books mythology

Weekly books (April 1st-7th)

I’ve got a bit of catching up to do haha, but I thought I’d write about books weekly instead of monthly because one benefit of lock down is getting time to read lots 😊

The Man who Saw Everything- Deborah Levy (physical book/new read)

‘It’s like this, Saul Adler.’

‘No, it’s like this, Jennifer Moreau.’

In 1988, Saul Adler is hit by a car on the Abbey Road. Apparently fine, he gets up and poses for a photograph taken by his girlfriend, Jennifer Moreau. He carries this photo with him to East Berlin: a fragment of the present, an anchor to the West. But in the GDR he finds himself troubled by time – stalked by the spectres of history, slipping in and out of a future that does not yet exist. Until, in 2016, Saul attempts to cross the Abbey Road again..’

I was initially interested in reading this book because I heard that it’s quite surreal, and because it starts at Abbey Road- I love the Beatles and I’m intrigued by most things Beatles related. I really didn’t know very much about this going into it and I don’t know very much about the Berlin wall- I need to learn more about history- but this book provided a good opportunity to learn a bit more about this time. I enjoyed the tone of this book and the surreal, experimental elements of it; I read the book very quickly over two sittings and I found the tone very easy to read. This is a book with characters who aren’t necessarily likeable but I’m not put off by books like this unless they are written in a way where we are supposed to empathise with them- I feel like you are supposed to make up your own mind about how to feel about Saul in different situations (and make up your own mind about what’s going on in many elements of this dreamlike book). I’ve never studied literature and I’m not very eloquent with my opinions or analysis of books, but I found this interesting and I’d like to read more by Deborah Levy to delve into this writing style. P.s this is pretty irrelevant but I really don’t like the cover, I don’t like covers with people and the front and in my opinion it doesn’t match the story somehow. Also is it just me or does the guy on the cover look like Hozier haha?

Favourite/meaningful quote:

 ‘It was true that I had no idea how to endure being alive and everything that comes with it.’

Euripides’ Alcestis: In a Version- Ted Hughes (physical book/new read)

Alcestis is the story of a king, Admetus, who is able to escape death because his wife, Alcestis, has volunteered to die in his place. Ted Hughes’s version goes beyond translation to an inspired rethinking of the story in terms of his own vision of human suffering.’

This benefit of having a sister studying English literature is being able to borrow/steal her uni books when I feel like reading something a lil bit fancy. I don’t typically like plays, but I can’t resist anything Greek mythology related so I gave it a go (I had Twilight on in the background to balance out the fanciness haha). One of the things I love about mythology is finally getting grips with it a little bit- I vaguely remembered the story of Alcestis and Admetus from Mythology by Edith Hamilton and it’s one that I find really interesting. I also enjoyed learning more about Heracles through this story as, for some reason, I always find it difficult to remember his story and the labours- I’ll try watching the Disney film to see if that helps. I would recommend reading about this myth if you’re interested in Greek mythology, although I do prefer retellings to a play format 🙂

Favourite/meaningful quote:

‘Heracles:

But any one of us can be killed tomorrow.

We don’t ruin today with worrying about it.

Death can come in a twinkling, any second.

Up to that second, every second is precious,

Precious, precious life.

Death has to be ignored.

Then when it comes- mourn. Acknowledge it,

But not before it comes.’

The Tales of Beedle the Bard- J. K. Rowling (audiobook, new read)

‘An exciting addition to the canon of Harry Potter, the tales reveal the wonderful versatility of the author, as she tackles with relish the structure and varying tones of a classic fairy tale. There are five tales: ‘The Tale of the Three Brothers’, recounted in Deathly Hallows, plus ‘The Fountain of Fair Fortune’, ‘The Warlock’s Hairy Heart’, ‘The Wizard and the Hopping Pot’, and ‘Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump’. Each has its own magical character and will bring delight, laughter and the thrill of mortal peril. Translated from the original runes by Hermione Granger, the tales are introduced and illustrated by J. K. Rowling. Also included are notes by Professor Albus Dumbledore, which appear by kind permission of the Hogwarts Headmasters’ Archive. Lumos is a charity founded by J. K. Rowling which aims to make life better for disadvantaged children. Registered Charity Number: 1112575.’

Harry Potter is one of my favourite things, the books are so magical, nostalgic and beautiful. I don’t normally read anything out with the books (I don’t really like fantastic beasts and I REFUSE to read the Cursed Child or acknowledge its existence hahaha) because I think it’s better to stick to the original magic. However, I did decide to listen to this audiobook because I like the actors accents and it feels a bit more magical to connect their voices with the films- Evanna Lynch and Jude Law in particular have amazing voices for audiobooks. I also don’t usually like short stories but I think they worked well in this format, my favourite was probably The Fountain of Fair Fortune. I don’t think I’d read this again but I did enjoy listening to it 😊

Favourite/meaningful quote:

‘The kindest interpretation would be: hope springs eternal’.

My favourite this week was probably The Man who Saw Everything- it’s faded from my mind a bit now, but I really enjoyed it when I read it. Thank you for reading, I hope you’re well and please let me know it you’ve read any of these 😊

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