The Great Good Thing

27840638.jpgThe Great Good Thing by Andrew Klavan

Rating: ★★★★★

Favorite Line: “I had them all now, all the pieces I needed. The five revelations that were really one revelation: the presence of God.”

 Review:

The Great Good Thing by Andrew Klavan is an extraordinary tale of a writer searching for his soul in every stage of his life. This search takes him across the country, even across the ocean, on an epic tale of trial and error, loneliness and joy. This search for the soul would be truly unbelievable, even laughable at times, if it was fictional, but this story isn’t fiction, it is the memoir of the author and he bears his soul to you in this page turning, drama that is his life.

The story starts off with Klavan describing growing up in New York in a tight-knit Jewish-American home. He describes his disregard to authority, which started at a young age and grew as he grew. He talks about his indifference to religion, beginning with his own Jewish heritage, and having it change into an agnostic viewpoint and then an atheistic one.

Reading about all these changes in Klavan’s life is troubling, or at least concerning. In this memoir he tell of some crazy choices he’s made and the less than stellar philosophies he adapted, but yet, it is relieving at the same time. Seeing his conversion process step-by-step forces you to reevaluate some of your choices in life and examine your own path a little closer than you usually would.

“Every evil weaves itself into the fabric of history, never to be undone. Yet at the same time—at the very same time—each of us gets a new soul with which to start the world again.”

Klavan is extremely open in this book about his struggles, and while he doesn’t really justify some of his actions, he explains them and it makes you remember the human experience and the human struggle we all go through on a daily basis.

The Great Good Thing is terrifically written. It has humor in one line and a mind-blowing revelation in the next. It plunges into deep theology all while describing life like one long John Wayne story. His story is truly an adventure in itself and the reader has no choice but to get swept away by it.

This story brings back hope because so many times in the story you think all the hope is gone and then you see a glimmer of it appear for a split second and it makes you believe it’s all going to be OK in the end.

“Even the lowest form of humor—maybe especially the lowest, the most basic form—suggests that we were intended to be something higher than ourselves.”

This story is for anyone at any stage of his or her life. Whether you be a devout Christian, born-again, or completely uninterested in religion, I’m convinced you will find something worth-while in this book, and if not, you will at least be entertained by Klavan’s sarcasm.

 

* I received this book free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Poem of the Week 

“I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.”

-Jack London’s Credo

The Classics Club: 50 in 5

The Classics Club is a blog created to promote the reading of classics. I learned about this the other day through another blog post and I decided to give it a whirl. The challenge The Classics Club presents is to read (at least) 50 classic books in 5 years and write reviews on the books you read. Seems pretty cool, eh? Since I’ve been trying to read more classics anyway, this seems like a pretty cool challenge. 5 years seems like a long time, but looking at the page number of some of these book, I think that’s appropriate. It’s a big undertaking, but if this is the push I need to get through my classics list, then I’ll take it!

I started with the classics I own yet haven’t read and then moved to my Goodreads to-read list when I got through those. Most of the books are novels, but there are a couple novellas, a couple plays, and a few works of short stories. All of the books are ones I haven’t read, except for The Lord of the Rings which my book club is reading this summer, so I’m rereading it (counted as only one book).

I’m going to still to be doing reviews on newer books, but I’ll be reviewing the classics as I finish them.

So here it is, the grand list! It’s sorted in alphabetical order by author, not in the order I’m going to read them. My beginning date is today, March 25, 2017, which makes my end date March 25, 2022. Wish me luck!

