Harry Potter as Homeric Hero

My previous piece in this series ended with Dumbledore’s wisdom, as recalled by Harry: “It was important, Dumbledore said, to fight, and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then could evil be kept at bay, though never quite eradicated…” What I find especially striking is its notion of pursuit as the goal itself. With the ideals we hold dear, it can be difficult to remember that honor lies in pursuit, even when the ideal itself remains out of reach. Continue reading “Harry Potter as Homeric Hero”

Scars, Wandering, and Homecoming in Homer and Harry Potter

Homer and Harry Potter

A challenge of researching reception of classical literature is that we cannot always know whether intertextual references are intentional or incidental. Rereading the Harry Potter series alongside The Odyssey, the parallels are striking. So much so that it’s difficult to believe they’re coincidental. As I’ve noted before, though, it may be a case of timeless human experiences and themes—home, identity, etc.—recurring across literary texts. Whether intentional or not, I love how intertextuality shows us that and how we are connected across time and place. Continue reading “Scars, Wandering, and Homecoming in Homer and Harry Potter”

September Reads in Review

In September, I worked on finding balance in my reading life. I’ve been so consumed with ancient Greece and The Odyssey that I’ve neglected my relaxation reading, meaning the reading I do to clear my mind at bedtime and when I first wake up. It can feel so self-indulgent to read without any destination or purpose other than relaxation and the pleasure of getting lost in a story. But I’m trying to allow myself this simple joy. Continue reading “September Reads in Review”

Reading Wrap-Up: December Reads

December reads

December reads? December rereads, more like. Six of the 10 books I read were books I’ve read before … in some cases multiple times. The holiday season is a time for nostalgia, apparently.

December reads

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #5) by Rick Riordan

This completed my 2017 rereading of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I’d forgotten how cleverly done the last book was. The first four draw on Greek mythology in fun and silly ways. The last book uses character development and plot to engage with ideas and questions ancient Greek mythology wrestled with and explored. My favorites: Your fatal flaw can also be your greatest strength. And: Is it possible for heroes to survive their own hubris? Continue reading “Reading Wrap-Up: December Reads”

The unabridged list of books I read in July

July was a slow but satisfying month of reading for me. The highlight for me: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

My July reading highlight was finally reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and seeing how Rowling continued her story into the next generation.It felt like a slow month of reading for me. For good reason: It was. With six books read, July was my slowest month of reading this year. And it’s even slower than it looks since I read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in one day, that day being July 31.

On the upside, my low reading tally is the result of spending loads of my free time with friends and family. And you definitely will not hear me complain about that! Continue reading “The unabridged list of books I read in July”

Why I’m rereading Harry Potter, again

The world of Harry Potter shows me how to choose love, beauty, and meaning even when the world feels very dark indeed.

The Harry Potter's world reminds me of the power of choice - that I can choose joy, beauty, and love even when the world feels very dark.I’ve mentioned before that I first discovered the Harry Potter series when I was looking for a children’s book to read in Greek. This is because reading children’s books is one way I maintain my language skills (or try to, anyway).

The book engaged me so much that I ended up consuming it in one giant gulp, in English, before returning to work my way slowly through the Greek version, dictionary in hand. But it wasn’t until reading the third book, the Prisoner of Azkaban, that I well and truly fell in love with the series. That was when I began to see it as an allegory about growing up and becoming a grown-up, which has to do with taking responsibility for your life and choices, especially when they’re imperfect and undesirable. Continue reading “Why I’m rereading Harry Potter, again”

Do some books make better listens than reads?

Audiobooks: Station Eleven

My journey to embrace audiobooks has been a rousing success so far this year. Granted, we’re not quite three months in, but I’m hopeful.

I’ve been thinking about the degree to which this may be a case of necessity being the mother of invention: My committed desire to really, really find an audiobook I could stick with created the favorable conditions for that to happen. Continue reading “Do some books make better listens than reads?”