Now is a good time for you to read Mary Renault

(Also, there was never a bad time to read Mary Renault.)

Almost the whole of Mary Renault’s oeuvre is being put into e-book format as of next week. !!!!!! As you may know if you have hung around this blog or reviewed Song of Achilles or spoken of Mary Renault at all in any way ever, I am a huge huge HUGE fan of hers. My lovely mother handed me Fire from Heaven when I was thirteen or so, and I have loved Mary Renault ever since then. No author I have ever read before or since has managed to give such a credible sense of place to a story about ancient Greece; and very few authors of my experience are able to hang so much emotional weight on what remains unsaid among her characters.

Since Mary Renault is great and you all probably wanted to read her books anyway, would anyone be interested in some sort of Mary Renault week? I was thinking the week of the 23rd, as that will give us all a little time to read her books and compose posts about them. I shall write about my very favorite Mary Renault book, The Charioteer, as well as about my very close next favorite, The Persian Boy. I am also hoping to con Mumsy into doing a guest/conversation post about The King Must Die, as that was her gateway drug to Mary Renault. And then I will also do posts rounding up links from anyone else who has posted about her.

SO. Anyone else feel like it? I’m trying not to call anyone out in particular but some of y’all have spoken to me before about wanting to read Mary Renault and I feel like there is no time like the present! I very, very much want her to be more widely read in the present day so that I will have a larger group of people to talk about her with.

28 thoughts on “Now is a good time for you to read Mary Renault”

  1. If your dear mother declines, I would be happy to fill in with thoughts/conversation on The King Must Die and why it is one of the best historical fiction books ever….of I could chime in after her with thoughts on The Bull from the Sea….

  2. The Bull From the Sea was *my* gateway drug to reading Renault. It’s taken me quite a few years to assemble my present collection. I think I’m missing The Charioteer and a few of the other contemporary novels; of the historical fictions the only one I have left to read is Funeral Games, which I started but then misplaced. (Turns out my son took it.)

    So YES, definitely, I do think a Mary Renault week would be a grand idea!

    1. Did you like The Charioteer? Because I found my spare copy (I have a spare copy), and I can send it to you if you want it. It’s just a little mass market paperback but I’m happy to send it.

      1. Oops, missed your reply to my comment! (Life has been crazy busy recently – what can I say?) But I did enter your draw, so I’ll take my chances. I’ll get my hands on The Charioteer regardless. 🙂 Reading The Friendly Young Ladies, and will try my darnedest (sp?) to get a post up today.

  3. Ok ok OK. I will read some Mary Renault. You convinced me a while back but now I realize I have to get off my butt and do it. And if you do a week event I will push myself to a deadline so I can join in the convo.

  4. I definitely want to read her – I got Fire From Heaven after I finished The Song of Achilles, but sadly it still lingers unread on my shelf. The only thing that prevents me from saying “YES! I will join your reading week” is that these days I feel like I need about two month’s advance notice to get anything done at all 😛 But I’ll definitely try!

    1. Hahahaha, I seriously thought about sending you a Mary Renault book when I was picking books for you recently. But I knew I’d just be doing it so you’d have to read it, not truly because it was the most cheering book I could think of. :p

  5. I’ve always believed I tried Renault and wasn’t captivated, but it might have been from dipping into books on my parents’ shelves a bit too early (certainly earlier than 13). So I will try again. Is there a particular one you’d recommend for me to begin with? Fire from Heaven, maybe?

    1. I would recommend The Mask of Apollo to start with. It’s engaging from the get-go, whereas some of her other books can take a little while to get going. (I’m rereading The Persian Boy and it takes foreeeeever for Alexander to show up and do things.)

    1. The Achilles book I swear is a pale shadow of how good Mary Renault is. I recommend The Mask of Apollo. It’s lovely and accessible.

    1. You should! She was very cool and she lived in a like sapphic community in South Africa with her partner. (However, she super-hated effeminate gay guys. And sometimes you are like, Whoa Mary Renault. Please calm down with that.)

  6. I SO want to since we recently talked about it on my Achilles review. I have a ton of crap piling up for September/October…between books for book club, Carl’s RIP, and the Estella Society Historian Readalong I’m tapped. I do want recs though. Lots of recs. Maybe a prioritized list. 😀

  7. I pretty much never commit to any reading weeks until the week arrives and I feel like reading the book, but I do have a copy of The King Must Die, and if, when the week of Sept. 23 approaches, I feel like reading it, I will join in. Otherwise, I’ll enjoy others’ posts and look forward to getting around to reading Renault for myself.

  8. I have a copy of The King Must Die that I’ve never read and I swear that it glowers at me whenever I skip past it in favor of something else and goes “you know. YOU KNOW that you will love me. Other Jenny and her mumsy LOVE me, and you know they have excellent taste. why aren’t you reading me?” I think if you are going to have a Mary Renault fest then I am going to have to finally pick up that book.

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