Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe by Madeline Miller
Circe by Madeline Miller

This is the Retelling of the story of Circe from her birth to her involvement in the Odyssey and beyond.

Circe here reminds me of myself as her company is unwanted by all who surround her as she is different from all the others. She is not interested in the great parties, the gossip or the other guests. Instead she is prone to wondering the great halls alone wanting her fathers attention while avoiding her mother.

This lack of attention causes great loneliness in herself as she has no purpose. She has great strength but doesn’t believe in herself because of the ridicule she has previously received from her loved ones. Her innocence and naïveté cause her to fall in love with the first man she sets eyes upon. This is unrequited love but she cannot see it until he falls in love with another. All she wanted was to help another because she cared for him but it wasn’t to be. She repeats the pattern as she cannot help the fact she has so much love to give it spills over. She needs an outlet but without children what is an Ancient Greek girl to do?

You can listen to a sample of this book if you are not too sure about buying it on Audible. It is alternative history as the female side of things tends not to survive. Hence we have history or his story.

Best wishes

Angela

Telling tales in Greek

For Christmas I got this book. It is a children’s book to help English speakers learn the Greek language. It is the tale of the Odyssey and Odysseus. However the Greek that is taught in this book is the original Ancient Greek. This means extra learning of words that they no longer use. It’s interesting looking at the origins of the language though. Some words however remain the same.

The best part of this book is it’s focus on grammar including the most difficult point I have come across so far – the genitive sandwich.

This is very difficult for an English speaker because we don’t really have cases, declension or even gender in our language anymore. We therefore don’t ever need to worry about genderised conjugation or even really conjugating.

English is a hodgepodge of rules that have been adopted from all of the different invaders. This makes it a difficult language to learn because it’s not as pure as older languages are. You do however get compensated by having many cognates with other newer languages.

Another reason for the inherent difficulty in processing Greek from an English speakers perspective stems from the genitive case being the one that you use to indicate possession. In our enlightened times we wouldn’t ever think of saying ‘of Daniel’ to indicate that something belongs to Daniel unless we were referencing The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s anti feminist and very archaic to think in terms like this.

Grammar wasn’t taught much in schools when I was attending in contrast to previous eras. I believe they have changed that now with an emphasis on more exotic foreign languages like Mandarin instead of just European. This means that today’s school children are better equipped to handle the linguistic diversity that is present in the world. At least in my opinion.

Best wishes

Angela

Ebooks vs real books vs audio books

This is an interesting conundrum as there are positives and negatives for all sides. I have addressed this previously in my books here on My author page. I have also written several articles about reading – Different types of Reading, The to be read pile etc. As it’s such an essential skill there is always more to examine so, today I’m going to delve into what happens when I read an ebook as opposed to the real version and add in a little about audiobooks too.

When I had a Kindle and started reading the e versions of books as it was too expensive for me to continually buy the real versions I noticed that I wasn’t enjoying them as much. I’m not one of those that particularly goes in for the smell of old books, the feel of the paper, the weight of the book or the cover design but the fact you can disconnect from the digital world is brilliant. This doesn’t happen if you have stopped working using a screen but progressed to reading using a screen. The book may be fiction and it may be an author or subject you really enjoy but the electric light interferes. Your not relaxed because the photons don’t allow that. You also can’t go to sleep reading an ebook as the light does the opposite in keeping you awake.

I used to think that the reasons I didn’t finish books was because of the style, subject matter, author but the format also has some input into my overall enjoyment. I read the paperback version of Organised Mind by Daniel Levitin. Or tried to read it as I should say because although it’s a very interesting book it was like trying to walk through a quagmire. I gave up. Then I come across the book on Blinkist. I read it very quickly as with all books on there because there designed like that. However, to me it didn’t feel like I was reading the same book at at all. It was summarised so it had all the salient details but as far as I know, by someone else. Therefore, to me, it doesn’t have any of the authors insight or stamp on it. It’s just a collection of words that teach you something, albeit better than the original, but bearing little resemblance to it. I’m really starting to dislike abridged versions of books.

I remember listening to a Jane Austen audiobook and it was enjoyable but since it was abridged it skipped out a lot. Sometimes when traveling my attention is diverted elsewhere so I lose the thread of the story and I found this happening frequently. I think I need all that extra information to keep my focus as it’s a bygone era.

I don’t like listening to audiobooks much as I have sensitive hearing that seems to be affecting me more than when I was younger. I could however just be noticing it more. I know alcohol dampens the senses but it’s not good to use that to cope with noisy situations. Anyways I find I pay less attention to an audiobook but it’s more relaxing that way as I can just switch off.

So in conclusion Real Books are best for absorbing information information, e books if you want a wide variety that doesn’t take up any space and audiobooks if you need a distraction from every day life.

Do you agree with my conclusion?

Best wishes

Angela

An alternative perspective on autism

This article is about an amazing book I have read about autism and this is one of the best descriptions I have come across. It’s certainly the best from someone who isn’t personally on the autism spectrum themselves.

transformingautism.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/eBook-TAP-May-2017.pdf

The to be read pile

This is a common phenomenon that we all face if we like to read. We also like to collect books as there is nothing quite like settling down to read our latest find. However life frequently gets in the way of this so we forget where we are. This may cause us to neglect the half finished book in favour of something shorter or easier to read. This does not help when we are forever acquiring more books as they all seem so interesting!

I am a terrible hoarder when it comes to books as I just have so many. They cover a variety of subjects as you never know what mood your going to be in when the reading bug strikes. This is why challenges like the GoodReads reading challenge is useful. You can decide how many you are going to read in the year and then next year your goal is to beat it. It’s gamification to try to incite you to read more and to do it quicker as it’s now a competition. Although this is one you will never win since there is an infinite amount of books out there and your time is rather more finite.

