By: Neil Gaiman
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase
Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales.
In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, son of a giant, blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Once, when Thor’s hammer is stolen, Thor must disguise himself as a woman, difficult with his beard and huge appetite, to steal it back. More poignant is the tale in which the blood of Kvasir, the most sagacious of gods, is turned into a mead that infuses drinkers with poetry. The work culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and rebirth of a new time and people.
Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerge these gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.
I was pretty excited when I heard that Neil Gaiman was going to tackle Norse mythology through his own narrative. Norse mythology is a fascinating body of work, the characters intriguing and powerful yet very human, and their concept of the world and its structure just intriguing. I’ve read the Elder Edda and some of the other works associated to Norse mythology but of course there’s so many different Eddas out there that as Gaiman mentioned in his introduction his take it just another voice to its body of tomes.
The Noise of Time
By: Julian Barnes
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase
In May 1937 a man in his early thirties waits by the lift of a Leningrad apartment block. He waits all through the night, expecting to be taken away to the Big House. Any celebrity he has known in the previous decade is no use to him now. And few who are taken to the Big House ever return.
I read his book The Sense of an Ending (review) a few years ago and absolutely loved it–it’s definitely up there as one of my all-time favourite novels–so ever since then I’ve been keen to pick up more of his works. I was especially excited about this particular title because it bundles all my favourite themes and topics: Soviet Russia, Art, Life, Julian Barnes’ writing. Waited forever and a day for it to hit mass market paperback so it can match my copy of The Sense of an Ending but here it is now 🙂
By the way, I looooooooooooooove the book cover of this edition 😀
Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is a weekly blogging event hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. It allows book bloggers (and non-book bloggers) to write about pretty much anything, bookish or otherwise (i.e. share exciting plans for the weekend, rants on things they’ve encountered during the week, etc.).
- Omg my laptop is loading so friggin’ slow these days, it’s very hard to multitask =S And to think this laptop is…what? Two years old? Very concerning O_o
- Can’t say I had much going on in the last few weeks. Work has its ebbs and flows in terms of picking up shifts, but it has been busy every time I’ve come in since I came back from vacation. I need another vacation, lol xD *le sigh*
- Speaking of which, yeah, haven’t had a chance to sit down and organise my photos from my holiday into posts just yet. Sorry! As you may have also noticed, I haven’t been on much these days…taking forever getting back to comments and the like (again, so sorry, I will get around to it…soon-ish)
- I’ve also sort of stalled in completing my compilation of my poetry, which is ridiculous because it’s going to be a thin volume, but aside from busy-ness there are still little details that I need to clarify like ISBNs and whatnot. And I suppose nerves in general but okay, as soon as I clear out a few other things I need to take care of, I will sit down and finish editing. /hustle
- Finally met up with my best friends earlier this week. We’ve all been a bit busy that our monthly meet-ups have stalled but it was nice to go out for a change and just chat (especially after the weekend I had -_-; )
- I recently watched Logan. My review of the movie won’t be going live until next month but omg, the feels ;_;
- Books I’m currently reading: I’m very slowly but surely starting Patrick Rothfuss’ The Wise Man’s Fear (at long last, lol). I just finished reading Ruby Dahl’s Memories Unbound and re-reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold so I’m sort of pondering in front of my bookshelf as to what to read next, lol.
- Got my hands on Tolkien’s Beren and Luthien. There must be how many variations of this lay amongst the extra Tolkien books put out there since his death but whatever, it’s one of my favourites, haha.
- My unboxing will be posted later this month but oooh, look, pretty stuff from the May edition of the Paper Panduh Subscription Box 😀
- I have all this stationery but not a lot of people to write snail mail to…*was catching up with a few letters sitting on her desk*
How’s everyone’s week been going? Happy hump day! 😛
First Frost (The Waverleys #2)
By: Sarah Addison Allen
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
A magical new novel from the New York Times bestselling author ofLost Lake, featuring characters from her beloved novel Garden Spells.
Autumn has finally arrived in the small town of Bascom, North Carolina, heralded by a strange old man appearing with a beat-up suitcase. He has stories to tell, stories that could change the lives of the Waverley women forever.
In an ideal world, I would’ve wanted to re-read the first book, Garden Spells (review), before reading this book but seeing as 1) I didn’t feel like re-reading it, 2) this book has been staring at me for some time now and 3) I was still in a bit of a reading slump but wanted some fiction to read. So here we are, at my review of First Frost at long last 🙂
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
In 1989, a North Korean dissident writer, known to us only by the pseudonym Bandi, began to write a series of stories about life under Kim Il-sung’s totalitarian regime. Smuggled out of North Korea and set for publication around the world in 2017, The Accusation provides a unique and shocking window into this most secretive of countries.
Bandi’s profound, deeply moving, vividly characterized stories tell of ordinary men and women facing the terrible absurdity of daily life in North Korea: a factory supervisor caught between loyalty to an old friend and loyalty to the Party; a woman struggling to feed her husband through the great famine; the staunch Party man whose actor son reveals to him the theatre that is their reality; the mother raising her child in a world where the all-pervasive propaganda is the very stuff of childhood nightmare.
The Accusation is a heartbreaking portrayal of the realities of life in North Korea. It is also a reminder that humanity can sustain hope even in the most desperate of circumstances — and that the courage of free thought has a power far beyond those who seek to suppress it.
I first heard about this book and the story around its eventual publication on The Guardian (see article). I was immediately intrigued–there’s no fiction coming out of this country, let alone dissent literature from a writer still living in said country, so after reading the article I immediately pre-ordered a copy for myself to check out.