The Book Club

Midterm Reading Period is finally upon us, providing us with the rest and relaxation we’ve been dreaming of for the past few weeks. Many students decide to travel, spend time with loved ones or finally catch up on their hobbies – like reading! It’s an extended weekend that students have high hopes for, and in the spirit of this optimistic mentality, I have decided I will discuss some of the books from 2022 that I have high hopes for in this edition.

“Elektra” by Jennifer Saint. Photo from Macmillan website.

The first book I have high expectations for is “Elektra” by Jennifer Saint. I read Saint’s debut novel, “Ariadne,” early on in Fall Term, and was pleasantly surprised by the authentic and vivid voice she gives to Ariadne, the princess of Crete and sister of the infamous Minotaur. In her new book, which was released on Tuesday, she focuses on the women whose lives are interwoven with the curse on the House of Atreus. The story follows three women on various sides of the Trojan War; there is Clytemnestra, the sister of the gorgeous Helen of Troy, and Clytemnestra’s daughter, Elektra, as well as Cassandra, the cursed prophet who sees the future but can convince no one to believe her. Saint is once again attempting to give voice to characters in mythology who don’t frequently get much depth in the myths, though I worry that tackling three characters in one novel may be a bit of a stretch. Nonetheless, as many of you know I am an absolute sucker for a good Greek mythological retelling, and since I loved “Ariadne” so much, I subsequently have high hopes for “Elektra” as well.

“Pandora” by Susan Stokes-Chapman. Photo from Amazon.

On a similar note, another one of 2022’s mythology-based novels is “Pandora” by Susan Stokes-Chapman, though it sounds a lot different from the other retellings I’ve been reading lately. A Greek vase is delivered to the home of Dora, an aspiring jewelry maker, and her uncle. Upon its arrival, Dora’s uncle starts acting suspicious, forcing Dora to seek the help of Edward, a scholar who studies antiques. Together they discover the secrets of the jar, as well as Dora’s own family, leading them to wonder if some jars are better left closed in the end. Given the context clues, I’m guessing the jar is related to the infamous Pandora’s Jar, which held the curses of the world, such as sickness and death, until Pandora’s curiosity led her to release them. I’m wondering if the jar is simply a metaphor in this case, or if Stokes-Chapman will truly incorporate aspects of the myth into her novel. In either case, the premise sounds intriguing, and I sincerely hope that it turns out to be just as interesting as it implies.

“Fairy Tale” by Stephen King. Photo from Google Books.

The final book of 2022 that I’m looking forward to – or rather the last one I’m going to mention – is Stephen King’s “Fairy Tale,” which is set to come out this September. King appears to be creating another fantastical horror novel, similar to his “Dark Tower” series and his book “The Talisman.” The book follows Charlie, who lives alone with his father after his mother’s death in a hit-and-run. Soon, Charlie starts helping his neighbor, Mr. Bowditch, with various chores, such as caring for his dog, Radar. Eventually Mr. Bowditch dies as well, leaving behind a cassette for Charlie that spins a terrible tale that’s hard to believe. In the recording, he informs Charlie that there is a portal in his shed that leads to another world, and that it is now Charlie’s job to protect it. While King may be known primarily for being the King of Horror, he certainly knows how to create a beautiful fantasy realm as well, so I’m super excited to see where he’ll take us this time. However, I can’t say I’m excited about the fact that it’s 600 pages.

While I certainly have high hopes for these books, I have even higher hopes for this Midterm Reading Period and the books I will hypothetically finish over the long weekend. I sincerely wish you all a relaxing and restful weekend full of some bountiful reading time.