The Penelopiad : The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus (Myths series)

by Margaret Atwood | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 067697418x Global Overview for this book
Registered by ajsmom of Quesnel, British Columbia Canada on 12/13/2005
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
16 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by ajsmom from Quesnel, British Columbia Canada on Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Here's the order of the (first Myth) bookring:

colebear book is here 01/26/08

I enjoyed the book - it's a quick read - and a fun interpretation of The Odyssey. Off it goes this week to merimag and the beginning of a long ring!

Basic rules: journal the book when you receive it, journal again when you finish it (add your thoughts & comments and stars if you like), and mention the date you are sending it out. Please pass it along within 4 weeks. If you can't, e-mail the next person on the list and myself to let us know why & when you will be able to send it out. If you read the book before you get it in the ring, please let the person ahead of you know (and tell me too) so that we can delete you from the list.

In my ideal world, if someone in this list has a copy of Jeanette Winterson's and/or Karen Armstrong's book, they will offer it as a ring to everyone else in this ring, thereby completing the Myths ring. *grins and crosses fingers*

Journal Entry 2 by ajsmom from Quesnel, British Columbia Canada on Thursday, December 22, 2005
I sent the book to merimag on December 20th. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 3 by merimag from Shrewsbury, Shropshire United Kingdom on Friday, December 30, 2005
The Penelopiad has arrived and I am looking forward to it. I am halfway through Weight and will get that in the post to ajsmom in the next few days.

Journal Entry 4 by merimag from Shrewsbury, Shropshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, January 3, 2006
I really enjoyed this retelling of the myth. It is interesting to look at the story imagined from Penelope's perspective. She is not pleased at how she has become the icon for the obedient wife. Like Weight by Winterson it is irreverent and wonderfully comic.

This book was sent to StoryChaser today (3/1/06).

Journal Entry 5 by StoryChaser from Waterlooville, Hampshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, January 4, 2006
Received today from merimag, thanks (and for the choccy). Love Margaret Atwood, can't wait to start this tomorrow.

Journal Entry 6 by StoryChaser from Waterlooville, Hampshire United Kingdom on Sunday, January 8, 2006
Margaret Atwood has skilfully mixed the old with the new in is this re-telling of an old tale. Very enjoyable. Thanks ajsmom for starting the ring.
Posting off to MonkeCatcher today. :)
(Released as part of the Keep Them Moving Challenge 2006.)

Journal Entry 7 by MonkeCatcher from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Sunday, January 15, 2006
Recieved in the post today. I'll put aside the book that I just started to read this straight away, as the other is large and I want to get this moving on as quickly as possible :)

Thanks for starting the ring, ajsmom :D

Journal Entry 8 by MonkeCatcher from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Monday, January 16, 2006
I finished reading it tonight - what an absolutely fabulous book! Thank you so much for starting this ring, ajsmom - I have looked every book that I have read of Atwood's, and this is no exception. So compelling and interesting. I think that I will go out and buy a copy for myself now :)

I have PMed Raindrop, and will post as soon as I get her address, which will hopefully be tomorrow :)

Journal Entry 9 by MonkeCatcher from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Monday, January 16, 2006
I sent the book to RainDrop this afternoon - Happy reading.. it's a great book :D

Journal Entry 10 by bookchick88 from Kent, Ohio USA on Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Will read shortly and pass on to the next member. :)

Journal Entry 11 by bookchick88 from Kent, Ohio USA on Friday, February 3, 2006
This was an awesome book!

I loved how it oozed feminism!
Penelope's point of veiw is very interesting to read and observe. I was sad for the 12 maidens. They were only trying to help. Poor things.

Overall, a wonderful read. I look forward to reading the continuing books of Ms. Atwood.

Thanks for starting this ring, I enjoyed participating!

Journal Entry 12 by bookchick88 from Kent, Ohio USA on Friday, February 3, 2006
Just recieved Wistroll's addy, will be sending it off shortly!

Released 16 yrs ago (2/6/2006 UTC) at Post Office swap shelf, 56 Whiting St. in Plainville, Connecticut USA



sending off to the next participant!



Journal Entry 14 by Wistroll from Centuria, Wisconsin USA on Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Arrived safely today with another bookring book. Neither one is very big, will get to this soon, shouldn`t have it too long!
Thanks for including me, Atwood intrigues me and I`m looking forward to this!

