“A war does not ignore half the people whose lives it touches. So why do we?”
So says Calliope, muse of epic poetry. The poet calls on her for inspiration, and in this version, she will insist he tell the stories of the women of Greece and Troy, women who were always influential in the original saga, even if from the margins.
In this retelling of the Trojan War, Natalie Haynes crafts a nonlinear narrative, weaving together the myths of queens, oracles, daughters, wives, and goddesses. I found myself tossed about from one woman’s story to another, as if on Homer’s wine-dark sea.
This book takes a long look at Hammarskjöld's career, the geopolitical conflicts he was navigating in the Congo during the Cold War, and the motives of individuals and organizations who had the most at stake — all in an attempt to solve the decades-long mystery of the UN Secretary General's death.
The urgency and detail with which Somaiya accounts the events leading up to the plane crash and the evidence revealed in the nearly 50 years since is engrossing. I haven't stopped thinking about it!
How mystifying the customs of ancient peoples seem to us... but how far removed are we, really?
Sylvie and her parents join a small university class on "a summer experience" living as Iron Age Britons may have. As prehistoric tasks become more intuitive to the group, so do the rituals they once thought horrific.
This unassuming wisp of a book belies the disquieting story within.
"I shivered. Of course that was the whole point of the re-enactment, that we ourselves became the ghosts, learning to walk the land as they walk it two thousand years ago."
As the year ends and we turn our focus to upcoming holidays, I want to highlight an Indigenous author to encourage readers of all ages to decolonize our bookshelves.
From Traci Sorrell, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, We Are Grateful is a beautiful, reflective book that looks at the Cherokee practice of giving thanks as a family and as a community. "We are grateful," in the Cherokee language is otsaliheliga. This and other Cherokee words are sprinkled throughout these pages.
Beginning with the first book, The Bear and the Nightingale, this beautiful fantasy trilogy is set in a version of medieval Russia in which history and myth coexist. In Witch yet more characters from Russian folklore are woven in as fiery heroine, Vasya, faces the foes of Moscow, Rus', and humanity... whether the powers that be are behind her or not.
I recommend reading this dark, mystical book on a chilly night (forecast looks promising) — but only after finishing the first two in the trilogy!