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Songs on Bronze

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  232 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
A vivid, uninhibited retelling of the classic Greek stories

Songs on Bronze is the first major retelling of Greek mythology in half a century; a set of lively, racy, dramatic versions of the great myths, which, in a multicultural society, are recognized more than ever as stories without equal.

Most of us would like to know the Greek myths better than we do, and books like Se
Paperback, 272 pages
Published July 11th 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2005)
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(showing 1-30)
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Pete daPixie
Mar 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: mythology
Once upon a time, long ago, far away, there lived a young boy, aged somewhere around seven years old. At his school he had completed all those 'learning to read type books' and so he was allowed to enter the school library and select for himself a proper book to read. After wandering around the shelves for a while he finally picked out a book to read. It was called Theseus and the Minotaur. That first book was a scary introduction to reading matter! Today, over fifty years later, that old boy ha ...more
Apr 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
As someone who has always been interested in the Greek myths, but has never really read them in any great detail, this was just the book I needed. It tells an easy-to-read and interesting version of many of the key/well-known Greek myths (from the origins of the Gods to the tragic fates of Achilles, Oedipus, and Orpheus). There were a few times where I got lost a little with some of the names (keeping track of who was who), but that is no fault of the author's. On the whole, it's well written an ...more
Oct 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: newbie classicists
This was an excellent book. It makes the Greek myths accessible to the average American and shows them for the awesome stories that they are. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know about the myths but hasn't the stomach to wade through Homer's version.
Vikas Datta
May 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent... brings the old stories to life though some are quite tersely dealt with
Jul 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
I have always wanted to be more literate about the cast of characters of the Greek pantheon. I have attempted to read The Odyssey but did not have the attention span. This book contains condensed versions of just the myths I have been wanting to get more familiar with plus a version of The Odyssey which covers the most important elements of The Trojan Wars.
(You will recognize the stories from O Brother, Where Art Thou?)

The length of each section is just about right for a bedtime story. The lang
Jan 29, 2013 rated it liked it
The myths were not in fact "made real" as the title implied. As earlier reviewers have stated, these myths are lacking in detail enough to bring them to life. While the writing provides a decent overview of the myths in a non-textbook way (which those learning myths for the first time might truly appreciate) the details provided are not the ones classically taught. Menelaus, for instance, was not King of Sparta prior to marrying Helen. Helen's father, Tyndareus was, and he was faced with the cha ...more
Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Remember those retellings of the Greek myths you read as a child? The ones that simplified the myths for a younger audience? Songs on Bronze is the adult version of those retellings.

The tales are breezy (by which I mean the writing style and not the subject matter) and arranged somewhat chronologically, nicely showing how different characters and people connect across different epics and how various events relate. Being divided into short stories, Songs on Bronze is also nice to pick down and p
Feb 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Nigel Spivey pens an interesting new take on the classic Greek Myths, bringing a novelist's aesthetic as well as a modern sensibility to some of the more famous stories from the canon: Theseus, Perseus, Oedipus, Heracles, the Trojan War and The Golden Fleece. A few of the religious myths are scattered in, namely the tale of Demeter and Persephone, and some of minor tales pop up in brief and interesting ways. If you're a purist it probably won't satisfy, but if you're a casual reader looking for ...more
Dec 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
I'm not even going to finish this book, I'm sorry. I really hate to do that, but this just honestly felt like i was reading a summary of all the greek mythologies i was taught as a child, but with added dialogue. The book promised to make the myths come alive, and i expected them to be written in the form of a novel, with the greek gods and goddesses as the main characters, fleshed out with thoughts and weaknesses, but no. This was just the basic re-telling of the myths. Good for younger kids or ...more
M Strawberry Reviews
Nov 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mythology, anthology
These myths were a lot of fun to read. The title of this book was a fairly accurate one. Lots of little details are added to the Greek myths to give them more dimension, making for more memorable and enjoyable myths. It's a great starter book for anybody interested in mythology, but be forewarned, there are mentions of homosexuality (Zeus and Gnaymede, for example) as well as incest and rape. But all of these things existed in the original myths) so people familiar with these myths should not be ...more
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am rounding up my stars for this book, because really, it's a 1.5. It wasn't good. It wasn't "fresh" or "invigorating" or "up to date" or any of the other things it claims to be. It was badly written "he said she did and then they went and smacked stuff" writing that took all the power and joy out of what are really powerful tales.
I will freely admit I only read this as I needed a speedy refresher before I went to a roleplay event, but I actually found it really wasn't that great.
There are bet
Feb 16, 2008 rated it liked it
This is a fun, easy-to-read retelling of some of the most famous Greek myths. Spivey leaves in a lot of things that were left out or glossed over in the retellings I read when I was younger. He eschews archaic language in favor of the dynamic and poetic, and as a result the stories feel very immediate. I particularly enjoyed his retelling of the Persephone myth. My only complaint is that he really did pick the most famous myths, and I would have liked to run into more obscure myths that I hadn't ...more
Oct 24, 2013 rated it did not like it

