Changing blogging domain and site

Dear blogger friends, Lately, I had a few problems with the Blogger web site for my blog The Content Reader . I took this as a sign that I should finally create a web site of my own. I have been checking out other options, but could not get my act together. Finally, I have managed to create a basic web site with Wix, which I hope will be developed over time.  It has not been easy to find my way around. One thing one can say about Blogger is that it is easy to work with.  This site will no longer be updated Follow me to my new domain @ Hope to see you there.  Lisbeth @ The Content Reader

3 x Greek Tales

February is almost at an end. I must admit that I have been in another world this month, or two different worlds might be more correct. The theme for my own February challenges is Antiquity, Greek Gods and Other Tales. I find the Greek gods quite a fascinating subject, and I have been totally absorbed by three books; Homer's The Iliad (still reading), Ariadne by Jennifer Saint and The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. On top of that I got hooked on a TV-series based on the All Soul Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches. I watched the three seasons, and 25 episodes in about 10 days. There we enter into a world of vampyres, witches, demons and other creatures. A great story. Now I am back to real life, which seems to be only grey clouds, rain and wind. Luckily, we can disappear into other worlds and stories when we need to. 


Ariadne, Princess of Crete, grows up greeting the dawn from her beautiful dancing floor and listening to her nursemaid's stories of gods and heroes. But beneath her golden palace echo the ever-present hoofbeats of her brother, the Minotaur, a monster who demands blood sacrifice.

When Theseus, the Prince of Athens, arrives to vanquish the beast, Ariadne sees in his green eyes not a threat but an escape. Defying the gods, betraying her family and country, and risking everything for love, Ariadne helps Theseus kill the Minotaur. But will Ariadne's decision ensure her happy ending? And what of Phaedra, the beloved younger sister she leaves behind?

Hypnotic, propulsive, and utterly transporting, Jennifer Saint's Ariadne forges a new epic, one that puts the forgotten women of Greek mythology back at the heart of the story, as they strive for a better world."

I think the overall story of Ariadne and Theseus is well-known. Ariadne's father, the king of Crete, has hidden his monstrous son, Minotaur, in a labyrinth under the palace. Once a year seven sons and seven daughters of Athens come to the island to be fed to him. This year, the son of the king of Athens, Theseus, come himself. A beautiful young man, and Ariadne falls head over heels in love. She promises to help him, and turn to Daedalus who is the architect that build the palace. He gives her a ball of thread to give to Theseus, so he will find his way out. As we know Theseus kills the Minotaur, manages to get out of the labyrinth, and leaves Crete with Ariadne. 

From there on I did now know the story. The continuation came as a surprise to me, and might do the same for you. I will therefore not reveal too much of the story, although the quotes below, might just do that. 

Ariadne's sister Phaedra also plays an important role in the story. 

"On Crete, I (Phaedra) had been dazzled by Theseus' looks and his impressive tales. Now I could see my youthful infatuation for what it was - unsubstantial, melted away in the morning sun like the scattering of snow that sometimes gathered briefly on the hills. But I could never let slip the slightest sign of my frustration with him, for I knew that as much as I enjoyed the illusion of power, it was always within his grasp to whip it away. I might be an asset, charming the visiting dignitaries, soothing the restive inhabitants when they came to complain.- with a tact and smoothness I had come to learn and hone - but I could never allow myself to forget that Theseus was the king. If I had to charm anyone, it must be him first of all."

Ariadne and Dionysus

When the Greek Gods have their say, we never know what will happen.

"His voice was impassioned as he spoke. "The gods do not know love, because they cannot imagine an end to anything they enjoy. Their passions do not burn brightly as a mortal's passions do, because they can have whatever they desire for the rest of eternity. How could they cherish or treasure anything? Nothing to them is more than a passing amusement, and when they have done with it, there will be another and another and another, until the end of time itself. Their heroes do not know love because they only value what they can measure - the mountains they make of their enemies' bones, the vast piles of treasure they win, and the immortal verses that are sund in their name. The see only fame and are blind to the rewards that only human life can offer, which they simply toss aside like trash. They are all fools." 

This is a wonderful tale, beautifully written and Jennifer Saint keeps the story going with surprising turns everywhere. Following much of what is known about Ariadne and her story, Jennifer Saint takes us behind the scenes and make Ancient Greece come to life. It is a story from a woman's point of view, and naturally, this will be a different story. I really loved this book. 

"I had fallen in love with his vulnerability all those years ago. I had thought it made him different from all other men and gods alike. But it was his misery that made me so uneasy now. Because if I had learned anything, I had learned enough to know that a god in pain is dangerous."

