Ancient Greece Meets Modern Struggles

For the year of 2019, I decided to read more. It’s part of my self help initiative where I do a little more for myself than I did last year. I’m going to feed my brain as well as my face. Let me tell you, I don’t even know when I actually finished a book last. Also, let me go ahead and tell you I am no literary critic with super in depth analytical reviews. I just like to read and talk about what I got out of it!

When I was trying to decide what book I wanted to start 2019 out with, I had no idea where to begin. I didn’t know what genre I’d like to kickoff with – so I stuck to good ole fiction. I got myself typing on the internet “best books of 2018”. How did I choose Circe by Madeline Miller? Well. I liked the cover art. Much like I choose a fine wine. I picked the one with the pretty picture.

Let me go ahead and tell you this book is so much more than beautiful cover art. I won’t bore you with a synopsis because you can find that anywhere on the Internet, but I think this excerpt from the book description on Madeline Miller’s page describes this book perfectly:

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world.

Madeline Miller – Circe

My favorite thing about this book is the interpersonal reflection of what it means to be immortal – to have to live continuously mulling over every action, thought, and decision you’ve made in your lifetime. The character Circe is constantly reminded of how she doesn’t fit into the life she was born into, while also constantly reliving the major mistakes she has made throughout her life trying to prove she is someone of worth. I think that even though we aren’t gods who have an immortal life, there are so many instances where this same struggle can be felt. Miller’s story is a celebration of mortality and the intricacies that come along with a finite life.

The language Miller uses paints scenes as vivid and realistic as experiencing them in person. I felt as if her words truly submerged me into this ethereal, immortal lifestyle which it is centered around. This book is truly poetic in its writing. I can see how this was voted as a New York Times bestseller and a book of the year for 2018 because it seems so original and thoughtfully written. Like a piece of truly elevated literature. There were times while reading that I felt the heartache, the triumph, and slights from other characters. I could feel what Circe felt. I also cried during the last pages of the book. There was a part of me that didn’t want this book to end but there was also a part of me that wanted to keep this in my collection so I could read it again. Naturally, when the book ended, I thought I should go for her other book, The Song of Achilles.

Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart.

Madeline Miller – The Song of Achilles

I wanted so badly to like this book more than I did. I feel awful just writing that. Don’t get me wrong – this book is still beautifully written (shoutout to the fact this was her first novel) and you can really see the depths of character development in this book……..but it wasn’t my favorite.

Let me go ahead and put this out there again: I am not a well read literary person. I also think it might be because all I pictured was Brad Pitt and Eric Bana BUT I also didn’t feel as if it was enough of a new spin on the book. I guess I was expecting this book to be a little more action packed than emotion packed. I appreciate that this story focuses on the love between Achilles and Patroclus but it was still much of the same tale that everyone knows. The last chapters became a bit tedious for me to read and I was ready to move on… did I feel the heartache and struggles in this book? Yes. Did I look forward to reading a little more into the story every day? Yes. Could I see myself reading it again and telling everyone about how they should stop what they are doing and read this book? Not so much. I mean Circe left me in tears…this book left me wanting a little more.

So, final verdict. GO PICK UP CIRCE NOW!! While you’re at it, pick up The Song of Achilles as well if you enjoy Greek mythology and the battle of Troy. Both novels are beautifully timeless, even if one shines a little more than the other (I mean did you see the shimmering covers).

The next book I will be reviewing is a little more nature related (I think the term is “cli-fi”?) or maybe it’s just more apocalyptic than anything. Anyways, it will be The Road by Cormac McCarthy….which I did not know was also a movie.

Til next time!

Also, feel free to see why I started this blog in the first place! The First Blog!

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