Circe by Madeline Miller (♦♦♦♦)

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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…

Margin Call (♦♦♦♦)

Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Stanley Tucci, Zachary Quinto, Demi Moore, Simon Baker and Jeremy Irons co-star in Margin Call.

MBS is a global company undergoing downsizing. In the most recent wave of layoffs, a risk analyst is let go, but he hands over his most recent project to a trusted associate before leaving. That night, when the young associate begins to work on the data, he arrives to a stunning conclusion: the company is worth nothing as of two weeks ago.

Over the course of the early morning hours, the whole cavalry is called in. They attend meeting after meeting to figure out if the analyst is right; it turns out that he is. The big leaguers then decide to do something outrageous: liquidate the company in its entirety when the stock market opens… Only they know full well their stocks are worth nothing!

This is a taut thriller, made better yet by the excellent performances of the entire cast. Jeremy Irons is brilliant as the depraved CEO of MBS. Kevin Spacey is equally amazing as the sales executive responsible for making the sale of worthless stocks that ruins millions of lives. His conscience shows up then, but his moral compass is not in working order for it points to the killing. “I need the money”, he says, “It’s hard to believe after all these years”.

The story is all too real and recent. Margin Call opens wounds that aren’t yet healed from the latest recession and the way the financial world handled the crisis. It wasn’t pretty in real life and the movie doesn’t sugar coat it either. It is offensive to the point of being obscene. My blood boiled!

There are magnificent quotes that are hard to ignore, buzz phrases like “It’s only money, paper so that we don’t kill each other over food”

If you didn’t lose money in the market, then watch the movie. It’s priceless! If you did lose, this will reenact your worst nightmare.

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