Adult Books Literatura Europa Reading Themes

[Saturday Reads] Gaiman’s Norse Mythology


Myra here.

Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.

Norse Mythology

Written by: Neil Gaiman
Published by: Bloomsbury (2017).
ISBN: 1408886804 (ISBN13: 9781408886809)Review copy provided by Pansing.

“As best we can tell, the gods of Asgard came from Germany, spread into Scandinavia, and then out into the parts of the world dominated by the Vikings…” – Neil Gaiman

This was the first book I read while traveling to Munich last week of May, and I deliberately refrained from sharing my thoughts then so that I can write this in time for our Literatura Europa reading theme until end of August. I thought that this was the perfect travel companion on our way to Munich and Bergen, Norway. We will be after all, in the land of the Vikings.

I often remember my books based on where I read them. Thank heavens for Litsy, I have a record of at-the-moment postings such as the one above. I finished this novel enroute to Bergen, in between flights. It was a relatively quick and easy read. While it had Gaiman’s usual strangenesses, this was a bit tempered and a little more intimate than usual. He seemed to be beckoning the reader closer so that he can whisper to your ear alone tales of giants and dwarves, gods and demons, dregs and treasures.

My familiarity with Asgard, Odin, Thor and Loki can be traced to the D’Aulaires’ versions of both Norse and Greek Myths.

While Gaiman’s version did not have the classic D’Aulaires’ art (I have a feeling I should only wait for another year or so before an illustrated version of Gaiman’s book would come out – it is always this way, take my money now!), he casts a seeming hypnotic spell to the reader, enticing you to turn the page to the next one and the next. His craftsmanship is evident in the fact that he can tell an all-too-familiar story and somehow make it his.

I read an earlier review written by Ursula Le Guin published in The Guardian decrying the lack of nihilism in the tales. I suppose this can be answered in the Dedication Page whereby Gaiman seems to have written this book “For Everett, old stories for a new boy” – his newborn grandson. Thus, it had a sanitized vibe to it while retaining some of Gaiman’s trademark peculiarities, edging it with his usual taste of darkness. Overall, a delicious and quick read. Find it and travel back to the time of the gods: raw, primal, and earthy; with a touch of the divine. How can one possibly go wrong with that?

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

1 comment on “[Saturday Reads] Gaiman’s Norse Mythology

  1. Oooh, it looks like Gaiman wrote another winner. I’ll have to check it out!


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