Operation #ReadTheEight is underway. I recently shared that I have eight unread books in my apartment at the moment. (Browsing the aisles of Barnes and Noble is one of my favorite forms of personal self-care.) I love to read! But unfortunately, I also love to buy books as well. So #ReadTheEight is my way of promising to finish the eight books I have before buying more. Circe by Madeline Miller was one of the eight books. If you’re looking for your next book, keep reading to learn why you should add Circe to your reading list. I promise not to reveal too much information about the plot. I don’t want to ruin it! (This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn commission if you make a purchase. Questions? Visit the Disclosure page here!)
I found it difficult to read the first few chapters of Circe. (So if you decide to read it and find yourself wanting to stop, keep going!) Maybe Circe’s treatment by her family made it difficult to read. Maybe the difficulty came from me wanting to grab Circe and tell her to wake up and stand up for herself. I can’t pinpoint exactly what made the beginning chapters difficult to read. But as a reader, I was rooting for Circe.
Miller does a great job of painting Circe’s early life in a way that builds readers’ connection to Circe. (Maybe Miller does this too well because again, I felt bad for Circe.) Also, Circe spends a long time in solitude. I appreciate how Miller writes the story in a way that you feel like a spectator watching Circe in her solitude.
There’s beauty in life over immortality
There’s a lesson in every book, right? Here’s an excerpt from pages 384 and 385:
Circe, he says, it will be all right.
It is not the saying of an oracle or prophet. They are words you might speak to a child. I have heard him say them to our daughters, when he rocked them back to sleep from a nightmare, when he dressed their small cuts, soothed whatever stung. His skin is familiar as my own beneath my fingers. I listen to his breath, warm upon the night air, and someone I am comforted. He does not mean that it does not hurt. He does not mean that we are not frightened. Only that: we are here. This is what it means to swim in the tide, to walk the earth and feel it touch your feet. This is what it means to be alive.Madeline Miller, Circe 384-85 (2018).
Circe was another reminder of the beauty in life and its complications rather than the perfection of immortality. Here’s a small spoiler (for some people): Circe is a witch. Her journey differs from other titans, Olympian deities, and even nymphs. I’d like to think that despite her struggles, her life was more fulfilling because of her journey and the complications she endured.
Here’s why you should read Circe
Do you still need some convincing to add Circe to your reading list? If you enjoy reading about mythology (i.e., Titans, Olympian deities, nymphs, etc.), then this book is for you. Miller explores Circe’s relationships and interactions with other titans and deities, like Athena, Apollo, Helios, and other gods and monsters that I had never heard of before reading this book.
Have you read about Circe but are unaware of her story? You should definitely read this book! Other authors have written about Circe. But I appreciate Miller’s portrayal of the character in a way that humanizes her. I understand Circe, even if I didn’t agree with all of her choices. She’s one of my favorite “minor” goddesses (although there’s nothing minor about her).