Rereading Homer’s “The Iliad”

Since Stephen Mitchell’s 2011 translation of the The Iliad came out, I’ve been telling myself that I should reread this epic poem. The last time I read it, I was in high school studying modern Greek with a tutor. This tutor came to my house each week. Seated at a round table in my parents’s shades-of-brown family room, with its faux wood-paneled walls, I’d read out loud from a modern Greek translation of The Iliad. I think maybe we discussed it? I can’t recall exactly how I felt about the poem, other than that it seemed to involve a lot of killing, trash talking, and whining gods.

Four years after purchasing Mitchell’s translation and reverently placing it on my bookshelf, I finally got around to the task of reading it. Turns out, I wasn’t so off the mark with my initial assessment. Also: It’s one of the saddest books I’ve ever read, and an absolute must read for anyone who wants to understand the human condition.

Pairs well with Greek Gods Greek Yogurt ;)
Pairs well with Greek Gods Greek Yogurt

Continue reading “Rereading Homer’s “The Iliad””

Literary Places: Weathersfield, Connecticut and “The Witch of Blackbird Pond”

The places we read about in books exert a tremendous fascination. How else to explain the existence of phenomena like Universal’s Harry Potter world, or the restored homes of beloved authors, or literary walking tours of the cities and towns where those authors, and their characters, lived?

I have felt this pull to London, in particular, whose streets I first walked in childhood with Mary Poppins, Paddington Bear, and Sara Crewe, then later with so many of Charles Dickens’s characters (David Copperfield holding many favorites). Continue reading “Literary Places: Weathersfield, Connecticut and “The Witch of Blackbird Pond””

On Blogging about Books and Reading

Goldfinch Love

When I first set up this website, it was to share my book, events, and services with fellow readers. On the question of keeping a blog, I was … conflicted.

I share my thoughts on books and authors on Books, Ink, the book and author news website I edit in Connecticut. Would keeping a blog be redundant? How would it be different from what I already do? What would the point be? Continue reading “On Blogging about Books and Reading”

On Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and the Magical Number Seven

My most recent acquisition
My most recent acquisition

Seven (7). That is how many copies of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone live in my house. I mention this because if you’ve read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, you may recall that seven is a powerfully magical number. Do with this information what you will.

Now then, how does one end up with seven copies of Harry Potter number one? Let’s do the tally:

Two hardcover U.S. editions +

one paperback U.S. edition +

two paperback U.K. editions +

one Greek translation (in paperback) +

the e-book edition =

Seven editions of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone. In my house. Continue reading “On Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and the Magical Number Seven”

Rereading “The Raven” and “A Tell-Tale Heart” at Halloween

As I’ve mentioned before, one of my big inspirations to reread my favorite classics, and discover the ones I’ve neglected in the past, has been doing the Gilmore Girls Reading Challenge with Jessica Collins, my friend and contributing editor at Books, Ink.

With Halloween upon us, my Gilmore Girls reads this week are holiday themed: Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven” (which has a Charles Dickens connection) and his chilling short story “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Both appear in the Season 3 episode entitled “A Tale of Poes and Fire.” Continue reading “Rereading “The Raven” and “A Tell-Tale Heart” at Halloween”

October Reading: The Progress Report

Halloween Read

This month’s Charles Dickens reading goal was to revisit A Tale of Two Cities, but I’ve gotten a bit sidetracked with books of the circumstance and season variety.

My reading month started off with two books I heard about in September, both related to 9/11: Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog & the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero by Michael Hingson with Susy Flory and The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede. Both were so readable that I consumed them one after the other the first weekend in October.

Thunder Dog I heard about from my friend Jessica, who said it was inspiring and would make me cry. She was right on both counts. Continue reading “October Reading: The Progress Report”

Alternatives to the Traditional Book Club

Memoirs

If the popularity of book clubs demonstrates one thing, it’s that readers are not cowering wallflowers hiding from the big bad world in their books.

Don’t get me wrong. I have my cowering wallflower moments, but loving books has little to do with it. On vacation recently, it was discovering a shared love of reading that pulled me out of my shell. “How is it?” the woman occupying the beach chair adjacent to mine asked, bobbing her head towards the book at my feet.

Aaaand, we’re off. We talked about e-readers versus paper books, what kind of stories we most enjoy, and what we generally love about reading. We also agreed that the ultimate vacation would involve reading all day, with no interruptions.

Our exchange raised a question I’m forever thinking about: how I can love books and reading as much as I do and still have quit at least seven book clubs over the past 10 years? Continue reading “Alternatives to the Traditional Book Club”