Stephen Fry on Reimagining the Greek Myths


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The actor and writer Stephen Fry visits the podcast this week to discuss several subjects, including Oscar Wilde, Fry’s own love of language and his latest book, “Heroes: The Greek Myths Reimagined.”

“It’s a miraculous thing about Greek mythology that there is a timeline and a chronology,” Fry says. “It’s probably reverse-engineered by Hesiod and Homer and the later poets, obviously. But nonetheless, it has a shape, a beginning and an end, which other mythic structures don’t seem to have. And they’re so deep in the — I hesitate to use such a cliché, but I can’t avoid it — in the DNA of our own culture and art that it’s part of who we are.”

Lauren Christensen and Andrew LaVallee, editors on the Books desk at The Times, visit the podcast this week to discuss books on the subject of race and racism, including “The Warmth of Other Suns,” by Isabel Wilkerson, and the poetry collection “American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin,” by Terrance Hayes. “Something that I really love about poetry is that, I think particularly coming at it as a journalist, I’m really focused on using words to convey information,” LaVallee says. “And poetry helps me remember that words can do all sorts of other different things, and that expressing things that are hard to express is also important, and conveying feeling. And I get that from poetry in a way that I don’t always get from prose or nonfiction writing.”

Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Gregory Cowles and Tina Jordan talk about what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.

Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:

We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.



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