This is the first of a new column, in which I will recommend a few new books each week to hopefully help you avid readers overcome that reading slump. I am currently a first year hoping to study English and creative writing, which stems from my life-long passion for reading. This passion has impacted me profoundly and shaped me into the person writing for you today. My hope is to eventually rec- ommend a book that will impact you in a similar fashion. Some of these recommen- dations will come from my own personal library, while others will be from other Lawrentians I interview around campus. For my first recommendations of this term, I am going to discuss some of my current favorite books that I have read within the past year or two.
First off, we have The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. In Miller’s debut novel, she introduces us to a rei- magined version of Homer’s The Illiad, where Gods walk among mortals and mythological creatures lurk around every corner. Readers follow the main charac- ter, Patroclus, as he grows up in Ancient Greece alongside Achilles, the infamous hero of the Trojan War. It is a story of impossible love, the bloodshed of war and the price of fame all rolled into one. As an avid fan of Greek mythology, I fell in love with this book as I read it. Miller’s writing style is beyond anything I have ever read previously. Not only is the imagery in the novel stunning, but some of her quotes have continued to stick with me, even to this day. This book is beautifully tragic, and perfect for those reminiscent of their Percy Jackson phase and who are also fans of ill-fated romances. However, this is not the last book of Madeline Miller’s that will find a spot on my list of favorites.
Similarly, her second book, Circe, holds a special place in my heart. Here, we witness the story of Circe, who is famous for being an enchantress featured in the classic tale of The Odyssey. In Miller’s story, Circe is first deemed as a disappointment amongst the rest of her family, for she is nowhere near as power- ful or beautiful as they are. Upon finding her true calling in the arts of witchcraft, she is ultimately deemed a tremendous threat and banished to a deserted island. The rest of the novel follows her growth as she comes to terms with who and what she is and documents the various encoun- ters she has with many important fig- ures of Greek mythology, from the fallen Icarus to the scheming Odysseus. I have a deep appreciation for Miller’s works, as she takes characters who were originally deemed as minor roles or even as villains in their first recounts and develops them into beautiful heroes who readers cannot help but love. I could not put this book down when I read it for the first time, and I hope a few of you will have a simi- lar experience, as well. Again, Circe is a perfect read for those who adore Greek mythology, or perhaps those who have yet to stick their toe in the mythological water for the first time.
The last book I want to mention this week is The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Taking place in an elite school in 1980s New England, the read- ers find themselves listening to the tragic tale of six students studying the clas- sics, told years after the events of their story. After having thought-provoking discussions with their professor, the group becomes obsessed with exploring how far the boundaries of morality can be pushed, leading them to take one step too far, ulti- mately murdering one of their own. As the tension builds, so do the lies, and the book ultimately leads to a coldly calculated conclusion. This book is perfect for fans of the dark academia genre who love a good thriller that will haunt them for days after they have read the final page.
That’s it for this week’s recommen- dations! I hope you are all able to get outside this week to enjoy the weather, and just maybe get some reading done out in the sun.