WWW Wednesday- 25/03/2020

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The rules are answer the questions below and a share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you will read next?

 

Hello!

I hope everyone is well and getting lots of reading done whilst we are all at home. I myself have managed to get a bit more reading done recently. So here is my WWW Wednesday…

 

What I am currently reading

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Just the one book at the moment but I am dipping into several poetry books. I was planning on reading another book before this but I changed my mind.

 

What I recently finished reading

Two of the books I read for my course and I will admit I loved the Euripides! I finally finished The Enterprise War which has taken me forever and to be honest I am glad that is over as it just dragged so much.

What I will read next

I will put these two on the list but who knows as I do tend to change my mind. I had planned to read The Lantern Men next but decided to stick with Star Trek so we will wait and see what happens when I finish my current read.

 

So that is my WWW Wednesday! Please drop me a comment with the link to your WWW Wednesday or let me know your thoughts on my chosen reads or both.

Stay safe my fellow book dragons.

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Mid Week Quote: Isaac Newton

Hello!

I hope this post finds everyone well and safe. I must admit I am finding it very strange not working. I am reading more and studying so I am trying to fill my days productively.

So here is my chosen quote but I will just mention that this quote is only attributed to Isaac Newton.

 

“Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy.”

 

Isaac Newton (c. 1650)

 

Happy reading and stay safe everyone.

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Andromache, Hecuba, Trojan Women by Euripides (Review)

Andromache, Hecuba, Trojan Women by Euripides

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About the author

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Euripides (Ancient Greek: Εὐριπίδης) (ca. 480 BC–406 BC) was the last of the three great tragedians of classical Athens (the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles). Ancient scholars thought that Euripides had written ninety-five plays, although four of those were probably written by Critias. Eighteen of Euripides’ plays have survived complete. It is now widely believed that what was thought to be a nineteenth, Rhesus, was probably not by Euripides. Fragments, some substantial, of most of the other plays also survive. More of his plays have survived than those of Aeschylus and Sophocles together, partly because of the chance preservation of a manuscript that was probably part of a complete collection of his works in alphabetical order.

Blurb

Diane Arnson Svarlien’s translation of Euripides’ Andromache, Hecuba, and Trojan Women exhibits the same scholarly and poetic standards that have won praise for her Alcestis, Medea, Hippolytus. Ruth Scodel’s Introduction examines the cultural and political context in which Euripides wrote, and provides analysis of the themes, structure, and characters of the plays included. Her notes offer expert guidance to readers encountering these works for the first time.

Review

I got this book because Trojan Women is a set text that I am studying for my course but I must admit that I enjoyed reading Trojan Women so much I read the whole book.

I found the introduction and notes by Ruth Scodel hugely informative and really helpful with my research but also not too in depth and easy to read which was wonderful because sometimes introductions can be a bit of bore I find.

Andromache

I loved this play and my heart bled for poor Andromache, she really has not had the best of lives having already suffered losing her child and husband in Troy she now suffers in her new home as Neoptolemus’ concubine and risks losing everything including her life again.

Andromache is a wonderful character who tries to do everything she can to save her own life and her child’s and works out a plan that if it works should keep them both safe.

Hermione is a spoilt brat who is used to getting her own way and will do anything to get it and her father will let her get her own way. I found her character rather annoying but you could tell that was what Euripides was after.

My favourite character was Peleus, he was a true gentleman who though mature in years was not frightened to stand up for the weak and vulnerable and send Menelaus scurrying off with his tail between his legs.

I loved this play and would love to see it on stage one day.

Hecuba

Wow! What a character Hecuba is in this play. After everything she has been through with the fall of Troy and the knowledge that her future is bleak she still has strength.

Hecuba has lost her kingdom, her husband, most of her children but she believes her one son and some Trojan treasure is safe with a family friend Polymestor. However, she discovers that her beloved son Polydorus is no longer safe and Hecuba seeks revenge.

Agamemnon in this play seems very different to the Agamemnon that I am used to. He listens to Hecuba’s plea and lets her carry out her plan. He shows pity and in my opinion almost reverence for the fallen queen.

I loved this play because it showed the true power of a woman who seeks revenge.

Trojan Women

This play was heart breaking, you can’t help but feel sorry for the women of Troy and see the unfairness of war on those who are left behind.

Hecuba in this play disappointed me slightly because when she was mourning what she had lost the main thing she kept focusing on was her kingdom and the fact she was no longer queen. Her lost family always seemed to be an after thought.

Cassandra was perfect in my opinion and a hard act for any actress to perform. Poor Cassandra who has been dealt such a hard blow and is now mad.

Andromache, the perfect wife who is now left with nothing who you can’t help but pity. A stark contrast to Helen that you can’t help but hate.

Helen, the woman who brings destruction wherever she goes but gets away with it because of her beauty. Menelaus was basically a lamb to slaughter where Helen was concerned. As much as the women of Troy hated her and Hecuba made the case pretty clear that Helen should be punished, you just know that Menelaus will buckle and let Helen get away with her deeds.

