Book Review – The Oresteia by Aeschylus (Robert Fagles Translation)

Zeus has led us on to know, the Helmsman lays it down as law that we must suffer, suffer into truth. The Oresteia was written by our man Aeschylus during a golden age of Athens. Art and civility began to flourish at this city upon a hill, not long after a set of ravaging wars with the Persian empire. In …

Book Review – How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster

A reader’s imagination is the act of one creative intelligence engaging another. With How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas C. Foster does a commendable job of introducing “surface readers” to a more fruitful type of reading. Foster is, surprise(!), an English professor and decades of student interaction inspired him to write this book. What’s that? You have an …

Book Review – Prometheus Bound and Other Plays by Aeschylus

Is it not clear we must think deeply, or perish? I’ve never been one to watch plays, let alone read them. I was a kid who grew up entertained by the boob-tube and video games. In my youthful mind, I couldn’t have told you which was the harsher punishment – being forced to sit through a “boring old” play or a spanking. Nope, the tragedies …

Book Review – Cujo by Stephen King

The world was full of monsters, and they were all allowed to bite the innocent and the unwary. As with many of Stephen King’s books, Cujo opens on a peculiar darkness enveloping a small town in Maine. From the first page, we’re told that ten years ago, a bad cop named Frank Dodd terrorized Castle Rock. He had killed several women, only to …

Book Review – The Odyssey by Homer (Robert Fagles Translation)

“We two will keep to the shelter here, eat and drink and take some joy in each other’s heartbreaking sorrows, sharing each other’s memories. Over the years, you know, a man finds solace even in old sorrows, true, a man who’s weathered many blows and wandered many miles.” Where to even begin when reviewing something that has been studied for …

Book Review – The Hittite by Ben Bova

“War stories grow larger with each telling, and this one was already becoming overblown, scarcely an hour after it happened.” The Hittite opens on a soldier of the Hittite (Hatti) Empire, Lukka, returning home from a campaign in Armenia, only to find the once-mighty empire in disarray and his family kidnapped by slavers. Along with a few soldiers who have nowhere …

Book Review – The Shadow Year by Jeffrey Ford

“We all got the eyes…” Jeffery Ford’s The Shadow Year is a fantastical, coming-of-age story set in a small, lower-middle class suburb of 1960s Long Island. We see a family on the edge of breaking up–a father working three jobs and a mother with a fondness for wine. Our protagonist is a nameless sixth-grader ready to enter junior high. His older brother, Jim, acts as …

Book Review – The Iliad by Homer (Robert Fagles Translation)

“Rage–Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles…” Whether cavemen throwing rocks, Greeks thrusting spears, or drones launching Hellfire missiles–it’s a sad fact that human beings are pretty good at fighting each other. One recent scientific study even suggests our hands evolved in order to throw better punches. And because our nature hasn’t really changed in the past thirty-two centuries (~1200 B.C. …