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Search tags: ancient-classics
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text 2018-09-26 12:27
Reading progress update: I've listened to 90 out of 390 minutes.
Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

Gaiman says in the introduction that he didn't revisit his own childhood favorites -- Kevin Crossley-Holland's and Roger Lancelyn Green's renditions of the Norse myths -- but this comes across decidedly more like an update of those books, i.e., The Norse Myths for Young Readers, than an adaptation of the actual Edda texts.  I'm enjoying it, though ... author's own narration and all.  I also appreciate that Gaiman is taking great pains to get the pronunciation of the Icelandic / Norse words right.

 

This would probably count for the "Supernatural" square anyway, but since Gaiman is my wild card author, I haven't used my wild card for anything else yet, and I also know I won't be needing it for any of the remaining squares on my card ... what the heck.

 

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review 2018-05-10 18:31
Brilliant
The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus - Margaret Atwood,Laural Merlington
The Penelopiad - Margaret Atwood

Irreverent, insightful, funny, deeply humane and empathetic.

 

The myth of Odysseus is one of my favorite parts of Greek mythology: in telling it from the perspective of Penelope -- with a good bit about Penelope's childhood and youth, and her and Odysseus's marriage thrown in for good measure, as well as with her 12 slain maids acting as a very Greek chorus -- Atwood turns it inside out, gives it a feminist spin, and puts it together again in her very own way.  And Laurel Merlington's narration is sheer genius ... if you're into Greek mythology and audiobooks, get the audio version now.  (If you're not into audiobooks but into Greek mythology, still get the edition of your choice.)

 

Absolutely loved every second of it.

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review 2018-01-16 19:47
Tales of Ancient Egypt / Roger Lancelyn Green
Tales of Ancient Egypt (Puffin Classics) - Heather Copley,Roger Lancelyn Green

These stories include the great myths - of Amen-Ra, who created all the creatures in the world; of Isis, seaching the waters for her dead husband Osiris; of the Bennu Bird and the Book of Thoth. But there are also tales told for pleasure about magic, treasure and adventure - even the first ever Cinderella story.

 

  If I have ever read a book of Egyptian myths before, I don’t remember it. This little volume was a very pleasant introduction to the Egyptian mythos—something that I’ve learned by osmosis while reading books about the land’s history and art and reading fiction set in Ancient Egypt. As in most mythologies, there are unexpected treasures.

The man who polished these little tales was a friend of C.S. Lewis and seems to have made his reputation on rewriting myths and legends for the children’s market. I realize now that the vocabulary of this volume was probably suitable for children, but it did not detract from my enjoyment as an adult reader. He blends history and myth to make both clearer for the reader.

I have always found the Ancient Egyptians to be fascinating—this volume merely reinforced my obsession.

 

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text 2018-01-12 15:39
TBR Friday
Tales of Ancient Egypt (Puffin Classics) - Heather Copley,Roger Lancelyn Green
The Birdwatcher - William Shaw
Two Boys Kissing - David Levithan
The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness
In the Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets, Loglan Lovers, and the Mad Dreamers Who Tried to Build a Perfect Language - Arika Okrent
Walls: Resisting the Third Reich: One Woman's Story - Hiltgunt Zassenhaus

How did I miss that yesterday was Thursday?  Oops!

 

I'm actually almost finished Tales of Ancient Egypt.  And I've also begun reading The Knife of Never Letting Go.  With any luck, I will finish the former this evening and be able to return it to the library tomorrow.

 

Next up, The Birdwatcher.  Because you know that I'm a bird watcher, plus who can resist a murder mystery investigated by a policeman with murder in his background.  I'm thinking this one will go quickly!

 

Then to Two Boys Kissing.  It's for my February book club meeting, which I will be missing.  I should feel bad, I guess, but I'll be bird watching in Taiwan, so not too bad.

 

Two non-fiction offerings as well, In the Land of Invented Languages (because I've always secretly wanted to speak Klingon) and Walls : resisting the Third Reich

 

I must have these finished before January 28th, when I fly to Taipei.  Fingers crossed!

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text 2017-12-27 15:59
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 12 - Saturnalia

Tasks for Saturnalia: Wear a mask, take a picture and post it. Leave a small gift for someone you know anonymously - a small bit of chocolate or apple, a funny poem or joke. Tell us about it in a post. –OR– Tell us: If you could time-travel back to ancient Rome, where would you want to go and whom (both fictional and / or nonfictional persons) would you like to meet?

 

BrokenTune has already mentioned two people I really rather would have liked to meet as well, Cicero and Ovid.  In addition to the reasons she mentions, I probably also would have liked to pick Cicero's brain on some of his trial strategies (in addition to being Rome's most famous orator, he was also a first class lawyer, who scored some of the most celebrated victories in all of legal history) -- and I'd have liked to ask Ovid how he ever came up with the madcap idea for his Metamorphoses.

 

In addition to these two, I'd have liked to:

* chat history, historical sources and research, and veracity and authentication, with Livy, Vergil, and Suetonius;


* find out what Plutarch would have thought about the fact that some of his writings provided the source material for the plays of a famous English playwright named William Shakespeare a millennium and a half after he himself had put quill to parchment (or to scroll, or whatever), and how, proud Greek that he was, he really felt about living under Roman rule;


 * ask Seneca about the experience of advising a lunatic like Nero (other than: scary as hell, that is), how many times he was close to committing suicide out of sheer desperation before Nero actually made him do so, what kept him going nevertheless -- and how in the world he managed to write plays, and pretty impressive ones at that, in addition to what would seem to have been a full time political day job (also, whether he really was the author of the Apocolocyntosis divi Claudii, and how he came up with that one in the first place);


and find out from Marcus Aurelius how he implemented his philosophical maxims in his day to day duties as an emperor, particular in making unpleasant (or even harsh) decisions in warfare and in the administration of justice.


As for fictional characters from that time, though not actually living in Rome, whom I'd like to meet -- well, you know, there came a time in 50 A.D. when Gaul was entirely occupied by the Romans. Umm, entirely?  Well, no, not entirely ... One small village of indomitable Gauls still held out against the invaders. And life was not easy for the Roman legionaries who garrisoned the fortified camps of Totorum, Aquarium, Laudanum and Compendium ...

 

 

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