I read it for a class, one of the brief ones squeezed in between semesters, a one-credit class called On the Road, which focused on (naturally enough) stories of the road, including Kerouac’s book.
What: The Odyssey is the story of Odysseus as he makes his way back through a series of dangerous encounters to his wife Penelope, who is facing off dangers of her own at home.
Who: Anyone who wants to be familiar with one of the fountains so many stories, in so many art forms, are drawn from should read this.
Why: Because it’s a classic. It’s good for you AND it’s a really good story.
When: Read it when you want to return to the bones of writing. Read it in conjunction with Robert Grave’s Homer’s Daughter, which posits a different author for it.
Where and how: Read it aloud, the way it’s meant to be heard. Read it in one of the many good translations that treat it like the poetry it is, such as Robert Fitzgerald’s. Or if you’re privileged enough to know ancient Greek, let it sing to you in that form.