LitPicks Book Reviews—August 2008

Theme—Uses of Mythology
We draw on mythology—the stories that tell us where we came from and where we will go—to frame life events, our own and others'. Populated with heroes and heroines, deities and monsters, mythology interweaves the supernatural with mortal life, revealing an endless pattern of human behavior.
 
Labels: A Lighter Touch

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Mythology
Edith Hamilton, 1942
496 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
August 2008

Even when I was a kid (couple of years ago), Hamilton and her book were so beloved that everyone referred to it as "Edith Hamilton's Mythology."

So. What's not to love about mythology? Deities and mortals loving and torment-ing one another; heroes and heroines, gods and goddesses surpassing the limits of human strentgh and beauty but caught in the trap of human passion.
 

wonderfully-written-4

The Human Stain
Philip Roth, 2000
384 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
August 2008

On page 4, the protagonist of Roth's novel, a classics professor, asks his students:

You know how European literature begins?... With a quarrel. All of European literature springs from a fight.... Agamemnon, King of men, and great Achilles. And what are they quarreling about these two violent, mighty souls? It's as basic as a barroom brawl. They are quarreling over a woman.

 
Labels: Great Works

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The Iliad
Homer; Robert Fagels, trans., 1990
576 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
August 2008

If it weren't for this great translation by Robert Fagels, I probably wouldn't recommend The Iliad as a book club read. Honestly? I probably wouldn't have read it myself.

Fagels' writing is so powerful—and remarkably understandable—that you find yourself enthralled, caught up in a dreamlike world of gods and mortals.
 

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