In order to make this more achievable I suggest you utilise the Ultra Learning technique as proposed by Scott H Young. This was today’s free book on a Blinkist but I have been a fan of his for many years. This lists the steps that you need to follow in order to be able to do all that you want to in a day. If you are follower like myself on his email list; you will get access to the first chapter for free. There are other benefits like early access to courses too.

Are there any common problems that you have faced and found a solution to?

Best wishes

Angela

Marcus Aurelius – Roman philosopher

He is very famous as he wrote a set of rules for living a more organised and therefore peaceful life. He also happened to be a Roman emperor so this was quite crucial for him to get everything done on time. He has much in common with Seneca and Stoicism in this respect. So the 2 are often read together to see how they compare and contrast.

A major point that Marcus mentions is to live your life as though you are going to die soon. While this may sound rather morbid and counterproductive; it is in fact sound advice. You are now motivated to do the most important things in life and that is to spend time with your family, friends and enjoying yourself by indulging in hobbies. You are no longer exclusively focused on hard work.

Marcus is part of the group of stoic philosophers that include Seneca the younger, Cato and Epictetus. There all from around the same time but with widely different viewpoints due to their unique lives. This helps enormously as you will always be able to find something useful since they will most likely have experienced it.

Best wishes

Angela

Gerasimos Grigoris 1907-1985 Lefkádian author

He famously had one of his works banned in Greece because he was a communist. This book was Focus of Resistance.

He also won 2 literary awards in 1958 and 1963. I find this strange though because of the above information yet you find the same information repeated on many websites. If you also think of all the previous people (George Seferis, Odysseus Elytis ) etc who have gained awards for whatever reason, there compliant and help the country in some way. So as usual this makes no sense and no explanation can be found.

There is also an example of his work on display in the Lefkás national gallery but unless your looking at the fact sheet you would never know.

I don’t think the locals thought highly enough of him for there to be a statue, plaque or road named after him. His family can’t have been wealthy, influential or big enough to exert any power on his memory to make a memorial of some kind which is usual here. (See my post on Meganisi for evidence of this).

He does however get mentioned on tourist websites and websites dedicated to famous Lefkádians so he can’t be thought of that badly. As you may be coming to realise, there is a lot of contradictory information out there and I’m unsure which is correct due to the fact I’m writing about dead people whose brief biographical information is online but not much else.

There may be more information in the Nikos Svoronos Library or the Haramoglis Library but I can’t find it despite walking round in circles several times on a couple of occasions.

Do you have any authors in your country that were banned for the political ideals?

He is part of my novelist series :-

Other series include Greek Poets, Painters, Art, Authors, Musicians, Museums, Specialist fields of interest, Conversation, Famous Greeks, Greek islands and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.

Best wishes

Angela

George Theotokas Greek novelist, playwright, critic, essayist, editor, 1906-1966

George Seferis poem to George Theotokas
George Seferis poem to George Theotokas

George Theotokas was born in Constantinople, moved to Athens in 1922 because of the population exchange, then studied law in Paris, Athens and London so was part of the same crowd as everyone else who was well heeled at that time.

His work is mainly autobiographical in nature with a healthy dose of folklore included for good measure. It inspired some of the work by Nikos Kazantzakis.

He (Theotokas), became involved in the national Greek theatre becoming the director twice. He was also great friends with George Seferis and Odysseus Elytis the 2 Nobel prize winning poets of Greece.

As usual this is a Greek whose Wikipedia article in Greek https://el.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Γιώργος_Θεοτοκάς tells you far more information than the English version George Theotokas . He is also a guy that requires you to have the prerequisite books available to research about him. It’s been acknowledged in the research that I have found that is unlikely he will ever find success outside of Greece but he was neither a leftist or involved with the right. He had a centrist view on things which is how he was able to be so successful in his own country.

He is the fourth part of my Greek author series:-

Other series include Greek Poets, Painters, Art, Authors, Musicians, Specialist fields of Interest, Conversation, Famous Greeks, Greek islands and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.

Best wishes

Angela

Stratis Myrivilis pen name of Efstratios Stamatopoulos Greek novelist 1890-1969

He was nominated for the Nobel prize in Literature 3 times in 1960, 1962 and 1963. He was also born in Lesbos and died in Athens. Additionally he followed the route that everyone seemed to follow in those days and that is leaving your initial job to go to Athens and study Law. Then you leave your degree to go fight somewhere since it was an era full of conflict in many places.

It’s astonishing that the background they all have is so mundane but they manage to make some of the greatest poetry of modern times. They lived through tumultuous times in there own country though with the Balkan war of 1912, First World War of 1914-1918, Second World War 1939-1945, military junta 1967-1974. So this shaped the 1930’s generation into what they became.

He was a newspaper columnist and general programme director for the Greek National broadcasting institute in 1936 until 1951 where he inspired the Greek population to resist the occupation of the country by Italians and Germans.

In a brief intermission to his previous job he founded the national society of Greek writers in 1946 and became its first president.

After 6 attempts he was finally allowed to join the Academy in Athens in 1958.

Here are the details of his personal life from Wikipedia Stratis Myrivilis. What will probably be more fulfilling though is the link in the follow up article.

He is part of my Greek authors series

Other series include Greek Poets, Painters, Art, Musicians, Museums, Specialist fields of Interest, Famous Greeks, Greek islands, Rural villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways.Series links

Best wishes

Angela