5o in 5

  1. Little Women by Louise May Alcott (449)
  2. A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich (251)
  3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (246)
  4. Persuasion by Jane Austin (249)
  5. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin (409)
  6. Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry (190)
  7. A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt (192)
  8. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte (489)
  9. Evelina by Fanny Burney (455)
  10. Death Comes to the Archbishop by Willa Cather (297)
  11. Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather (229)
  12. The Complete Father Brown Stories by G.K. Chesterton (718)
  13. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (170)
  14. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (545)
  15. Notes From the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky (136)
  16. The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas (528)
  17. Middlemarch by George Eliot (800)
  18. The Last Tycoon: an unfinished novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald (163)
  19. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (521)
  20. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (182)
  21. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (433)
  22. Tess of the D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy (518)
  23. Twice-Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne (432)
  24. The Old Man and the Sea by Earnest Hemingway (132)
  25. The Odyssey by Homer (541)
  26. The Man Who Laughs by Victor Hugo (672)
  27. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (121)
  28. Passing by Nella Larsen (122)
  29. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (223)
  30. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis (313)
  31. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (130)
  32. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (720)
  33. The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor (555)
  34. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (244)
  35. Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter (208)
  36. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (277)
  37. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare (237)
  38. The Tempest by William Shakespeare (215)
  39. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (288)
  40. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (1,216)
  41. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (838)
  42. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1,273)
  43. The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain (848)
  44. Ida Elisabeth by Sigrid Undset (425)
  45. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (240)
  46. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (351)
  47. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (118)
  48. The Once and Future King by T.H. White (640)
  49. The Waves by Virginia Woolf (297)
  50. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (209)

 

If anyone else is interested in learning more about the Classics Club, check out their blog!

Friday Five: Books everyone has read but me

Happy Friday!

Today on Friday Five I’m going to tell you about five books that everyone has read but me, or at least it feels like everyone has read them.

I’m not going to talk about classics that everyone should read, because there are so many it’s impossible to keep up, but instead I’m just going to mention the new(ish) books I haven’t read. Yes, there are still so many and I can’t keep up, but there are still a few that stand out as the ones everyone reads.

Some of these books I haven’t read because I honestly had no interest in reading them, but some I haven’t read simply because I didn’t want to read what everyone else was reading…yeah, I’m stubborn.

Feel free to comment about what a horrible human I am for not reading these books, and I will respond by saying “yeah, I know, I’m the worst.” 😉

1. The Twilight Saga

This one probably falls under both reasons I mentioned before: I didn’t want to read it because it looked completely uninteresting to me, and I didn’t want to read it because every girl in my high school was reading it and I was at the end of the table like “so, which Musketeer would you pick? I’m personally an Athos type of girl, but I see the appeal for the other three too…” so…yeah, it just didn’t seem like my cup of tea. Also, after seeing the first movie, I was pretty thankful I never did. 

2. The Da Vinci Code

I believe this one was pretty big when I was in middle school, and at that point it seemed like an adult book and I really didn’t have any interest in it. When I did start reading “adult” books, I was more interested in the classics then the books popular a few years back. I still don’t have much of a desire to read it, even though it is considered one of the best books of 21st century.

3. The Fault in Our Stars

This was one I definitely didn’t read because everyone else was reading it. Also, I have a problem with stories that make you sad for the sake of being sad, and this one seemed like that kind of book. I’m sure it’s pretty good, and I know a lot of people who really like it, but I’m really can’t see myself reading it. 

4.  Gone Girl

This one I’m probably going to read…eventually. I was in Europe the year this was really popular, and I just never got around to it…I was more concerned with buying wine and cheese in the south of France. However, the story seems so creepily cool, and I really want to see the movie, but I need to read the book before I do, or else there really won’t be any point because all the twists would be spoiled. So, eventually.

5.  Harry Potter Series

AHHH STONE ME NOW!! I know, I know, this is a mortal sin in book world, but yes, I confess, I have never read the Harry Potter Series! Dumbledore is rolling in his grave at my horrible act (too soon?). Anyway, I’ll explain my reasoning to you. So in third grade the first HP came out and my 3rd grade teacher read it aloud to my class. I thought it was good, but honestly I didn’t think it was the best thing in the universe. When I was in 4th grade, my father read The Hobbit to me and my siblings and that became my life. Seriously. In 5th and 6th grade Lord of the Rings took over my life, and then the movies came out, and it became more of my life (yeah, I’m a proud Tolkien nerd). By then the “which is better” arguments began to emerge from the shadows and I chose my side and stuck to it. From then on, I had zero interest in Harry Potter, but all my friends did, which made me even less interested (remember the stubborn part I mentioned earlier?). Even when the movies came out I had no desire to watch them. Then the Christmas break of my freshman year of college, I had the desire to watch them–so I did–all of them (except the last two because they hadn’t come out yet). Ok, I liked them, but I still wasn’t obsessed. They were entertaining, but, in my humble and uneducated opinion, I felt like they got worse as they went on. Later in college I had a roommate who was OBSESSED with HP–therefore we had four things constantly playing in our apartment: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Supernatural, or Sherlock…needless to say our grades suffered that year. With the information that was infused into my brain from her or the movies, I can now say that I know as much as a lazy HP fan, and I’m pretty satisfied with that. I feel like I should read them, for the sake of literature or whatever, but it’s such a huge undertaking, and honestly, I’d rather read a Russian book…it would probably take the same amount of time ;). 

