The decision is up to my brother, w/ my "guidance." He's not a language nerd at all.
I like Pharr pretty well, too, although I find it irksome to flip to the back of the book for the grammar. However, my brother tried Pharr a few years ago (on his own, w/o help or encouragement) and didn't like it, so we won't use it. Machen was also not to his taste. For one's first foreign language, ancient Greek is not an easy choice, that's for sure. But I hope that this time maybe our doing it together will be helpful. You know what a grind it can be. I'm certainly looking forward to having a "companion" for a change.
FWIW, here are the 6 books I've narrowed things down to (he was off the Internet for the last couple of days, so I looked), and the others I've provisionally ruled out for various reasons. The way to do this right is to compare the books _themselves_, but I only have used copies of a few of them (marked w/ an asterisk), so I've been depending a lot on online reviews:
*Groton, From Alpha to Omega
*Hansen and Quinn, Greek: An Intensive Course
Beetham, Learning Greek w/ Plato
Beetham, Beginning Greek w/ Homer
*Schoder and Horrigan, A Reading Course in Homeric Greek
Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek
The Beetham books will prob., be rejected next, as they have only Greek->English exercises, although we could go from answers to questions, to supply that lack. I love Hansen and Quinn, but chapters 2 and 3 are absolute killers, and they may be too much for someone who is not used to memorizing, yet . . . and it doesn't have an answer key, which would be useful. I haven't looked much at Mounce, but it may be a nice gentle intro. Groton, and Schoder and Horrigan are leading the pack at this point.
Here's the one's I've rejected so far, and why--admittedly, often w/o seeing the book itself:
Keller and Russell, Learning to Read Greek--Lengthy stretches w/o exercises; i.e., too much memorization w/o practice
*JACT, Reading Greek--too scattershot
Saffire and Fries, Ancient Greek Alive!--reviews say not good for self-study
Wilding and Shelmerdine,Beginning Greek --not enough exercises, paradigm listings deficient?
Vernhes, Discovering Greek Step by Step (Initiation au grec ancien)--looks good so far, but it would take too long to get it from France
*Mastronarde, Introduction to Attic Greek--excruciatingly tedious exercises, poor arrangement, too much presented w/o adequate drill
*Betts and Henry, Teach Yourself Ancient Greek--maybe too brief a presentation
*Balme and Lawall, Athenaze--too diffuse; not enough grammar
*Machen--New Testament Greek for Beginners; not successful before
*Pharr, Homeric Greek: A Book for Beginners--Not successful before
Assimil, Le Grec ancien--too experimental; needs to be translated from French (time consuming)
Luschnig and Mitchell, An Introduction to Ancient Greek: A Literary Approach--too many paradigms in a row?
*White, John W., First Greek Book--Written w/ the expectation that the student already knows Latin (grammar)
If you have any comments--such as, How can you possibly reject XXX!, or Have you considered YYY?--I'd love to hear them.
I read French well, but he does not. The Vernhes book comes highly recommended, and I'd like to use it, espec. as I would not have to translate it, since there is an English version, but it would take too long to order it from France, and I haven't actually seen it, anyway, other than some online "answer sheets." I can always work my way through it as a refresher, if we get so far as to have knowledge to refresh.
Well, I've produced another info dump. Sorry 'bout that. Read any good SF, lately?