Heroes by Stephen Fry

Heroes by Stephen Fry

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  • Stephen Fry’s Great Mythology #2
  • Nonfiction
  • Mythology
  • Retellings
  • Paperback
  • 476 pages
  • Goodreads rating: 4.31

Rating: 4 out of 5.

“Such is the paradox of living. We willingly accept that we have no will.”

Stephen Fry, Heroes

Heroes: Mortals and Monsters, Quests and Adventures is the sequel to Mythos, in which Stephen Fry (re)tells classic Greek Mythology. Where Mythos tells the tales of the Greek Gods and their victims, Heroes focuses solely on, sorry for stating the obvious, the heroes of Greek Mythology. It tells the stories of Perseus, Heracles, Oedipus and many others. The Heroes kill horrible beasts, endure the wrath of jealous wives and complete impossible labours.

“Oh Icarus, Icarus, my beloved boy. Why couldn’t you listen? Why did you have to fly so close to the sun?”

Stephen Fry, Heroes

I enjoyed reading Heroes a lot. It definitely lived up to the expectations that Mythos had set. On the whole, the contents of the book appealed to me more than that of Mythos, since the adventures of Greek heroes interest me more than the gods’ pedigree. I read some reviews saying that Heroes is much more organised than Mythos and I have to agree. Heroes is organised by hero. All the adventures of a hero are bundled in chronological order in a chapter with the name of that hero, whereas Mythos was full of shorter stories and felt like complete chaos. What still kind of bothered me, though it isn’t really Fry’s fault, is the insane amount of names in this book. Every time Fry introduces a new character of creature, the name is spelled in capital letters, which happens pretty much every page.. luckily there is a List of Characters in the back of the book. It’s about 40 pages long, so I guess that tells you all you need to know.

Lessons I’ve learned from reading Heroes:

  • If you don’t like someone, just send them to kill some kind of bull and hopefully you’ll never see them again;
  • It is totally okay to throw your children off a mountain if the oracle vaguely tells you to;
  • All mythological creatures are dumb as hell, either insult or flatter them and you’ve practically already won;
  • If you don’t know who your father is, it’s a safe bet to assume it’s Zeus;
  • Don’t insult the gods, especially not by claiming you’re better at something than they are or by having sex on their altar;
  • Beastiality was completely normal in ancient times;
  • If you lay eyes on a handsome youth or girl, it is customary to tell them you love them within the first 10 minutes and then betray your family and risk your life to be with them.

“An unamused Hades cast them into stone chairs, their naked buttocks stuck to the seats, their legs bound by living snakes.”

Stephen Fry, Heroes

Heroes is exactly what you’d expect when you let a comedian write a nonfiction book. The information is definitely there, but you’re not always sure whether he’s kidding or not. I’m pretty sure he paraphrased a little, now and then.

Of course not every hero in Greek mythology is accounted for, but the biggest names are definitely there. It felt like Fry made an attempt to shorten the stories as much as possible to be able to fit more of them into a book, which affected the stories negatively, because a lot of detail was left out. I understand Fry’s choice in this, though, for the book is already 476 pages long and as much as I enjoy Greek mythology, I don’t think I would read an 800 page book about it.

Though this is technically the second book in a series of three (so far), it isn’t necessary to read them in that order. Heroes sometimes gives a reference to Mythos, but you usually get a one sentence summary of the story Fry is referring to.

TW: it may not really be a trigger, but there’s a lot of murder, familicide and sex with mortals, gods and animals, yes, animals, in this book. It’s not very descriptive, but nevertheless, I would recommend younger readers with a curiosity towards Greek mythology to start off by reading some Rick Riordan books, like the Percy Jackson, The Trials of Apollo or the Mark of Athena series. That’s about 15 books worth of kid-friendly fiction based on Greek mythology.

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Talking as Fast as I Can – Book Review

Book review: Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

Rating: 5 out of 5.
  • Memoir/Autobiography
  • Comedy
  • Published in 2016
  • Goodreads rating: 3.93
  • Kindle Edition
  • 229 pages
  • Reading time ca. 5 hours

The full title of the book is Talking as Fast as I Can: from Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls and Everything in Between, so.. there’s your summary! Just kidding, I’ll be a little more thorough. The book is a memoir of Lauren Graham’s life, which includes two essays/chapters on Gilmore Girls (What It Was Like, Part One and What It Was Like, Part Two) and some chapters on her childhood, various endeavours, such as Project Runway and some small plays she starred in, the series Parenthood and her book Someday, Someday, Maybe, amongst other things. The book is written in chronological order with plenty of pictures.

I was actually really afraid to start on this book, because I absolutely love Gilmore Girls (I’m rewatching it for my 6th or 7th time right now) and I love Lorelai and Rory so much, so I was afraid that it wouldn’t meet my expectations. Also, I read some reviews in advance and they said that there was a lot of not Gilmore-related content and I actually don’t know any other stuff with Lauren Graham in it, but then I figured that I could just skip over those bits if they weren’t interesting.

I ended up reading the whole thing, start to finish, in less than 3 days (WHILE also reading Shatter Me). It was so much fun reading this. All of my concerns about the book were taken away in the first few paragraphs. The excerpt below is a quote from the very first paragraph of the book:

“I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, which is awesome right there, but three weeks later, before I even had time to work on my tan, we moved to Japan. The home of my favorite food ever: mashed peas. Well, that was probably my favorite food back then; what a waste, since I could have been eating spicy tuna rolls with extra wasabi.”

