2022 & 2023 Reading Challenge discussion

The Song of Achilles
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message 1: by Mary Pat (last edited Jun 13, 2018 04:46PM) (new)

Mary Pat | 2186 comments This thread is to discuss ‘s book, .


***Please remember to mark spoilers.***

Participants: Susy, Cendaquenta, Kristin, Allie, Lindsay, Shari, Tina, Kayla


message 2: by Mary Pat (new)

Mary Pat | 2186 comments Suggested break down of reading so that you can check in and let us know how you're doing. The following breakdown is purely a suggestion and is therefore not set in stone.

Rather than putting dates for each section I've done it so that it takes into account that not everybody will necessarily have the book at the same time.

Week 1: 88
Week 2: 88
Week 3: 88
Week 4: 88



Cendaquenta | 307 comments Hey, anybody else participating in the UK? Because Song of Achilles is a Kindle Daily Deal - £1.09.


Lindsay | 459 comments Not in the UK but it was a Goodreads Kindle deal here for $1.99, that’s how I got it. Might still be going!


Lindsay | 459 comments Excuse me, “here” being the US. That was presumptuous of me.


Veronica (looking_for_veronica) | 85 comments I didn’t sign up but is it okay if i join now?


Lindsay | 459 comments Sure! Hop in! We have t even really started yet


message 8: by Tina ❣ (new) - added it

Tina ❣ (nutrinut) | 61 comments Is it cool if I join in? I've just reserved it from the library and most like won't get it until June 20th


Lindsay | 459 comments Of course!

Every just remember to mark spoilers if we have lots of people reading at a different pace :)


message 10: by Susy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Susy (susysstories) Just picked it up from the library!


message 11: by Susy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Susy (susysstories) Started yesterday evening and liking it so far. Having a bit of trouble with all the names though...


Emily Murray (emlikesbooks) I would love to join in if possible! I have had this on my kindle for AGES and finally added it to my TBR this month, but could use some encouragement to finally check it off my list! :)


message 13: by Susy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Susy (susysstories) Emily wrote: "I would love to join in if possible! I have had this on my kindle for AGES and finally added it to my TBR this month, but could use some encouragement to finally check it off my list! :)"

Of course Emily, the more the merrier!


Cendaquenta | 307 comments I just started, have read the first 6 chapters. Enjoying it so far. I hardly remembered anything from reading it the first time.
I do think it's not quite as good as Circe - doesn't suck the reader in as quickly.


message 15: by Susy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Susy (susysstories) I’m stuck at chapter 6....have been extremely busy with work and very tired :(


Lindsay | 459 comments Ugh, Susy, same :( So much work that I'm taking it home with me and killing my read time!


Cendaquenta | 307 comments Just finished Chapter 10 and I'm really enjoying it. :)


Lindsay | 459 comments I’m at page 44. Poor Patroclus. Tough start. The POV threw me off, though. And I can’t really get into the style of her tone yet (if that makes sense).


message 19: by Susy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Susy (susysstories) Lindsay wrote: "I’m at page 44. Poor Patroclus. Tough start. The POV threw me off, though. And I can’t really get into the style of her tone yet (if that makes sense)."

How do you mean Lindsay?


Lindsay | 459 comments Trying to figure out how to word it. . . I feel like it jumps quickly? Maybe because she’s covering a larger span of time in the beginning to get the base story down. I also was reading in the beginning as though it was Achilles POV but thinking “well that’s a new take on it” and then it wasn’t him and it threw me.


message 21: by Susy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Susy (susysstories) Lindsay wrote: "Trying to figure out how to word it. . . I feel like it jumps quickly? Maybe because she’s covering a larger span of time in the beginning to get the base story down...."

Ah yes I see. I’m new to (Greek) mythology so I was trying to figure out where the story started and where it was added, I don’t think the jumps really stood out to me.

I also was reading in the beginning as though it was Achilles POV but thinking “well that’s a new take on it” and then it wasn’t him and it threw me.