So, there you have it, my friday five of book failures. Am I shunned from the book world?

All the Missing Girls

static1.squarespace.jpgAll the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Rating:★★★★

Favorite Line: “People were like Russian nesting dolls—versions stacked inside the latest edition. But they all still lived inside, unchanged, just out of sight.”

Review:

*mild spoilers..no major plot ones, but I do talk about the characters, which is somewhat of a spoiler. Sorry.

Man . . . cannot learn to forget, but hangs on the past: however far or fast he runs, that chain runs with him.

-FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

Time. Time is important, but it’s not real. It’s only real because we make it real, but without us time doesn’t exist. This was, more or less, the philosophy of Mr. Farrell, Nicolette Farrell’s father, this is the philosophy Nicolette grew up with, until all the bad happened. Until she left her small town without the intention of coming back.

Years later, she returns to help her brother convince their father that now is the time to sell their old family home, she knew it would be a struggle, but what she got was much more than she anticipated. Not only was she struck with the memory of her high school best friend, Corinne, who had gone missing in the woods years ago and never found again, but she was also thrown into the case of another missing girl, Annaleise Carter, who happened to be her next door neighbor and her ex-boyfriends newest fling.

The book starts off as Nicolette (Nic for short) is leaving her Philadelphia apartment and her fiancé to drive down for the summer to her hometown to help her brother with their family issues. That’s day 1. On day 1 she see’s her brother, moves into her old house, plans on visiting her father in the nursing home, and sees her ex-boyfriend Tyler and his new girlfriend–it was a busy day. The next chapter is day 15–Annaleise has been missing for 2 weeks, Tyler is a suspect for murder, her father keeps muttering about “seeing that girl on the porch,” and the police are asking Nic too many questions. From there the book works backwards day-by-day until slowly the truth about everything, and everyone, unravels.

“It is quite true what philosophy says; that life must be understood backwards.

—SØREN KIERKEGAARD”

Phew. This book was a roller-coaster (pun intended as a lot of it revolves around the county fair). First of all, I absolutely LOVED the plot setup. Working your way backwards is a rare form of storytelling, but here it worked perfectly. It’s really fun and interesting meeting characters for the first time after you already saw them in action.

Everyday we find out more about the different connections in the town, about Annaleise, and about Corinne. Slowly we figure out the timeline, and slowly we figure out that there are way more puzzle pieces than expected.

Ok. Let’s talk about characters. There are quite a few, but I’m only going to talk about 3 because any of the other ones would lead to spoilers.

Nic –she’s kind of a hot mess, and she doesn’t let on to most of what she’s thinking or feeling. The story comes from her point of view, so we are inclined to understand her emotions and actions more than others, but had she been a side character, I don’t think I would have been as empathetic toward her. When I finished reading and reflected on the story, I found myself more and more upset with her than with any other character. She is a victim, in a sense, but some of her actions are quite stupid.

Tyler — I liked Tyler…most of the time.  I feel like he tried many times to do what needed to be done, and to be a good man, but he just fell short more times than not. He also made some stupid choices and he was so completely infatuated in Nic, it became a little ridiculous…I mean, this guy had it bad.

Daniel — Daniel is Nic’s brother and they have a strange, secretive relationship. However, he was extremely protective of her, to the point where he would hide horrible things just to keep her safe. He is also hard to understand because he doesn’t say much, but what he doesn’t say is important.

