Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Iliad (Homer)

Homer - The Iliad

★★★★★☆☆

Title: The Iliad
Author: Homer   Translator: Richmond Lattimore
Genre: Fiction/Classic/Mythology   Pages: 683 (Paperback Edition)
First published: 750 BC (appr date)
Edition: Audiobook via Audible, narrated by Charlton Griffin

The Iliad retells the events of the war between Greece and the city of Troy, focusing on Achilles’ quarrel with Agamemnon.

This is has been a journey and a half for sure, but I feel like I have achieved something now I have finally listened to The Iliad. This is probably the oldest book I will ever read and considering that, this is a truly epic story.

I am not sure whether I could have read it in its physical form, but as an audio book it was a magnificent listen. The narrator did a great job telling this tale about war and Gods. He struck the right tone.

There is an awful lot of killing people with spears and Gods interfering with the world of man. Objectively, I did not enjoy this as much as I thought I would, but I think that mainly had to do with the repetitive nature of the tale. It’s pretty much all battle all the way. Yet, I found myself pulled in and listening intently at times.

Reading The Iliad was on my bucketlist and I am so happy I have finally done so. I will pick myself up a physical copy when I see a truly beautiful one to celebrate this achievement!

I think this is such an iconic classic work of literature that it’s worth giving your time to. Considering this book is almost 3000 years old just blows my mind. So many of the sentiments really have not changed that much and it gives a great insight into the world at that time.

If you are considering reading The Iliad, just do it. I think listening to it on audio is a great help, though sometimes I wished I had a physical copy to read along as well. I do not think I quite took it all in, but it was definitely worth my time.

Take my rating with a pinch of salt, because it feels ridiculous to put a rating to a book like this.

5 out of 7 stars

Music · Music Monday

Music Monday: ‘Mother’ by The Amazons

Music Monday is hosted by Drew over at The Tattooed Book Geek.

MusicMonday

It’s been a while since I did one of these. I have also been pretty absent from my blog recently. I have not been reading that much lately, partly because I have been listening to a lot of music instead, as that is my second obsession behind reading.

I have been to a couple of gigs in the last month and I was completely blown away by one of the bands I saw live. I liked them beforehand, but seeing them live was such a high that I now absolutely love these guys. The venue had a capacity of only about 250 and it was the sweatiest, hottest gig I have ever been to. They were freaking amazing!

That band was The Amazons, who I posted a song by a few months ago. They completely and utterly blew me away and that was one of the best gigs I have been to in my 25 years of gig-going (and that is saying something!). I was buzzing for days after – seriously!

So here’s a live version of one of the songs from their second album Future Dust, which came out in May this year. Epic live band. I can’t wait to see them again in the future (unfortunately probably not in such a small venue again *Sad face*).

I chose this live version of Mother, but it really does not do them justice. Honestly, if they ever play near you, go see them – you won’t regret it!

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness)

Ness, Patrick - A Monster Calls

★★★★★★☆

Title: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness
Genre: Fiction/young adult/magical realism   Pages: 237
First published: 2011
Edition: Paperback, published by Walker Books in 2015

Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

Patrick Ness wrote this book from Siobhan Dowd’s notes. The fact she died of cancer before she was able to complete this book makes it all the more poignant.

The story itself is pretty simple and it is pretty clear from the beginning what is going and what is going to happen. In regard to this story being told, that really does matter. In fact, it makes it all the more impactful and heartbreaking.

I really felt for Conor and I completely understood his thoughts and actions. He was such a real character. The monster from the title lifted this narrative from being ‘just another story’ about grief and pain.

I did cry and I tend to not like over-sentimental books, but I would not say this is a complete tearjerker. It had the balance just about right.

You have probably already read it (I feel like I was the only one who had not!), but if you haven’t, I highly recommend it.

6 out of 7 stars

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Corset (Laura Purcell)

Purcell, Laura - The Corset

★★★★★★☆

Title: The Corset
Author: Laura Purcell
Genre: Fiction/historical fiction/mystery   Pages: 392
First published: 2018
Edition: Hardback, published by Raven Books in 2018

When Dorothea’s charitable work leads her to Oakgate Prison, she is delighted with the chance to explore her fascination with phrenology and test her hypothesis that the shape of a person’s skull can cast a light on their darkest crimes. But when she meets teenage seamstress Ruth, she is faced with another theory: that it is possible to kill with a needle and thread. For Ruth attributes her crimes to a supernatural power inherent in her stitches.

I simply adored the writing of this novel. Despite the fact that I read it at a time I had little space for reading in my day, I looked forward to returning to its pages.

