The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller [Quotes]

I could rewrite this entire book here because I loved it so much. Instead I will just post my favorites here.

“I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.”

*

“And perhaps it is the greater grief, after all, to be left on earth when another is gone.”

*

“When he died, all things soft and beautiful and bright would be buried with him.”

*

“He is a weapon, a killer. Do not forget it. You can use a spear as a walking stick, but that will not change its nature.”

*

“Chiron had said once that nations were the most foolish of mortal inventions. “No man is worth more than another, wherever he is from.”

“But what if he is your friend?” Achilles had asked him, feet kicked up on the wall of the rose-quartz cave. “Or your brother? Should you treat him the same as a stranger?”

“You ask a question that philosophers argue over,” Chiron had said. “He is worth more to you, perhaps. But the stranger is someone else’s friend and brother. So which life is more important?”

We had been silent. We were fourteen, and these things were too hard for us. Now that we are twenty-seven, they still feel too hard.

He is half of my soul, as the poets say. He will be dead soon, and his honor is all that will remain. It is his child, his dearest self. Should I reproach him for it? I have saved Briseis. I cannot save them all.

I know, now, how I would answer Chiron. I would say: there is no answer. Whichever you choose, you are wrong.”

*

“Odysseus inclines his head. “True. But fame is a strange thing. Some men gain glory after they die, while others fade. What is admired in one generation is abhorred in another.” He spread his broad hands. “We cannot say who will survive the holocaust of memory. Who knows?” He smiles. “Perhaps one day even I will be famous. Perhaps more famous than you.”

*

“We are all there, goddess and mortal and the boy who was both.”

*

“I have done it,” she says. At first I do not understand. But then I see the tomb, and the marks she has made on the stone. A C H I L L E S, it reads. And beside it, P A T R O C L U S.
“Go,” she says. “He waits for you.”

In the darkness, two shadows, reaching through the hopeless, heavy dusk. Their hands meet, and light spills in a flood like a hundred golden urns pouring out of the sun.”

 

 

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The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

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 The Song of Achilles

“I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.”

Get ready to feel all the feels. Every single one. I am going to have to write a more spoilery post to get them all out, I’ll link it when it is up. 

I feel as if I have just lived alongside someone for an entire lifetime in the span of just a couple of days.

This book is absolutely beautiful. It is heartbreaking and perfect. The story of Patroclus is one that I have never investigated. It has always been overlooked, in the shadow of Achilles and his legacy. In Miller’s telling of his story, of their story together, it is obvious that you cannot have one, without the other. Achilles’ story depends on Patroclus. It is fundamentally entwined with it. It is the same.

This book shows that in the purest light. It doesn’t gloss over the messy or the mediocre to make these heroes appear in a better light. Instead it highlights their humanity. It makes them relatable. It makes them real.

Emotion pours off of the page. It is evident in every single line. It is raw and moving and one of the most beautiful things I have ever read.

I feel like if I say any more about it spoilers will stream out like all the tears I have shed. So go get yourself a copy, read it, come back here and tell me how much you also loved it because you will. Trust me!

I also reviewed Miller’s second novel Circe, here.

 

The Book Boozer Travels: Costa Rica

In a little less than a month we will be on our way to Costa Rica! I will have so much to tell and hopefully some gorgeous pictures to share when we get back, and I will keep you guys updated on what books I read while we are traveling. Our first and last days are full travel days. I am an incessantly light packer, so I will mainly be listening to audiobooks since they are convenient and drain less of my battery than the kindle app. I have a couple books on deck, but would love any suggestions you have. Anything will a good narrator I am up for! The narrator can make or break an audiobook for me. That’s kind of the inherent danger of an audiobook, isn’t it? The way someone reads a book that you may otherwise like if you had read yourself, can totally ruin it for you.

Pro tip: ALWAYS listen to the sample provided before you buy an audiobook! It has saved many a book from my dislike pile.

Anyone out there been to Costa Rica, or live there? We have our itinerary pretty set but I am always up for an adventure. So if there some insider scoop or a must-do, let me know!

We are also using Airbnb for the first time, and I will have a full experience post about it when we get back as well.

I plan to post on my @thebookboozer Instagram page while I am there as well, to kind of get that back up and running. If you want to follow along you can always follow me there, or on my personal account @c_kartchner. Just drop me a DM saying youre from the blog or I might think you are a creeper and block you!

 

From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty



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“There is freedom found in decomposition, a body rendered messy, chaotic, and wild. I relish this image when visualizing what will become of my future corpse.”

