Again, I apologize to all in the reading group for how the reading group has taken a back seat in my life over the past few weeks. We are strongly seeking to re-establish some semblance of normalcy in our life. So, here's what I came up with from this week's reading.
This is the week where I hit the tipping point where I no longer think of this as an adventure story so much as a "whopper story." I'm convinced that Odysseus is the ancient Greek equivalent of the father from Big Fish. The moment came when the crew opened the wind bag. I thought "Yeah, speaking of wind bags..."
Mind you, this is not a criticism. I'm enjoying it tremendously. But, I think Aeolus showed great wisdom in saying "You know what, the gods don't seem to like you very much so please don't stand so close to me."
Circe turns the men into literal pigs and, when Hermes shows up, the text actually contains this line in reference to the herb: "and the gods call it moly." I don't know about you, but I just about fell out of my chair when I read that line. Needless to say, while Penelope is being faithful in the face of many suitors back in Ithaca, Odysseus isn't exactly faithful to Penelope over the next year he spends with Circe. Also, when Odysseus tells Circe that they want to leave and go back to Ithaca, Circe tells him to go to Hell.
We're given a rather graphic lesson on why you don't ever want to talk to the dead. There are a lot of them, they want you to do things for them and, not surprisingly, they are kind of a bummer. We learn that Odysseus is going to have to make up to Poseidon who, it turns out, is pretty mad about the whole blinding the cyclops episode. We also see Agamemnon who may well have revealed a plot point.
We encounter the Sirens, but Odysseus minds his own... beeswax (are you really sure you want to be reading the classics with me?)
There's the six headed beast that eats more of the red toga-ed sailors from Engineering. There's the sun cow part that was referenced in the first paragraph of Book 1. Suddenly Odysseus and his men are like the Blues Brothers. They've got the sun and the sea mad at them and chasing them.
Back in real time, they get back to Ithaca by the skin of their teeth.
In spite of how a tremendous amount happened in this week's reading, I think we're still shooting to finish this in two more weeks. So, this next week, we will read through Book 18. The following week we will finish.