Oh, to play catch up with a bunch of books. Here we go!
The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood: Really quite good. It’s a retelling of the story of Odysseus (from the Odyssey) from Penelope’s point of view, and it brings up some interesting questions. It’s far shorter than the Odyssey, which is fitting because Penelope’s life was pretty boring while her husband was away. Atwood has a great eye for the holes in the myths- which she fills with her own ideas, and they fit pretty well. Only one section toward the end rang a little extreme with me, but over all it was an excellent read. (This book was also on my 50 books to read this year list)
King Benjamin’s Speech Made Simple is a collections of articles about King Benjamin’s speech in the Book of Mormon. They look at everything from historical context to comparable literary forms and tropes that appear in contemporary (to the Book of Mormon) Hebrew texts, and the results of the analysis are really impressive. After participating in NaNoWriMo I came to the conclusion that there was no way Joseph Smith could have written the Book of Mormon off the top of his head in the time he was “supposedly” translating it; after reading this book I know there’s no way he possibly could have written it and included all of the sophisticated and historically accurate literary forms that appear just in the few chapters that contain King Benjamin’s speech- let alone the rest of the book. This is an excellent book, although somewhat dry at times,