I can't stand the kind of thing wherein you get Orpheus to foresee modern wars.

This book just got my hackles up in how it retold the myths - I realize that saying it 'omitted' this or that element is more or less meaningless but what it chose to include, what it chose to modify and hat it chose to exclude made the stories really flat and terrible imo.

Also the writing was terrible. Characters 'purring.' Odyssesus watching his 'shapely' wife walk away. Second hand embarrassment.
Jasmine Star
Feb 19, 2008 rated it it was ok
I think this is a grat book if you have not already read the myths. It would be a good introduction to the stories. If you are already familiar with the myths and have read the unabridged versions of the stories you may find that there is a lot missing. The author mentions this in the introduction, and i admire how well he organized the book, but it's like watching Alladin after reading Arabian Nights...mashi phal phal.
Scott Markham
Oct 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I absolutely love Greek Mythology, and Nigel Jonathan Spivey's book is a great synopsis, and hits all the highlights! It is well written, and flows smoothly from story to story. I came out of reading this book with a better understanding of Greek Mythology, and all of the great characters that played a role.

I loved this book and recommend it to anyone that wants to understand Greek Mythology with a greater acumen!
Jen Schroeder
Apr 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Okay, so I'll admit that my husband picked this up while we were at my parent's house and I stole it from him before he could finish it.

Great fun, actually. Very light, soap-opera rendition of the classic Greek myths. Easy to pick up and put down as it's basically a collection of short stories.

Mar 29, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
A retelling of the greek mythology in novel form. It's OK, but the modern take is more boring than the epic take. There's something about the older language forms that give the sense of antiquity. The author might have done better to put them into a more modern context. The Percy Jackson novels do this better.
Jan 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
the only things i enjoyed about this book were the prose style (at times), the refreshing take on hades and persephone, and the last chapter featuring orpheus and eurydice's tale (a favorite of mine for years).

otherwise? there are far better books out there that tell of the more well known greek myths, as well as the lesser known tales.
Feb 14, 2013 rated it liked it
I didn't like Edith Hamilton's "Mythology" in high school (perhaps I'd like it better now). Spivey is much easier to read than Hamilton and much more contemporary in his use of language. I would describe "Songs on Bronze" as a fun, welcoming introduction to Greek mythology. It's not Earth-shattering, but it's good.
Ann Tonks
Apr 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Although this book was designed for young people, I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in Greek Mythology but hasn't the time or the inclination to read the Illiad or the Odyssey. As explained on the cover, it is a good attempt to make these myths real.
Christopher Swann
Mar 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Very interesting retelling of well-known Greek myths.
Ruth B
Nov 29, 2008 added it
Danielle B
Jan 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
It summed up a lot of myths without leaving out too many details. I've read it many times and I don't normally read books more than once unless they're great. I loved this one. Kudos to Nigel Spivey.
Sep 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Read this with my 13 year old son ( a notorious non-reader!) and we sailed through it - loved all of the stories - v well told and broken down into easy to read chapters
Oct 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Spivey's retelling of the myths sparkle. Give it to someone who doesn't think they like this sort of thing. Might change their mind.
Erin O'Riordan
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Spivey is not only intimately knowledgeable about his subject matter, but also a spellbinding storyteller. I can scarcely imagine a mythology collection more readable. A true gem.
Apr 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent update to classical myth.
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