The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
Source: My Copy
2015 Reading Challenge categories
- Written by a woman
- A book that can be read in a day
- A book a friend recommended
Through Homer’s epic The Odyssey, what we know of Penelope is that she is the faithful and clever wife of Odysseus. She is the wife who remains loyal and devoted to her husband after a twenty-year separation. Ten years for the Trojan War, and the following ten years it takes of Odysseus to find his way back home. Throughout her time, many suitors barge into her home in the hopes of marrying her and laying claim to all of her wealth and possessions.
The Penelopiad follows the same story, but told through the eyes and voice of Penelope. The story is told by Penelope in the afterlife (Hades) centuries after her death. I”m still unsure how I feel about this. It allowed for a modern tone & colloquialisms, but it still felt out of place with when the Odyssey took place. I think I went into this book expecting is told concurrently with the Odyssey rather than a retelling many eons later. I learned that Odysseus is a charming ass, but we already knew that. But he is only one of the few people who listens to Penelope and treats her with respect. The chapters told through Penelope’s voice are separated by chapters told through the 12 maids who were murdered by Odysseus upon his return to his palace. Although they were murder under the premise of their disloyalty to Penelope, early on we find out that it was Penelope who encouraged them to mix and mingle with the suitors, to bad-mouth their mistress in order to find out their plans. Penelope didn’t reveal her plan to Odysseus before the murder, so thus, the injustice was carried out. I liked the chapters of the maid’s point of view the best I think. They varied from prose, to song, to a trial before a judge. The injustice of their deaths was very creatively done.
This 2015 Reading Challenge complied by PopSugar seems very feasible, for me at least. I’ve never been good with reading challenges, but I think I could accidently read a number of the books on this checklist. That’s another plus, is that its a checklist form. There’s nothing I love better than checking something off a list. I think I might print out a number of these to pass out at the library this month. What reading challenges are you signing up for next year?
I’ve been on a big non-fiction kick lately. I’m mostly interested in history right now. As well as all things European or British. (We can thank the BBC Sherlock for this obsession). I think my obsession with England is overtaking my obsession with France. In my rather insane desire to learn about all things Europe, I’ve been scouring the websites for quality nonfiction books. I want to learn something when I read. Actual facts and figures, not just opinion pieces or funny anecdotes. I feel ready to step away from fiction from a while and really give my brain a challenge. Hence, the Nonfiction Reading Challenge, someone reminiscent of my Dewey Decimal Reading Challenge I attempted a few years back. I’m quite tardy in signing up, but better late than never. Here’s hoping I find some interesting titles to add to my list in the meantime.
There are 4 levels for the challenge. We’ll see where I wind up by the end of the year.
Dilettante–Read 1-5 non-fiction books
Being a Better Online Reader
By Maria Konnikova
The contrast of pixels, the layout of the words, the concept of scrolling versus turning a page, the physicality of a book versus the ephemerality of a screen, the ability to hyperlink and move from source to source within seconds online—all these variables translate into a different reading experience.
Maria Konnikova lays out a wonderful description and explanation of the differences between online reading and reading a tangible book. Although she doesn’t really delve into how to be a better online reader. She does cite a number of different studies and report that discuss the negative impacts of digital reading and the loss of overall reading comprehension and deep reading.
When Ziming Liu, a professor at San Jose State University whose research centers on digital reading and the use of e-books, conducted a review of studies that compared print and digital reading experiences, supplementing their conclusions with his own research, he found that several things had changed. On screen, people tended to browse and scan, to look for keywords, and to read in a less linear, more selective fashion. On the page, they tended to concentrate more on following the text. Skimming, Liu concluded, had become the new reading: the more we read online, the more likely we were to move quickly, without stopping to ponder any one thought.
Skimming is the new reading. But I wonder if it’s really knew? In high school, 15 years ago, well before the Internet was the juggernaut of information it is today, I was taught to skim on reading throughout my textbooks. Read the headline, read the first sentence and there ya go. Look at the highlighted text and glossary and that should give you a preview, or a rough idea of the content of the text. Is this very different from how we read online today? I think the biggest difference is that its much easier to get distracted and jump from hyperlink to hyperlink when online, losing that traction and concentration that you can’t avoid when you have an actual book right in front of you.
We see the studies and reports almost weekly know. The number of people reading is steadily dropping. The number of people reading online is steadily increasing. We, as librarians, need to be aware of these shifts and be ready to help with the transfer, but still trying to figure out how to bridge the gap on comprehension levels between the two methods. Libraries are investing more and more into ebooks, which is what the community wants. We should be aware of the repercussions of supporting this movement.
