Circe Review and Why I’ve Been Gone…

SORRY I have been gone over the last few months! Things got a little…not good…earlier this year, which I explain a bit of down below, but I have returned with a review! And some very mini mini reviews of the books I’ve read in the last few weeks. Sorry if my review writing is a little rusty….

Circe

Circe by Madeline Miller ★★★.5

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves…

I had an….interesting time with this book. I really enjoyed the first half of it, I liked Circe, I liked her kindness and her naivety even though it was a weakness to her. The pace of this book is not fast, but I read the first half very quickly, was intrigued by the way the mythology played out in Miller’s style.

Then I hit a wall. Things just got…… too slow. I’m not even going to look on Goodreads to see the dates that I started and finished this book, because it felt like years. An eternity. As long as Circe’s immortal life. Because Circe is just kind of stuck on an island and after a little while I was starting to really feel that. And if that was the point, then bravo, but if not, then, well, hmm. Much of what we learn about the outside world is summarized to us by other characters, and even then, I didn’t really care. It felt removed, and not very important or threatening to me. Circe can’t leave, Circe can’t die, she turned vengeful, but not in a way that riveted me.

But I kept going, and I ended up loving the ending. What I had enjoyed about the first half of the book seemed to return, and I felt a renewed affection for the characters, and a vivid interest in how the plot was going to wrap up. If it wasn’t for the patch in the middle where things got slow and disinteresting for me, I’d be giving this book 4 stars. As it is, even though it was a little tough to get through, I did genuinely enjoy this.

Other books I’ve read over the last few months!

I also have read a few other books while I’ve been gone, but my will to write reviews for books I read 3 months ago sadly does not exist, so I’ll share my star rating and five quick thoughts on each.

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden ★★★★☆: Slow paced. Magical!! Spicy. Satisfying end to a trilogy. I liked the mushroom guy.

Sadie by Courtney Summers ★★★★☆: Sad. GREAT YA thriller!! Characters that surprised me. Readable. It really went there.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh ★★★★☆: Intriguing. Punch to the heart. Relatable but not too relatable. Frustrating. GOOD STUFF.

The Pisces by Melissa Broder ★★★★☆: Kind of disgusting. Made me feel morose. Was not necessarily enjoyable, but I really liked it. OH NO. Unique.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite ★★★★☆: FUN! Fast paced. Easy to read. Like a thriller but not really. MEN!!! Why did I expect any other ending than the one it had.

Why I’ve been gone…..

Also, I want to explain why I’ve been absent the last few months! I know I don’t really have to, but I just feel like it’s good for me to be honest about things. I shall sum it up on two reasons-

1) I have been taking art classes! I go to a university in my city and take night classes for a photography program. It has been very fun, but it’s a lot of work and takes up a lot of my time. But it’s very worth it and I’ve never had so much fun attending classes before. It’s also just sparked a lot of inspiration to work on things for myself in my free time, time I used to spend on reading.

2) The Big Reason. The short answer is: my workplace is not the nicest of environments, and people there are not always the nicest of people, and it was so very bad this past winter that I spiraled into an intense period anxiety, stress, and all-encompassing self hatred. There were other factors too – the general dark sadness of winter and a very minor health issue that unleashed the worst bout of hypochondria I’ve ever had – and all of these things were just a wild storm of black poison in my brain. Which, understandably, made it hard for me to concentrate much on writing reviews. 

But!

The weather started getting nicer, and on the days I couldn’t contain the stress I started going outside and walking it off, which improved my mood, and I talked to some friends about my problems, which gave me perspective, and things started to feel better. My work environment has calmed down since the winter, and I’ve been applying to new places to work and for positions I’m interested in working in.

Now I make sure to take a walk outside every day and just…unplug. I guess I could say that getting regular exercise and sunlight has dramatically helped my anxiety, but going outside, in nature or in the city, is just really nice time I get to spend with myself. It helps clear my head, and I think about fun things, not self-hating things, and I take pictures and I brainstorm stories and listen to music and audiobooks, or just am quiet. I explore places I haven’t been before, parks and beaches and trails, I visit new stores and new restaurants that I come across, and I just really genuinely enjoy, like….physically being out in the world. It’s time with myself, but my focus is not entirely on myself. It’s time where I’m not beholden to anyone, or needing to be productive in any way, and it’s satisfyingly tiring. It’s honestly something I look forward to doing every day, and it’s given me a lot of perspective and mental and physical strength. I know this is kind of a tangent, but I just really love it!!

Obviously, that does cut into my reading time quite a bit, so I’m not matching the number of books that I used to, but that’s okay. I want to do the things I enjoy because I enjoy them and not because I feel like I have a thousand obligations to them, or because I’ll feel like a failure for not doing them. Not that I’ve ever felt that way about reading, but I did about blogging, and falling away from the community a bit. But I knew I could always come back!