Alright guys, stay with me here. I know. This is not the type of book you are used to me posting about. It looks daunting and dark and depressing. But what is that little anecdote we have head a billion times in our lives? Yeah. Listen to that.

Because this book is phenomenal. It is everything you never knew you wanted to learn about death culture. I bet you didn’t even know that you wanted to learn stuff about death culture. Trust me, you do.

I think there is probably no better way to get a feel for a culture than how they treat not only their dead, but those who are mourning. Doughty, I think, would agree.

In this book she travels the world visiting different countries and immersing herself in their death process. What is completely normal to them will blow your mind. You don’t go to a multi-cultural festival and learn all about cremation or sky burials. You eat a lot of food, collect a few flags, and you are on your merry way. Even though food is a part of culture, it isn’t all of it. Not even close. And thank god for that, I would hate to have my own culture interpreted through a Big Mac.

Doughty presents her research an almost clinical way. However there is no lack of respect and appreciation in her observations. Her findings are void of judgement. The only bias she has is how she would want her own death to be treated.

I think this book will surprise you. If you are looking for a book that will engage you and also make you think, this one is for you.

Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe

“It is a common saying that women are delicate creatures, flowers, eggs, anything that may be crushed in a moment’s carelessness. If I had ever believed it, I no longer did.”

Circe. Daughter of Helios and Perse. Outcast even before exile. This is a coming of age story, in which a goddess comes of age over the course of centuries. I’ll tell you what, there is nothing more comforting to a person in their late twenties than a goddess not having her shit together for literally hundreds of years.

There is always something a bit strange about novels and stories like this. I feel weird calling them historical fiction, but you know what I mean. Ancient Greek histories of gods and men. We all know the stories, they are familiar. How many times has Troy been made into a movie or tv show? You watch it every time don’t you? I do. But we all know how it ends. With the minor character tweaks they may add to make it new and exciting, its still the same story. They still let the damn horse in. You never leave the theater talking about how Achilles lived this time. Some things even filmmakers don’t dare to change.

Fate they would call it. Circe had a fate that we knew well before this book was written. The spoilers have been there for centuries. So why pick it up? Why bother with a story you already know? Because Circe is a badass and so, my friends, is Madeline Miller.

Her writing is fantastic. It is clean and crisp while still emotional. Perdita Weeks adds the most beautiful narration in the audiobook that just enhances what Miller has already done. Circe’s voice is so clear and heartbreaking. Miller tells her story in a way that is both relatable and intriguing. You know what is going to happen but you also feel on the edge of your seat. She convinces you that she just might test fate and change the course of Circe’s life. Which she does, kind of. There are enough tweaks to the story that I know of Circe from The Odyssey that I wasn’t sure what really was going to happen next, and since my only knowledge of Circe is from The Odyssey I was never really sure what ended up of her. Upon some serious Googling after finishing the book it seems that no one can quite agree upon what became of Circe, so I can see why Miller chose her to write a novel about.

The only other issue I have of Greek histories is that there usually is no clear beginning, middle, and end. There is no one task to be achieved or plot to be finished. It’s the story of someone’s life, so often it is messy and disengaging. Miller does an excellent job of keeping your attention even without underlying plots and cliffhangers. That is a token to her writing.

Circe is one of my favorite books I have read this year, and I am just now diving into A Song of Achilles because I like to do things backwards apparently! I am hooked on Madeline Miller’s writing and I can’t wait to see what she writes in the future.

 

Lilah

I had another baby!

Just kidding, we got a puppy 🙂

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I have never had a dog. Not even as a kid. We always had a cat around, but they basically took care of themselves most of the time. My dad “doesn’t like dogs”, so we never had one. I think we maybe had a couple for a couple days at a time once or twice, but they never worked out. I put that previous statement in air quotes because now that me and my siblings are all adults and living on our own, my parents are empty-nesters. With two dogs.

When we decided to get a dog we knew that we wanted to rescue one. We also knew we wanted a puppy, and not an adult dog. This being because we have small children, and with an older rescue you can never be totally sure what may have happened to them in the past, and run the risk of them being set off by something and either scary or hurting the kids, and we wanted our kids to be able to help raise the puppy as well. Maybe when they are a bit older we will rescue an older dog, but for right now, a puppy it is!

We adopted Lilah through a company here in Utah called the Rescue Rovers. They are a foster company, rather than a shelter, and place rescued or surrendered dogs into foster homes until they are all up to date on their vaccinations, spayed/neutered, and cleared by the vet for adoption. Then they collect applications for the dog. They usually like to have at least three applications in for a dog at a time. Then each family comes to the foster house, meets the dog and interacts with it. Then, once all the applicants meet the dog the foster parent decides which family they think will work best for the dog.

