Norse Mythology

Neil Gaiman. Bloomsbury. (304p) ISBN 9781408891957

Norse Mythology

Norse Mythology

Another of those books that’s been adorning my shelves for many months, but Norse Mythology felt like another book for these times.

I’ve read the myths referenced in this work several times from several sources, and they were enjoyable, so I was really looking forward to seeing what Neil Gaiman would do with them, especially since I wasn’t that keen on Stephen Fry’s take on the Greek myths.

Once started it was impossible to put down, they were fresh and fun whilst not detracting from the source material. Neil’s voice and tone were spot on and added a great flavour to the myths, something which has sometimes felt lost in a lot of other translations/interpretations.

Finished this in an afternoon and evening, but the tales are so well executed that they can easily be revisited again and again, especially since the ones chosen are great fun.

Another great book from Neil Gaiman which is a keeper, a rare occurrence now we’re running out of shelf space.


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Children of Blood and Bone

Tomi Adeyemi. Pan Macmillan. (544p) ISBN 9781509871353

Children of Blood and Bones

Children of Blood and Bones

There has been so much hype about Children of Blood and Bones that I was a bit leery about starting it just in case it disappointed.

I needn’t have worried as from the start of the book Tomi develops a set of characters and world that is both fantastically exciting and believable. The world draws from east-African traditions and culture and is all the richer for it. The originality of the story in the fantasy genre really sets it apart.

Set in a world of prejudice, fear and hate where magic users are feared and hated, their families have been slaughtered and oppressed by the current King.

Zélie mother was one such magician, through the book Zélie has to come to terms with her history and magic. She is assisted by a cast of characters that are as fully-fledged as she is, some coming from the camp of the enemy. This often brings emotional tension to the fore and this tension is as wel;-explored as the magic and adventure.

A well-paced fantasy adventure that I just didn’t want to put down, and please believe the hype.


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Jólabókaflóð

Jolabokaflod

Jolabokaflod

In Iceland, books are exchanged as Christmas Eve presents, then you spend the rest of the night in bed reading them and eating chocolate. The tradition is part of the season called Jólabókaflóð, or ‘Yule Book Flood’, because Iceland, which publishes more books per capita than any other country, sells most of its books between September and November due to people preparing for the upcoming holiday.

This was a really popular tweet and I thought I could expand it into some recommends for the celebration of Jolabokaflod.

The books I’m going to recommend haver a general wintery or christmasy theme and the chocolate are just bloody gorgeous.

As I mentioned on the thread, The Way Past Winter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, it’s a lovely wintery story with a Scandi feel to it and the hard back edition is beautiful.

Others have mentioned Northern Lights by Philip Pullman, another wintery delight with lots of snow and armoured polar bears, especially apt for Iceland, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis continues the snowy theme, but the person did want to swap chocolates for Turkish delight, perfectly reasonable in my view.

Others went with books that are their comfort reads or a classic, Lee Child got a few mentions and Kite Runner got a mention.

Others I would recommend as great wintery reads are; The Snow Spider by Jenny Nimmo, The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson, Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone, The Shining by Stephen King (though possibly not this year, 2020), The Snowman by Jo Nesbo, and The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon

As for chocolate choices there are several, all of them so yummy, but not too dark as to set me buzzing with caffeine 🙂

The first is produced by The Chocolate Society and it is their Blonde Chocolate & Sea Salt Bar, so moreish especially if you liked Caramacs, still light but very tasty.

Next are the Sea Salted Caramel Fudge Discs from our local patisserie, Robineau.

Last but not least are the White Chocolate Pistachios with Cardamon and Rose from Rococo, these are so delicious that we’ve never been able to stop ourselves from eating the whole bag in one sitting.

Have you any recommendations? Whether they are books, chocolates or traditions please let us know.


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(M)

October Update

The Year of the Hare

The Year of the Hare

Twenty-one posts published this month, so a really good month for blog content as in my head as long as I write at least one post a week I’m on my schedule and I’m doing well.

Twenty-one posts about gaming, cooking, art history, and writing, but not one book review… You know, the main reason this blog was setup in the first place 🙂

There were a few reasons for this. Firstly, I’ve hit a bit of a block when it comes to reading once more so rather than beat myself up about it I decided to just go with it, secondly, I’ve been closing down a lot of Tumblr and Blogger blogs and adding all the old posts and info to here to make this more of a general blog, and thirdly, I’ve put in a bit of a sprint across at indiebookshops.com with the help of Jack and Andy to get the map and list for UK and Ireland up to date and shiny so we can start adding all the info I’ve been collecting for the last couple of months.

Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler

A short but wonderful study into the life of a man who thinks he is doing everything right, wonderful character development for such a small piece of writing, loved Micah’s sisters and extended family.

This is the book that’s brought me to my target for the year, so no more reading for me… ⭐⭐⭐⭐

An Open Book and Empty Cup by Iqbal Ahmed

A rambling exploration of London, Kashmir, writing, poetry, art, and Iqbal’s life and thoughts.

The weaving and juxtaposition of memory takes us down many different paths as these come to mind. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna

Translated by Herbert Lomas, a strangely compelling road trip.

The narrative was extremely episodic with each adventure seemingly separate from the previous one, but it did twist back in the end.

Humorous, fantastical, and Finnish ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Forager’s Calendar by John Wright

A wryly humorous and highly informative seasonal exploration of the wild larder that is available in Britain with a very clear section about poisonous plants.

Elderflower Turkish Delight! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

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