Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mythology by Edith Hamilton (recommended)

I just finished Mythology by Edith Hamilton. The book gives a reader's digest version of each story from Greek/Roman mythology. It also has a few pages on Norse Mythology. I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in these classic stories.

This is one of those books that a lot of high school students have read. I have not read it. One of the reasons is that I didn't read much of anything that was assigned to me in high school. I didn't even bother reading the Cliff's Notes; that is how lazy I was.

Anyway, Mythology by Edith Hamilton was good. I liked it. It was a bit dry but aside from that, I thought that old stories were engaging and interesting.

I think that everyone should know these stories to some extent because the stories are reference frequently in modern literature and even in everyday conversation (at times). This book is a great way to get familiar with the stories without having to spend too much time reading the old classics like the Iliad (which I remember to be a pretty difficult read). Even the plays of Sophocles are summarized in this book.

The writing was dry but I think that was her goal, to write an academic version of these stories. I feel like she achieved her goal. The stories are academic and also accessible.

Overall, I think that we should all know these stories to some extent, stories about Hercules (was he really a hero?), Theseus, Odysessus, etc., mostly because the stories are frequently referenced in many contexts and perhaps, make up a great deal of western culture and the western psyche. This book is a great place to become familiar with the stories without having to spend too much time reading the difficult original versions of these stories. So I recommend this to...everyone. The only reason I don't highly recommend it was the stories were written a little too dryly for my tastes. But with a little bit of patience, the dryness of the text can be easily overcome.

Until the next time...

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