These three are intertwined in multiple ways. Nic and Tyler used to date, Nic and Daniel are siblings, Tyler and Daniel are friends (possibly best friends), Daniel hates Tyler dating Nic, Nic and Daniel have an odd love/hate relationship.  However oddly related these three are, they are loyal to the death, which really makes the story come together and give you insight to the events. Their loyalty to each other is extremely important, and this story shows it so well.

These three try to run from time, they try to erase time, they try to fast forward time, they try to hold on to time–they try to do everything but allow time to take it’s course, but even with their best efforts, time seems to take revenge on them.

“There is nothing more dangerous, nothing more powerful, nothing more necessary and essential for survival than the lies we tell ourselves.

Um, Megan Miranda, did you grow up in a small town? I would almost be willing to bet money that you did (almost, don’t get any ideas), because you describe what it’s like to live in one so well that I would be shocked if you grew up somewhere like New York City. I know authors are supposed to blend in to any situation, but there’s are some things you only gain through experience. Her description of the setting is perfect–I felt like these were people and places I knew well.

My main problem with this story was the ending, mainly the “3 months later” section. I don’t want to give anything away, but I thought the ending was complete B.S. and it really made me angry. The other problem I had with it was the character of Everett. He was an excellent character and was, perhaps, the most victimized out of all of them. He is really the only completely innocent character and he gets the short end of the stick. Furthermore, I didn’t like how he was given an “aggressive” side at the end since there was nothing aggressive about him until that point–it seemed to try to justify him getting completely screwed over, but it didn’t work for me.

Other than those final points, I found this novel to be excellent. I’m excited to read the second book of this series, although (correct me if I’m wrong) I believe it’s a completely different story, just a similar type of story.

The Dollhouse 

9781101984994.jpegThe Dollhouse by Fiona Davis

Rating: ★★★

Review:

The hottest trend in books lately seems to be the alternating point of view between multiple characters or multiple time periods. Sometimes it works splendidly, and sometimes it crashes and burns. This book falls somewhere in the middle of that range, but for me it leans closer to the latter, because it just didn’t really work for me.

The story follows two women, Darby and Rose, who live in the Barbizon (nicknamed the Dollhouse), a once hotel/apartment building for working woman in the ’50s and now turned condo building in the middle of New York City.

Rose, a journalist in NYC, just moved into the Barbizon Condos with her boyfriend, who is recently separated from his wife. Soon after we meet our young protagonist, we find out that her boyfriend is going back to his family and trying to make things work with his wife. Taken completely by surprise sends Rose into a mild mid-life crisis, which results in her diving deep into a story about the old Barbizon hotel and mainly the life of one particular resident, Darby McLaughlin, who still resides in the building and always covers her face with a veil.

Flash back over 50 years before and we meet the Darby, a young girl who left her country life behind in hopes of making her way through secretary school. Darby’s life get’s crazy fast and she finds herself mixed in things she never dreamed of being apart of.

This book was entertaining, but as I mentioned before I wasn’t the biggest fan of the alternating p.o.v.  I think the main reason why it didn’t work for me was because the stories were not equal. Darby’s story was by far the superior of the two, and this made the chapters with Rose boring. This novel would have been far better had it focused solely on Darby’s story and brought us deeper into her life in the ’50s.

While the setup of a wonderful mystery was there, I felt the result was rather anti-climatic, and the build up seemed a bit wasted. I think the mystery would have seemed more alive had we only had Darby’s point of view, however, I do see the benefit of having Rose build up the idea of the mystery by snooping into Darby’s life (yes, snooping–her journalist ethics went out the window in this one).

There were some twists in this book, but I found most of them to be either predictable or so completely out of left field that they were unbelievable. However, on the ones that did work, they worked well, there just seemed to many for me, and to outrageous at times.

Despite my problems with the book, I did read it very quickly and the story kept me reading, which I guess is a major goal for a novel. It is exciting and interesting, and I did want to finish it and find out the big mystery.

I will also say I was shocked when I found out this is Fiona Davis’ debut novel–that’s impressive! Even though this book was a little disappointing for me, I am very excited to see what she gives us in the future; I expect great things!

