homer’s the odyssey review

Alas, the day has come. I have finally finished The Odyssey. I can check one book off my list. I can’t begin to express how excited I am to be reviewing this book, so dear to my heart. This was my first time reading it and I really liked it. I haven’t decided if it’s worthy to go into my Read or Die pile, but we’ll see. I have always loved Greek mythology, and that was one of the reasons why I chose The Odyssey to be in my Classics Club List. 

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The Odyssey is not really a novel, but an ‘epic poem’, which refers to all long, serious, and hero-focused poems. (And when I say a long poem, I mean a four hundred and eighty-five pages long poem.)

Another thing to point out is that Homer didn’t actually come up with the myths in the story, he just wrote them down from oral to paper.

For those of you who don’t know what it’s about, here is Amazon’s summary: The Odyssey is the original collection of tall traveller’s tales. Odysseus, on his way home from the Trojan War, encounters all kinds of marvels from one-eyed giants to witches and beautiful temptresses. His adventures are many and memorable before he gets back to Ithaca and his faithful wife Penelope.

As I said before, I really enjoyed The Odyssey. It was one of those reads that was long and yet still such an amazing and oh-gosh-I-can’t-stop-reading read.

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(that’s me being really hot and not being able to stop reading, except in a guy version.)

My personal favorite characters were Pallas Athena and Lord Telemachus. Athena is a really strong, goddess/woman character who schemes along with everything, trying to help Odysseus. Telemachus, Odysseus’ son, I liked because he was the epitome of the naive, fearful, and honoring young on the brink of manhood.

One of my favorite scenes was when Odysseus finally saw his son after twenty years, all grown up. It was such a gut-wrentching scene because I knew with Athena’s mist around him, no one recognized him and just saw him as a beggar. Then I went into full fangirling when Odysseus revealed himself and they cried together and—oh, I was a goner.

Another one of the scenes I loved was with Polyphemus the cyclops, when he is eating all of Odysseus’s crew and Odysseus stabs his only eye out in revenge. It is one of my favorite scenes because of reasons unknown to me, but I do know that when Odysseus said his name was Nobody so that when the Cyclops cried for help saying, ”Nobody is trying to kill me,” none of the other cyclopses came to help, I found it really clever.

Of course, since I’m a mythology geek, I knew all of these myths, which is why sometimes when the names (Eurycleia, Eurybates, Eurydamas, and Eurydice? Seriously? Which one’s which?) and side-stories started to become confusing, I understood a little bit more because I knew a lot of the stories already.

When Odysseus finally reveals himself to Penelope, his wife, and she doesn’t jump with joy and hugs him because she wants him to prove it is really him first, I loved that scene. She only accepts the fact that it is him after Odysseus explains to her their bed he built back in the day, and that it is unmovable. (A metaphor to their everlasting love, I believe.)

About the translation: I purposefully chose to read Robert Fagles’ English translation because I loved the way he translated The Odyssey. (I tried out a couple other translations too, and ended up liking this one most.) Of course, Homer gets all the credit for writing it so beautifully first in Latin. Fagles just had the ability to rewrite it in English just as majestically.

So yes, I would recommend this to all who can keep up with names and loves Ancient Greece and mythology, or just wants to read the story of a man struggling to get home for ten years in a row, always having something come in his way. I’m just kidding; I recommend this to everyone.

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I wanted to include some of my favorite lines but I forgot to mark them and now I don’t know where they are in the big fat book…

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the classics club.

I have decided to take up the Classics Club challenge. I have to read 50 books before April 1st, 2019 (omg I’ll already be in college by then!) Here is the list of books I have compiled, although some might change depending on a lot of variables. If you want to join, click here.

