Tuesday, May 24, 2011

An Armchair BEA Giveaway -- and Initial Thoughts on The Penelopiad

My friend Bellezza at Dolce Bellezza and I are reading Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad this week, as part of the Read-A-Myth Challenge – and some other bloggers have decided to join in as well! We’re going to post our reviews on May 30. The book is short, there’s plenty of time, so please feel free to join us as well!

So after an evening of reading, here are my initial thoughts and questions about what I’ve read. And there’s a giveaway too!

First, I was not prepared for how funny it was going to be:

After her wedding to Odysseus:
“And so I was handed over to Odysseus, like a package of meat. A package of meat in a wrapping of gold, mind you. A sort of gilded blood pudding.” (pg. 39)

Also, Penelope is a far saucier character than I imagined!

On her mother-in-law:
“That Anticleia would freeze the b*lls off Helios.” (pg. 61)

I am wondering about Penelope’s mother. I had no idea that she was a Naiad. Is that in the original story? Isn’t it interesting to give the most steadfast character in Greek mythology the flightiest of mothers? So far I absolutely love the book. I hope everyone else is enjoying it as well!

The Giveaway

To celebrate my Armchair BEA, as well as our book buddy read-along, I’m giving away the winner’s choice of any of the books in the Canongate Myth series available through the Book Depository (so the contest is international, but you must live in a country where Book Depository offers free delivery). To enter, just follow this blog on GFC (below, right) and leave a comment with your email, so I can contact you! Each entry will be assigned a number, and I'll use random.org to pick the winning digits! Giveaway is open until May 27.

The Canongate Myth Series allows modern authors to reimagine traditional myths from many cultures. For those of you not familiar, here are the books in the series:

A Short History of Myth, Karen Armstrong
The Penelopiad, Margaret Atwood
Weight, Jeanette Winterson
The Helmet of Horror, Victor Pelevin (trans. Andrew Bromfield)
Lion's Honey, David Grossman (trans. Stuart Schoffman)
Dream Angus, Alexander McCall Smith
Girl Meets Boy, Ali Smith
Binu and the Great Wall, Su Tong (trans. Howard Goldblatt)
Where Three Roads Meet, Salley Vickers
Baba Yaga Laid an Egg, Dubravka Ugrešić
The Fire Gospel, Michel Faber
The Myth of Izanagi and Izanami, Natsuo Kirino
Orphans of Eldorado, Milton Hatoum Mythology of Amazonia
The Hurricane Party, Klas Östergren
The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, Philip Pullman

Good luck, and thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to check out the other giveaways at Armchair BEA Central!


  1. Thanks for the giveaway! I can't believe I've never heard of Canongate Myths, they look so great! More books added to my TBR list...

    I follow you on Twitter now (couldn't find GFC or e-mail subscription links).

    susanna DOT pyatt AT student DOT rcsnc DOT org

  2. What a nice idea for a giveaway! Actually, too nice, because I don't know which book I'd choose if I won.

    For now, I don't have to worry about that yet.

    You know me... jh303015 @gmail

    Do enter my giveaway if you like!

  3. How interesting, I love reading myths.
    Thanks for the giveaway.
    GFC friend Karla Vollkopf

    kah_cherub at hotmail dot com

  4. i'm participating in the Penelopiad readalong, too, so it's nice to hear your preliminary thoughts. i should have my copy today or tomorrow and will be diving right in.

    i'd never heard of the Canongate series until the readalong, so i'm definitely interested in the rest of them, too! my email is thelittlereader (at) gmail (dot) com

  5. I saw Atwood speak when this was published at Emory several years ago. I've read so many reviews about this one but have been hesitant because I've never tackled the Odyssey. I should, I know. I really love Atwood's work so I'm sure I'll enjoy it regardless.

  6. GFC Follower: SpadesHighReads
    Thank you for hosting this giveaway and for participating in ArmchairBEA!! Nice to meet you!!

    SpadesHigh @ http://SpadesHighReads.blogspot.com
    TValeros18 @ gmail [dot] com

  7. I'd like to be entered. I hadn't realized that Alexander McCall Smith had written a book that was a myth retelling - I'll have to check that one out regardless.

    akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

  8. I'd love to read The Helmet of Horror by Victor Pelevin. Thanks for the giveaway!

    I'm a GFC Follower
    GFC Name: Danah


  9. I own Dream Angus but have yet to read it. I'd love to read The Penelopiad.

    smartin_90 (AT) yahoo (DOT) com

  10. I'd love to read the Penelopiad. I'd always thought of her as a sort of "sit there and take it" girl, but this sounds fascinating.
    I'm a new follower as well :)

    Oh, and I spend my life doing things other than the mound of grading and then feeling guilty and stressed about it. LOL

  11. I'd love to read Penelopiad actually. :) Thank you for the lovely giveaway!
    Amy // amyismyfriend at aol dot com

    GFC = ArtsyBookishGal

  12. Thank you for this giveaway! I'd love to read the Atwood book. It sounds like you are enjoying it.

    I'm hosting a giveaway on my blog, but I had to limit it to those living in the US (now it's incredibly expensive to mail books outside the US, sadly).

  13. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood sounds really good. I would like to be entered to win it.
    Thank you so much for this chance and for making this giveaway international! :D

    Giada M. - GFC

    fabgiada (at) gmail (dot) com

  14. Thank you so much for the giveaway! I added a bunch of those book to my TBR pile! I'm now a GFC follower & I'd love to for you to stop by my blog sometime. Your blog is great!

    Miss Lauren @ The Book Mistress

  15. Awesome giveaway!
    GFC follower- Krysta Banco


  16. Thanks so much for the giveaway. I'd like to enter this...

    Lily Mae Sandoval - GFC Follower


  17. I follow this blog via Google Friend Connect.

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  18. I wasn't sure I could finish another read-along book in time to join but I have and so I'll be starting The Penelopiad tonight! Thanks to you and Bellezza for getting me to pull this off the TBR shelf!

  19. Following you now through GFC! Thank you :)

    book.splot AT gmail DOT com


I absolutely love comments. Thanks for taking the time to share! Col