Reading From Grandpa’s Shelves

As reported previously, my boys have been through a recent Homer craze. When my 10-year-old walked into his grandparents house on Christmas Eve, he spotted a fat juicy copy of the The Iliad on the shelves. It was one of his grandfather’s special Folio Society books, in a slipcover and all. He pointed it out and asked to have it read to him. We did. Then, as we were leaving he asked to borrow it. Grandpa Dave took a deep breath and lent it, but made us promise that I would be the one handling it. We’ve been reading it most every night since. (I have to admit to skipping — with Douglas’ permission — chunks of the text that chronicle in excruciating detail every leader and homeland of each army assembled on both sides.) Douglas was very excited to have found the “real” Iliad, i.e. an unabridged version. At my reading of the word “awesome” in the text, however, he started to question its authenticity. “They didn’t use that word then.” Hmmm. Perhaps its time for a discussion of translations.

Meanwhile, back at home, the soon to be 12-year-old turned up reading another of Grandpa Dave’s special books, The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff. This one he gave to the boys about three years ago, after starting it for them at his house. We read it aloud then, but this time Nathan read it all to himself. These books are very nice to hold, read, and look at. The way books should be made. I guess you can tell that my sons are interested in battles, heroes, mythology, and adventure.

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