This is a great example of a historical fiction novel that felt well thought out and researched without feeling forced. It is set in the Victorian era and is told from the perspective of two young women, one practically a slave in a mad dressmaker’s household, one a well-to-do 25-year-old spinster trying to find her way in life (and love).

The duel perspective worked very well and I thought both of them were very well done. I felt for the characters and was suitably appalled by the story woven in these pages.

I love how you are not quite sure what to think of seamstress Ruth, but how her harrowing story still pulls at the heart strings. The thread of Dorothea is slightly less strong in parts, but I absolutely loved her spirit.

I was not sure about the ending at first, but after having thought about it, I definitely think it was fitting.

If you enjoy a historical novel or even a mystery novel, I would highly recommend this book. I will be checking out this author’s other work.

6 out of 7 stars

 

Books

FIVE on FRIDAY: Audio Books I am considering…

I am only a third into The Iliad with plenty of hours (15) still to go, but I have a credit to spend on Audible… and I am starting to think about what I want to listen to next. My first impulse is always a non-fiction book, probably an autobiography, but I would like to try something different…  I was looking around and I have come up with a list of five books I would be interested in.

1. Sadie (Courney Summers) – I have heard a lot of good things about the audio book for this one. The podcast element makes this an interesting option.

2. The Return of the Native (Thomas Hardy) – I have tried to read the physical book a couple of times in the past and found it hard to get into. I found an audio version narrated by Alan Rickman, which I might try.

3. Born a Crime (Trevor Noah) – An autobiography that I have heard so many people talk about. Trevor Noah of course narrates it himself.

4. Storm Front (Jim Butcher) – The first book of the Dresden Files. This series intrigues me. The fact that James Marsters narrates it, makes it very tempting to give a go.

5. Darkdawn (Jay Kristoff) – It’s definitely an option, but the audio book is 21 hours long, so quite a commitment again.

***

Which one would you choose? Or do you have any audio book recommendations in general? I heard that The Poet X is very good, but unfortunately not available on Audible.

I would love to hear your thoughts and recs!

L. xx

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)

Atwood, Margaret - The Handmaid's Tale

★★★★★★★

Title: The Handmaid’s Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
Genre: Fiction/dystopian/classic   Pages: 324
First published: 1985
Edition: Paperback, published by Vintage Classics in 2010

Offred is a “Handmaid” in the Republic of Gilead. She has only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness.

I have been putting off reading this modern classic for so long. I always heard so many great things about it that I was scared it would only disappoint. I now berate myself for not having read this sooner, because I absolutely loved it.

Atwood’s writing is just wonderful. I love how she describes the sights and sounds through Offred observations of the world she sees. The characters are very human and it definitely made me think how I would react myself if my world changed so completely. Would we do anything different from the people in Gilead, described in this novel? It certainly makes you wonder.

In my humble opinion this novel is a masterpiece. It only shows you a small fraction of this world and tells nowhere near the complete story, but that is what makes it so compelling.

A new favourite.

7 out of 7 stars

Books · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays: 9 October 2019

The start of October has been a struggle to be honest. Not just with reading, but with life overall. I am suffering with quite a lot of anxiety at the moment and I can’t quite pinpoint why. Maybe it is simply the change of the seasons. It simply means I am finding it hard to concentrate on anything, including books!

I already skipped last week, so let’s give it a go this week!

IMG_1384-0

WWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

***

What am I currently reading?

I am currently reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. It has only taken me many years to get to it! I am just over halfway and I am really enjoying it. It’s an excellent read. I had planned to finish it today, but considering that I have not read a single page yet today, I think it is pretty unlikely.

I am also still listening to The Iliad by Homer. I am 7 hours into the audio book with just under 15 hours still to go. I find with listening to it on audio book I don’t take in every single word, but I am getting the gist of it and the flow of the narrative well enough. I still prefer non-fiction audio books, but I do not think I would ever have gotten through The Iliad if I was physically reading it. I am confident I might finish it by the end of the month.

Ware, Ruth - The Death of Mrs WestawayWhat did I recently finish reading?

The only thing I finished was The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware, which I enjoyed quite a bit. It was not perfect, but it was definitely a good read for this time of the year.

What do I think I will be reading next?

I might start Solid State by Kenneth Womack tomorrow as I need to start something new on my Kindle. The subtitle is ‘The Story of Abbey Road and the End of the Beatles‘ which sounds right up my street. I got that one via NetGalley and I am so looking forward to it! It is due to be published on 15 October.

As for my next fiction read, I am not sure. I may go for The Corset by Laura Purcell. Does that one not have the most gorgeous cover?