What We Are Reading: January 2020

What I’m Reading: Latin Teacher Amy Sun
This time of year, my reading is almost exclusively tied to my work with the girls. Edith Hamilton’s classic text “Mythology” has been activating the minds of classicists, young and old, since 1942. This year I picked it as my mentor text for the most advanced Latin classes. It has served as a foundation, a reference text, a home base, and a north star for the course. Since my fall semester AIS class was titled “Damsels in Distress: Mansplaining in Mythology,” having a female classicist as the author of our mentor text was key. Our essential question investigated the problematic tales of women that are almost never told by women. Hamilton’s interpretations are one of the earliest by a female classicist, and it’s that much better that she is one of our own.

I discovered “Orpheus Girl” serendipitously while scanning the shelves at R.J. Julia (a brick-and-mortar paradise in Madison, Connecticut) with my daughter. It’s a 20-year-old female author’s retelling of the Orpheus tale, which we had just translated. I made a quick pivot to include it as content in the final weeks of the fall course. We were even lucky enough to video chat with Brynne (the author) for one of our final experiences in the term!

I’m also reading the “Aeneid” in Latin via my own translation, which is an annual event. I’m about to pull heavily from the “Aeneid” for the spring semester, which focuses on the great ghost scenes, prophecies, omens, and fortune tellers of Rome. The “Aeneid” is chock full of episodes like this.

On my nightstand is “Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting” edited by Ann Hood. This anthology of short stories includes pieces by Barbara Kingsolver, Jane Smiley, Ann Patchett, and a host of others. All of the tales include the theme of knitting in some way, shape, or form, since all of the authors are also knitters. I am an avid knitter and fiber artist. This is my cozy bedtime read, but it is only in my hands if my needles aren’t.

And finally, I’m listening to “Norse Mythology” by Neil Gaiman, an author whose novels I enjoyed reading this past summer. My fluency in Norse Mythology has never been as strong as my classical mythology, and I am resolved to improving that. So lately I’m running my weekly miles with Odin, Thor, Freia, and Loki.