Journal Entry 15 by Wistroll from Centuria, Wisconsin USA on Sunday, March 12, 2006
I really enjoyed this. I probably would never have read this book if it weren`t for bookcrossing.
I`m curious to look up more info now as I have no knowledge of any of the Myths being spoken in this series other than just hearing of them.

I like how Atwood writes and the way she took this myth from the female perspective and gave these characters a voice.

Looking forward to others in the series. I have Weight by Jeanette Winterson also and after I`m through reading that one, I will send them both along together to the next person on the list. Awaiting a response...

Thanks so much for including me in this ring!

Journal Entry 16 by Wistroll from Centuria, Wisconsin USA on Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Off with Weight by Winterson to ldpaulson today.

Journal Entry 17 by ldpaulson from Ventura, California USA on Thursday, April 13, 2006
This arrived with WEIGHT. There are, however, other books in line ahead of both books. I'll start reading as soon as possible.

Journal Entry 18 by ldpaulson from Ventura, California USA on Thursday, May 4, 2006
As much as I looked forward to this series, reading this reinterpretation of the Penelope myth was a slog. It just moved leadenly along and did not resonate at all with me. Much of the structure seemed contrived and some modern words and phrasings were jarring. Yet another example in the ongoing "Do I really like Margaret Atwood?" running arguement.

Journal Entry 19 by caligula03 from Hayward, California USA on Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Book is here as is Weight. I really wish Weight hadn't been included. Unexpected book ring books makes scheduling difficult.

Journal Entry 20 by caligula03 from Hayward, California USA on Tuesday, June 6, 2006
The Penelopiad suffers from the problem as Cat's Eye. Atwood seems to believe that "strong" female protagonists prove their strength by bitching about how hard their lives have been. Unfortunately this approach takes an interesting and tragic character and turns her into the one dimensional shadow that the Greeks belived people became in the afterlife! Atwood may have written many well received books but she should stick to her strengths, namely distopic near future science fiction. When it comes to epics, she is no Homer. For a much better modern interpretation of Penelope, watch the Coen Brother's film O Brother Where Art Thou.

Journal Entry 21 by caligula03 at on Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Released 16 yrs ago (7/2/2006 UTC) at



Mailing to xallroyx.

Journal Entry 22 by xallroyx from Huntington Beach, California USA on Sunday, July 9, 2006
got in the mail today! Looks like a fast read so I should have it on its way quite soon!

Journal Entry 23 by xallroyx from Huntington Beach, California USA on Sunday, July 30, 2006
I have been into Greek Mythology for most of my life and this reinterpretation of Penelope's story was a great read! I liked the idea of using the twelve maids as the chorus. Everytime Helen is mentioned I think about how her beauty is all she has. Very fast read!!
I have librarmousie's addy and will be getting off!

Journal Entry 24 by xallroyx from Huntington Beach, California USA on Tuesday, August 1, 2006
mailed today to librarymousie!!

Journal Entry 25 by librarymousie from Portsmouth, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, August 12, 2006
Arrived today. I've got a couple of bookrings ahead, but I may bump this up since I'm currently reading Weight.

Thanks so much for including me in this ring--I'm really looking forward to reading this!!

Journal Entry 26 by librarymousie from Portsmouth, New Hampshire USA on Sunday, September 17, 2006
Wow! What a great retelling. I enjoyed the perspective--but I tend to enjoy Atwood anyway. What I really liked, even more than the notes of feminism, were the roiling undercurrents of class struggle. Provocative to say the least.

Have e-mailed next in line and hope to have this on its way to Cambridge in the next day or two.

Journal Entry 27 by LisaGriffith from Cambridge, Massachusetts USA on Sunday, October 1, 2006
Book arrived last Friday.

Journal Entry 28 by LisaGriffith from Cambridge, Massachusetts USA on Thursday, December 7, 2006
The myth series books are really great! I recently read The Red Queen and the point of view was very similar to Atwood's in The Penelopiad. First person writing from the distant past writing about their life from the dead to modern readers. Interesting.
Anyway, thanks for sharing, ajsmom! And apologies for the delay. The book is on its way to legbamel (along with Weight)...mailed today.

Journal Entry 29 by legbamel from Fargo, North Dakota USA on Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Ack - I'm so sorry! I thought I'd journalled this (and its companion, Weight) when they arrived 10 days ago but when I came to journal my thoughts and get the next participant's name I discovered that I had not. So my apologies, and I'll get this out in the mail straightaway.

