Every once in a while, we need to take a step back from our avid reading and appreciate some of the beauties we have on our shelves. If writing is an art, then reading is too, and we need to take some time to appreciate that in our books and ourselves.
Author: Madeline Miller
Good Stuff: Book of the Month Club’s Book of the Year (2018)
How I Found It: I first came across this book in a bookstore in Chincoteague, but dutifully put it back on the shelf so as to keep my travel budget in tact. A few months later, though, the opportunity arose to get it through the Book of the Month Club for free using a promo code. So, no longer worried about my travel budget, I signed up for the Book of the Month Club and got my copy.
In a Nutshell: After almost 2800 years of being a byword for promiscuity and witchery, the Greek goddess Circe gets to tell her side of the story. She recounts major events in her life from her infancy, to her exile to the island of Aiaia, to meeting classical heroes like Daedalus and – of course – Odysseus, to her knock-down, drag-out fight with the pantheon of gods to protect herself and everything she loves.
Why I Liked It: I loved this book for several reasons. First of all, I’m a bit of a traditionalist. While I appreciate new takes on an old story, I’m almost always of the opinion that something gets lost in the change – usually something important. Not the case with this book. Miller is well-versed in her Classical literature (in fact, she has a master’s degree in Classics), and she stays very true to the originals in her retelling. Second, my little English-major heart was pleased with how well-written it was. From the first page, I was enticed along, sentence by sentence. And last – but certainly not least – I absolutely loved that Miller gave Circe her own voice. It should be fairly obvious that any woman who feels the need to turn scores of men into squealing pigs has a pretty compelling reason for doing so, but Miller is the first one (that I know of, anyhow) to tease that reason out and give the Witch of Aiaia her due.
Get Your Own Copy!:
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If you’re a member of the Book of the Month Club, you can check it out under Add-Ons or the Book of the Year tab.
Amazon offers new and used editions in hardcover and paperback, along with a Kindle version if you so desire.
Don’t forget to check out your local independent bookseller! Check out the store locator on IndieBound.org to find your new favorite indie bookstore!