Saturday, June 24, 2006

A blogger fully formed.....and the best book I ever read....

I've only been blogging for 2 months, but this post isn't your usual "I'm new to this so hold my hand and forgive me" type of post.

I was thinking of it taking a while to learn how to do this, how I'm not as good yet as I will be. I thought of Athena springing fully formed and adult from the head of her father, Zeus.


That got me on to the best book I ever read. Mainly due to when, rather than what. I was eight when I first discovered it and I know that I borrowed it at least 3 times a year from the school library until I left that school at 15. It is D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths
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It had the most wonderful illustrations...the one of Athena giving dad a headache is striking. It never talks down or minimises the adventures to anything too safe and sanitary. Oh yes, Zeus did have a large number of wives (rather than raping young maidens)...but the tales of Hercules and the jealousy of Hera were vivid. A number of minor tales are told also, like the Tithonus who was so loved by Eos (gentle dawn) that she asked that he be granted eternal life. But..oooops..she forgot to ask for eternal youth as well, so over the years he shrank to a grasshopper.

I remember ordinary life looking that little bit more magical because now I knew that the constellations were really ancient heroes, and Europe was made from a magical cow, and peacocks were once bodyguards with 100 eyes and the world was held up by a single strong guy and somewhere Prometheus was having his liver eaten out daily by an eagle, Persephone was mourning eating a pomegranate and Eros may just have been lurking about ready to pierce someone's heart.

I bought a copy of it last year from Amazon when (harvesting the Long Tail) I bought a swag of books that I had loved as a kid and thought should be in the house for my kids.

1 comment:

CW said...

I loved lots of books during my childhood. The worlds they opened up to me were wonderful. I particularly loved reading books set in America or Britain and enjoying descriptions of the weather and the environment there. Such contrasts when I looked at my own surroundings (tropical humid Malaysia)!