Lol, yes I can imagine!!

Had some time to read, finally, so I’m at chapter 14 now. It’s all really new to me, having some difficulty remembering all those names and who’s who but am really liking the story. Had no idea it would be a romance.


kayla ♡ (kaysmagiclibrary) | 15 comments Can I still join??


kayla ♡ (kaysmagiclibrary) | 15 comments Can I still join??


kayla ♡ (kaysmagiclibrary) | 15 comments Can I still join??


message 25: by Susy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Susy (susysstories) kayla ☺ wrote: "Can I still join??"

Of course Kayla, the more the merrier!


Cendaquenta | 307 comments Just finished it and loved it. 😁


message 27: by Susy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Susy (susysstories) Loved it, loved it, loved it! Though I'm not much into romance, I found this book hard to put down, especially after the first third of the book. I might be discovering how much I like mythology. Really liked Norse Mythology as well.

Now this may be because I'm a newby to mythology... One of the reviews stated that it's just exactly The Iliad, so why did Miller rewrite it without giving it something special/new/extra.... Planning on reading that one too (shouldn't postpone it too long) to be able to compare the two stories myself.

Have any of you read The Iliad? And what do you thing about the comment/review?


Cendaquenta | 307 comments Susy wrote: "Planning on reading that one too (shouldn't postpone it too long) to be able to compare the two stories myself.

Have any of you read The Iliad? And what do you thing about the comment/review? "


I haven't read the Iliad but I'm eager to do so after this - maybe we could buddy/group read?


message 29: by Susy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Susy (susysstories) Cendaquenta wrote: "I haven't read the Iliad but I'm eager to do so after this - maybe we could buddy/group read?"

Yes, sounds like a plan! Which month would be good for you?


Cendaquenta | 307 comments Susy wrote: "Cendaquenta wrote: "I haven't read the Iliad but I'm eager to do so after this - maybe we could buddy/group read?"

Yes, sounds like a plan! Which month would be good for you?"


Anytime is fine! Preferably sometime this summer though, so I can try to fit it into the Summer Reading Challenge.


Lindsay | 459 comments Well, the Iliad is an epic poem told not from a single first person point of view of one character, but in a third person narration manner. So Miller's Patroclus POV, the form of it as a book versus an epic poem, and the development of the backstory between Achilles and Patroclus in their childhood IS the new and different twist.

I find it kind of funny that several of the reviews of this book talk about the "twist" being the homosexual romance between Achilles and Patroclus, except, that's super apparent throughout the Iliad (like, REALLY apparent). Almost all of the Classical interpretations of the relationship depict Achilles and Patroclus as lovers (even Plato got in on the action and wrote this long thing about how they were divinely approved lovers).

Then as time went on, society decided to make them NOT GAY because, as we know, society developed this problem with people being gay. So then you get interpretations that Achilles and Patroclus were just REALLY GOOD WAR BUDDY BROS, or, in the 2004 movie with Brad Pitt, they were cousins, because then there you go you can't have incest so Brad Pitt was free to bang a bunch of girls and have an epic romance with a woman instead.

In short, Miller actually went closer to original source material than anybody has done in centuries.


Cendaquenta | 307 comments Oh, I was having to work to not picture Brad Pitt while I was reading. Darn you, Troy movie. 😂


message 33: by Susy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Susy (susysstories) Cendaquenta wrote: "Susy wrote: "Cendaquenta wrote: "I haven't read the Iliad but I'm eager to do so after this - maybe we could buddy/group read?"

Yes, sounds like a plan! Which month would be good for you?"

Anytim..."


August?


message 34: by Susy (last edited Jun 12, 2018 09:14PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Susy (susysstories) Lindsay wrote: "Well, the Iliad is an epic poem told not from a single first person point of view of one character, but in a third person narration manner. So Miller's Patroclus POV, the form of it as a book versus an epic poem, and the development of the backstory between Achilles and Patroclus in their childhood IS the new and different twist."