This is what I love about Rescue Rovers. Their number one goal is not just to place dogs into homes, but to place them into homes that they will remain in  for the rest of their lives. When you sign the contract to adopt a dog, you agree that in any event you can no longer care for the dog, you are required to return it to Rescue Rovers to be placed back into a foster family. Their commitment to these animals is amazing, and I am so grateful that they are doing what they can for these pups.

Lilah, our sweet shepherd mix, is about 11 weeks old. She was found with her two sisters in a cardboard box on the side of the highway in New Mexico when they were about six weeks old. New Mexico has few resources for dogs, so the puppies were transported up to Utah and placed into Rescue Rovers. Their sweet foster mom Dana then took them into her house and raised them until they were old enough to go up for adoption. Not only do these foster families take them in for all their shots, appointments, and surgeries, but Lilah was already about 75% potty trained and 100% kennel trained. She sleeps through the night snug in her own bed and doesn’t make a peep. These foster families are not just a stepping stone for these dogs. They aren’t just biding their time there until a family comes to take them home. They are being trained with the skills to give them the highest possible chance to have a successful adoption into a family that can keep them forever.

Bless their hearts for that because I would just keep all of the puppies. I would be that lady.

Click here to visit the Rescue Rovers website if you are interested in adopting, fostering, or donating.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

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I haven’t enjoyed a book this much in a long time people. Granted, I haven’t read nearly as much as I used too, but I still firmly believe that statement would still be true. Trevor Noah has a story to tell, and my god can he tell a story. This one just happens to be about his life, up until the days following his mother being shot in the head.

You might know Trevor Noah from his stand up, and currently as host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central. What you might not know is that Trevor was born into a world in which he was considered the product of a crime. Literally. His mother, a black South African woman, and his father, a white Swiss man, were forbidden to engage in sexual relations under the Immorality Act under apartheid in South Africa. His lineage was then kept a secret from everyone other than his immediate family, and his exposure to the general population was minimal until apartheid ended. Even then, the repercussions from apartheid he would continue to deal with for the rest of his life in South Africa, until he moved to the United States in 2011. The most recent years of his life aren’t chronicled in this book, but I am very much hoping he writes those stories in a new book.

Trevor’s book is filled with so much.

Honesty, comedy, love, parenting, feminism, fear, abuse, courage. After finishing this book, it is astounding to me that this man can not only still see the world in a positive light, but to keep pushing the boundaries and seeking the truth in a world in which the truth is seldom positive.

I am grateful that he decided to share his story in this book, and I am grateful that he is here.

Below are a couple quotes that I loved, and I really hope that everyone reads this book.

PS- His mom is #momgoals. Seriously, that woman is everything.

“I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done in life, any choice that I’ve made. But I’m consumed with regret for the things I didn’t do, the choices I didn’t make, the things I didn’t say. We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most. Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to. “What if…” “If only…” “I wonder what would have…” You will never, never know, and it will haunt you for the rest of your days.”

“We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.”

“I was blessed with another trait I inherited from my mother, her ability to forget the pain in life. I remember the thing that caused the trauma, but I don’t hold onto the trauma. I never let the memory of something painful prevent me from trying something new. If you think too much about the ass kicking your mom gave you or the ass kicking that life gave you, you’ll stop pushing the boundaries and breaking the rules. It’s better to take it, spend some time crying, then wake up the next day and move on. You’ll have a few bruises and they’ll remind you of what happened and that’s ok. But after a while, the bruises fade and they fade for a reason. Because now, it’s time to get up to some shit again.”

“Trevor, remember a man is not determined by how much he earns. You can still be a man of the house and earn less than your woman. Being a man is not what you have, it’s who you are. Being more of a man doesn’t mean your woman has to be less than you.”

 “The name Hitler does not offend a black South African because Hitler is not the worst thing a black South African can imagine. Every country thinks their history is the most important, and that’s especially true in the West. But if black South Africans could go back in time and kill one person, Cecil Rhodes would come up before Hitler. If people in the Congo could go back in time and kill one person, Belgium’s King Leopold would come way before Hitler. If Native Americans could go back in time and kill one person, it would probably be Christopher Columbus or Andrew Jackson. “
“The world doesn’t love you. If the police get you, the police don’t love you. When I beat you, I’m trying to save you. When they beat you, they’re trying to kill you.”