Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter by Thomas Cahill

I’ve already begun thinking of myself as part-Greek, which is, I know, very ridiculous.  Just because I will live in the country for a year does not mean I have a right to claim their heritage as my own….except that Cahill has written an entire book about how the Western world has been shaped by the Greek worldview for the last two and a half thousand years.  So while I may not be Greek in heritage, I am in spirit.

Cahill divides his chapters into themes that also follow a general chronological pattern.  I found this to be a much easier way to track with the history and culture presented.  He also makes use of a lot of literature, which, as a book nerd, I found especially delightful.  Beginning with Homer’s The Iliad, Cahill describes Greek warriors and their obsession with glory on the battlefield.  We then move on emotions, celebrations, politics, philosophy, art, and religion.  Over and over again, Cahill reminds us just how strongly our present-day culture resembles the ancient Greeks.

I’ve always loved Greek mythology, my high school English class spent some time with Sophocles and Homer, and I took art history classes as electives in college.  I’m a little familiar with a lot of Greek history and thought, but Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea put everything into context.  For instance, the shift in Greek sculptures from rigid idealistic poses of men to the twisting, agonized figures in the famous Laocoon and His Sons came about as the strength of Athens waned, first to Sparta in the Peloponnesian War and then to Rome.

This book hits all of my interests:  art, literature, history, culture, and GREECE.  Perfect.  Continue reading

Advertisements

StumbleUpon Sunday (12)

StumbleUpon is a great way to lose hours of your life.  Luckily, I braved the Internet vortex so you don’t have to.  This week I found these especially interesting websites:

  1. She Lives in a Boeing 727
    This woman is a genius!  I want to live in an airplane treehouse!
  2. Wild Polar Bear vs. Dogs
    I was side-eyeing this photo series in case something horrible happened, but they became friends, how adorable!
  3. 20 Photos of “Terrifyingly Ferocious” Pit Bulls
    I lived with a pit bull last year, and she was the sweetest little cuddle bug.
  4. There are Two Kinds of People
    These cute little drawings highlight the (often technological) ways we differ.  I found myself cringing throughout this post–how can people leave notifications on their apps??
  5. 7 Disturbing Comics on Depression
    I would necessarily say “disturbing” so much as “encouraging” and “awesome.”
  6. Clever Tips to Make Your Life Easier
    These suggestions are genuinely helpful, from increasing phone volume by placing in a bowl to downloading YouTube videos with a simple hack.
  7. Visit Norway – Geirangerfjord 360
    This is a place.  On Earth.  How can I go there immediately?
  8. How I Can Afford My Life of Constant Travel
    Blogger Wandering Earl gives a detailed list of 12 years worth of travel–where he went and how he picked up odd jobs to get him to the next destination.
  9. Apps to Watch
    Ten new apps to consider downloading, whether you like photo editing, pruning trees, cooking eggs, or finding wi-fi.
  10. 15 Strangest Houses From Around the Globe
    #8 and #13 are especially delightful/weird!

StumbleUpon Sunday (5)

StumbleUpon is a giant collection of the best pages on the Internet.

StumbleUpon is a great way to lose hours of your life.  Luckily, I braved the Internet vortex so you don’t have to.  This week I found these especially interesting websites:

  1. Clever Illustrations Reveal the Two Kinds of People There Are in the World
    Well, I’m definitely the neat freak.
  2. 30 Places You’d Rather be Sitting Right Now
    A great way to feel worse about your desk/couch/location.
  3. Powerful Illustrations Show Women How to Fight Gender PrejudicesFor example:  “Rebecca had depression, and only after many months she was able to wear clothes that revealed the scars left on her body.  Rebecca, these marks are a reminder of how brave you have had to be!  Psychological pain is also human, and suffering it does not make you any less of a person.”
  4. Pudding the Fox is Too Friendly to Go Free
    I know he says he doesn’t support keeping foxes as pets, but with a name like Pudding?  Give me one!
  5. When Their Trailer is Transformed Into a House, Everyone is Left Completely Amazed
    This amazing camper has all the clever hacks that has made me love tiny houses.
  6. This Artist Doesn’t Just Drink Coffee, She Also Makes Incredible Portraits With It!
    Yoda!  Mario!  Daenerys!
  7. This Sentence Has Five Words
    Incredible writing advice given in an incredible format.
  8. The 30 Best Films of the Decade
    I’ve seen only 10!
  9. 30 Shower Thoughts You’ve Never Had Before
    “The saying ‘Money can’t buy you happiness’ should be changed to ‘Money can’t prevent sadness.'”
  10. The Hero’s Journey Outline
    Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey, with multiple lists and charts!  This will be very interesting to a very specific set of people.