Hey guys, I’m back! Again! I know I’m like your ex-lover that keeps getting your hopes up and then disappears forever only to return at really random times when you forgot they existed. I apologize for that. However, in my defense, I’m bad at keeping up a blog. That’s not really a defense, but, like I want to be better at this, seriously. So, here’s to a new year (even though that happened a while ago), and a new chance at a book blog!
So, even though I haven’t read any books for fun this entire school year (kill me), I’m going to review some of the books I read for my classes. And since I have no idea if anyone else has read these, I’ll just do little baby reviews. So cute, am I right? Ok, here I go.
The Iliad by Homer
Well, first of all, my life was completely ruined when I found out that Homer doesn’t actually exist. We don’t even know who wrote the Iliad. Some scholars argue that it was multiple people. I’m very sorry that I had to be the one to tell you that.
Second of all, that was one impressive poem. I did find reading the summary on Shmoop (I did actually read it, but you know, to review) a little more – okay a lot more – entertaining, but that’s just because they’re funny. Iliad is actually insanely impressive, especially knowing that it wasn’t written down until after the poet performed it. So one dude had that whole story memorized! Which is why there are mistakes in it, even though I didn’t notice them at all. The story tells a tale of a man who learns how destructive anger is, and that’s an important message. Honestly, I’m probably not going to say anything of worth about this piece of work. But, it’s bloody (should be rated R) and frustrating, cause you’re like boys boys stop fighting but you’re also like FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT, GET HIM ACHILLES!!! I probably did not read this in the right mindset. I wrote an essay on it! I argued that Achilles is a better leader than Agamemnon. Honestly, I’m pretty proud of that essay. So yeah, that’s all I have for this one. I’m not gonna rate it, it’s a classic. I feel as if it’d be insulting for me to rate it.
Blood Brothers by Ernst Haffner
I read this novel for my Origins of Nazism class, which is super interesting. I’m basically an expert on Weimar Germany and the takeover of the Nazis. I’m so expert that I got on a heated Facebook debate with strangers about if Hitler was a socialist. It was invigorating, but actually it wasn’t. Cause Facebook debates rank #2 on worst places to have a debate. Number one is the YouTube comment section. This is from personal experience. I will write a blog post about it sometime.
Anyway, this novel. It sucked me in right away, with gritty writing that really made me feel like I was walking the streets of Germany with this gang. It gives a snapshot of what life was like for the youth in Weimar Germany’s Golden Era, when the economy wasn’t total trash like it recently had been. The state doesn’t trust the youth to not be criminals. I kept having flashbacks to A Clockwork Orange. Those youth also seem to have no ability to control themselves. The difference, though, is that this wasn’t actually true of the youth in Germany. Anyway, it’s actually super interesting because part of the reason that the Nazis were successful in making everything about race and making “Jewish” a race, was because there was a whole movement that said who you are is determined by your blood, as well as how you’ll act. So, criminals were deemed to be inherently criminal. Just like they would say that being Jewish made you inherently lesser. Obviously, that’s BS, but it’s really interesting to see how the roots of Nazism were already there in Germany before the takeover. Also, it just broke your heart to hear about the crappy conditions they were going through. There were one million orphans after WWI. One million!! Don’t you just wanna adopt them all?? Well, not now. Now they’re old. Anyway, well I’d recommend this to anyone. It’s interesting enough where it doesn’t feel like it’s a book that would be given in a history class. It’s harrowing, it’s a real way to see how young people lived back in the 1920s in Germany. Would recommend.
Bacchae by Euripides
Okay, you got me, this is a play. And yes, I took a Classic Civilization course too. So, honestly, this just goes to show how crazy it could get back in Greece. Bacchae has to do with this king, Pentheus, who doesn’t believe that Bacchus is a god. So, naturally, Bacchus comes down and ruins his life. First, he makes all his female relatives go crazy and turn to the mountains to worship him and rip cows apart and feed animals with their breastmilk and dance and stuff. (Also, if you don’t want to hear any spoilers, don’t read this part, but I figure it’s been out for about 2,400 years, so we’ve had time to read it). And then he convinces Pentheus to dress up like a woman to go watch the women dance around and crap, and then Pentheus’ mother rips his head off. There’s some more stuff that happens, but that’s the basic plot. I wrote an essay on this one too! I wrote about how there’s an interesting relationship between sanity and insanity, and how the play argues that we need a healthy balance of both. Actually, I wrote an essay on all three of these books so far.
You may think, hey, well this doesn’t mean Greece was crazy, cause this was a play. But, there were actually Bacchants, those who worshiped Bacchus and participated in ecstatic worship. They did crazy things like mentioned, probably without ripping cows up though. Anyway, they really went all out. Plus, Bacchus is all about drinking, so alcohol may or may not have contributed to this ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ . Maybe this is boring to some of you, but I freaking loved this class. I would recommend reading this play. Real trippy stuff.
History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides
So, this may seem super boring, but this war was intense. Sparta and Athens are crazy interesting, and everyone needs to read how relevant this is to today’s society. This happened thousands of years ago, and yet humanity is still as immature as back then! You think we’d get better. Also, just like learning about WWII is interesting, this is interesting. And man, Athens was a complete jerk. Just saying. They started this group of allies so they could fight against the Persians, then forced their allies to keep paying their membership tax (or give them boats) and stay, even after the threat with Persia was gone. This one neutral island (didn’t pick between Sparta and Athens) was slaughtered, because they refused to join Athens’ coalition. It was really an empire, Athens had an empire, made up of other city-states who couldn’t leave. Jerks. Anyway, it’s way more relatable than you’d think, and way more important too.
So yeah, here are 4 lil’ nuggets. I hope you enjoyed this. I’ll be back, promise.