I don’t know whether I’ll finish in time or not because of school and non-classic books I want to read but I am really excited and I will be so proud of myself if I do. To accomplish that, I’ll need to read approximately 10 of these books every year. Every time I finish a book I’ll write a review and link it here. Good luck to anyone else who’s doing this! ❤

Here’s my list:

i. The Odyssey by Homer

ii. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

iii. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

iv. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

v. The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank

vi. The Sorrows of Young Werther and Selected Writings by Goethe

vii. The Gold Coffin by Ferenc Móra

viii. Persuasion by Jane Austen

ix. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

x. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

xi. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

xii. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

xiii. Book of Poems by John Keats

xiv. The Crucible by Arthur Millers

xv. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

xvi. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

xvii. Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare

xviii. The Divine Comedy by Dante

xix. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

xx. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

xxi. Dracula by Bram Stoker

xxii. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

xxiii. Journey To The Center of The Earth by Jules Verne

xxiv. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

xxv. Adonaïs by Percy Bysshe Shelley

xxvi. Don Juan by Lord Byron

xxvii. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

xxviii. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

xxix. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

xxx. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

xxxi. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

xxxii. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

xxxiii. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

xxxiv. The Complete Works of Hans Christian Andersen

xxxv. Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio

xxxvi. Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

xxxvii. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

xxxviii. The Lady of the Camellias by Alexandre Dumas, Fils

xxxix. Faust by Goethe

xl. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

xli. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

xlii. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky

xliii. The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

xliv. 100 Years of Solitude by Garcia Marquez

xlv. The Complete Novels of Franz Kafka (and all other form of works)

xlvi. The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R Tolkien

xlvii. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

xlviii. Book of Poems by Attila József

xlix. The Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

l. The Stolen Courier by Jenő Rejtő

If I’ll ever feel like this is way too overwhelming and I am questioning the reason why we even read, I’ll just watch this to remind myself:

 

book reviews.

I am going to review some books here, not in a professional way but in a loose, I-just-feel-like-writing-my-opinions-about-books way. If you want to share your own opinion on a book I reviewed, comment on the post 😛

If I like a book, I’ll probably smell it:

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If I am neither pleased nor absolutely horrified of the book, I’ll probably never read it again and use it as paper weight or something.

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If I really, really don’t like a book then I’ll be extremely angry for wasting my time reading something rubbish instead of reading something else that actually matters:

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And if it’s apparent that a book is awful in the first couple chapters, I won’t even finish it. I wanted to tell you that because there are some people like my mom and sister who, even if they already know they don’t like the book, will still finish it just because they don’t like keeping things hanging. I’m not like that. I can’t stand reading a book I don’t like.

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I think the best books are the ones you read in a day because it’s so good you can’t go on with your life until you’re done.

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And then once you’ve finished, you feel like there is a huge, empty hole in your soul because there is no more of the story. That’s it.

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But you know, that’s just me.

 

 

four (fairly) easy steps to dealing with procrastination.

To all you goody-two-shoes out there: yes, this is a thing. Procrastination is one of those horrible states of mind that carefully tiptoe behind you, grab ahold of your (obviously muscled, since you’re the hottie of the universe) shoulders and don’t let go until you’ve kicked, screamed, bitten, punched, and bitch-slapped the hell out of that thing. Even then Procrastination only left because he got tired of your constant whining (and farting) so he decided to torture someone else. Probably me.

So I have whipped up a little guide on how to look Procrastination in the face and say:

tumblr_inline_mpa66cD7HO1qz4rgp  (and also how to destroy him.)

Step One: The bloody Death of Denial.

You have to recognize that those slimy hands on your back belong to Procrastination. You have to aknowledge the fact that you have been forced into that despisable state of mind and you must do everything in your power to get out of it. Do not deny it and keep on watching Between Two Ferns on your laptop. That is not how you recognize Procrastination.

If I ever catch you denying that beast hanging on your back, this is what I’ll do:

No! No no no!

No! No no no!

You bet I will.

Step Two: The Why.

Now that you know that Procrastination is holding you hostage, and you are ready to get the hell out of there, there is nothing holding you back from freedom (except maybe that monster on your back but that’s what this guide is for).

Here is what you got to do:

Find out why Procrastination has chosen to torture you. You have to know the problem to be able to solve it.

Is it because you are unhappy with what you should be doing? Do you not want to do it?

Are you disgruntled because you aren’t doing so well with whatever you should be doing?

Does the idea of obligation send you running into a hole? Or is the reason something else?

