And that's partially how I came to The Iliad. It had been something I wanted to read for quite a while, just because I felt like I ought to. And then, the same uncle and aunt who told me to read The Pickwick Papers recommended this and The Odyssey. So I asked for the Robert Fagles translations for Christmas, and got them. I'm not sure why I wanted Fagles other than the fact that I like the covers, but I'm glad I chose his versions. I've not finished the book yet, but I've got some midway thoughts after this short intermission.
Achilles for the ladies
I'm only about half of the way through, but even after only a little bit, I think the book is astonishingly good. I remember having to read parts of it in High School (and probably eschewing that responsibility) and hating it. I think the possibility of rhyming couplets completely turned me off. Well, good news! The Fagle's translation doesn't rhyme! Thank the undying gods.
The thing which most surprises me about it all is how incredibly graphic the violence is. I often feel like I'm reading a screenplay for a Tarrentino film. It's not necessarily a bad thing, as it is great at illustrating the horror of war, it was just unexpected. One passage I just read the other night mention someone having their head and arms cut off and rolling away like a log. Eeesh.
I'll be sure to check in with a review after I'm done. As an addendum (I started writing this five days ago), I've started reading one of the aforementioned "should read" books on my metro rides to and from UMD. I'll have a review of the mystery book coming up as well, and it's sure to be positive!