Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

Words That Can Break Your Heart

Rereading some Homer today. I am convinced that there is no more moving scene in all of literature than the one between Achilles and Priam in the last book of the Iliad. Every time I read this scene, I start to tear up when I think of these two great men on opposite sides of a bitter conflict. This is Book XXIV lines 503-512.

'Honour then the gods, Achilleus, and take pity upon me
remembering your father, yet I am still more pitiful;
I have gone through what no other mortal on earth has gone through;
I put my lips to the hands of the man who has killed my children.'

So he spoke, and stirred in the other a passion of grieving,
for his own father. He took the old man’s hand and pushed him
gently away, and the two remembered, as Priam sat huddled
at the feet of Achilleus and wept close for manslaughtering Hektor
and Achilleus wept now for his own father, now again

for Patroklos. The sound of their mourning moved in the house…


Erica said…
The reader for the audiobook I listened to did a great job with this part. He wasn't overly emotional but you could hear his voice start quavering a bit.
Rose said…
oh my.

Antigone does this to me as well...