What am I looking for when I read the Iliad this month? I’ve been wondering that, especially now that I have four translations before me. As I mentioned when I wrote about Aesop’s writers last week, a translation can make a big difference in how a story is portrayed.
I’m not against a literal translation, but does it really matter to me if what I read is exactly how Homer wrote it? At the same time, I’m not afraid of Greek literature and I want to get the most accurate, but readable, experience of the Iliad.
So, what’s the difference between these four translations? I decided to read the translator’s notes and the first few pages and determine which one(s) are worthwhile for me. (more…)
When I heard the concept of Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! by Laura Amy Schlitz (monologues given by medieval children), I thought it would be horribly boring. Monologues? I thought. What is fun about monologues? I thought children would be bored by these “Voices from a Medieval Village.”
To my delight, I found Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! to be easy and fun to read. I loved meeting the youth of Schlitz’s created medieval village and I would love to see a group of children perform this collection of monologues: it is a collection of personalities, and it shows how every person in a village has a role, be they rich or poor. I think children would like this book as well! (more…)
In The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood creates a powerful futuristic dystopia in which a quasi-religious political organization has taken control of the United States, creating a men-centered universe determine to procreate, even if via “handmaids.”
In the attitude of George Orwell’s 1984, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Lois Lowry’s The Giver, and I’m sure many others, Atwood’s dystopia is a dire reminder of the danger of extremism. It is a chilly tale of life under fanatical leaders and the danger of swinging from one extreme to the other. It was an intriguing story of how a changing law changes one’s moral acceptance of things. I literally had a hard time putting down the captivating story.
I enjoyed the narrative. I enjoyed the pacing of the story. I sympathized with the narrator. I was fascinated by the political warnings of what the world could come to. But I can’t say I loved The Handmaid’s Tale. It is one that many people should read, but it’s not a favorite that I will reread. (more…)
I disliked Three Cups of Tea; my mother loved it. Read our counterpoints. (more…)
In my mind, Edgar Allan Poe is the most well-known Halloween-ish short story writer. To keep with the season, I reread some of Poe’s short stories. I enjoyed his stories when I was younger – I even rewrote “The Fall of the House of Usher” as a play for my high school’s Halloween “one-act plays.” But to my surprise, I didn’t love Poe’s writing or his stories’ subject matter this time around. (more…)