This post was originally published on The Novel World on Monday 08/18/2014 at 10:00am
Jocelyn lives in a small town in France, neither happy nor unhappy with her life. She lives a life half in the past and half in the present, afraid to think about the future until she one day wins the jackpot lottery of 18 million euros. Then, she faces the tough decisions of what to do with her life now that the possibilities are endless.
The book is very melancholy, but easy to relate to. Jocelyn is the every day woman, devoted to her family, maintained by small tokens of happiness from friends, a blog, and small gestures from family. What I really appreciate is the genuine dilemma she faces having won the lottery. Questioning the motives of those around her, trying to decide if she really needs it or not, her wish list expanding & becoming more intricate as time passes. It’s a well written short novel that will have the reader asking what they would do in her shoes, or maybe realizing that money doesn’t always equate to happiness.
Find this book at your local library
*This entry was originally posted on www.thenovelworld.com on Friday June 6th, 2014*
For librarians, teachers and parents, the new year doesn’t necessarily start in January. It starts in September when summer draws to a close and the new school year is on the horizon.
As a new mom & librarian, I am getting more and more excited for the days when I can take my little guy shopping for back to school supplies (my favorite part as a kid…dorkily enough), as well as taking him to school in general and watching him learn and grow with the world around him.
Lori at Reading Confetti has put together a wonderful collection of books with which to ring in each month. I can see many uses for this for library story times, for themed activities after school and on the weekends to reinforce the concepts in a fun way. This is a very thorough list and a great resource for parents and librarians in search of books to recommend or read to children.
Awesome People Reading
This has been a fairly active week on the blog. One of my favorite book blogging events is going to be starting in a couple short weeks, Paris in July. I don’t have anything planned as of yet, but I do still have a number of books that take place in France waiting to be read on my bookshelf. As for events, we shall see. I might not get farther than baking a batch of madeleine cookies.
Reading is going well, I’m making progress in all of my books. It helps to have books stashed all over the house, so that no matter where I sit down to breastfeed the little bookworm, I can just pick up the closest book and start reading.
I received an incredibly amount of books in the mail this week as well. Its nice to be back on the publishing radar after a brief hiatus.
Books I received in the mail
- The Ocean At the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (Score *does the Snoopy dance*)
- The Wet & The Dry by Lawrence Osborne
- The Big Disconnect by Catherine Steiner-Adair, Edd
- Along with 6 picture books from Reading Rockets as part of their Start With A Book giveaway.
I also started a new page on the blog to discreetly track the picture books we have been reading to the little one. I won’t backtrack to what we read in the past. It will start fresh as of this weekend. Don’t expect to see too many of those reviews on the main page though. This will stay mostly a blog for adult works.
Books I reviewed:
- All My Friends by Marie N’Diaye
- Start with a book (or 6)
- Its Coming…My Favorite Time of the Year
- The Ocean At the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
- The Log on the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck
What I’m currently reading:
- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
- The Fountain of St. James Court or The Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman – Sena Jeter Naslund
Thanks to the Milwaukee Public Library for this great message.
Posted in Books
Tagged Books, reading
Reading with the Stars: A Celebration of Books and Libraries by Leonard Kniffel
Age: Kids +
Genre: Nonfiction/Reading & Libraries
Source: SkyHorse Publishing
Leonard Kniffel, former editor in chief of American Libraries, the national publication of the American Library Association, brings us a collection of interviews, essays, and speech transcripts from celebrated figures of American pop culture, politics, sports and media. Each chapter is devoted a different celebrity: Cokie Roberts, Garrison Keilor, Ken Burns, Laura Bush, Ralph Nader, Ron Reagan, Jamie Lee Curtis, David Mamet, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julie Andrews, Bill Gates, Al Gore, Oprah Winfrey, and Barack Obama.
This book arrives at an opportune time as libraries are facing some of the worst and severe budget cuts across the nation. This collection, heralding the value of literacy, books and libraries as an integral part of everyday life. Each chapter offers a list of books read by the celebrity, a list of books written by that celebrity, and a quote highlighting the theme of that chapter. This book is a great for libraries, and will be a great inspiration for kids who look up to these celebrities and want to emulate them. It is a quick read, great for bibliophiles. Although each chapter has a different story for how literacy helped change a life, the book is probably better read in portions since the I Love Books/Libraries theme can get repetitive after a few chapters.
Book 31 of 2011
Find this book at your local library