Hello all, hope you’re well.

Todays blog post is about Classical literature (surprise surprise)…

Reading ancient literature can be difficult or even boring at times, but fear not, there is a compromise. There is a collection of amazing authors in the world that have sold some awesome books based off of works from Antiquity. I’m going to share some of my favourites with you, with a 1-5 rating.

1. I, Claudius 

I, Claudius is a novel written by Robert Graves in 1934. It is written in the form of an autobiography, telling the life of the emperor Claudius and his family from 44BC to 41AD. It is really addictive, albeit slightly hard to understand in places, and I had to stop multiple times in order to look up facts or information. The sequel is also worth a read, called Claudius the God, and if you’re feeling lazy then there is the 1976 BBC series.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

2. The Penelopiad 

The Odyssey from Odysseus’ wife, Penelope’s point of view. It is not contemporary to Odysseus’ travels, rather it is her retrospective contemplation from the underworld. It features a chorus that comprises of the female slaves who were killed by Odysseus, which I thought linked it nicely with a Greek drama performance. Written by Margret Atwood.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

3. Lavinia 

If I had 10 hearts, I would give them. Ursula Le Guin’s novel that focuses on the rather 2D character Lavinia from the Aeneid was recommended to me by one of my University lecturers, and it was amazing. Before reading it I had never given much thought towards the princess of Latium with regard to her life, feelings or circumstances, but this really made me think. It is beautifully written with a timespan that covers events before, during and after the events of the Aeneid. I am now Le Guin’s biggest fan. (But not in the Kathy Bates Misery kind of way…)

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ++

4. The song of Achilles

Warning: This book will make you cry. The relationship between Achilles and Patroclus is hinted at, but never mentioned explicitly in the Iliad. The song of Achilles by Madeline Miller focuses on this relationship, as well as the one between Achilles and his mother, the goddess Thetis. I liked this book as it showed a different side of the characters in the Iliad,

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

5. Ulysses 

Hardest book you will ever read. James Joyce’s novel is certainly a journey worthy of Odysseus. It is literally just an account of one day of a man’s life in Dublin 1904. Points if you can finish it- it’s really difficult.

Rating: ♥ ♥

6. Trojan Women: A Novel of the Fall of Troy 

Written by Byrne Fone, it tells the story of the Trojan War from a point of view that is seldom heard- the women of Troy. Protagonists include, Briseis, Cassandra, Helen and Hecuba and each give their thoughts, fears and emotions towards the 10 year siege and the strain it puts on their relationships and homes.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

7. The Death of Virgil

Like Ulysses, The death of Virgil is an insanely hard read. I’m currently reading it at the moment and the 1945 novel by Hermann Broch reenacts the final hours of the life of the (amazingly awesome) Roman poet, Virgil. It was originally written in German and although the story itself is a gripping read; the language is hard to get to grips with.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

8. Percy Jackson 

If you haven’t read these books, shame on you! What were you doing in your pre teen years? (Clearly being more sociable than I was…)  Anyway, Rick Riordan is a very cool author who has written a fair few books about teenage demigods and the adventures they face. Both the children of the Roman gods and the Greek gods feature and these books are particularly special because they are what made me so interested in Classics.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

9. Starcrossed

Josephine Angelini wrote Starcrossed in 2011. It is a modern day retelling of the events of Troy (sort of), and focuses on the love story between Helen and Paris (or Lucas as he is called in the novel…Paris isn’t the most attractive name for a teen bad boy…) The book is really addictive and I’ve read them all about four times. If you enjoy them them read the sequels: Dreamless and Goddess.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

So these are just a few of the hundreds of modern books that are based on mythological and classical writing that are worth the read. Let me know if you’ve read/ enjoyed any of them and please, comment any recommendations for me below.

If you want to see a collection of my favourite classical books, follow this link to find out more…Reading the Real Classics.