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Circe
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Archive: Other Books > Circe, by Madeline Miller, 5 stars

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message 1: by NancyJ (new) - added it

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 4887 comments This is an excellent example of literary fantasy, and a retelling of classical mythology. Circe is the daughter of the sun god Helios and she becomes a powerful witch during her centuries long life. She is a small character in the Odyssey, and Odysseus and his family also make appearances in her book. The author has degrees in classics, and manages to weave in bits of other stories and characters from Greek Mythology. She writes compelling stories about immortal beings, and at the same time provides insights on what it means to be human.

I had to re-read this book for a local book club (I couldn't remember how it ended). I loved it even more the second time. The audio performance really enhanced the beauty of the writing, and was perfect for bedtime listening. It pushed every thing else out of my mind and completely relaxed me.

The book club discussion was very lively, as we discussed Circe, The Odyssey, and different conceptualizations of Circe in Greek Mythology. Someone brought in pictures of paintings and sculptures done of Circe by different artists. This book helps us to think about the value of life, and what we value. We discussed what we might do (or not do) if we had 300+ years to live,


message 2: by Joanne (last edited Apr 22, 2019 04:28PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7102 comments I loved this book when I read it-one of my top ten! Your book club sounds wonderful! Visual Aids for discussion-marvelous!


message 3: by NancyJ (new) - added it

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 4887 comments Joanne wrote: "I loved this book when I read it-one of my top ten! Your book club sounds wonderful! Visual Aids for discussion-marvelous!"

Our meeting for Georgia: A Novel of Georgia O'Keeffe was really fun too. Without planning it, several of us brought books of her artwork.

The visual/experiential aid for The Woman in the Window was a bottle of wine. If you read the book you'll know why.


message 4: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3774 comments Speaking of very-hyped books, I feel like this one has definitely been hyped up. Not sure if it is going be a good "match" for me. I'm not really into fantasy, but I've heard such good things about this.


KateNZ | 2207 comments I think you’d really like it, Joi - it’s based on myths for sure but it’s not a fantasy as such. As Nancy says, it’s about human relationships, loneliness, love, ostracism for being different - all with a strong and engaging feminist perspective


Meli (melihooker) | 3029 comments The visualization idea with pictures is a very cool idea! I love that...

Joi wrote: "Speaking of very-hyped books, I feel like this one has definitely been hyped up. Not sure if it is going be a good "match" for me. I'm not really into fantasy, but I've heard such good things about..."

I enjoyed it and was surprised. It is more drama, human condition / human growth type story even though Circe is a Goddess. And I am also not that into Greek mythology even though I used to be.


message 7: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3774 comments You two have me convinced. Onto the TBR mountain it goes.

Oh geez, went to add it to my audiobook library, and it has 66 people on the waitlist (on 6 copies). Might be a while till I get to this, lol.


message 8: by NancyJ (last edited Apr 23, 2019 01:26PM) (new) - added it

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 4887 comments Joi wrote: "Speaking of very-hyped books, I feel like this one has definitely been hyped up. Not sure if it is going be a good "match" for me. I'm not really into fantasy, but I've heard such good things about..."

This is NOT a 'WOW everyone will love this" sort of book, so I really don't want to add to the hype. It's not a YA type of fantasy book, and there isn't a lot of action or a mystery to solve to keep you turning the pages. For me, the pleasure was quieter, more personal, introspective, mature, etc. This is the kind of book to read when you're in the mood for something quiet, lovely, and a little sad. I went into it expecting to learn a little about mythology, so my expectations weren't too high. The 5 minute audio sample gives you a good idea of the story as well as the voice.

Added bonus: Since I read the book, I heard the name Circe in other books (including The Picture of Dorian Gray, and two of my Italian-art-history books this month). It gave me a little thrill to know who she was and made me feel a little smarter. I might have heard her name many times over the years without noticing it.


Meli (melihooker) | 3029 comments Oh wow! What a waitlist, still?? Crazy...

NancyJ put it very well, good in a quiet way. Hardily agree.


message 10: by NancyJ (new) - added it

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 4887 comments Joi wrote: "You two have me convinced. Onto the TBR mountain it goes.

Oh geez, went to add it to my audiobook library, and it has 66 people on the waitlist (on 6 copies). Might be a while till I get to this,..."


If I had it to do over again, I would have used one of my audible credits on it, because it did enjoy rereading it (and it relaxes me). It fits for next month's beautiful tag. By the time you get it, maybe we'll have a tag for Greece, mythology, or strong women.


 Olivermagnus (lynda214) | 1903 comments I did this one as an audio and enjoyed it very much. I think if I had read the actual book, I might have skimmed some of it, lost the flow and finally give up. I liked it much more than The Song of Achilles.


Susie | 4488 comments Another modern retelling that I have just finished is The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker and I loved it just as much, if not a smidge more, than Circe. It’s a retelling if The Iliad from a female perspective.


message 13: by Meli (new) - rated it 4 stars

Meli (melihooker) | 3029 comments Susie wrote: "Another modern retelling that I have just finished is The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker and I loved it just as much, if not a smidge more, than Circe. It’s a retelling if The Iliad from a fema..."

That sounds interesting! I would put it on my TBR but I'm cutting myself off for a while.


Joanne (joabroda1) | 7102 comments Susie wrote: "Another modern retelling that I have just finished is The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker and I loved it just as much, if not a smidge more, than Circe. It’s a retelling if The Iliad from a fema..."

I loved Silence of The Girls-a much different take on things, and a lot "rougher" around the edges(for those who do not like to read about abusive men).


Tracy (tstan) | 1173 comments Susie wrote: "Another modern retelling that I have just finished is The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker and I loved it just as much, if not a smidge more, than Circe. It’s a retelling if The Iliad from a fema..."

I liked The Silence Of the Girls better, too. It was really well-written. Pat Barker is becoming a must read author for me- her Regeneration trilogy is wonderful, too.


Susie | 4488 comments I have Regeneration #1 on my soon to read list Tracy. I’m just waiting for an appropriate tag. I’m glad to hear your recommendation.


message 17: by NancyJ (new) - added it

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 4887 comments Olivermagnus wrote: "I did this one as an audio and enjoyed it very much. I think if I had read the actual book, I might have skimmed some of it, lost the flow and finally give up. I liked it much more than [book:The S..."

I started Song of Achilles, and I have a feeling I'm not going to like it as much as Circe. It's easier for me to identify with Circe. I really enjoy her writing.


message 18: by NancyJ (new) - added it

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 4887 comments Susie wrote: "Another modern retelling that I have just finished is The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker and I loved it just as much, if not a smidge more, than Circe. It’s a retelling if The Iliad from a fema..."

Thanks Susie, I'm going to look for that one.


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