Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Classics Club Monthly Meme: August 2012.

One of the newest features on the new Classics Club Blog is the Monthly Meme. It's a great way to bring members of The Classics Club together to talk about what we're reading!

This month's question is simply, "What is your favorite classic book? Why?"

I think that this is a great place to start, but it is also such a HARD question. I know that most of you can relate. How can you narrow it down to ONE favorite book?

Off the top of my head, and going with my gut, I have to give the title of the book that has inspired my own classics journey and the name of my blog-Homer's The Odyssey. As one of the oldest classics I have read, it has always struck me how this story has captured the minds of so many generations. From those who sat around in the starlight in Ancient Greece to listen to Homer, to the ninth grade students in my school district who read an abridged version every spring. There is something so powerful and mystical about the whole book that I often find myself remembering lines, scenes, and images from my many readings of the book.

I think it is more than just the story for me. It is truly about the personal connection I have to The Odyssey and what it has done for me since I picked it up almost three years ago at the beginning of my blogging journey. I can remember lying on my bed in my parents' house (because I was still living there then) when I started the journey with Odysseus home to Ithaca...

“Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns
driven time and again off course, once he had plundered
the hallowed heights of Troy.
Many cities of men he saw and learned their minds,
many pains he suffered, heartsick on the open sea,
fighting to save his life and bring his comrades home.
But he could not save them from disaster, hard as he strove—
the recklessness of their own ways destroyed them all,
the blind fools, they devoured the cattle of the Sun
and the Sungod wiped from sight the day of their return.
Launch out on his story, Muse, daughter of Zeus,
start from where you will-Sing for our time too.”

There is something about those lines that gets me every time I think of them. Of calling to the Muse to inspire and set the story straight from the beginning. For hoping that the Muse gives the reader and speaker the courage and knowledge to tell the story correctly from the beginning, to honor the man the story is about, and to sing the story so that it matters in our time too. It inspires me, thinking about those lines.

And as I continue to move forward in my classics journey, and a new chapter in my life as a permanent teacher, I know I will be constantly thinking of Homer and his words. In some ways, it seems almost silly for me to say that I struggled to pick a favorite classics. But in this moment, in this time, I can think of no other but the book that started this entire project for me.


  1. I love this idea. I tried to think of my favorite classic and thought of four. I'm off to do some deep pondering.

  2. I liked that you picked a book with an emotional connection to your life too. That's what makes books very special in the long run, I think :)
    I haven't read The Odyssey, although I do own a copy. I'm familiar with the story so I'll have to make time in the future to give it a go.

  3. The Odyssey is one of the many books that I appreciate much more now than I did when I first read it in school. Those opening lines almost give me chills now, evoking the timeless recitation of Odysseus' journey.

  4. The Odyssey is stilling on my TBR pile not moving, maybe I should do something about that.

  5. During the years I am always confronted with The Odyssey. It's a true, true classic but it has never crossed my path. Why? Firstly, it scares me, I even have trouble spelling the title! It sounds boring, but I'm passing judgement before I even open the book. Your inspiring review has finally reached me, today I will order my very own copy. The journey begins....

  6. I have such a limited experience with The Odyssey (and the Iliad) that I really need to revisit them. Reading a few passages in 6th grade honors just isn't going to cut it. I love how you are so connected with this book!

  7. Every time you mention The Odyssey I'm reminded I haven't read it, that I should have by now, and I should have added it to my Classics Club list.
    I chose a book which had emotional meaning too - I think that's important when talking about personal favourites.

  8. I've never read The Odyssey, but I know I want to at some point. It's one I'd really like to do a readalong with other people to discuss with. I love this idea for monthly posts for The Classic Club! I'm definitely going to join in.

  9. "Sing for our time, too."

    That's beautiful. I love that mystical quality in the writing and very much look forward to reading this -- because of you.

    You're right: it's incredble to contemplate how many minds have danced with this work.

  10. I am intimidated by works of the ancient Greeks, but this being your favorite, I am inspired to go ahead and read it some time. :)

  11. I'm looking forward to tackling The Odyssey again. I tried to read it a couple of years ago and I wasn't motivated enough to finish it. It's on my Classics Club list, and after reading your post, I'm excited to make another attempt to reading it!