Week 1: A Book A Week

18/1/16 – 25/1/16

The Illiad – may contain spoilers, but it was written in Ancient Greece, so I feel like you’ve had time to hear the story.

In order for this to be fair, I have to admit something: I started reading this book before Christmas. I know, I know, that’s cheating but I had to finish it! And it 100% counts towards this goal, okay!

Anything with Greek Mythology in, I am down for, so after reading Madeline Miller’s Song of Achilles last year, I had to put this on the list. It was weird though.

Obviously, The Illiad is transcribed from Homer’s Ancient Greek epic poem, and I found reading it as a poem, not a novel, makes it easier to understand. Though the content is more suited to a novel, the in depth description – some of the similes are so long and convoluted I had to skip over them or risk losing track of the narrative – and word for word repetition gives the story a more poetic tone, and I would give anything to see it read aloud, as I believe it would have been performed in Ancient Greece.

The story is fantastic. As I said, I love Greek Myths, all myths actually, and invulnerable Achilles was my 2nd favourite character, only to Icarus. My issue with it (and I am not sure if this was just the edition I had or if this is true of the poem in general) is that it did not cover the Trojan Horse debacle. The story didn’t even end with Achilles’ death, but rather with Hector’s body being returned to the Trojans.

(Break here, to take argument with the Trojan Horse thing. The Greeks and Trojan had been fight each other for LITERALLY DECADES and the Trojans thought it would be a good idea to accept this giant horse? Despite this being the first instance of this trick, they surely wouldn’t have been that stupid? The plan isn’t even particularly clever?)

If you like intense paragraphs of simile and endless lists of names telling you whom has killed whom, featuring tidbits of intense fighting and violence here and there, I would recommend this read. I would also recommend it if you are looking for something to impress people with – I’m half tempted to write that I’ve read it on my CV!

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