3 thoughts on Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology

I was off to a slow start with Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology. It is a pretty straightforward retelling of the norse sagas and I’m not overly keen. To be honest. Mythology interests me just fine, the sagas for some reason not so much. Probably because a. the Norse gods are not likable, and b. their concerns are kind of foreign to present day people.

Despite the slow start, I got really into it. I would have liked the book to never end.

Can we have Neil Gaiman read all the books? I listened to the audiobook. Neil has one of the most pleasant voices there ever was. Sometimes even bordering on Alan Rickman. (Obvs another fave.)

The Aesir got what they deserved. I don’t know if it was the way Gaiman told it, but I just really felt for the Fenrir wolf; knowing they would lose in the end, it felt right.

Why aren’t any of the stories about the norns? I love the norns, the Norse version of the fates. My favorite characters of all the characters. Not even sure why that is, it’s not as if there’s a lot of info about them out there.

Actually. I’m currently reading a new interpretation of Norse mythology focusing on the female deities. I’m hoping it’ll shed some light on the norns. Because who cares about Frigg or Freya? No, not even Gaiman managed to make them anything like interesting.

Gaiman’s got a nice intrepretation/rendition of the norns in Sandman, which you really should read if you haven’t already. Not only because of the norns, but that is defnitely one reason of hundreds to pick it up.

Top Seven Sunday; Instant attraction

I’ve been meaning to finish this post for literally months. It’s really one of the Top Ten Tuesday topics from The Broke and the BookishTop ten things that will make me instantly want to read a book.

I’m just going to ignore the fact that I’m so late the party’s been over for a very, very long time now, and just get on with it anyway. Because I really did like this topic.

And because I’ve already written the post, I know this list does not include 10 things, but rather seven, so let’s keep with the alliteration and just call it what it is.

Disclaimer: I may want to instantly read a book for any of the following reasons, but there are still any number of things that will discourage me a second later.

Norse mythology. I have  a long-going Norse mythology obsession. To be fair, I’m quite interested in mythology in general; what I find most appealing about Norse mythology is that we seem to be missing pieces of the puzzle, it makes little sense at the best of times. Which means you can fill it with content of your choice. I love it when authors take the basic idea of Norse mythology and runs with it. Examples: The Valhalla Saga, Sandman, American Gods.

Music references. Not music in general, specifically music I know and/or love, obviously. This also applies to fictive music, e.g. books set in a music industry context that also manage to be convincing, such as How to kill a rockstar. Other examples: Röta, Eleanor & Park, The Sex Revolts.

University setting. I’m a sucker for university setting. I was even before I started working at uni. Examples: You had me at hello, Rebell med frusna fötter, Fördömd – I also hear Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story is set at uni. I keep meaning to read it for that very reason.

Feminist satire. Is there anything better? Examples: Egalia’s Daughters, Hur man botar en feminist (English: How to cure a feminist), Jag är din flickvän nu (English: I’m your girlfriend now).

Feminist anything. In general. Fiction and non-fiction alike. I will give anything a go, the problem is, there are writers with faulty understanding of what feminism is, i.e. writer and me are not on the same page = they are wrong, and that will make me stop reading. I prefer feminist works of what people would probably call radical or extreme. A few favorites: Feminist Political Theory, Dirty Weekend, The End of Men, The Women’s Room, Det kallas manshat (English: It’s called hating men).

Well-written biographies. I don’t limit myself to people I know/like. I do prefer music bios about musicians I like, but I will read about just about anyone. At the same time, I’m quite particular when it comes to the quality of the writing. Which is unfortunate in this genre, as it tends to be a poorly written genre. And yes, I will immediately want to read if a reviewer says it’s a good bio. Can’t seem to learn that in general, reviewers and me don’t have the same idea of what constitutes a good bio. Examples: Scar tissue, The Heroin Diaries, It’s So Easy, The Long Hard Road out of Hell.