Ok, but is it different enough, is the twist new enough, to warrant a book? What the reviewer stated was that Miller just translated the poem into prose and added almost nothing new/of her own so it couldn't be seen as a "retelling". So she probably thought Miller stayed too close to the original source material.


Lindsay | 459 comments Susy wrote: "Lindsay wrote: "Well, the Iliad is an epic poem told not from a single first person point of view of one character, but in a third person narration manner. So Miller's Patroclus POV, the form of it..."

I think that she added enough to it, for sure. But read the Iliad in August and then you can compare.


Phill | 30 comments Lindsay -
I didn't sign up for this buddy read - but coincidentally just read the book . I read this story like everyone else in high school but really didn't remember that much about it, which with the great reviews made me decide to give it a try. After, I felt inspired to review it - something I rarely do - and then noticed this buddy read. So, instead of reviewing the book I perused the comments and found yours - which I am so glad I did! I hope it's ok that I chime in.

The first thing in the description of the book that stuck out was the "twist". When I realized that Achilles and Patroclus were going to be lovers I erroneously assumed that the homosexuality was the twist and it was distracting because in spite of the beautifully told story, and their great love, was that Miller was capitalizing on the politically correct wave of reinventing history by inserting a homosexual relationship as other popular historical fiction has done lately - as in the PBS production of "Victoria". I am very happy to learn that I was wrong. In spite of my feelings of frustration of "homosexuality inserted here for the sake of political correctness" Miller told a great love story which was very moving. Imagine my surprise and happiness to learn that it was authentic to the original material and not just Miller capitalizing by doing the popular thing!

Finally, I have to say that my discovery today is why this book club is so great! I am an avid reader and rarely take time to post or discuss anything because I just want to read the next story - but today I am reminded by you that the reflection and discussion is equally important. So, I post all this in order to thank you for your comments! Thank you!
(I am hopelessly technologically inept so I hope I have posted this in the correct place.)


Lindsay | 459 comments Hi Phill, glad you dropped in! I'm so glad that you found my comment enlightening and happy! We're happy to have you join the conversation!

The Iliad is definitely the kind of piece that deserves re-readings at different points during ones life (I think) because there's a lot in there to understand and emphasize with. I imagine it must be very hard to slog through as a high school student unless you have a very helpful teacher that can really break it down well.

I'm going to disagree with you though on the idea of using homosexuality in fiction for political correctness, and I think this particular book is a good touchstone for that discussion, and you mentioned the show "Victoria," as well, which is also a good example.

Many people are under the impression that the twist in this book is the homosexual relationship and several people were, as you have experienced, surprised and at times delighted to learn that this relationship exists in the source material. For a very broad span of history, homosexual relationships were "written out" of source materials to adhere to standards constructed over time by religion and society. I can see why it may now be labeled as a 'politically correct' thing to include homosexual relationships in media. But my qualm with that phrase, 'politically correct,' is that it suggests that homosexuality is a thing that exists in a political setting to be examined and debated, instead of as a facet of humanity that has always existed. There is a large body of historical research and writing that examines the prevalence of homosexuality in ancient Greece and Rome, but much of the media based in those historical settings were painted over with heterosexual relationships (like in the 2004 movie Troy). So I would characterize the recent resurgence of homosexual representation in media as a sign that the barriers which prevented their portrayals in the past are now finally diminishing and we are returning to a time in which homosexuality is again socially accepted.

And the matter of representation speaks to the homosexual relationship in "Victoria" to which you were referring. Daisy Goodwin, the show's writer, was open about the fact that she had no solid historical evidence to say that Lord Paget and Drummond were in a relationship, but she also pointed out in an interview that she had no evidence to say that they WEREN'T, either. And "reinventing history" is a cornerstone of all historical fiction - that is literally the genre. "Victoria" also "reinvented history" by completely revising the circumstances of Drummond's death. He actually died three years earlier than depicted, wasn't shot because of the legislative action discussed in the show, and died a horrible agonizing death over the course of five days after he was shot in the back while walking down the street - not immediately after heroically throwing himself in front of a bullet.