Lauren Graham, Talking as Fast as I can

If you “LOL”ed at this quote, I would recommend you read this book. And if you don’t know Lauren Graham, first watch Gilmore Girls, THEN read this book. I really had so much fun with this book. It’s actually what I’d imagine a book written by Lorelai Gilmore would be like. It’s the perfect combination of cynical, critical, funny and sweet. I annotated the crap out of this book with all the funny quotes, anekdotes and Gilmore Girls facts.

Even so, there’s a checked-out, drugged sort of look we get when on our phones that’s different from the look we get when reading a book, or even just staring into space. I get that look too, and when I catch my own reflection, it gives me a chill. It’s like Gollum’s face just before he drops his Precious in the water. 

Lauren Graham, Talking as Fast as I Can

I started watching Parenthood after finishing this book, because she talks about the series a lot (and the man she’s dating plays her brother in this series, so I was curious) and I’ve been loving it so far. It’s nothing like Gilmore Girls, but it’s a really enjoyable series about 2 brothers and 2 sisters struggling with raising their children. It’s weird seeing “Lorelai” with different kids, though. Also, I added Graham’s book Someday, Someday, Maybe to my TBR, a novel about a young actress moving to New York to “make it” as an actress, loosely based on Graham’s life.

You will like this book if:

  • You’re a Gilmore Girls fan and you’re curious to know about what was happening behind the scenes and the life of Lauren Graham.

Obviously if you have no idea who Lauren Graham is and you’ve never seen Gilmore Girls or Parenthood, there’s not really a reason to read this book. I mean, the writing is still fun, but you’ll have no idea what she’s on about half of the time.


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Hi Fellow Bookworms!

Hi Fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to the Caffeine and Curls Bookblog!

Let me give you a little introduction to my blog. First of all, Hi! My name is Alexandra and I’m a 23-year old Dutch bookworm. I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember. When I was little, I devoured book after book after book. I remember going to the library with my mom and my little sister every single week and going home with 10 books each (because apparently that’s the limit and no, we really can’t make an exception..). So you may have already guessed it, but I wasn’t a very outgoing kid and I wasn’t much fun at parties (I’m still not). Things got even WORSE though, when I discovered the Harry Potter books. These books are also how I learned English. On my tenth birthday, I got gifted a plane ticket by my parents and they told me I could pick where we would fly to. Naturally, I wanted to go to Great Britain, because that’s where Harry Potter was! We ended up going to London for four days. I don’t remember much from that trip, but I do remember absolutely loving London. My mother still tells the stories of me talking to the restaurant and hotel staff all trip long and them being really impressed by how well I spoke English (although I’m sure it’s a little exaggerated, I was a shy ten-year-old, probably all I said was “yes, please”). I actually ended up going back to London on my twentieth birthday and doing all of the Harry Potter sightseeing, also with my mom, and if the COVID-19 measures allow it, I’m going back with my boyfriend just before Christmas. Anyway, that’s how I got into books, now on to how I got to wanting to start a blog.

I graduated from college in July of 2020. After graduating, I got a job offer from one of the biggest Dutch companies in my field of work, as a kind of Account Manager (mixed with some other tasks and responsibilities). I took the job, of course. I was 22 years old and I had one of the biggest accounts in the area, a team of 25 people who reported to me directly, a job that wasn’t entirely defined yet, in the middle of the pandemic and with no support from the company, whatsoever. Needless to say, it didn’t go well. I told them I needed a little help and guidance with some parts, because I had no experience and they neglected to give it to me. Eventually, after almost a year of giving it my everything, I quit. They were flabbergasted, because I was doing “such a good job”, but I was simply too tired to continue.

They were flabbergasted, because I was doing “such a good job”, but I was simply too tired to continue.

I took a break for a few weeks (which included two weeks of quarantine, because I got tested positive for COVID-19) and contacted my old employer from college. I went back to working in the Mexican restaurant that had been like my second home for four years during college. It has now been almost four months and I still work there. I go to work every day with a big smile on my face.

Since I only work 20 hours a week right now, I’ve had some extra time on my hands. Which means that I’ve had much more time to read lately. I’m already at 125% of my Goodreads Reading Challenge (check out the link to my Goodreads profile at the top of the page). I started reviewing some of the books I’ve read and a few weeks ago, I joined Bookstagram (link to my Instagram profile also at the top of the page). I’ve been having so much fun in the book community that I wanted to be a part of it and contribute to it even more. And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is why I started this blog. I want to spend my day reading and writing about what I’ve read and then take pictures of the books I’ve read and share all of this with you.

I’m hoping that (one day) I will be able to make a living out of writing, so that I can spend my days doing something that I love and will never get tired of.

Now that you know the melodramatic story of how I got to starting a blog, there’s not much left for me to say. I’m so excited to get started on this blog and read and write about books to my heart’s content. I’m hoping that (one day) I will be able to make a living out of writing, so that I can spend my days doing something that I love and will never get tired of.

English is not my first language, so you’ll have to excuse me if I make a spelling or grammar mistake or use a word wrong every once in a while. Feel free to correct me on it, so I don’t make the same dumb mistake 23 times 😉

All of my Social Media Accounts are linked at the top and the bottom of the page, so feel free to follow me or contact me through there! Thank you so much for reading and I hope to see you again soon!

Love, Alexandra (Alex)