At any rate, I agree that this was a very fast and fun read. I enjoyed the new perspective and the Chorus sections. Atwood is always good for a breath of fresh air on any topic, especially where women have been treated cavalierly as is very much the case in The Odyssey. Thanks for including me in the ring, and I'll PM for an address today.

Released 15 yrs ago (1/8/2007 UTC) at Controlled Release in Controlled Release, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases



Off with weight to the next reader. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 31 by KarinAlyssa on Tuesday, January 23, 2007
received ! I have another ring that I am currently reading, so it might take the whole month to read both books!

Thanks Ajsmom for sharing and to Lebgamel for sending on!

I forgot to review this amazing book ! I always enjoyed mythology and I was pleased to read Margaret Atwood's take on Penelope's story. I love how she wrote it although the chorus of the 12 maidens were superfluous at times.

Thanks AJsmom for sharing and sorry again for taking so long to get it to move.

Journal Entry 32 by Ibis3 from Newcastle, Ontario Canada on Saturday, April 28, 2007
KarinAlyssa met with me today and handed over both of the Myths books. I see she hasn't reviewed them, but she did tell me they were good. I have a couple of other bookrings ahead of these, but I'll get to them soon.

Journal Entry 33 by Ibis3 from Newcastle, Ontario Canada on Sunday, August 5, 2007
Apologies for stalling these books for so long! I received so many rings at once that I found it difficult to keep up with journalling and posting them (reading them was no problem though, so I have to look these over now to try and recall my original impressions).

I'll have to say that I was a little worried about reading this book. The Odyssey is one of my favourite books, and I was concerned that what I expected to be Atwood's 'feminist revisionism' would ruin things. I'd already known that the maids were the chorus for this modern look at the ancient myth, and I thought that Penelope would be changed into an oppressed and vindictive bitch, the maids would be innocent victims of a brutal male dictator in Odysseus. I was happy to find my fears unrealised. I ended up liking Penelope, mourning the maids (while at the same time disapproving of *their* post mortes vindictiveness), and Odysseus was a bit of a dolt, but nowhere near cruel. I hated Helen though, with all her arrogance and schadenfreude, an interesting take on her character but not one I share.

As with The Life of Pi, the reader is left to determine for herself what actually happened (is this a Canadian sort of theme I wonder?).

The play opened this week in Stratford-upon-Avon and will be playing here in Ottawa in the fall. I hope to check it out.

I'll be sending this book out on Tuesday.

Note to Myth Series readers: I knew that ajsmom wanted to have a kind of spiral or package with all the MS books, so I bought Alexander McCall Smith's contribution to the series, Dream Angus. With the help of ajsmom, I've made up a list of people who want to read all three books:

If your name is not here, and you do want the book, just let me know and I'll add you in.

Journal Entry 34 by Ibis3 from Newcastle, Ontario Canada on Monday, August 13, 2007
Sent to Breeze144 today.

Journal Entry 35 by Breeze144 from Ajax, Ontario Canada on Thursday, August 16, 2007
Arrived here today! Thanks...can''t wait to get into this one!

Journal Entry 36 by Breeze144 from Ajax, Ontario Canada on Thursday, August 30, 2007
Great book! I love Atwood, so I started with her's out of the 3 myth books. I loved the humour and irony in Penelope and I learned about Greek myths!

Reserving until I read the other 2 to send to colebear.

Dec. 20 - sent this off quite a while ago, but forgot to journal here....should be arriving with colebear anytime now!

Journal Entry 37 by colebear from Jacksonville, Florida USA on Saturday, January 26, 2008
I picked this little gem up at the post office a week ago and started it today... well, actually I devoured it in a matter of hours.

I was upset by the treatment of the maids throughout this book, not just by Odysseus when he returned, but by Penelope raising them as daughters and then sending them to the wolves as it were, to do her bidding even though they suffered terribly for it. This book did not improve Penelope's reputation to me, she was still somewhat wilting. I felt for her that she was living among strangers, but to have not made any trustworthy friends in 20 years, other than the maids she raised herself, is a stretch for me. Though it is telling that she had no one to turn to since she protected her 12 maids so poorly.

Thank you for including me in this ring, and I should be able to keep it moving as soon as I complete the other books that are traveling with it.

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