After a long span of no homosexual representation at all, and then a slow trickle through the process of that representation being viewed as a 'twist' or otherwise 'big deal,' it is nice to finally see some homosexual relationships being dealt with in as normal a fashion as heterosexual relationships. My take on it is that considering all of the large and meaningful revisions that historical fiction always makes to create entertaining media, adding homosexual relationships shouldn't be thought of as too drastic or done for the sake of popularity. I think that level of representation really matters for all marginalized groups.


Cendaquenta | 307 comments Lindsay wrote: "Hi Phill, glad you dropped in! I'm so glad that you found my comment enlightening and happy! We're happy to have you join the conversation!

The Iliad is definitely the kind of piece that deserves ..."


*loves this comment* 👍👍👍


message 39: by Mary Pat (new)

Mary Pat | 2186 comments Veronica, Tina, Emily, Kayla - You have all been added to the list of participants! FYI, as others have said here, you can jump into any buddy read whether your name is on the list or not! Just remember to mark spoilers!


Lindsay | 459 comments Miller did a great job making Thetis sound really scary. None of the gorgeous sparkly sea goddess stuff.


Cendaquenta | 307 comments Yeah, she is fierce. I love when mythology is properly intimidating, Miller's great at that.


Lindsay | 459 comments Ok, I get it, it's told from the point of view of the guy in love with Achilles. But if I read one more line about his golden hair holding sunlight I going to keel over.


message 43: by Susy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Susy (susysstories) Lindsay wrote: "Ok, I get it, it's told from the point of view of the guy in love with Achilles. But if I read one more line about his golden hair holding sunlight I going to keel over."

😂😂😂


Lindsay | 459 comments Finished. (view spoiler)

That being said, I still only give this three stars because that last 10% of the book is all I truly enjoyed. The rest to me was slow and repetitive.


message 45: by Tina ❣ (new) - added it

Tina ❣ (nutrinut) | 61 comments Agh! I still don't have the book! I'm really hoping my library can give it to me soon


message 46: by Susy (last edited Jun 25, 2018 10:04AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Susy (susysstories) Tina wrote: "Agh! I still don't have the book! I'm really hoping my library can give it to me soon"

Fingers crossed!
Curious to know how you like it!


Lindsay | 459 comments Susy and Cendaquenta - how did you decide on your ratings? What did you love?


message 48: by Susy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Susy (susysstories) Lindsay wrote: "Susy and Cendaquenta - how did you decide on your ratings? What did you love?"

Difficult question. As I mentioned in my review, I just loved it...all...the characters, the story, the writing, everything. I like the aspect of gods, semi gods and mortals interacting, making the impossible possible while other stuff remains impossible. I like that (most) characters are "known characters" though I'm a newbie where mythology is concerned, but you recognise certain names from completely different contexts.

I think what is at hand here, is that I just might be a big mythology-fan and only now discovering it!! I'm loving Circe as well.
And I also loved Norse Mythology for example. Really want to read more, and more of the original stories (though those might be a bit tougher to read, we'll see). I'm also hesitant about reading all the different stories and mixing it all up hahaha.
I'm actually planning on making a family tree of the (semi) gods and mortals in Greek mythology. Maybe focusing on some more of those stories before continuing with more Norse mythology....


Lindsay | 459 comments Susy wrote: "Lindsay wrote: "Susy and Cendaquenta - how did you decide on your ratings? What did you love?"

Difficult question. As I mentioned in my review, I just loved it...all...the characters, the story, t..."


Oh good! Fun! It's always great to stumble upon something and discover that you love it.

If you're going to delve into source material and you're open to suggestion, try Euripides, who was a Greek play-write in the 400s BC. He was dragged for being really sympathetic (for the time) towards women.


message 50: by Susy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Susy (susysstories) I sure am, thanks Lindsay!


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