(This step is kind of useless because no matter what your answer to that question was, the solution is the same.)

Step Three: The Fight.

This is the most important step. This is why I even bothered to write this step-by-step guide.

But because Procrastination is my friend (and also, I lost a bet), I’ll show you an example before explaining this crucial step of the process.

Example:

Say you are a writer like myself and you can’t get yourself to do just that: write. You have all these great story ideas but for some obscure reason you can’t get yourself to simply sit your ass on a chair and use that funny little thing called a pen.

You have already gone through Step One and you know that you have been teleported to Procrastination Island.

You have also gone through Step Two and realized that you can’t write because you are afraid of hating what you write.

Now you’re on Step Three. What do you do?

You freaking write. It doesn’t even have to be the thing you should be writing, it could be anything. Write a short story, a poem, a list of things you’d like to see hang, a grocery list, a letter you finally have an excuse to write, or even a simple scene that pops into your head. It could literally be anything you want.

And keep doing these little ‘writing excercises’ per se, until you start feeling this burning glow in you chest. It starts out like a little tickling sensation, then it becomes a swirling ball of fire, and soon it’s become bouncy and it’s hitting the walls of your insides. What is this feeling? It’s your desire to write that thing you should have been writing all along.

[end of example.]

Now what have we learned here?

To fight off Mr. Procrastination, you have to remember why you used to love doing that thing. Or if you never did, then you have to find something in that thing that you do like. No matter what it is, there must be something you enjoy about it. It could even be just the fact that once you finish, it’ll all be over.

Now, grasp onto that joyful thing and hold on as tight as you can. Imagine that you are trying to climb up a rope and you have to pull yourself away from the ground (Procrastination). Gravity (you know who) is holding you back but with enough strength and desire, you can do it.

So pull.

Step Four: The Happy Dance.

Congratulations! You’ve succeeded in fighting off Procrastination. You kick ass. Now don’t get carried away, Procrastination will surely visit you many more times throughout your life, but until then, let’s  do the happy dance:

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tumblr_myh8bicC0r1t2sdq3o1_250   and even with friends:       tumblr_ms3kpeTtRo1sbn4mio1_250

 

Disclaimer: I can’t guarantee to get any monster off your back for sure. I’m not a Ghost Buster.

 

explanation.

I guess I should start this by making it clear that I am not a published author (only in my dreams), but I do say I’m a writer because I don’t think you have to be a published one to count. You could call me an aspiring author, if you may, since I haven’t even succeeded in finishing a novel yet.

Hence the reason I am writing this blog: I want to record my thoughts and struggles as I am writing (or trying to) a novel, so once I finish, I’ll be able to look back at my posts and think:

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Yep, I’ll probably think that.

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yep……..

 

ii. books to be read.

This is the second installation of five books I still haven’t read but should and definitely plan to. I know, I’m ashamed. Feel free to judge me. Here we go:

The Truth of All Things by Keiran Shields

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Blurb: When Deputy Marshal Archie Lean is called in to investigate a prostitute’s murder in Portland, Maine, he’s surprised to find the body laid out like a pentagram and pinned to the earth with a pitchfork. He’s even more surprised to learn that this death by “sticking” is a traditional method of killing a witch.
Baffled by the ritualized murder scene, Lean secretly enlists the help of historian Helen Prescott and brilliant criminalist Perceval Grey. Although skeptical of one another’s methods, together the detectives pursue the killer’s trail through postmortems and opium dens, into the spiritualist societies and lunatic asylums of gothic New England. Before the killer closes in on his final victim, they must decipher the secret pattern to these murders–a pattern hidden within the dark history of the Salem witch trials.

Note: I really love the title of this story; it speaks to me. Also, how cool is the author’s name? Keiran Shields. It sounds like the covert name of an international spy or something. Personally, if I was a leader of a Colombian drug cartel, I’d love to get killed by someone called Keiran Shields. I don’t know, that’s probably weird. Anyway, who doesn’t love a good ol’ detective story?

