Hello, reader friends! Back in the summer, I read Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles. This story reimagines Achilles and Patroclus from Homer’s The Iliad. Set before, during and after the Trojan War, this brilliant novel focuses on love, hope, endurance and violence of war as Miller chronicles the epic story of Patroclus and Achilles.
Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.
When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice. Built on the groundwork of the Iliad, Madeline Miller’s page-turning, profoundly moving, and blisteringly paced retelling of the epic Trojan War marks the launch of a dazzling career.
This story – needless to say – has stuck with me. Something I love to do with my favorite books is create playlists that embody the story, either the mood, characters, plot or a combination of all. With no further ado, here is my Song of Achilles playlist!
Well, there you have it folks! Check out my other bookish playlists and let me know songs would be on your Song of Achilles playlist.
At the beginning of 2020, I set a goal to read more classics. In 2019, I read one or two classics, and that was fine with me. But for this year, I decided to try to fit in a couple more than usual, and I even made a list. Now, of course, I didn’t stick to said list, but I did manage to read six classics (19th century or earlier). With no further ado, let’s talk classics.
While I enjoyed all six classics I read this year, a few stood out more than others. My enjoyment of the Little Women reading experience was definitely impacted by having watched the 2019 film adaptation (which is amazing!) first, and I’d say my enjoyment of The Iliad was likewise impacted by my having read Song of Achilles (which is also amazing!) prior. Persuasion, as with all the Austen books I’ve read, was wonderful, but it wasn’t my favorite read of hers thus far. So, that leaves three standouts! Here are my top three classics from this year with a few brief thoughts and summaries.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
The Picture of Dorian Gray was my first read of 2020 – started the year off well! More than just a spooky story of a man and a portrait, Dorian Gray is a scathing review society and the ways in which corruption breeds both from within and without. Highly quotable, I found the commentary on art and societal pressure to be thought-provoking and a little terrifying. This was my introduction to Wilde, and I plan on picking up more of his writing soon.
Oscar Wilde brings his enormous gifts for astute social observation and sparkling prose to The Picture of Dorian Gray, his dreamlike story of a young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty. This dandy, who remains forever unchanged; petulant, hedonistic, vain, and amoral; while a painting of him ages and grows increasingly hideous with the years, has been horrifying, enchanting, obsessing, even corrupting readers for more than a hundred years.
Taking the reader in and out of London drawing rooms, to the heights of aestheticism, and to the depths of decadence, The Picture of Dorian Gray is not only a melodrama about moral corruption. Laced with bon mots and vivid depictions of upper-class refinement, it is also a fascinating look at the milieu of Wilde’s fin-de-siècle world and a manifesto of the creed “Art for Art’s Sake.”
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
If you’re like me, you probably know about Frankenstein’s Monster, but if you’re also like me, you likely didn’t know the original story. Reading Frankenstein for the first time was a journey. Shelley’s emphasis on intellect, power, nature and nurture came to life in Victor Frankenstein and his monster, and readers are asked to think critically about what monstrosity means in a society that thrives on uniformity and shuns otherness. As with Wilde, this was my introduction to Shelley, and I’ll be seeking out more of her work, along with the pivotal A Vindication of the Writes of Woman by her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin.
Mary Shelley’s seminal novel of the scientist whose creation becomes a monster. This edition is the original 1818 text, which preserves the hard-hitting and politically charged aspects of Shelley’s original writing, as well as her unflinching wit and strong female voice. This edition also includes a new introduction and suggestions for further reading by author and Shelley expert Charlotte Gordon, literary excerpts and reviews selected by Gordon and a chronology and essay by preeminent Shelley scholar Charles E. Robinson.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Reading A Tale of Two Cities, I had an experience I had never had – I cried reading a classic. Yes, this brutal but hopeful novel brought me to tears, something not even my beloved Wuthering Heights had achieved. Set against the French Revolution, Dickens’ novel chronicles the brutality, violence, love and hope in both the public revolution and private revelations of A Tale of Two Cities. I know this novel, my introduction to Dickens, will stay with me for a long while, and though it is a difficult choice, I’d have to say A Tale of Two Cities was my favorite classics of 2020. There are some issues that I have with this work, but overall, this was one of my favorite reading experiences of the past year.
After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.
Well, there you have it! Did you read any classics this year? What was your favorite? Let me know!
Hi, reader friends. Since I did not do an August wrap-up, I figured I would combine August and September into one post. I didn’t read near as many books these last two months as usual, but thankfully, I really loved the books I did read. Without further ado, let’s talk books!
Water, Earth, Fire, Air… Isn’t it like coming home? I’m a recent recruit to the Avatar fandom, but I can already feel the inevitable impact this show has had and will have on my life. In our time of need, Netflix came through and added the classic Nickelodeon show to its line-up. I know I’m not the only adult watching this anime-style cartoon for the first time, and I know many are rewatching and reliving their childhood through it.
July was a bit of a rough month, so my reading suffered just a bit. I didn’t read as much as usual, but I did find a new favorite. So overall, I’d say that balances things about it, right? In total, I read six books last month [two audio books, four physical books]. Without further ado, let’s get into my wrap-up.
It’s time for the 2020 Reading Rush! Earlier this year, I participated in my first Reading Rush-related readathon and had so much fun. So, I decided to make this the first year I participate in the annual Reading Rush. This year, it’s taking place next week from Monday, July 20 – Sunday, July 26. Without further ado, let’s get into my TBR for the readathon.
The mid-year book freak out tag is everywhere on Booktube this time of year. It’s always one of my favorite tags to watch. So this year, I decided to do a post with the mid-year questions. Now, picking just one book for each of these questions was asking a lot of my indecisive personality. So naturally, I didn’t just choose one for some of these. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
As you probably noticed, I didn’t do a May wrap-up last month. Honestly, I just didn’t feel like it. The world felt (and still does) feel very heavy. In reaction, I didn’t do a ton of reading in May. But I rebounded in June. So, I just decided to do a combined May and June wrap-up. Overall, I did read some wonderful books the past two months – 17 in all. Without further ado, let’s get into my mini (spoiler-free) reviews.
Today is Earth Day! Not only is today Earth Day, it’s the 50th anniversary of its founding. I’ve always loved being outside and travelling to the National Parks in the US. Along the way, I’ve also found some books that continue to spark my love of nature. Most of these books I first read for a Modern American Environmental Literature course during my time as an undergraduate. They were impactful and many changed the way I thought about the world and humanity’s role in it. So, I decided to make a list to share with all of you. Without further ado, let’s get into it.