February 2013 Books

March 5, 2013

The Iliad translated by Samuel Butler - I had two months to read this book for my classics book club and I couldn't follow through-I read about two-thirds of the book and then I decided to move on to another book.  The Iliad, as you probably know, tells the story of the battles between King Agamemnon and Achilles during the Trojan War.  I liked it at first-I think it's funny the way the Greeks' gods are just as petty and proud as their human worshippers are and I liked reading the way the gods interact with them too.  What I did not like is that the book is just one battle scene after another.  I usually skim over battle scenes in books, but I don't want to skim hundreds of pages-I want to sink deeply into a book and learn to care deeply about the characters and the story.  There were too many characters, too many side stories and too many battles in my opinion.  But I will admit that the way it was written may have been the majority of the problem-people that love The Iliad claim that the translation is everything and Butler's way of writing just wasn't captivating to me.  A friend of mine recommended Rosemary Sutcliff''s version, so I will have to check hers out some time.

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier - This was the book I picked out for my feminist book club. I wasn't wild about the way it was written-too much foreshadowing and a little slow, BUT I could really relate at times to one of the main characters, Elizabeth Philpot.  The most intriguing thing about this book is that it is about actual remarkable women.  Elizabeth Philpot and Mary Anning are two women who become friends, despite their differing social status, because of their love for fossils.  Philpot had a kind of fish named after her and Mary Anning discovered the first complete ichthyosaur and plesiosaur and discovered the first British pterodactyl.  Pretty amazing women, right?!  All this in a time when dinosaurs were still a theory.  It's funny, I wasn't wild about the book while I read it, but I keep on thinking about the story and so I am actually liking the book more and more.  I give it about four stars.

Vampire Kisses: Immortal Hearts by Ellen Schreiber - Thank Godde, this is the last book in the series!  Unfortunately, there are still two books in the series that the young woman I work with hasn't read yet...  This book was alright, I suppose.  Alexander's younger sister comes to visit and I really did like seeing her becoming good friends with Raven.  ***SPOILER ALERT***  What I did not like is the fact that Raven and Alexander bonded for eternity (become vampires forever bound together) in their teens without consulting their parents.  I know that that's probably an uncool objection to have, but it really bothers me.  Their best friends and siblings know and approve, but who cares about what the parents think, right?  I wanted to find out how she was going to break it to her parents that she is now a vampire and how was she going to college when she can only be out at night?  There are just too many practical questions left unanswered to be an enjoyable read.  The whole series has not one bit of complexity to it at all and I find that really frustrating.  Don't waste your time with these books unless you have to.

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