Thursday, January 27, 2011

#9 - Weight

So, before I hit upon my latest reading strategy, I was at a loss for what to read next. I was in the bedroom with the baby and said to my RRHB, "just get me a book, any book." He picked Jeanette Winterson's Weight. As part of The Myths series, I'm not sure how to categorize this book -- part fiction, part philosophy and part mythology, Weight re-tells the story of Heracles, a scoundrel of a god, and Atlas, the man charged with holding up the world.

Again, this was a short book, so it took me merely an evening to read (including breastfeeding bouts throughout the night). Overall, I enjoyed Winterson's re-telling, and while I have read very little mythology in my lifetime and have only the cursory understanding of these stories in the first place, I liked the moral underpinning she employs here -- that we all have our own burdens, and like Atlas, we can choose or not choose to hold them up or simply let them go. Winterson relates everything back to her own life throughout the telling, and there are chapters where she explains her history, and how and why she came to write as she does. The personal element adds a little something to the tale and there are whimsical elements (like Atlas finally getting some company in the form of a pet; I won't spoil it, it is very cute) that I also enjoyed.

After reading The City Man, it's interesting that I got through another book so quickly -- and pleased to have read something slightly different than pure fiction. I have one more book from the series on my shelves, Karen Armstrong's, and will probably get to that shortly as well. For now, I'm moving on to American fiction and have started Russel Banks' The Reserve. Lots to get through!

2 comments:

Melwyk said...

I do love Jeanette Winterson. Have you read her essays on art, Art Objects? I loved it; she has so much to say about the power of art of all kinds.

Kailana said...

This sounds really interesting. I wanted to read all the books in the series, but my library doesn't really have any. I did read Atwood's contribution and I think one other... I can't remember what is part of it anymore!