The Song of Achilles

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper - despite the displeasure of Achille's mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achille must go to war in distant Troy and fulfil his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear."

Achilles is the great hero of Ancient Greece. A fighter in one of the most famous wars ever, the Trojan War.  He was the one killing another great hero, Hector, the son of Priam of Troy. Not so much is known of this man, naturally, but Madeline Miller has written a historical fiction of his life, chosen to tell the story from the point of view of Achilles' friend, Patroclus. It is a wonderful story of how they met when rather young, growing up and studying together and forming a bond for life. From different backgrounds, with different gifts. Patroclus is certainly at the losing end of this duo, because who can measure himself with Achilles? Godlike, beautiful, strong, almost immortal. Patroclus is happy to be part of his life, even if it is a life in the shadow of another man.

"Then, just as Odysseus moved forward to intervene, Achilles spoke. 'I am Achilles, son of Peleus, god-born, best of the Greeks,' he said. 'I have come to bring you victory.' A second of startled silence, then the men roared their approval. Pride became us - heroes were never modest."

Everybody who meets him is impressed by Achilles, except maybe himself. Born with an immortal mother, Thetis, the sea goddess, and a mortal father, Peleus, he shines wherever he goes, and whatever he does. Immortalised by Homer in The Iliad he has made a footprint in history. But does he really want to be a hero?

"His (Achilles) eyes opened. 'Name one hero who was happy.'

I considered. Heracles went mad and killed his family; Theseus lost his bride and father; Jason's children and new wife were murdered by his old; Bellerophon killed the Chimera but was crippled by the fall from Pegasus' back.

'You can't.' He was sitting up now, leaning forward,

'I can't.'

'I know. They never let you be famous and happy.'"

Their lives take a turn when they are persuaded to join the war against Troy. After a rather isolated upbringing they are now at the center of attention. Patroclus has to share his love with so many people. He also sees a different side of Achilles. One he might not like so much. During the war Patroclus steps out of the shadow of Achilles, and acts on his own account, also getting respect from kings, high officials and famous fighters. He is not much of a fighter himself, but shows his ability in taking care of the wounded, and showing some diplomatic skills, which obvious, Achilles lacks. As the time passes, we realise that Patroclus is a much nicer person than Achilles. The end is very touching and maybe it was meant for me to finish this beautiful love story on 14 February, Valentines Day. 

In both of these books, and The Iliad, of course, we go into the world of the nitty, gritty businesses of the Greek Gods. They are no ordinary gods. They quarrel between themselves, they interfere into the lives of both immortals and mortals. This is especially obvious in Homer's The Iliad, which I am still reading.  

"She (Thetis) says that there is strangeness among the gods, that they are fighting with each other, taking sides in the war. She fears that the gods have promised me fame, but not how much." (From The Song of Achilles). 

It is never boring. You are just wondering what they are up to. To go back to the Ancient Greeks is a hilarious adventure, and I am looking forward to more stories. We are planning (if the pandemics allows) to go to Greece in August/September, and I look forward to visiting some of the places mentioned in these books. And to read more stories, especially with a female touch. 

 I recently read The History of Bees by Maja Lunde, a story about a dystopian future. It was interesting to find this paragraph in Ariadne about the importance of bees. 

"He (Daedalus) turned his palms to the sky and shrugged his shoulders, smiling. "Why not bees?" he asked. "Bees are beloved by all the gods. It was bees who fed the infant Zeus on honey in his hidden cave while he grew strong enough to overthrow the mighty Titans. Bees produce the honey that Dionysus mixes with his wine to sweeten it and make it irresistible. Indeed, it is said that even the monstrous Cerberus who guards the Underworld can be tamed with a honey cake! If you wear this pendant around your neck, you can soften anyone's will to yours."


  1. I am eager to read Song of Achilles, but I have it on audio and have to wait until I have a nice big chunk of time.

    I like how you had a theme for the month.

    1. It is not a very long book, and quite easy to read. Should be nice to listen to it, although it is not my favourite way of reading a book. But, it would work here.
      I decided to have a theme for each month this year. Mostly, so I should read books from my shelves, but also because it gives a kind of substance to the reading. I am very pleased with this challenge of mine.

  2. The Song of Achilles is the one that grabs me most from this! Happy reading!

    1. It is worth a read, especially, since I think you are a fan of the Greek gods as well. I will also read her book Circe. Have you read it?

  3. I loved reading Circe too by Miller & can recommend it for your reading challenge.

    Do you plan to read the Pat Barker books as well? Silence of the Girls and The Women of Troy?

    1. I will read Circe as well. Thank you for the recommendation of Pat Barker's books. Sounds great and they will be on my list to read as well.


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