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A Few Fun Ideas for this Summer

Summers at the Academy are extra-long to give you plenty of time to follow your interests (and recover from Greek philosophers.) I hope you have lots of fun planned for the break ahead, but we put together a list of some ideas you might want to explore if you are looking for something to do.

Things to Read

Books related to ancient Greece and Rome

  • Jo Walton’s Thessaly trilogy (beginning with The Just City) imagines what it would be like if Athena decided to actually start a city based on Plato’s Republic. Honestly, it’s worth reading the whole series just to listen to Athena try to explain consent to Apollo.
  • I, Claudius by Robert Graves is a little salacious, but if you wish we had dug a little deeper into the antics of the imperial families, you will love this fictional history written by the unassuming emperor Claudius.
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is a retelling of the Iliad by a high school classics professor, focused on the relationship between Achilles and Patrocles. (I haven’t read her new book Circe—about the sorceress from the Odyssey—yet, but I am really looking forward to it!)
  • C.S. Lewis retells the Psyche/Cupid myth in Till We Have Faces, an odd little fairy tale that may surprise you if you’ve only read his Narnia books.
  • Some people think The Ides of March is a little over-intellectual—Thornton Wilder has created a fictional tale based around imagined letters, diaries, and other invented primary sources that recounts the turbulent last months of Julius Caesar’s life. I kind of love it, though.

 

Books that connect to the Enlightenment

  • A Tale of Two Cities is the perfect book to read for next year: It’s a Victorian novel written about the French Revolution, which was a climactic moment for the Enlightenment.

 

Books that help reinforce specific skills

 

Books that you may just enjoy

 

Things to Watch

Movies related to ancient Greece and Rome

  • O Brother, Where Art Thou may be the best adaptation of The Odyssey you’ll ever see. (The Coen brothers transpose the action to the Depression-era South, and seeing how different characters and events are changed to suit the time is so much fun.)
  • The 1961 adaptation of Antigone is perfect, but it follows the ideal of Aristotelean drama by eschewing special effects and letting Sophocles’s language shine through.

 

Television series we talk about all the time

  • If you aren’t watching The Good Place, you are missing the best comedy about ethics on television! (The fact that it is the only comedy about ethics on television does not make it any less awesome.)
  • I mean, by now you should know that Shelly and I are always going to make Buffy the Vampire Slayer references in class.

 

Things to Do

Whatever you decide to do this summer, we hope it's a great one!