Books that put interesting historical figures (fictive or real) in new contexts. For example if you make up a story Karin Boye, or Medea. I know I’ve read several books like this but right now I can only remember Texts from Jane Eyre.

Top Ten Tuesday

Let’s have another top 10 Tuesday! If you’re unfamiliar; this is a weekly meme from The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is: Ten Books Set Outside the US. Easy peasy! That’s pretty much the majority of all books I’ve ever read! Of course. It does give me maybe too many books to chose from?

Let’s try to pick 10 books where the set is of some sort of importance for the story, to make it a bit more relevant.

Fallvatten by Mikael Niemi. Let’s start off by testing your patience with a Swedish novel that, far as I know, has not been translated. It’s set far up north in Sweden, the Suorva Dam breaks and disaster ensues. Basically. Completely fictional of course, it’s a study of human behavior in a disaster scenario, as you would imagine, the flood is not the scariest part.

The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory. The book I was struggling with for about 6 months. Usually, putting a book aside if we don’t get along like a house on fire from page one is not a problem. But I just really, really wanted to read a story about Mary Queen of Scots. Obviously, this story is set in England. Mary never makes it back to Scotland in this part of her story.

Er ist wieder da (Look who’s back) by Timur Vermes. Hitler suddenly wakes up in present day Germany and becomes a stand-up comedian. Loved this book, it’s absolutely hilarious. Can’t recommend it enough. Favorite part: when he’s getting an email adress, which can be seen in the trailer of the movie here.

Utvandrarna (The Emigrants) by Vilhelm Moberg. Set in Sweden in the mid 1800s, about the people who emigrated to America. Not my favorite novel, but the musical has ensured that this is a book you’ll never forget.

Stalins kossor (Original title: Stalinin lehmät, translates as Stalin’s cows) by Sofi OksanenI really expected there to be a translation into English of this book, but I guess not? It strikes me one of the greats. It’s a brilliant mix of politics, eating disorders, the Soviet and Estonia/Finland, and brilliantly executed.

Kärlek i Europa (Love in Europe) by Birgitta Stenberg. Published early 80s, but I’ve only just recently discovered it. It’s the first in a series of autobiographical books that Stenberg wrote. Actually one of the best reading experiences I’ve had in the past few years; I will be rereading. Stenberg frequently lived abroad when she was younger, and this book takes place during a time when she mainly lived abroad. It takes place in Sweden, France, Italy and Spain.

The Death of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave. The set is probably not that important here. I just wanted to mention Nick Cave. Obviously. The story is set in Brighton, and starts out with the haunting picture of the pier burning and the birds screaming.

Ein überdimensionales Meerschwein frisst die Erde auf (An oversized guinea pig eats the world I guess? I’m not qualified to translate from German) by Markus Karg. This is the book about the world’s best band (oh yes, this is a fact). They’re from Germany in case you didn’t know. So obviously this is set in Germany. Or at least so I assume, I never did finish it. I’m saving this as a project for when I retire. 

The Expedition – A Love Story by Bea Uusma. Sweden in general loved this book. It’s non-fiction. Mainly takes place on White Island. It’s about three Swedish explorers who planned to go to the North Pole by a gas balloon. They never made it there; it crashed on the ice and they died before they made it back to civilization. It’s an excellent read. It had me completely obsessed with cold, icy places for months and months, I was watching any type video material from any place where it was cold and snowy. Including the North Pole webcam.

Freja (Freya) by Johanne Hildebrandt. Takes place in Sweden during the Bronze Age, soo… not actually Sweden, but what would become Sweden. This is one of my all-time favorite novels. Hildebrandt has basically taken characters from Norse mythology and based her story around them. I keep looking for books similar to this because the idea is so wonderful, i.e. fiction about the Norse gods. It is also the main reason I forced myself to watch Vikings, it’s nowhere near as good as this novel, but it’s not bad.

What books would be on your list?


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