The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

song of achilles

Synopsis (Publisher):  The legend begins…  Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

Built on the groundwork of the Iliad, Madeline Miller’s page-turning, profoundly moving, and blisteringly paced retelling of the epic Trojan War marks the launch of a dazzling career.

My brief take:  The Song of Achilles is told from Patroclus’ perspective. It is the story of the years leading up to the time when he and Achilles joined the Greeks who were going to Troy to rescue Helen as well as the ten years of war.

Madeline Miller wrote a wonderful adaptation that was easy to read and had me walking longer on the treadmill than I’d intended because I didn’t want to stop reading. I knew how it would end but I loved the new spin on the original story.

I bought the enhanced eBook edition that, with a click on a link, offered pop-up bios of all the important Greek characters, video interviews with the author, and illustrations of armor, etc. There were also audio clips from the audiobook edition for each chapter. I was impressed with the narrator (Frazer Douglas) and would recommend listening as a possible option.

If you’re at all interested in experiencing a classic in a new way I recommend The Song of Achilles (enhanced eBook). I’m glad I took a chance on it!

  • Title:  The Song of Achilles
  • Author:  Madeline Miller
  • Genre:  Literature/Classics/Mythology
  • Published:  March 2012 – Ecco
  • Source:  I bought it

Sunday Post

Book Arrivals:

to catch a bad guy  the promise

Books reviewed last week:

Books I’m in the middle of:

  • Audio:  The Good House by Ann Leary
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  • Treadmill book:  Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins

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Nemo dropped 6 inches of snow at my house before heading to the East coast

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Grace visited yesterday. She had fun watching some little boys from the neighborhood make a fort out of the snow pile left by the plow in our front yard.

Happy Reading!

The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister

lost art of mixing

  • Title:  The Lost Art of Mixing
  • Author:  Erica Bauermeister
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  January 2013 – Putnam
  • Source:  I received a review copy from the publisher via LibraryThing Early Reviewer program

Synopsis (publisher)Lillian and her restaurant have a way of drawing people together. There’s Al, the accountant who finds meaning in numbers and ritual; Chloe, a budding chef who hasn’t learned to trust after heartbreak; Finnegan, quiet and steady as a tree, who can disappear into the background despite his massive height; Louise, Al’s wife, whose anger simmers just below the boiling point; and Isabelle, whose memories are slowly slipping from her grasp. And there’s Lillian herself, whose life has taken a turn she didn’t expect. . . .
Their lives collide and mix with those around them, sometimes joining in effortless connections, at other times sifting together and separating again, creating a family that is chosen, not given. A beautifully imagined novel about the ties that bind—and links that break—The Lost Art of Mixing is a captivating meditation on the power of love, food, and companionship.

My take:  If you enjoyed The School of Essential Ingredients you’ll want to read The Lost Art of Mixing. Erica Bauermeister delves into the lives of characters from the first book.  We get to see sides of each that even the other characters never see.

This novel is a connected string of intriguing stories that explain the characters we thought we knew. Just as a recipe is the sum of its ingredients so are the characters a sum of their life experiences. Each strives to find connection to those they love but must rely on being accepted for themselves. To do that, they must accept others as they are. The mix will work or it won’t but, in the end, they’ll know if they should stay or move on – be part of this recipe for the life they want or find another that will work.

I really liked The Lost Art of Mixing. Humor and drama mixed evenly to become a novel that left me satisfied. I’d love to see where life takes these characters but even if this is where Erica Bauermeister leaves them I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

The Richest Season by Maryann McFadden

The Richest Season

Synopsis (Publisher): After more than a dozen moves in 25 years of marriage, Joanna Harrison is lonely and tired of being a corporate wife. Her children are grown and gone, her husband is more married to his job than to her, and now they’re about to pack up once more. Panicked at the thought of having to start all over again, Joanna commits the first irresponsible act of her life. She runs away to Pawleys Island, South Carolina, a place she’s been to just once. She finds a job as a live-in companion to Grace Finelli, a widow who has come to the island to fulfill a girlhood dream. Together the two women embark on the most difficult journey of their lives: Joanna struggling for independence, roots, and a future of her own, as her family tugs at her from afar; and Grace, choosing to live the remainder of her life for herself alone, knowing she may never see her children again. Entwined is Paul Harrison’s story as he loses his wife, his job, and everything that defines him as a man. He takes off on his own journey out west, searching for the answers to all that has gone wrong in his life. One thing remains constant: He wants his wife back. Joanna, however, is moving farther away from her old life as she joins a group dedicated to rescuing endangered loggerhead turtles, led by a charismatic fisherman unlike anyone she’s ever met.

My take:  The Richest Season is a beautiful story about two women striking out on a new path in life. Joanna is starting over on her own terms. She’s not sure where she’s going but if she has to leave her home she’ll go where she wants this time. Grace knows where her path will lead and she’s determined to do things her way. She has a plan.

After Joanna makes her life-changing decision life throws her husband a curve ball that sets him on his own journey of change. It’s an important facet to the story that I thought ultimately made the novel’s resolution possible.

Maryann McFadden’s book is one of discovery, reflection and forgiveness. The two women support each other through difficult times as each navigates her way through challenging circumstances.  I loved the setting, the characters, and the themes. I think book clubs would have lively discussions about the choices made by Grace and Joanna in The Richest Season.

Narration:  I thought Cassandra Campbell’s performance was wonderful. She’s quickly becoming one of my favorite narrators.

  • Title:  The Richest Season
  • Author:  Maryann McFadden
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Narrator:  Cassandra Campbell
  • Published:  2008 – Tantor Audio
  • Source:  I bought it.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

gilded age  the good house

Books reviewed last week:

Books I’m in the middle of:

  • Arc:  The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister
  • Audio:  The Good House by Ann Leary

Blog news:

Five years ago tomorrow (Feb. 4, 2008) I began my blog. It’s been an adventure, to say the least. I’ve enjoyed meeting so many wonderful people – readers, authors, publishing industry people – who share a love of books.

The blog has evolved since those early days and continues to change. The focus is still books but I’ve stopped accepting review books opting instead to read from my own shelves. That said, I’m not saying I won’t request from netgalley or edelweiss from time to time 🙂  A book lover has her limits where willpower is concerned!

Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment. I really do appreciate it.

Happy reading!