Hanging with Vampires

Insha Fitzpatrick, Lilla Bölecz. Quirk Books. (128p) ISBN 9781683693413

Hanging with Vampires

Hanging with Vampires

As part of my raid on anything spooky and creepy to read in September and October from NetGalley I was given this to read.

A non-fiction book exploring all aspects of the vampire, from its folklore history to its representation in modern media, and looking at different kinds of vampires from around the world.

A fun read written in an accessible and relaxed tone full of fangtastic illustrations from Lilla Bölecz to complement to words.

Aimed firmly at a younger audience, 9-12, this has great snippets about how to make garlic bread, a brilliant interview with Vlad the Impaler, and a really interesting look at how disease and death were thought of in the Middle Ages.

All without getting too gross or gory, but having just the right amount to keep a person interested, impaling heads, nice aside about vampire bats.

The section about vampires in modern media is also quite good and does look at diversity and representation and doesn’t hold back from criticising Twilight for its lack of either and problematic representation of Bella.

Overall a fun read and as the first in a new series of books called the Totally Factual Field Guide to the Supernatural it comes out running and sets a nice high bar for the rest of them.

Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Being Good

Louie Stowell. Walker Books. (240p) ISBN 9781406399752

Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Being Good

Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Being Good

I’m being so slow at getting these reviews out into the world, had read this quite a while ago now, but still laughing at some scenes that pop into my head.

Odin’s had enough of Loki and his behaviour and has exiled him to our world in the body of a school boy, and told that he has to improve his ways of be punished for eternity. All of which Loki finds totally unfair and believes that no one has a sense of humour at all as it was only a joke!

The other problem is he’s not allowed to use his awesome super god powers, at all! So not only has he to navigate normal school life as a bit of a weedy boy (Thor is also along for the fun and is still hunky), he cant even cheat (which is one of his favourite pastimes).

and he’s on a clock.

You can see where this is going can’t you, loads of misadventures, mishaps, and fun ensue, all fantastically illustrated by Louie throughout, and all we want to know is can Loki do it, can he change?

Wonderful writing makes this a fun, fast-paced adventure thoroughly supported by silly illustrations careening through mishap after mistake after misunderstanding.

Looking forward to book two in the series which should be out soon(ish)


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Storyland

Amy Jeffs. Quercus Publishing. (384p) ISBN 9781529407976

Storyland

Storyland

Is it wrong to say that I got this book because the cover was so beautiful, as were the internal prints?

The other reason is I’ve never really read a lot of British myths, lots of Norse and Greek, even Slavic and MesoAmerican, but not British.

This book seemed like a great introduction, written in modern english and interpreting the myths for a modern audience, perfect for the novice.

It also had lots of small chapters making it the perfect bedtime book, a small chapter before falling asleep, though after reading the first chapter I was thankful that the next day was my day off as I read the rest of it in one big sitting (beans on toast for dinner that night).

Amy Jeffs does a brilliant job of adapting these myths to modern language and sensibility, making them thrilling and fascinating in equal measure. From the very start these myths made me want to know more about where they came from and Amy lets you know as at the the end of each story there is a discussion about the myths origins.

Amy also places each story firmly within the landscape of Britain, travelling with you to the places that each was meant to have happened and describing the feel of place and history.

One of my favourites is a bit of Arthurian lore I never knew, Merlin going naked to his ex-wife’s wedding, hilarious.

I absolutely loved this book, so much so that I had to search out a signed hardback edition even though I’d already bought the paperback.


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.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

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Circe

Madeline Miller. Bloomsbury. (352p) ISBN 9781408890042
Circe

Circe

I was very late to reading this and never understood why, I had it on my bookshelf from the moment it came out in paperback as I’d loved Song of Achilles so much and was looking forward to it but it sat there for ages.

In the end I listened to it on the library audiobook service and that was absolutely perfect and seemed entirely apt to listen to a mythology as part of an oral storytelling tradition.

We are taken into the world of Greek mythology once more by Madeline Miller, this time to explore the myth of Circe through her eyes and with her words, not through the eyes of a hyper-male society and modern patriarchal adaptations.

This was a stunning adaptation, closely following the myth, with Madeline Miller’s lyrical text mirroring a lot of forms of Greek myth narrative style. Writing HERstory is always difficult as it is a voice that we’re not used to and it centres parts of the story that are often brushed aside or glorified when they really need to be highlighted.

Madeline Miller does an excellent job of this, and I especially loved the swine story and how it was viewed from Circe’s point of view.

I think it was also enhanced by listening to it, Perdita Weeks was the perfect narrator/voice, I could imagine listening to this in a public space being performed to an audience.


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.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.