So a couple months ago, I read two children’s books that retell the classic Hindu tale, the Ramayana. My knowledge of Hinduism is VERY limited — I only know the names of a few of the gods — so when I picked up Ramayana: Divine Loophole(which I read first), I did so assuming the it was a children’s fantasy book. It wasn’t until I started reading that I learned it’s an essential part of Hindu mythology.
Ramayana: Divine Loophole by Sanjay Patel (illus.)
MG Classic; Mythology
Artist and veteran Pixar animator Sanjay Patel lends a lush, whimsical illustration style and lighthearted voice to one of Hindu mythology’s best-loved and most enduring tales. Teeming with powerful deities, love-struck monsters, flying monkey gods, magic weapons, demon armies, and divine love, Ramayana tells the story of Rama, a god-turned-prince, and his quest to rescue his wife Sita after she is kidnapped by a demon king.
I am a curious lass. I always want to know things. What’s funny though is that sometimes as soon as I read or learn something, if I don’t reinforce the lesson, I tend to forget what I learned. The exception, though, is when the lesson or reading is accompanied by an emotion or if it’s so weird that it sticks out in my mind. This is why I love stories, especially those of fantasy. Stories are always emotionally charged and those of fantasy are always accompanied by the unusual so I am sure to remember them. What does this have to do with World Religions by Robert Pollock? Well, I read the book a couple weeks ago and I’ve already forgotten what I read. 😦
I didn’t mean for this to happen. There are slight tendrils of memories lingering around in my mind, trying to remind me of what I read but it’s no use. What I do remember, however, is the impression the book made on me. I recall that I enjoyed reading it and that I felt enlightened while doing so. I saw similarities among the major religions of the world and learned about other religions that, prior to this book, I’ve never heard of.
I’ve been meaning to read this book ever since I once snuck into a classical mythology class while I was in college. I love mythology and folklore and fables and I always wanted to take a class on it but my schedule never allowed for it. So when I saw Edith Hamilton’s Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes chilling on a bookshelf in Barnes & Noble, I had to buy it and begin reading immediately.
I was already familiar with most of the stories thus reading Mythology was more of a refresher than an introduction. Still, if you are unfamiliar with Greek/Roman mythology and would like to know about it, Hamilton’s book is one you should pick up. Hamilton relates these stories by summarizing various plays and epic poems by great dramatists and poets such as Ovid, Apollodorus, Virgil, Pindar, Aeschylus, and many others.
Hamilton’s retelling is in story form and is engaging. She also includes small excerpts from the original sources to give readers examples of how the god, goddesses, and other notable people were described:
“Golden-throned Hera, among immortals the queen,
Chief among them in beauty, the glorious lady
All the blessed in high Olympus revere,
Honor even Zeus, the lord of the thunder.”
I’m such a book whore! Seriously, why can’t I just stick to one? No, instead I start reading one and then another catches my eye and then I’m off with that one too, reading them both at once. Sometimes I feel guilty because I tend to give more attention to one than the other – most times, to the second than the first. I wish I could settle down with just one book but whenever I try to do so, my mind wanders and I begin to wonder if there’s something better out there that I’m missing out on.
For the New Year, I decided to read 30 books. It’s a doable goal. Last year’s 60 books didn’t work out well and I only read 45 by pushing myself hard. “30 books” is more relaxed. So far I’ve read 5 books, which has surprised me because I didn’t expect to read that much in just a month. The month isn’t even over yet.
The first book read was The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I was so captivated by this book that it didn’t even cross my mind to consider running off with another. This book lassoed me and held fast. Most times I couldn’t even tear my eyes from the pages. Everything was done one-handed and with a quarter of my attention while I read, which caused many accidents to happen—especially in the kitchen—and shoddy clean-up jobs.
After completing The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I jumped into The Magician’s Guild by Trudi Canavan. This one is a bore. I’m still trying to make my way through it. The chemistry is simply not there and I kept wandering off so I began reading The Writing Life by Annie Dillard. Although Dillard’s book kept me interested, it was not enough to turn me from my whorish ways so I began reading A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin.
I ran off with A Wizard of Earthsea and had a blissful affair. We were involved once when I was a teenager but then I forgot about it—it’s hard to keep up when you’ve been involved with so many books. But it was great hooking up again and rediscovering what we once had. I promise this time I will not forget. It was a good lay.