Editor’s Note: It’s a good time to read – we’ve a deep need to feel connected, need something to do when everything’s closed, or perhaps just require distraction from anxiety and fear. So we’re asking Mainers to tell us, in their own words, what they’re reading and why. This week we bring you Melissa Kim, director of Communications and Marketing at Maine Audubon. 

Cover courtesy of Little, Brown and Company

Right before my local library closed, I was fortunate enough to have scored “Anything is Possible” by Elizabeth Strout and “Circe” by Madeline Miller, both of which have been wonderful companions.

“Circe” retells the myth of the nymph Circe, the daughter of Helios, the Titan god of the sun. She grew up largely ignored, badly mistreated and wholly unappreciated. In a jealous rage, she finds she does, in fact, have some godly powers, and turns a rival into a monster. The result: She is exiled to an island for eternity. Here, her character drifts into many Greek and Titan stories, and Miller has used those sprinklings to create a full-blown portrait of a conflicted goddess and a woman who learns – begrudgingly – to trust, love and forgive.

When I started the book, “Circe” was an escapist read full of power, bravery and self-discovery. But as our stay-at-home order was imposed, Circe’s exile became uncomfortably relatable. She trails around the island, mixing potions, taming lions and pondering her existence. Though mortals and gods do wash up on her shores, ultimately, everyone leaves. At first, I envied her her Mediterranean island and banquet table that miraculously replenishes itself daily. But by the end, never has immortality looked so unappealing. What good is the banquet if you are dining alone?

 


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