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Ironic Contradictions

I'm a long time reader - since way back when I was seven. That makes it over three quarters of my life that I will be a reader for. But it is worth it. When I'm not reading or wasting my time online on here or Goodreads I'll be off playing video games, studying teaching and messing around with friends and pop culture. Or reading some more.
The Odyssey - Homer, Robert Fagles, Bernard Knox
The Odyssey is a book that in many ways must be read in conjuncture with Homer's The Iliad. Like that other work of poetry, it is an epic tale of fantasy with great truths for humanity as it stands today. The Iliad is generally considered to be the earlier of the two works (if you accept that Homer was a single individual) due to the fact that this, The Odyssey, contains a story which begins after the events of The Iliad. However, where The Iliad is a story of conflict and tragedy, full of pathos and battle sequences, The Odyssey is more of an adventuring tale. A tale full of tragedy still but one with a more final ending and, if again you can get past the language and the poetry, it is certainly in my eyes a more rounded tale. By which I mean that The Odyssey contains a more balanced mix of storytelling, thematic expression and characterisation. All done with exquisite poetic voice.

The translation I tried with The Odyssey was the Robert Fagles translation. This specific edition with a foreword by Bernard Knox and a postscript from the translator was a beautiful book to hold in your hands with the print the perfect size for reading. I fully recommend it if you can get a hold of this edition. It was a fine translation that allowed for a fluid reading experience despite having to adjust to the style of writing.

The Odyssey should be a plot known to anyone who has studied or loves Greek mythology. It is the story of Odysseus as he tries to make his way home after fighting in the Trojan war. He has to brave Charybdis, Scylla, Circe and Polyphemus the cyclops along the way. However, in the meantime, his wife faces the pressure of wicked men who want to marry her and kill her son. I won't spoil the ending but let's just say that the poem leads you up to a finale which is both fascinating and deserving.

Like The Iliad, this is a poem full of themes which are applicable to reality. It is the story of a man's strength in the face of tragedy after tragedy. It is the story of a man who honours his family and as such is the story of a family, separated by hardship but united in spirit. It is also a story focused around death and the afterlife. In fact my favourite sequence was probably the one in which Odysseus visits the Gates of Death to speak to ghosts.

Again, like Homer's Iliad this is a story that must be read because of its significance and its holding power. Much literature also references this poem in particular, from mentions of Charybdis in Shakespeare plays and [b:Les Misérables|24280|Les Misérables|Victor Hugo|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327702573s/24280.jpg|3208463] to the book [b:Ulysses|338798|Ulysses|James Joyce|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1346161221s/338798.jpg|2368224]. In fact I was told that to properly be able to understand parts of Ulysses it is important to have some understanding of Odysseus' journey. After all Ulysses is the Latin form of Odysseus. Again however I caution you to be aware of the nature of that this is translated poetry so look for a good translation. I would also caution you to note that this may not appeal to you if blood and gore in books is not your idea of a good story.

So I will tell you something. Listen. Listen closely.
Of all that breathes and crawls across the earth,
our mother earth breeds nothing feebler than a man.
So long as the gods grant him power, spring in his knees,
he thinks he will never suffer affliction down the years.
But then, when the happy gods bring on the long hard times,
bear them he must, against his will, and steel his heart.
Our lives, our mood and mind as we pass across the earth,
turn as the days turn...