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Tag: Homer

Graphic Adaptations

I read my first Jane Austen novel after watching the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. From there I read the other books – and watched various movie adaptations of each. Movie adaptations are often used in schools a culminating activity, with some sort of compare contrast note-taking work. The thing is, a good adaptation can help readers before they tackle the original, giving them the sense of the plot and characters, as well as the big ideas the work addresses.

Some recent graphic novels can serve the same purpose – giving readers access to a work of literature before they tackle the original – whether for school or for pleasure.

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Required Reading: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

required_readingA few weeks ago, The Hub posted a poll asking for your favorite assigned summer reading in high school. With 49% of the 134 votes, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was the top selection. This got me thinking about how required reading has impacted us as YA readers.

It’s a safe assumption that we’re all readers over here on The Hub. The results of the poll show that there were some fantastic experiences, but does it mean that all of our past reading experiences were great? I turned to some of our bloggers to get the scoop on required reading: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Read on to hear how assigned readings have made our bloggers stronger feminists, wish fatal illnesses on heroines, and really, really love bacon.

The Good

Jessica Lind: “When I was in 7th and 8th grade, I had an English teacher who really challenged us with reading. During her class, I fell in love with Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm, and 1984. I was transitioning out of the books of my childhood and these classics helped to keep me reading.”

The JungleGretchen Kolderup: “My 10th grade US History class was combined into a two-period class with our English class. We learned history and we learned English, but it was all through the lens of social movements in America. The books that we were assigned were really thoughtful choices that illuminated social issues and that weren’t what you’d typically have as required reading — Power by Linda Hogan, All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, and Catch-22 by Joseph Heller are the ones I remember. I loved that what we were reading was actually put into context so I could understand it — I would have missed so much of the meaning in the books if I hadn’t known what was happening in the world at the time they were published.”

Carla Land: “When I was in tenth grade I was in an honor’s English class and one of our required readings was The Great Gatsby. I absolutely hated it! My teacher was obsessed with the “eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleberg” and spent weeks talking about how important they were. I swore off of F. Scott Fitzgerald forever after that class. Fast forward to my sophomore year of college when I took a Modern Literature course- taught by a professor who was a Hemingway and Fitzgerald scholar. He’d spent his whole career studying them and their words. When we got to The Great Gatsby I held my breath and waited for the inevitable week long lesson on T.J. Eckleberg and his eyes. My professor commented on them once and they weren’t even on the test. After listening to him talk about the book and the author I had to take his Hemmingway and Fitzgerald course the next semester. It’s now one of my favorite books!”

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Short Form Summer Reading Summaries

by flickr user sara. nel
Whether you’re a librarian, a parent, or procrastinator not too proud to admit it, you’re probably familiar with the question that comes up around this time of year regarding assigned summer reading. Not just panicked students requesting the books they need, but the slightly desperate plea, “What is this book about?” We put the question to the collective mind of our Hub bloggers, with the added challenge to summarize familiar summer reading classics in the shortest form possible. Here is a round-up of the quirky, clever, and funny responses we got:

From Sarah Debraski with an assist from Paul, some great haiku

The only thing you
need to know is Big Brother
is always watching
(1984 by George Orwell)

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From Classic to Contemporary: The Iliad into Troy High

Classics–whether they are novels, plays, or epics–offer us great characters, interesting plots, and lots of things for discussion … but sometimes they can be a little tough to tackle. Sometimes we adore them, but sometimes we can’t get past page 3, let alone the requisite 50. That doesn’t mean that we should give up what they have to offer, though, does it? Many of today’s authors try to use these classic works as a starting-off point to write a more modern version. If done well, these contemporary versions can have a huge impact and impart the same wisdom that made the earlier story gain its classic status. Jessica Pryde and I decided to find and examine some great pairs of classics and their contemporary rewrites to see if they are successful … or maybe not.

The Classic: Homer’s The Iliad

The Iliad and its follow-up, The Odyssey, are epic poems that are known worldwide and have been reshaped into new stories, turned into mini-series and even filmed as full-length movies more times than I could easily recount here. Though scholars are still unsure as to whether or not these tales were written by one single man, credit is given to the Greek bard Homer, who lived sometime in the late eighth and early seventh centuries BCE. Though composed during Homer’s lifetime, The Iliad is set during the Bronze Age of Mycenaean Greece, around the twelfth century BCE. Within the Trojan War’s final cataclysmic year, the Greeks and Trojans unleash a plague, dream portents, duels, assassinations, and trickery upon one another. Desperate members of each side attempt victory through seduction, divine intervention, and deception. As the Greek King, Agamemnon, and Troy’s Princes, Hector and Paris, clash, death and destruction follow on both sides.

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