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Read the Day Away 

Happy Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by the Broke and Bookish blog! This week’s topic is top ten books you can read in one day. 

My list is mainly compiled of classics, but it has a couple new(ish) books and it also has a short story. Not only does this list include my top ten to read in one day, but many of them are some are on my all-time favorite books list as well! 
1. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams


I read this book on a train in that took me from Spain to Belgium, and I couldn’t stop reading until it was done. I had put off this book mainly because I thought it sounded stupid, but I was so wrong. This book is entertaining and funny. It keeps you reading with its exciting plot and interesting characters. It’s 216 pages long, but you will end it wishing it was much longer. 

2. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

This is a very perplexing book, and it good for a day (or afternoon) where you can sit down with a glass (or bottle) of your favorite adult beverage and really get into the human complexities this book exposes you to. I really enjoyed this book even though the characters and plot are very hard–not hard to understand, but hard by nature. This book is 112 pages long, but you may need to pause a few times to refill your glass. 

3. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie 

This is my favorite Christie book to date. This classic who done it will keep you guessing throughout its entirety. It’s a little bit longer than others on this list, 264 pages, but you really won’t want to put it down until you figure out the thrilling mystery. 

4. Animal Farm by George Orwell

You’ve probably already read this one by Orwell, but it’s always fun to pick it up now and then and bring back this work of satire genius. I don’t usually read books more then once, but it helps when they are fantastic reads and when they are only 122 pages and you can read them cover to cover in a day. 

5. The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe

This is technically a short story, but I think it should count. The next time you find yourself in late October with a few hours to spare, sit yourself in a comfortable chair and read this epically creepy short story by Poe. It’s 16 pages long, but leave some extra time because you may want to reread it right after. 

6. The Hound of Heaven at My Heels

Have you ever read a book that was written so well it makes you doubt if it was truly fiction? Well, this is one of those books. I actually found myself angry at the end solely because it wasn’t real. This book is fantastic and packs so much emotion and life into its 124 pages, that you will be aching for more. 

7. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

This one makes you wish magic existed the way the stories tell us it exists–and then again, it also makes you happy it doesn’t exist that way. This quick read of 178 pages packs adventure and sacrifice into a the lifetime of its characters. Told with a commanding voice, Gaiman leaves you wanting more with a side of magic. 

8. They Loved to Laugh by Kathryn Worth

Oh happiness in 254 pages! This book was my favorite book growing up and the well-worn pages of my copy are proof to that. I read it many times then, and now, years later, I find myself reaching for it when I need a read that will bring me back to my childhood. This book is beautiful and I highly recommend it. Side note: don’t judge this book by it’s cover. The cover is terrible, the book is not. 

9. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I was surprised by this book’s short length, but not disappointed in the story. This book not only makes you want to travel, but it makes you believe in yourself and those in your life. Only 197 pages, this book is great for a day on vacation. 

10. The Death of Ivan Illych by Leo Tolstoy 

I recommend this book for anyone who has a snowy winter day, a bottle of wine, and a desire to discuss philosophy (after all, this is a Russian book). This book makes you reevaluate your life and choices, and helps you recognize the relationships you have with the people around you. It’s a great book for those deep-thinking nights. Also, if you really want to feel Russian, switch the wine with vodka and it will make the 86 pages last a little longer ;). 
And that’s my list! Now all I want is a nice open day where I can reread them!

Friday Five: Books with Irish Characters 

Happy St. Patrick’s day! 

Oh, I love this feast day! A few years ago I wrote this blog post (on a totally different blog) about my favorite quotes from Irish authors, and this year I decided to highlight some of my favorite books with Irish themes or characters.

Irish characters are some of my favorite, not only because I see my heritage in them, but mostly because through all their struggles and hardships, the Irish always find joy in whatever they do. 

Irish themes are similar. They express pain and loss, but also joy and hope. 
1. The Bantry Bay Series by Hilda Van Stockum

This series was my favorite as a child, and I think it helped stir my love of travel and adventure. These books, The Cottage at Bantry Bay, Francie on the Run, and Pegeen, are so much fun. They are about a poor family in Bantry Bay, Ireland, and mainly follow the mischief of the young twins, Francie and Liam. 
These books take you all over Ireland and bring in the culture, folklore, and characteristics of the land and the people of the wonderful island. I highly recommend this one to be read aloud with your family, or even alone, if you want a spark of Irish magic. 

2. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith 

Francie Nolan is a child of an Irish-American man and a Austrian-American woman. Her Father brings his culture into their lives through his lively spirit and his joy. Frankie’s fondest memories of her father revolve around his songs–his Irish ballads he would sing as he came home and again as she sat with him in their small apartment. 

This book is an amazing story of a family living in Brooklyn in hard times. I recommend this book to anyone, and I even think this book should be read at all different stages of life, because the themes and messages can be reached by all. (Disclaimer: you may be singing Irish songs, especially Molly Malone, for weeks after reading this novel.)

3. Ireland by Frank Delaney

This book is lovely. It follows a storyteller who wanders around Ireland and trades stories for a meal and a bed for the night. Each chapter in the book switches from being about the teller and the story he is telling. In doing so the reader is able to become attached to a character all while hearing a dozen folktails from Ireland.

Again I recommend this story to anyone. It’s a little slow at time, but due to the way it’s set up, you can pick it up whenever, read a couple chapters, and be content. 

4. Dubliners by James Joyce

This collection of short stories brings to life the ordinary people of Dublin town. There is nothing extraordinary about these stories, but that is what makes them so precious. As someone who has only spent a short time in Dublin, it is so special to be transported into the homes of the Irish people whom I have longed to be apart of my whole life. 

5. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt 

This book is talked about so much, you almost think it’s overrated. Well, I think it is and it isn’t. I think it is in the sense that I don’t think it’s one of the most important books of the 20th century, as some may claim, but I think it’s not because it really is a good book. It is heartbreaking and gut-wrenching, and at times I had to put it down because it was too hard to read, but at other times the story was so compelling that I had to keep reading. I put it on this list because, like I stated before, even in all the suffering that happens in this book, there is an underlying sense of hope and joy, which is so characteristically Irish. 

*Bonus: my favorite Irish movie

The Secret of Roan Inish

Growing up I thought everyone knew this movie, but in high school and college, much to my dismay, I found out no one knew this movie. 

This book takes place mainly on the western coast of Ireland, but also out on the Island of Roan Inish. The story follows a young girl, Fiona, as she tries to get her family to move back to their home on Roan Inish. This movie has humor, folklore, beautiful scenery, and lovely Irish charm. It’s definitely a great one to get from your library this St. Patrick’s Day weekend 🙂 

Book Review: The Iliad 

Last night I went to this local Greek restaurant, and they served us so much Greek food and wine that I’m pretty sure I was speaking in verse by the end and quoting the Iliad 😉 so I decided to blog about it!

1371.jpgThe Iliad –Homer (683)

Rating: ★★★★★

Favorite Line: Any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.

Review:

The Iliad is perhaps the oldest piece of literature in the world, passed down from generation to generation, translated into hundreds of languages, and dated back to somewhere between 1260-1180 BC. There are many reasons why it has stood the test of time. It is a poem of epic proportions, bringing the mythical world and the natural world into one fantastic war. It gave us characters that now hold their own power, known outside of the story for their immortal qualities.

Two events many people associate with The Iliad are the famous shot to the heel that killed Achilles, and the Trojan Horse. Unfortunately, if you were able to go back in time and ask Homer what The Iliad was about, neither of those events would appear in his answer. Both the death of Achilles and the overthrow of the city of Troy happen after the end of the poem and we only know about them thanks to the Homer’s follow-up epic poem The Odyssey.

The Iliad is about the Trojan War, but it only really covers the final year of the ten-year war. Furthermore, it includes not one, but three different “wars” which last throughout the narrative. The first being the primary conflict between The Trojans and the Greeks, the second being the conflict between Achilles, the Grecian hero, and Agamemnon, the Grecian king who leads the armies against the Trojans, and the third being the battle between the mythological gods, which influences the mortal battle.

