It’s Friday, so you know what that means – it’s time for another First Lines Friday post! I hope you have all had a good week and are looking forward to the weekend! The weather is looking pretty good for a change, so I might get the chance to sit out in my garden!
In my Sunday Summary post last Sunday I set myself another challenge for this week’s book selection. I also made it pretty difficult for myself, as I chose a genre I don’t pick up very often – non-fiction. It’s fair to say I’ve been inspired to feature it by my recent read of This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay (which is not this week’s featured book, before you start wondering!)
This is a book I have read and featured on my blog previously; can you guess what it is, or who it is by?
These days the origin of the universe is explained by proposing a Big Bang, a single event that instantly brought into being all matter from which everything and everyone are made.
The ancient Greeks had a different idea. They said that it all started not with a bang, but with CHAOS.
Was Chaos a God – a divine being – or simply a state of nothingness? Or was Chaos, just as we would use the word today, a kind of terrible mess, like a teenager’s bedroom only worse?
Think of Chaos perhaps as a kind of grand cosmic yawn. As in a yawning chasm or a yawning void.
Whether Chaos brought life and substance out of nothing or whether Chaos yawned life up or dreamed it up, or conjured it up in some other way I don’t know. I wasn’t there. Nor were you. And yet in a way we were, because all the bits that make us were there. It is enough to say that the Greeks thought it was Chaos who, with a massive heave, or a great shrug, or hiccup, vomit or cough, began the long chain of creation that has ended with pelicans and penicillin and toadstools and toads, sea-lions, seals, lions, human beings and daffodils and murder and art and love and confusion and death and madness and biscuits.
Any ideas what book am I featuring today?
Mythos – Stephen Fry
Rediscover the thrills, grandeur, and unabashed fun of the Greek myths—stylishly retold by Stephen Fry. This legendary writer, actor, and comedian breathes new life into beloved tales. From Persephone’s pomegranate seeds to Prometheus’s fire, from devious divine schemes to immortal love affairs, Fry draws out the humor and pathos in each story and reveals its relevance for our own time. Illustrated throughout with classical art inspired by the myths, this gorgeous volume invites you to explore a captivating world, with a brilliant storyteller as your guide.
Having read a historical fiction novel by Stephen Fry previously, I picked up Mythos as an entertaining way to learn more about Greek myths. I have read a few novels now in which the Greek Gods feature, and yet until reading this I had very little knowledge of the tales.
As I am sure is the case with many of you, I was familiar with a couple of stories. Pandora’s box, for example, and Prometheus gifting fire to mankind and his subsequent eternal punishment by Zeus. I didn’t really know much else though, and after the basic story of Persephone was included in the plotline for another novel I had read, I decided I wanted to read more.
I enjoyed Stephen Fry’s retellings as the narrative is full of witticism and laugh-out-loud humour. The narrative is written quite conversationally, so you could imagine the book being narrated and it would feel natural to listen to. It made a subject I knew very little about very approachable, and the maps and diagrams at the beginning were great help with working out who was who and the hierarchy of the Gods.
If you haven’t checked out my full review, you can find it here.