Reading wrap-up: May reads and purchases

May reads

Well, our May reads are in the history books. Or at least in our Goodreads “read” file. I can hardly believe how quickly this year is flying by!

All of the books I read this month related either to the Gilmore Girls reading challenge we’re doing at Books, Ink or my personal project to read classical literature and books inspired by it. Only two of the six books I read this month were part of my existing library. But I’m making allowances for the Gilmore Girls challenge.

May reads

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Homer’s The Odyssey: How I chose which translation to read

Homer's The Odyssey: How I chose which translation to read
Homer's The Odyssey: How I chose which translation to read
Though I did eventually choose to stick with Fagles’ on my Nook, my paperback copy of Fitzgerald was beach friendly.

Note: I wrote this before the publication of Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey. My thoughts on it are here.

“You know what the ancients said…”

Growing up, I heard this phrase more times than I can count. The “ancients” referred to the ancient Greek philosophers, poets, playwrights, etc. I don’t know if this is true in all Greek families, but in mine, ancient wisdom was standard fare.

One bit I remember my dad repeating (and he still has to remind me from time to time): Πάν μέτρον Άριστον. Everything in moderation. First he’d say it in Greek, then in English. It’s an important message, so it bears repeating! I’ve also seen the Greek phrase translate to “Moderation in all things.” The basic idea is the same: Maintain a sense of proportion in life. It’s a pretty excellent motto, really. (We could you some of that these days, yes?)

Getting to the implied question in my title (finally): When I first began reading The Odyssey, I shuttled between Robert Fitzgerald’s translation and Robert Fagles’. I couldn’t decide which I preferred and often found myself rereading chapters to figure it out. As you can imagine … time consuming! The Odyssey was becoming an odyssey. Know what I mean? Continue reading “Homer’s The Odyssey: How I chose which translation to read”

Wednesday Reading Roundup: September 14

Two weeks, two great novels: The Nix by Nathan Hill and The Revolving Door of Life by Alexander McCall Smith

Two weeks, two great novels: The Nix by Nathan Hill and The Revolving Door of Life by Alexander McCall SmithWhen I last updated my reading activity, I was roaring through Nathan Hill’s The Nix. The image of Scotty comes to mind: “I’m givin’ her all she’s got, Captain!” (Confession: I actually had to Google that Star Trek reference). I plowed through the novel and then regretted doing so because it ended too soon. And we’re talking about a 620 page book!

As always, thanks to Taking on a World of Words for the weekly inspiration of WWW Wednesday and to Coffee and Cats for introducing me to it!

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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

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