Book Review by Dianne Bynum

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

This is such a beautiful story and a joy to read. Circe is one of my favorite books and I was anxious to read Miller’s second novel, A Song for Achilles. I was surprised that it was a love story. I’m also surprised that the book wasn’t narrated by Achilles but by his lover and companion Patroclus. I’ve never heard this part of the myth and I thought it added some humility to the story of one of the world’s first super heroes. Achilles wasn’t a god, his father was human, but he had the air of entitlement that comes from knowing that royalty runs in your blood. You will love both of these young men because you meet them as young boys before Achilles is spoiled in battle. Young boys play together and learn together. You know that they are in love before they do and you’re happy when they finally discover it. There are a lot of surprises in the book so I don’t want to ruin it for you. Now whenever I hear the name Achilles, I’ll remember his loyal Patroclus, a mortal that taught the gods about love.

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Coping

New Normal

These are unprecedented times. No one living has experienced such a pandemic in their adult lives. Restrictions depend upon where you live, but almost everyone is restricted in some way. Each country’s precautions are a little different and in the US it is up to each state to decide how much we must restrict our movements.

Regardless, we have all had to adjust to a new normal and there is nothing about it that feels, “Normal.” We must remember that physical distancing, masks, gloves and stay at home orders are designated to protect others as well as ourselves.

Coping

So-called social distancing is hard for me a hug loving, social being. I miss my friends. I miss my family. I miss going to the grocery and volunteering and driving and everything else that made up my daily life before COVID-19 dropped in on us.

  • I am trying to cope by taking one day at a time. This isolation is so open-ended at this point that it is depressing to think of the month or months stretching ahead. I try to have a goal (or two) for each day and when I achieve those I feel energized. The goals are too mundane to share, but of course, include such chores as reorganizing a closet.
  • This is also a wonderful opportunity to read. I have many books on my shelves that beg to be re-read and I have about fifty on my Kindle that I have not read. Reading is always informative and it swallows up a lot of free time.
  • This final coping mechanism should have been listed first because I think it is probably the most important. Here in Kentucky, I feel very fortunate that this pandemic has occurred in springtime. The sun shines bright almost every day and there are flowering trees and plants sprinkling color all around. Each day I go for a walk in the neighborhood and I am grateful that this virus did not visit in winter.
  • One last thought: Many people are making it possible for us to live during this trying time. Let’s remember those working in hospitals, grocery stores, law enforcement, and other essential capacities.

As our governor, Andy Beshear, reminds us each day, “We will get through this together.” 

How Are You coping?

 

“Think first of the action that is right to take, think later about coping with one’s fears.” Barbara Deming