Circe by Madeline Miller (♦♦♦♦)

Granddaughter of Oceanus, daughter of Titan Helios and sea nymph Perseid, Circe was different from the start. While her siblings discovered their unique gifts very early on and gained their independence—either by claiming their inheritance, like Perses and Aëstes, or by marriage to a wealthy demigod, like Pasiphäe—, Circe remained among her family in the halls of the gods. Her love for young fisherman Glaucus changed everything. Circe used a potion to transform Glaucus into a worthy suitor. Glaucus, seeing his station changed, fell in love with one Circe’s cousins, a sea nymph named Scylla. Out of jealousy, Circe put a potion on Scylla’s bath and, unintendedly, transformed her into a monster. Circe’s confession forced Helios to go to see Zeus, for witchcraft is something that gods fear can tip the balance of power. Zeus declared an eternal banishment for Circe from the halls of the gods to the island of Aiaia.

Exile was not easy but, as Circe learned, it had its advantages; being away f…

127 Hours (♦♦♦♦)

In a story taken from the news, Aron Ralston (James Franco), a passionate mountain climber, gets his hand trapped accidentally between a loose boulder and a canyon wall, while hiking in Utah. Four days later, he is still trapped, has lost circulation of his arm, is almost losing his battle to stay alive and takes the horrific decision to cut his arm to save himself.

This is a magnificent performance by James Franco; it’s too bad that Colin Firth will beat him at the Oscars this year. The movie is fast pace, despite Franco spending almost two hours of it trapped and fighting for survival. The split in three screen helps to give different perspectives of the same situation. His memories offer variety and aid in the understanding of the psychology of Franco’s character. Despite its harrowing conclusion, the film manages to be both uplifting and inspiring. God, it takes guts to make the decisions that Ralston made under duress!