Reading Recap: June

I am getting so close to my reading goal for the year, just eight more books to go! If I keep this pace up, the sky is the limit. This month I tried to vary up the types of book I was reading. I think I somewhat succeeded as I did read a classic novel and a Classical Greek work.

Next month I am going to try and read more classics and maybe give poetry another try. 

I think that is enough rambling for now, onto the books!

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

Love or family? An impossible choice for but one our protagonist is forced to make.

A retelling of a classic Greek myth, Saint breathes new life into the legend and gives us not one but two new perspectives to the old story. 

I wrote a full review for this book, check it out if you want the complete story. 

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

I finally got around to reading this classic.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway is a short story about hopelessness and determination in the face of certain failure. The titular old man is a fisherman who hasn’t caught anything in a worrying amount of time. Yet he persists and seeks out the greatest fish. 

Short but sweet. It is a punchy and inspirational read that truly deserves all the praise it gets. 

Tales From the Hinterland by Melissa Albert

Not all fairytales are happy and cute, sometimes they are rather grim.

Alright, cheesy pun aside, this collection of fairytales follows in the footsteps of The Brothers Grimm. These short but morbid tales will both delight and disturb readers.

While this is a YA book, it is pretty intense stuff. To the point that I had to double-check that this was indeed YA while reading a couple of stories in particular. This book does not hold back.

Overall I did like it, but if you are going to let a young person read it, please check it first.

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

Alright, time to confess something. Until now, I had never read a single word Margaret Atwood wrote. Hell, I still haven’t watched The Handmaid’s Tale.

However, after reading The Penelopiad I am keen to read more of her work.

The Penelopiad is a retelling of the Odyssey but from the point of view of Penelope, Odysseus’ wife. Telling her side of how they met, their marriage and how she had to handle the men trying to take advantage of his twenty-year absence from their kingdom.

My favourite parts are called ‘a chorus line’, where the maids take centre state. It is different every time. Sometimes a play, sometimes a poem or a song. 

If you love Greek retellings, you need to read this one. I hadn’t even heard of this one before I found a copy at my local library. It is amazing. It’s dramatic, intense and at times funny.

Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

Depending on how you chose to read The Witcher series, this book is either first or fourth. It was the first one published but chronology comes fourth.

I can’t properly talk about the events of Blood of Elves because that would lead to spoilers for the next season of the show. That, and I would need to recap the last three books. Long story short, it’s about Ciri starting her training and the folk who want her. 

It’s a solid story, but so far my least favourite of the series. I like it, but it drags a bit here and there.

Theogony / Works and Days by Hesiod

As much as I adore retellings and reimaginings, sometimes you need to read the original.

Theogony is more or less a whos who list. With short stories about the gods, how they operate and how they came to be. Works and Days on the other hand is more or less a guidebook into how to live a good life. It is a great insight into how Greek society operated at that time.

While informative and it did move at a brisk pace, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I expected. I like it, but it was a bit dense.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

My heart still hasn’t recovered fully after finishing this tragic tale.

You would think I would be burnt out of Greek myth retellings by now. You would be sorely mistaken. If anything, I can’t get enough!

I was a bit anxious to read The Song of Achilles. There is a lot of hype surrounding this book, and I have been burned by overhyped books in the past. Thankfully, this book is everything they say it is.

Please check out my review for my rants and raves about this masterpiece.

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke

Humanity is thriving, due in part to a mysterious group from another world. Thanks to them, all of humankind’s serious problems have are now little more than memories.

But one question remains, why? Why did the Overlords decide to help? What are they really after? 

Childhood’s End is a unique take on the alien invasion storyline as they are more or less invited and do help humans out. However, throughout the book, there is a foreboding atmosphere for the reader. A building sense of dread that escalates every time a small part of their plan is revealed. 

A Scifi masterpiece filled with intrigue, tension and suspense. A must-read for any Scifi fanatic.

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