijinks. I’m having a hard time tearing myself away from it, to be honest. I’m in just the right mood for it.
What did you recently finish reading?
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 1: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan. Riordan’s books are my go-to when I want my reading material to relax and entertain me, make me laugh and pull me into a world completely removed from my own. In this new(ish) series, Magnus Chase is a Boston teen who has been homeless since his mother’s death two years prior. After estranged relatives seek him out, Magnus discovers he is the son of a Norse god. And action!
Riordan’s imagination is prodigious, and though others may feel differently, I have yet to tire of his formula melding pop culture and ancient mythology with humor, danger, and adventure. A fun aside for readers of the Percy Jackson books: Magnus is the cousin of Annabeth, who makes two appearances at the beginning and end of the novel.
Not knowing as much about Norse mythology as I do about ancient Greek, I’d still call Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus, and The Trials of Apollo my favorite Riordan series. But The Sword of Summer was witty and fun. It kept me engaged, entertained, and chuckling appreciatively from page to page. Meaningful moments about the power of community and discovering who you are and what you do best fill out the fun with a bit of depth.
What do you think you’ll read next?
Once again, it’s so hard to tell where my reader whims will lead me. Last week I picked up a copy of Alexander McCall Smith’s The 2 1/2 Pillars of Wisdom: The Portuguese Irregular Verbs trilogy omnibus. I do like the idea of reading a paper book. On the other hand, it reminded me that I still have the final book in McCall Smith’s 44 Scotland Street series waiting for me on my Nook.
On a whole other note, reading Harry Mount’s Odyssey is making me want to read Introducing the Ancient Greeks: From Bronze Age Seafarers to Navigators of the Western Mind, which has been in my e-library for a long while. Believe it or not, I haven’t forgotten about #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks … completely.
What books are on your read, reading, and will read lists this week? Any new titles you’re looking forward to this month?