The first war I mentioned is the primary reason for the story. The Greeks go to Troy to take back their stolen princess (who wanted to leave, alledegidly, because her husband is a crazy person), but the war turns into a much bigger quest than just that, and we see the greed and pride take over the hearts of men, and any virtuous reason for enagaging in war was lost in the end.


The second war, between Achilles and Agamemnon, shows how deep ones pride can pierce the soul, and how this pride can take over your entire being until it guides and twists all your thoughts and emotions. The pride of these men costs the lives of thousands, and it probably made the war last 9 years more than it should have.


The third war is the hardest for us to understand because it is supernatural war, and we no longer view the “gods” the way they did in the ancient world. This war, however is just as important as the other two. The gods take sides in the war and are constantly aiding their side and sabotaging the other. I think this is a fun side of the poem because to think of the mighty Mythology gods basically using the Greeks and Trojans as toy soldiers is an amusing idea. However this part of the story also shows the impact we all have on each other. In this world, the humans and the gods are so close, they both feel the affects of the other ones actions, and so the gods feel they must interfere and the people feel they must sacrifice to the gods in order for peace to return. We all rely on each other for peace to reign and chaos to subside.


Homer’s ability to compose a poem that has withstood the test for thousands of years is beyond extraordinary. This story covers themes all men can relate to, not just those living in the time of Homer. Themes of love, friendship, mortality, pride, and bravery are portrayed throughout with the same value and influence as they do today.

There is no point further critiquing this epic-poem because it has proven its right to be the classic of classics, so I’m just going to leave you with one of my favorite quotes that just proves that even in the time of Homer, long before the car was invented, human beings suffered from severe road rage:

Top Ten Tuesday: My Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to us by The Broke and the Bookish and it features a new top ten category each week and they invite their readers to do the same. This is my first Top Ten Tuesday, but I hope to keep this going throughout the year!

Top Ten on my Spring “To Be Read” list:
  1. We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter30267929.jpgThis book follows a Polish Jewish family who is separated during WWII and desperately try to find each other. I’m sure it will break my heart in more ways than one.

 

  1. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis 51IwA+rT1YL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgThis classic by Lewis is one of my favorite books and we happen to be reading it for my book club, so I am very excited to read it again. It is about the correspondence between a young devil (Wormwood) and his uncle (Screwtape). Wormwood is new to the job of tempting humans and Screwtape is giving him advice. This book is brilliant and every chapter leaves you thinking.

 

  1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy51vPf2CfSEL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgI probably won’t finish this one in the spring because it’s a billion pages long, but I’m going to try! I’m trying to read at least one big Russian Lit. book a year and this is it for 2017.

 

  1. MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood
    17262203.jpgThis is the third book in Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy and I am so excited to finish off this series. It’s a really interesting dystopian world, and the characters are riveting!

 

  1. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab22055262.jpg This is another book I know nothing about, but I’ve seen this book series everywhere and I want to be apart of the fun. It’s about magicians, so it should be fun.

 

  1. The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe5a37e7c2e687af84ad6bba7c777c62eb.jpg I haven’t read Poe in a long time, and I have read more of his poems than his short stories, so this one will be a but of a refresher…an eerie, horrific refresher, but a refresher all the same.

 

  1. All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda23212667.jpgI’m also on a mystery kick this spring, and this one caught my eye because of the beautiful cover. I also saw it on a few list for books to read in 2017, and thought I’d give it a go!

 

  1. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha ChristieMurder-on-the-Orient-Express.JPG Like I said, I’m on a mystery kick and who better to read then the Queen of mystery herself? I’ve been work my way through Christie’s books, and with the upcoming movie based on this book, I decided I need to read it sooner rather than later.

 

  1. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden25489134.jpg I picked this book 100% because of the title and the cover. It looks gorgeous and it sounds gorgeous. I know nothing about it, but I’m sure it will be gorgeous.

 

  1. Till We Have Faces by C.S. LewisTill_We_Have_Faces(C.S_Lewis_book)_1st_edition_cover.jpg You can never have too much C.S. Lewis, right? This book is a retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche. I don’t know much about it, but I’m looking forward to it.

 

There we have it! First Top Ten Tuesday in the bag!