All in all I loved these plays and thought the translation by Diane Arnson Svarlien was really well done, the added stage directions were also excellent. I give this book a big 5 out of 5 Dragons.

Purchase Links

Book Depository

Waterstones

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Star Trek Discovery: The Enterprise War (Review)

Star Trek Discovery: The Enterprise War by John Jackson Miller

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About the author

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John Jackson Miller is the New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Star Trek: Prey trilogy (Hell’s Heart, The Jackal’s Trick, The Hall of Heroes) and the novels Star Trek: The Next Generation: Takedown; Star Wars: A New Dawn; Star Wars: Kenobi Star Wars: Knight Errant; Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith-The Collected Stories; and fifteen Star Wars graphic novels, as well as the original work Overdraft: The Orion Offensive. He has also written the eNovella Star Trek: Titan: Absent Enemies. A comics industry historian and analyst, he has written for franchises including Halo, Conan, Iron Man, Indiana Jones, Battlestar Galactica, Mass Effect, and The Simpsons. He lives in Wisconsin with his wife, two children, and far too many comic books.

Blurb

Hearing of the outbreak of hostilities between the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire, Captain Christopher Pike attempts to bring the U.S.S. Enterprise home to join in the fight. But in the hellish nebula known as the Pergamum, the stalwart commander instead finds an epic battle of his own, pitting ancient enemies against one another – with not just the Enterprise but also her crew as the spoils of war.

Lost and out of contact with Earth for an entire year, Pike and his trusted first officer, Number One, struggle to find and reunite the ship’s crew – all while Science Officer Spock confronts a mystery that puts even his exceptional skills to the test… with more than their own survival possibly riding on the outcome…

Review

I will be honest I struggled with this book, the first half just dragged but thankfully the second half improved otherwise I’m not sure I would have lasted. The book just felt like it had a load of irrelevant scenes that did nothing to add to the storyline and the book could have been a lot shorter in my opinion.

I did enjoy the storyline of the two battling alien races and the Enterprise stuck in the middle of the war. My favourite character in the book wasn’t actually a member of the Enterprise but one of aliens called Baladon. I really enjoyed his humour and the way he adapted into the way of life of his kidnappers, it was like he had never found anywhere where he truly belonged and he had finally found that place even if it was in a war zone. I also liked the character of Connolly and the friendship between him and Baladon, their interactions were very funny.

Sadly, I did not like Una i.e Number One and just struggled with her character and I found Christopher Pike a little bit dull. They just both seemed to be lacking for me. I did enjoy the character of Spock and found that his experience made a lot of sense with the TV series and I was pleased to see it all linking together and I did feel really sorry for poor Spock and the suffering he was going through.

Out of all the Discovery books so far I found this one my least favourite and I really hope the next one is better as I have loved the series so far. If this book had been shorter I think I would have enjoyed it more so I have given this book 3 out of 5 Dragons.

Purchase Links

Amazon

Book Depository

Waterstones

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Sunday Reflections: John 9:1-41

Hello!

It is Sunday, although it doesn’t feel like a Sunday, I fear all the days are rolling into one. So to prevent this and to mark Sunday’s I have decided to take one of the readings from the Sunday lectionary and write some of my thoughts down about the reading. I am hoping to start Reader training next year so hopefully this will be good practice. I must admit it feels very strange not to be playing the organ for a church service this Sunday. I hope everyone remains safe and well in these scary times.

The reading I have chosen is John 9: 1-41 the reading is here.

John 9:1-41

Reflections

My first thought about this reading is that Jesus notices the people in the background. The blind man has been a beggar for most of his life as he cannot work due to his condition, people know he is there but over time have ceased to see him and he has faded into the background. However, Jesus has noticed him and because Jesus has noticed him so have his disciples. The disciples’ first reaction on seeing the blind man is entirely human, they want to know who has sinned to make this man blind, the man or his parents? The human response of “how did this happen so I can prevent it happening to myself” is something we all do. This question however poses a problem because if it was the man he would have had to commit the crime in the womb and Jesus states that the man’s parents did not cause their son’s blindness by their sin but instead the man’s blindness provides a situation for Jesus to show God’s healing power. A power that we can all display by helping those we see in need and not ignoring the people who have faded into the background.

Jesus says that this man’s blindness is not caused by sin which shows the disciples and ourselves not to judge other people’s sins too quickly as we could be false and causing suffering to others. However, sin can and does cause suffering and as I have certainly experienced when I have sinned it has caused suffering to others and not just myself.

Another thing I noticed when reading this passage is that there is a clear distinction between good and evil. Good is where there is light and evil is where there is darkness. Jesus says “I am the light in the world.” Following in Jesus’ footsteps we continue to keep that light going in the world and not letting darkness take over.