So yeah!! That’s my condensed explanation, and I’m working hard to maintain this routine because I don’t want to fall into that kind of dark headspace again. It’s still tough, and work is still  tough, though calmer now than it was. And I do work with some great people- I don’t want to paint a terribly bleak picture! But it’s been hard to constantly be around those who have such negative and domineering attitudes, and people who treat others badly. There’s just no point to it, except now instead of letting it feed into all the worst things I think about myself, I try to use it to fuel myself to go out and enjoy the things around me even more, and to be good, and to enjoy people and encourage them!!!!!!!!!! That’s corny but if you fight me over it I won’t even go and cry in the work bathroom anymore.

Some friends and I have been studying Ecclesiastes in the Bible and there’s a verse that really stood out to me that kind of sums it all up, I think: (8:15) “And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.”

I hope to be around here more!!!

🙂

 

15 thoughts on “Circe Review and Why I’ve Been Gone…

  1. Great reviews! I’m glad you liked the ending of Circe. I had FEELINGS with this book. Also, My year of rest and relaxation is so weird, I loved it.

    I’m so sorry about what you are going through. My depression/ anxiety always gets worse with the winter, too, so I totally get it about going out for walks and burning it off. I hope you find a better job and, more than that, feel better. Also arts class sounds great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Even though I got stuck in the middle there, I absolutely LOVED the ending of Circe. It really came for me in the final pages, wow.

      Thank you!! I think finding a new job will probably help a lot, but I’m also trying to be mindful of ways to not fall into a slump when winter rolls around again next year. I’m sorry you have to go through this type of thing too, I hope you’re doing well!!

      Like

    • Thank you so much!! I tried not letting it get to me, but it’s hard when you spend 40 hours a week somewhere. I think people have mellowed out with the summer coming though, lol

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Welcome back, Steph!! I am so glad to see you again here, and your review hasn’t gotten rusty at all! Fabulous as always.
    I’m sorry that you went through a rough patch, but glad to hear things start to pick up again! I’ve missed you so much and honestly glad to have you here again 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much!! I really hope to be blogging more- I don’t know if I can keep up with the amount of reading I did before, but I’ve missed just settling down with a good book, and that’s what I plan to do right after I catch up on blogging for today!! Thank you so much for the warm welcome back!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. HELLO WELCOME BACK!!

    You should write all your reviews in 5 quick thoughts tbh that was killing me. ‘OH NO.’ ‘MEN!!!’ same.

    I am so glad you have been developing coping mechanisms for winter misery, I should really take a leaf out of your book because MAN. WINTER. And I totally sympathize about your job, my last job (prior to working from home) had the most toxic office environment and I constantly felt miserable, and then after I lost that job I spiraled into such a depression and it’s kind of wild to realize how connected your work life is to your mental health!! So I hope you are able to find a less shitty job soon, you deserve it!! Also feel free to visit my cats any time, they are a proven morale-booster.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Honestly just writing the first things that came to my head about each books was probably the most entertaining way I’ve ever written a review and I’m considering just like, picking 20 random books or something and doing that. A Little Life: Long. No?????? NO. WHY. PLEASE GOD. NO!!!!!!!!!!!! (ALL gets 6 thoughts)

      Separating work and personal life is so hard??? Like spending 40 hours a week with the same people every day in the same place…I just want to tell everyone to chill. But then I realized I had to tell MYSELF to chill. And honestly take precautions for the winter next year, why is winter actually the worst. PROBABLY BECAUSE I DIDN’T GET TO PET PERCY OR LILY SINCE LIKE LAST AUGUST or whenever it was. I WILL RECTIFY THIS!! But I’m so glad your job seems to be going so well, MAY WE ONLY BE BLESSED WITH GOOD JOBS AND WORK ENVIRONMENTS FROM NOW ON.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, this has been my work experience too. Things have calmed down at long last so it’s not quite so overwhelming. And it’s funny because I just randomly went out for an evening walk last night just to get some “me time” but then my boyfriend was texting me the whole time complaining about a bunch of stupid crap and it kind of ruined it for me lol. I’ll have to try and go out for a walk again sometime, but let my boyfriend to keep his negativity to himself… haha anyway, glad to know you’re doing better. Best of luck in your job search!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry you’ve had to go through this kind of thing too!! Work places are so overwhelming, it’s hard not to let it get to you when you’re there so many hours a week. But I’m glad yours has calmed down too!! Usually when I go for walks I keep my phone on silent so I don’t text- even people close to us can be downers sometimes :/ Maybe next time just put it in your pocket and focus on your surroundings instead? That’s what I try to do!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Yay, I’m glad to see you back! I’m sorry you’ve been having a hard time, and hope things are better. ❤ Winter is usually quite rough for me, so I can understand to an extent.

    Liked by 1 person

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