On Wednesday I joined a live book group on Twitter to discuss Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad. I read the ebook (something I don’t think I’ll ever get used to) and for that reason I don’t feel I fully gelled with it. This is also happened when I read Elizabeth is missing, but I also genuinely didn’t like that book.
For the book group discussion I came up with some questions as requested by my library colleague who runs the online book group, so the relentless student in me came up with four questions which I think I will make essays of at some point in the future. These questions may also help me focus on creating an actual book review for my blog. So stayed tuned!
For some unfortunate reason I came across as quite negative about the book during our discussion, but the truth is I did like it. I just wasn’t enlightened much by the character of Penelope. I love historical fiction, and modern takes on the genre like this novel. The Penelopiad includes chapters of Penelope’s first person prose and chapters of poems and songs by the Chorus, namely the twelve maids slaughtered by Odysseus and his son Telemachus upon Odysseus’s return. The reason for their murder? They were raped and abused by the ‘noble’ Suitors who hung around the palace while Odysseus was off adventuring. Chapter xxvi, ‘The Chorus Line: The Trail of Odysseus, as Videotaped by the Maids’, was my favourite chapter. It brought us up to date, from ancient Greece to the 21st century, and showed how little some attitudes have changed towards women. The judge, instead of focussing on the trial, keeps telling the women to adjust their clothing, while the maids rightfully argue their murder was an ‘honour killing’; Odysseus blamed the women for their own rape and abuse.
I’ve been struggling with Lolita for the past week. This isn’t a long book but it’s so longwinded and difficult to read, both linguistically and in subject matter. I don’t usually stick with a book to the end if I’m not enjoying it but I don’t remember how the bastard Humbert gets caught. I’ll finish it today, I’m determined.
I’ll definitely look for something happier. I have High Rise Mystery by Sharna Jackson, a highly acclaimed children’s book, and a Viking adventure called The Half Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker, which I’ve wanted to read for ages. I think I’ve mentioned already that I’ve been struggling to read during this crisis. And write, obviously. My responses to the Discover Prompts are all over the place!
Does anyone have any thoughts on the books I’ve mentioned today? Would love your feedback!
Take care all.