Review: Norse Mythology

Neil Gaiman, long inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction, presents a bravura rendition of the Norse gods and their world from their origin though their upheaval in Ragnarok.

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. Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose, these gods emerge 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 already knew going in that I liked Neil Gaiman’s writing style, so I was excited to experience the Norse myths though his style. I think this is a great example of modern language and story telling techniques refreshing these old myths and making them more accessible to people who may not want to read them as they were originally written.

Gaiman injects his usual wit and cleverness in the stories and in my opinion makes them vibrant and an easy, enjoyable read. He sets up the myths well and laid a great groundwork so that the worlds and characters could be understood. This is great for people who already love the myths or those just getting into them.

Happy reading!

Review: Where I Ache by Megan O’Keeffe

where I ache coverThough my history with modern poetry is rocky, I have really been enjoying the hard hitting collections this year, so I was delighted when Megan reached out to me and asked if I would review her poetry collection. She described it as a poetry collection broken up into 6 chapters ranging from themes such as depression, jealousy, grief, and strength and it was certainly that. Each chapter had a different feel and theme to it, but the transition and flow of the collection was really paced well and a natural progression.

We’re making angels out of monsters in the dark. – from “Please Don’t Sugar Coat this for Me”

Trigger warnings for this collection include what she mentioned above as well as insecurities/self esteem issues and there were some references to abuse. At some points it was like reading someone’s diaries as they were going through sometimes joyful, sometimes more traumatic events. I think the underlying theme to all of it was strength and survival through it all.

I definitely had some favorites when it came to this collection including “Lost at Sea,” “Fragile” and “To My Knees” among others.  As each part progresses, you can definitely see the journey of the author.  The illustrations by Kevin Furey also add a great contribution to the work, at some times very poignant.

Sand isn’t stable ground to rely on, but even concrete can crack – from “Ocean Blues and You”

This was a great exploration of poetry and there were some truly beautiful moments in her poems. Did every poem call to something in me? No, but that’s as it should be. I’ve always felt that poetry is something that can speak to the soul, but is different for every person and in saying that I think different people will definitely get different things out of this collection.

Where I Ache comes out on June 10th, be sure to check it out if it sounds like something you would enjoy.  Thank you again to Megan for giving me the opportunity to read it.

Happy reading!

Review: Wild Embers by Nikita Gill

wild embersSince picking up Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill earlier this year I was eager to check out her previous book, Wild Embers and see if I enjoyed it as much.  Spoiler alert, I did. Wild Embers was an amazing collection of modern poetry.  The subject matter was a touch more raw than her other work, and there are definite trigger warnings for talk about abuse of all kinds.  This collection explores not only what the abuse may do to someone, but also what it feels like to come out of it.  That is by far not the only subject matter as it touches on stereotypes, misogyny and more, but it was some of the most poignant of the collection.

 

“You are a myth born to the wrong age.  You are the kind of book that has magical stories trapped in every single page.”

While many of the poems are hard to read and tug at the heart, just as many of them are also empowering and encouraging. I’ve said many times that I am not a major fan of modern poetry, which holds true, but Nikita Gill has become an auto-buy author of mine.  I have loved everything of hers that I have read, perhaps because it resonates so much with me, but the content is important and I feel would resonate with many people.

What have you read lately that has made an author an auto-buy author?

Happy reading!

Discussion: To Keep or Not to Keep? Different Types of Book Collecting

If you’ve been on the internet at all in the last few months, I’m sure you’ve seen memes, videos and posts talking about Marie Kondo and her Netflix show, which was preceded by her popular book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  This has caused quite a ripple effect which includes a number of book bloggers, booktubers and others to examine their collections and initiate a purge (or at least make them consider one).

One of Marie’s quotes was taken out of context regarding how many books she likes to keep and sparked quite a…discussion by some who took it at face value. I think the important take away from the varying opinions, whether people agree with Marie’s methods or not, is that either way it caused people to look at their own lifestyles and possessions. I have been known to watch extreme organizing shows when I know I need a push to clean, not because my home is in disarray, but because it’s a motivational push.

That being said, seeing how those in the book community react to this trend, or even respond to it has been interesting.  It’s important to remember that there are many different types of book collectors and everyone is entitled to their own preference regarding their collection.

There are those who prefer to have copies of every book they have read whether they liked it or not, because it’s something they have consumed and has memories attached to it.  Others prefer to only keep a small selection of books which are their favorite and most beloved of stories and not own any others.  Then there are some in the middle (like me) who have a large collection of books, but they are typically books they have enjoyed and many that they will read again.  I personally do not keep books that I don’t enjoy, or if I felt the story was enjoyable enough but don’t really feel it has a place on my shelf I will let it go to a better home.

There is nothing wrong with any of these styles of collecting.  People are allowed to collect in any way that gives them joy (a key point that Marie made, over and over again).  Too often people react negatively when they see another person collecting in a way that is different than their own, I think people often lose sight of the fact that we are all individual and what may work for them doesn’t work for other people.

So, if you watch Marie’s show or read her book and suddenly feel the urge to go through all of your books to narrow your collection, then do it! If you don’t feel like you need to, then don’t.  I regularly go through my collection of both read and unread books and purge those that I’ve changed my mind on. Do what works for you and what gives you the most peace of mind when you look at your books.

So what’s your collecting style? Let me know in the comments.

Happy reading!