Something Missing by Matthew Dicks

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Blurb: A career criminal with OCD tendencies and a savant-like genius for bringing order to his crime scenes, Martin considers himself one of the best in the biz. After all, he’s been able to steal from the same people for years on end—virtually undetected. Of course, this could also be attributed to his unique business model—he takes only items that will go unnoticed by the homeowner. After all, who in their right mind would miss a roll of toilet paper here, a half-used bottle of maple syrup there, or even a rarely used piece of china buried deep within a dusty cabinet?

Even though he’s never met these homeowners, he’s spent hours in their houses, looking through their photo albums and reading their journals. In essence, Martin has developed a friendship of sorts with them and as such, he decides to interfere more in their lives—playing the part of a rather odd guardian angel—even though it means breaking many of his twitchy neurotic rules.

Along the way Martin not only improves the lives of others, but he also discovers love and finds that his own life is much better lived on the edge (at least some of the time) in this hilarious, suspenseful and often profound novel about a man used to planning every second of his life, suddenly forced to confront chaos and spontaneity.

Note: I am seeing a criminal/detective pattern here, which is quite odd since I don’t tend to lean that way. Anyway, this story seems like an interesting twist of guardian angel, thievery, and meddling in one another’s life.

The First True Lie by Marina Mander

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Blurb: Meet Luca, a curious young boy living with his mother, a taciturn woman who every now and then tries out a new father. Luca keeps to himself, his cat, Blue, and his favorite toys—words. One February morning his mom doesn’t wake up to bring him to school, so Luca—driven by a deep fear of being an orphan—decides to pretend to the world that his mom is still alive. At first it’s easy. Luca dresses himself for school, makes sure Blue gets his dinner, and manages to avoid nosy neighbors. He and Blue camp out in the living room and embark on imaginary expeditions to outer space, and Luca dreams about marrying his school crush, Antonella. Soon, however, the laundry starts piling up, the fridge emptying—and the smell of Mama’s decaying body begins to permate the apartment. 

As Luca grapples with what to do, we ultimately witness something much more poignant than the morbid circumstance—a young boy’s journey to the point at which he can say: “I am no longer an orphan. I am a single human being. It’s a matter of words.”

Note: As absolutely morbid as this sounds, I’m intriguid.

The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green by Joshua Braff

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BlurbIt’s 1977. Jacob Green, a Jewish kid from suburban New Jersey, sits on the stairs during his family’s housewarming party, waiting for his father, Abram–charming host, everyone’s best friend, and amateur emcee–to introduce him to the crowd. Housewarming parties, Annie Hall parties, and bar mitzvah parties punctuate Jacob’s childhood and require command performances by all the Green family members. But when the confetti settles and the drapes are drawn, the affable Abram Green becomes an egotistical tyrant whose emotional rages rupture the lives of his family.

Jacob doesn’t mean to disappoint his father, but he can’t help thinking the most unthinkable (and very funny) thoughts about public-school humiliation, Hebrew-school disinclination, and in-home sex education (with the live-in nanny!). If only his mother hadn’t started college at thirty-six (and fallen for her psychology professor). If only he were more like his rebellious older brother (suspended from Hebrew school for drawing the rabbi in a threesome with a lobster and a pig). If only Jacob could confront his overbearing father and tell him he doesn’t want to sing in synagogue, attend est classes, write the perfect thank-you note, or even live in the same house with Abram Green. But, of course, he can’t. That would be unthinkable.

This self-assured, comic, yet piercing first novel deftly captures the struggle of an imperfect boy trying to become a suitable son.

Note: This is a book I can’t say much about except that when I finally turn that last page and I’ll write a review here, I can’t hope but wonder what it’ll be like.

Hills like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway

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Blurb: The story, told nearly in its entirety through dialogue, is a conversation between a young woman and a man waiting for a train in Spain. As they talk, it becomes clear that the young woman is pregnant and that the man wants her to have an abortion. Through their tight, brittle conversation, much is revealed about their personalities. At the same time, much about their relationship remains hidden. At the end of the story it is still unclear as to what decision has or has not been made, or what will happen to these two characters waiting for a train on a platform in Spain.

Note: It’s a short story, I know, but I still wanted to add it so I wouldn’t forget that THIS NEEDS TO BE READ.

Poll?