By: Halldór Laxness, Philip Roughton (Translator)
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
Sometimes grim, sometimes uproarious, and always captivating, Iceland’s Bell by Nobel Laureate Halldór Laxness is at once an updating of the traditional Icelandic saga and a caustic social satire. At the close of the 17th century, Iceland is an oppressed Danish colony, suffering under extreme poverty, famine, and plague. A farmer and accused cord-thief named Jon Hreggvidsson makes a bawdy joke about the Danish king and soon after finds himself a fugitive charged with the murder of the king’s hangman.
In the years that follow, the hapless but resilient rogue Hreggvidsson becomes a pawn entangled in political and personal conflicts playing out on a far grander scale. Chief among these is the star-crossed love affair between Snaefridur, known as “Iceland’s Sun,” a beautiful, headstrong young noblewoman, and Arnas Arnaeus, the king’s antiquarian, an aristocrat whose worldly manner conceals a fierce devotion to his downtrodden countrymen. As their personal struggle plays itself out on an international stage, Iceland’s Bell creates a Dickensian canvas of heroism and venality, violence and tragedy, charged with narrative enchantment on every page.
I had been eyeing a book or two from Halldór Laxness for a long time but it wasn’t until I travelled to Iceland last year and seeing his books everywhere that I decided to pick a book of his up. I decided to go with this book because of its expansive scope of 17th century Iceland and its ties to the Danish kingdom at the time (Denmark being the other place I went to last year). So here we are 🙂
And just like that, it’s the end of another month. February is a fairly short month so there’s that but things are busy as always. As some of you may have noticed, I’ve started staggering my posts here on my blog. During my Reading Week I attempted to catch up here on my blog, which I guess I did a sort of successful job in covering my basics, but there’s still so much to be done here and to fix especially now that I’m not running under my own url like before. But anyhow, here’s what has been going on at my blog this month:
- Books reviewed this month include: Nicholas Ostler’s Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World (review), Giuseppe Ungaretti’s Selected Poems (review), and Robert Rotenberg’s Heart of the City (review). You can check out all the books I’ve reviewed recently in the book review tag.
- I posted a few movie reviews earlier this month: What We Do in the Shadows (review) and Bon Cop, Bad Cop 2 (review). You can check out all of the past movies I’ve watched and reviewed in this tag.
- I also posted a few graphic novel reviews this month: Monstress: Vol 1 (review), Doctor Strange: Blood in the Aether (Vol. 3) (review), and Thor: Worthy Origins (review). You can check out all of the graphic novels I’ve previously reviewed in this tag.
- I hosted a book giveaway earlier this month for a change to win a signed copy of my second poetry collection, Of Frost and Fury: Poems Written in the Land of Volcanoes and Giants. Thank you to everyone who entered! I will host a giveaway again sometime in the future, keep a lookout on my poetry instagram account, @shallibeapoetinstead
- On a final note, this month marked my eleventh blogoversary. 11 years blogging is quite massive to think about…celebrated it rather quietly this year,
you can check out my thoughts from this event over at this post 🙂 so quietly in fact that I never got around to typing up a blog post about it #fail I’ll try to do it when I get a chance…
And that’s more of less it for February! Wishing everyone a lovely March 🙂
Heart of the City (Detective Greene, #5)
By: Robert Rotenberg
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
In the latest thrilling crime novel from bestselling author Robert Rotenberg, Homicide Detective Ari Greene discovers the bludgeoned body of Toronto’s most reviled developer behind his controversial new construction site.
When Detective Ari Greene was charged with the murder of the woman he loved, he stopped at nothing to clear his name and uncover the real killer. After his acquittal, Greene fled to London to get away from it all, but now he’s back. And he’s not alone—with Greene is his twenty-year-old daughter, Alison. The child he never knew he had.
Determined to leave his life as a cop behind him, Greene gets a job on a construction site for one of Toronto’s many new condos. It seems he has finally found peace as he settles into a new career and new role as a father, helping Alison adjust to life in Canada.
But when Greene stumbles upon the corpse of hated developer Livingston Fox, he is plunged back into the life he tried so hard to leave behind. As the body count rises, Greene is forced into a reluctant reconciliation with his former protégé, Daniel Kennicott. The pair must delve into the tight-knit world of downtown development, navigating tangled loyalties, unexpected corruption, and family secrets, some of which are closer to home than Greene could have ever imagined.
In a world where the stakes are high and the profits are even higher, Greene and Kennicott race against the clock as they follow the trail of blood and money to its shocking end.
After the end of the last book, I wasn’t entirely sure if the series would continue or if that was the end of Ari Greene’s story and the other characters would continue on. Anyway, reading the preview of the book allayed my questions on the matter as Ari Greene and the rest of the cast of characters are back in this latest novel by Robert Rotenberg. What especially intrigued me about the premise of this book is that once again it’s a timely topic tackled: Toronto’s real estate.
Thor: Worthy Origins
By: Lilah Sturges (Text), Jason Aaron (Text), Pepe Larrazz (Illustrations), Esad Ribic (Illustrations)
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
Among the lofty spires of Asgard, Young Thor is the strongest, brashest and most arrogant god of all. But his giant-slashing, troll-smashing days come to an abrupt end when he’s tricked by his jealous brother Loki into a foolish attack. Cast down to Earth into the crippled mortal form of Dr. Donald Blake, follow the Thunder God’s journey of self-discovery and a mortal man’s awakening to the power within. Revisit the fantastical origin of the Son of Odin in this new graphic novel, which thrusts the tale of Thor into the modern age with thunderous results! In this epic saga of towering Frost Giants, belching maidens and massive battles, one hero must decide which identity is truly his – before both of the worlds he loves are destroyed!
BONUS CONTENT: THOR: GOD OF THUNDER 1
I picked this volume up on a whim, actually, but Thor is one of my favourite Marvel superheroes so I figured I can’t go wrong in reading this 😛
Doctor Strange: Blood in the Aether (Vol. 3)
By: Jason Aaron (Text), Chris Bachalo (Illustrations), Kevin Nowlan (Illustrations), Leonardo Romero (Illustrations)
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
Will Doctor Strange survive his foes converging and attacking him all at once? Journey back to the first days of Doctor Strange! How did Stephen Strange become the Sorcerer Supreme – and how has he lost it all? In the present, Strange is on the brink of death, his magic nearly depleted. Sensing the Master of the Mystic Arts is at his weakest, his greatest foes will return from the shadows, ready to strike – starting with one of his oldest rivals, Baron Mordo! But as a parade of bad guys line up to take their shot, one of Strange’s newest enemies may be the deadliest of all. The Orb, now with the immense power of the slain Watcher’s eye, has set his sights on Doctor Strange!
COLLECTING: DOCTOR STRANGE 11-16
At long last, I got my hands on the third volume. Those who have been following my comic book reviews will know that I’ve enjoyed the previous two volumes and espite telling myself I can pick this up any time, I just had to find out what happened next in Doctor Strange’s current predicament 😛