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…

Book: Life of Pi by Yann Martel (♦♦♦)

Piscine Molitor Patel, Pi for short to avoid embarrassing mispronunciations, was born and raised in India, until his family decided to leave the country for good in mid-summer of 1977 for Canada. Pi was fifteen years old. The Patel family sailed away in a ship named Tsimtsum, but in the middle of the Pacific the ship mysteriously split in half and sank. Pi was the only survivor of the shipwreck.

Suddenly on his own in a lifeboat, accompanied by four wild animals—an injured zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker—that attacked each other until only the tiger was left standing, Pi had to learn survival skills that kept himself and the tiger alive for the 277 days that took their voyage throughout the Pacific until they reached civilization. During the journey, the castaway encountered the strange and the amazing that helped him keep his faith in God intact.

I’ve read this book in anticipation of the movie release. I liked this book, though not as much as I thought I would. Despite growing on me steady but surely, the first 92 pages made me debate repeatedly whether I should keep on reading; it was boring. From that point on, despite of becoming borderline fantastic, as when Pi reached the carnivorous algae island, or when he believed he was conversing with Richard Parker, the story became compulsively readable. Predictable in its unpredictability, Life of Pi is a story of remarkable survival, of wonder, of miracles big and small, of faith and the endurance of the human spirit.

The NY Times book review expressed that Life of Pireverberates with echoes from sources as disparate as Robinson Crusoe and Aesop’s fables [and] The Old Man and the Sea”…I couldn’t agree more, Life of Pi has all elements of a classic.