If you like that, try these … Circe

Hi all!

Welcome to another post of If you like that, try these …, my fortnightly post series where I share book (and sometimes movie or TV show) recommendations based on a book I’ve read. A new post comes out every second Thursday!


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Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 7.38.38 pm“I found a new thought in myself. I am embarrassed to tell it, so rudimentary it seems, like an infant’s discovery that her hand is her own. But that is what I was then, an infant.
The thought was this: that all my life had been murk and depths, but I was not a part of that dark water. I was a creature within it.”


32454291What’s it about?

Titan Helios, god of the sun, has a daughter. Her name is Crice, but she is a strange child. She is nothing like her father, and she constantly turns to mortals for companionship. It’s then that she discovers she possesses the power of witchcraft. For this, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island where Circe begins to hone her powers, tames wild beasts, and crosses paths with some of the most famous figures in Greek mythology: Daedalus and the Minotaur, Icarus, Medea, and, of course, Odysseus. But the world is a dangerous place for an independent woman and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of the Olympians, forcing her to choose where she belongs: with the gods, or with the mortals.

What are the themes/elements?

Hospitality, loyalty, vengeance, romance, feminism, woman in a man’s world, independent woman, magic, mythology, witchcraft, history, power, consolidating traditional feminine identities, women helping each other, forgotten women.



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34068470What’s it about?

One of the heroes from the Trojan War, Odysseus, sets sail for home after ten long year at war, but in his haste, forgets to sacrifice to Poseidon. In retaliation, Poseidon makes his trip home fraught with danger, from sirens, to the Cyclops, to witches, to men invading his home and threatening his wife.

Why did I choose it?

Obviously, I chose this epic because Circe encounters Odysseus on his travels home. Odysseus stays with Circe for a whole year as he falls for her, allowing himself and his men a much needed rest. But the main reason I chose this particular translation is because it is the first time The Odyssey has been translated by a woman. This review sums up Wilson’s translation perfectly: “A woman’s voice: how beautiful to hear it.”


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4965What’s it about?

In 1666, an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to a small village and changes the life of Anna Frith forever. Through Anna’s eyes, we follow the story of this town as they confront the spread of the disease and superstition, as the village mourns and then turns to witch-hunting. Anna must find the strength to prevent the destruction of her town, if she has any hopes of surviving the year.

Why did I choose it?

I chose this book because, like Circe, it’s a book about a woman who has everything taken from her and must survive on her own in a world where women didn’t have rights. It’s about an independent woman battling the spread of magic, set in an historical setting and trying to consolidate traditional feminine identities.


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1031607What’s it about?

Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio with her three children. But eighteen years later, she is still not free. Haunted by her time with her former master and by the death of her child years earlier, Sethe becomes convinced that there is an abusive ghost in her home, while her remaining daughter struggles to help her.

Why did I choose it?

I chose this book because it is lightly based on the Ancient Greek story of Medea. Without spoiling too much, Beloved features a strong woman who is haunted by her past actions and what happened to her during her time as a slave. Like Circe, Sethe struggles with consolidating traditional feminine identities, particularly that of motherhood. Beloved is a book about what happens to a woman when she is pushed to the brink, and how women will always be there for other women.


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256What’s it about?

A weekly podcast about one of the most influential cultures of the world, the Ancient Greeks. The podcast tracks history from the Bronze Age to Homer, to Greek democracy to the Roman conquest — and brings to life the history of the peoples of this ancient civilisation — not just it’s military and political history, but their art, architecture, philosophy, literature and more.

Why did I choose it?

I chose this podcast because it’s an amazing lengthy and intriguing history of all of Ancient Greece. But more than that, it also discusses many important issues that no scholars really touch on, mainly including the women of Ancient Greece. There’s an amazing episode that discusses Circe here, while a more recent episode discusses misogyny within Ancient classics here.


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25493869What’s it about?

Three thousand years ago, the Trojan War took place that gave birth to heroes: Achilles, Hector, Ajax, Agamemnon and more. But what if where was more to the conflict? What if there was another hidden tale of the Trojan War that hasn’t been told yet? The story of two forgotten women in the Trojan War: Krisayis, daughter of the Trojan High Priest, and Briseis, princess of Pedasus.

Why did I choose it?

I chose this book because, like Circe, Krisayis and Briseis are long-forgotten and ignored women of Ancient Greek history. Briseis is only ever mentioned to figure out her role in the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus, and Krisayis (originally spelled Chryseis) is hardly ever mentioned at all, except as a girl taken as a concubine by Agamemnon. But both women, like Circe, have hidden strengths — this book is about feminism, romance, and women being there for one another.


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12326644What’s it about?

Anne, the youngest daughter of the “Kingmaker” Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, is a pawn in her father’s political game. As the daughter of the powerful man in fifteenth-century England, Anne is married by age fourteen and then left widowed, escaping her circumstances by marrying her childhood friend, Richard, Duke of Gloucester — the King’s brother.And while she loves Richard, this devision will set her on a course to the royal throne.

Why did I choose it?

I chose this book because Anne and Circe are so very much alike. Both are the daughters of extremely powerful men, both women go from a world of luxury to a world of nothing, both women go from being scared, frightened girls to powerful and worldly women. The Kingmaker’s Daughter also features discussions around feminism, as well as romancethe importance of power, and the struggle to consolidate traditional feminine identities.


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11196668What’s it about?

Helen Hamilton has spent her whole life trying to hide how different she is, but it’s getting harder especially living on the small island of Nantucket. She wakes from nightmares in the desert with her sheets covered in sand, while at school she has visions of women crying blood. Then Helen meets Lucas, but neither of them realise that they’re destined to play roles in a tragedy that has been repeating throughout history.

Why did I choose it?

Starcrossed because is a modern retelling of the romance between Helen and Paris. It’s about two teenagers who discover that their love might possibly trigger a new Trojan War. I chose this book because of Angelini’s interesting takes on Ancient Greek mythology. Like Miller, Angelini creatively develops famous characters and creatures from the original myth and gives them new life. The book also features romance, magic, history and the idea of power.


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6 thoughts on “If you like that, try these … Circe

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