Jesus gives this man the gift of sight, something he has never had. This man is now changed forever, he can see, he is no longer crouching along fumbling his way through life having to beg for money. He is full of life and excitement of what has happened to him and wants to tell everyone but as per usual somebody is usually there to put a dampener on that feeling and in this reading it is the Pharisees. The Pharisees are not happy that Jesus has performed a miracle on the sabbath and say that Jesus is not from God but others are confused because how can somebody not from God perform a miracle.

When the Pharisees question the blind man’s parents they acknowledge he was born blind but refuse to say how he gained his sight and left it to their son to answer because they were afraid of the consequences. I find this true in all of us sometimes, I know that sometimes we know we should say something about a situation but we fear the consequences and hope somebody else will say it instead. We don’t want to be ostracised or made fun of so we keep quiet.

Now the Pharisees are furious with what the man has told them and they throw him out. This poor man has gone from being blind all his life, to getting the gift of sight and wanting to shout it from the rooftops to being thrown out of his community. Everyone would have shunned him because the Pharisees were displeased with him, even his own parents have not stood up for him. But Jesus returns, he finds the man and opens the man’s spiritual eyes as well and the man worships Jesus and the full healing is complete. Jesus did not just heal the man physically but healed his faith as well, he gave this man a purpose and belief. After a lifetime of begging and darkness he now sees the light and begins his journey in the light of God.

The Pharisees are not blind in this because they refuse to see, they refuse to see and acknowledge Jesus as the son of God. If they were blind then they would not be sinning but because they see they sin because they choose to ignore. This is something I sadly relate to, don’t we all see the world suffering, see people suffering and choose to ignore it or pick and choose what we decide to help with.

After reading and pondering this reading I have decided to do more and not ignore so much in the world. I will think more about the climate and the effects my actions have on the world but I will also think and act more on how I can help people. I hope you have enjoyed my little reflection this Sunday. Thank you.

 

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Trojan Women by Seneca (Review)

Trojan Women by Seneca (Translated by Frederick Ahl)

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About the author

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Lucius Annaeus Seneca (often known simply as Seneca) (ca. 4 BC – 65 AD) was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and in one work humorist, of the Silver Age of Latin literature. He was tutor and later advisor to emperor Nero. While he was later forced to commit suicide for alleged complicity in the Pisonian conspiracy to assassinate Nero, the last of the Julio-Claudian emperors, he may have been innocent.

Blurb

This free and eloquent translation skilfully reproduces the imagery, power, and frequent irony and sarcasm of Seneca’s language.

Review

I recently read this play because it is required reading for my course, however before this my course had made me read Euripides’ Trojan Women and I find that personally I much prefer Euripides’ interpretation.

The play is about the aftermath of the war of Troy and is about the fate of the survivors of Troy which is sadly the women of Troy who no longer have husbands, fathers or brothers. They are on their own and their fates are left in the hands of the Greeks and those fates will not be good. There are also two tragedies left in the play for the audience to see.

I did enjoy Seneca’s interpretation but I did find it very long winded and some of the speeches just seemed to drag for me and because of this I found it hard to visualise the play on the stage. I also found the language quite stilted but this could be because of the translation by Frederick Ahl.

The other issue I did not like was I found the play overly graphic in places and found it hard to read. I just found the detail of the gore rather overboard but I suppose this is what the Romans enjoyed on stage.

I liked the play and must admit that if I had not read Euripides’ version first I might have enjoyed it more but Euripides’ version is faster paced and I could not put it down but Seneca’s version I was quite happy to have a break from.

I also really enjoyed the introduction by Frederick Ahl and found it very informative but did find it rather amusing to see differences between Ahl’s information and information from what I have discovered in my research.

Overall I found this play ok but it just lacked the wow factor for me, maybe I prefer the Greek playwrights to the Roman playwrights but it was a good read and I am glad I have discovered the works of Seneca and hope to read more. I give this play and translation 3 out of 5 Dragons.

Purchase Links

Book Depository

Waterstones

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Friday Poetry: Don Marquis

Happy Friday!

I chose this poem because we have a Tom Cat who terrorises our poor cats and does anything he possibly can to get into our house. Thankfully we have a very clever cat flap that will only let our cats in.

 

The Tom-Cat

At midnight in the alley

A tom-cat comes to wail,

And he chants the hate of a million years

As he swings his snaky tail.

 

Malevolent, bony, brindled,

Tiger and devil and bard,

His eyes are coals from the middle of Hell

And his heart is black and hard.

 

He twists and crouches and capers

And bares his curved sharp claws,

And he sings to the stars of the jungle nights

Ere cities were, or laws.

 

Beast from a world primeval,

He and his leaping clan,

When the blotched red moon leers over the roofs

Give voice to their scorn of man.

 

He will lie on a rug tomorrow

And lick his silky fur,

And veil the brute in his yellow eyes

And play he’s tame and purr.

 

But at midnight in the alley

He will crouch again and wail,

And beat the time for his demon’s song

With the swing of his demon’s tail.

 

Don Marquis

 

I couldn’t get a picture of the annoying Tom Cat so I took a picture of my cat Pan instead.

 

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