darchildre: children reading books in a field. (books are for adventure!)
Today, my family has been cleaning out our storage unit, in preparation for no longer having a storage unit. In doing so, we found one of my favorite childhood books, that I thought was long lost or given away - Folktales of the Amur.

Oh my god, you guys - first of all, the stories are great, and I very much look forward to revisiting them. But the illustrations are the best part. The art is by Gennady Pavlishin and it is amazing. I will give you just two examples, but I invite you to google for more, as it's amazing. pictures under the cut )

I am so excited to have this book back, I cannot even tell you.
darchildre: sepia toned, a crow perched on a gravestone (gravestone)
There have, of course, been many times in my life when I have caught a cold and not been reading a Stephen King novel but I swear to god that I have never managed to read any of his books that talk about Captain Trips without developing at least a sniffle and a cough.

(I am reading Wizard and Glass, have just gotten to the point where we encounter a whole bunch of dead people who died of superflu, and I have a cold. And, okay, on one level I kind of enjoy that level of immersion into the story - well done, body - but on the other hand, I would like to not feel sick.)
darchildre: text: "i am a terrifying and imposing figure" (they said i'd be ambassador to france)

- I have done something to my back, it is most annoying.

- This past weekend, I went over to see my sisters and we had a Hamilton singalong, in the style of the ones Megan and I used to do when we were kids, where we assigned parts and had to sing five things at once in ensemble numbers. Except this time, we included Katie as something other than dead people. It was absurdly fun.

- When I was reading Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell a couple of months ago, I got distracted while Mr Strange was in Venice and wandered off to read other things. Yesterday, I finally finished it and am currently a little bereft. So I went and started the audiobook from the beginning, like a goober.

- The 5th Avenue Theatre is showing Assassins next year and I bought tickets today. My sisters (and possibly my Mom) want to come as well, which will be fun. (And I also bought myself a second ticket for a different day, because I love this show so much and the chances that I will ever see it staged professionally again (or at all) are slim to none.)

- The Bainbridge library is having a Halloween movie double feature on Friday, which I've promised my coworkers that I'll attend. (One of my favorite coworkers at Bainbridge runs the movie nights and I think he's a little worried no one will show.) They're showing The Serpent and the Rainbow and...one of the Invasion of the Body Snatchers films. I don't actually know which one. Not the first one or the most recent one, anyway. I have seen neither of those movies, so that should be cool.

- Other than that, my Halloween plans at this point mostly involve going to see Crimson Peak and then watching every Peter Cushing movie I own. (Except maybe Night Creatures, since that's not a horror movie. Though it is pretty awesomely swashbuckly, so I might watch it anyway.) I feel like that's a good plan.
darchildre: text:  "well, my doctorate is purely honorary, and harry here is only qualified to work on sailors" (only qualified to work on sailors)

- This weekend, along with tea jelly, I also made an abacus bracelet. I'm always losing track of what row I'm on when I knit and now I have a bracelet that can count up to 99 and will remember for me. I'm very pleased with it. Also, it's a pretty bracelet. I might have to make another one just because. I am a little tempted to make it three strands so it will count to 1000 but I'm pretty sure that's silly.

- The thing about reading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is that it has a very strong narrative voice that is very different from the way I usually speak and it gets into my brain and I start saying things like "I haven't any of those" and wanting to spell surprise with a z and I have to remind myself that I'm not an English person from 1811 and I shouldn't talk like one. I think I've kept it under wraps enough that no one around me has noticed but I feel like I'm being very obnoxious. Or possibly I just talk like a weirdo all the time and people around me don't think it's anything different.

( - This happens when I read Riddley Walker too, but that's somewhat more of a problem.)

- I started listening to the BBC radio Raffles series and it is entirely adorable. Fortunately, I am listening to them alone in my car and thus can pause the show for squeaky noises and shouting, "Oh you adorable little rabbit!" whenever it's necessary. (Spoilers: Bunny is a adorable rabbit all the time. I end up pausing a lot.)

- Yesterday was entirely too full of crying babies at the library. I am hoping very hard that is not the case today.

ETA - I knew I had another thing! I am looking for a good and singable version of Tam Lin. I like Anais Mitchell's version to sing, but it doesn't have the fairy queen in it. Fairport Convetion's is hard to sing without accompaniment, and the melody of Tricky Pixie's version gets a little monotonous without instruments. Do any of you have a favorite version?
darchildre: clark kent drinking cocoa with his mom (cocoa with the kents)
Today, no one's home but me and I have no obligations except laundry. It is lovely. I am spending the day knitting and listening to the audiobook of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell* and having a wonderful lunch.

Two food things that are making me very happy:
- I buy most of my tea from adagio.com - I tend to buy four to five 3 oz bags at a time, as I like to have a variety, and I find that generally lasts me about three months. Of course, that means that I have to choose fairly carefully or I won't have something I want (or worse, be stuck with a tea I don't enjoy) for a quarter of a year. The last time I bought tea, I neglected to get a lapsang souchong** and found that I missed it a lot. Last week was my most recent tea order and I did get one this time and oh, it is so wonderful.

- Today for lunch, I made sauteed radishes. If you have never sauteed radishes and you like radishes, you should get on that, because they are delicious. I just did them with butter and salt, which was great, but next time I might add a little honey at the end. So good!

*Mom and I are watching the show, so I thought it was time to revisit the book. This was an excellent decision. The show is a lot of fun and not at all curbing my affection for Mr Norrell. I spend a lot of time watching it (or listening to the book) and saying things like, "Oh god, you are the worst, you are the most terrible person ever, I love you." He is so awful, I want to hug him all the time.

**I have a general rule of thumb when making my tea purchases which is: one fruity tea, one floral (usually their Summer Rose, which is so good, OMG), one warm (something spicy/nutty/apple-flavored), and one dark. The dark is usually a lapsang souchong but last time I had a pu ehr blend, which was the wrong choice. I mean, it was fine and I drank it, but I like smoky teas better.
darchildre: drs frankenstein and pretorius, doing mad science.  text:  "should have been burned as wizards" (burned as wizards)
Having finished The Goblin Emperor*, I am now reading The Bone Doll's Twin. (For which this post will contain some mild spoilers.) I read this one and the second in the trilogy, but not the third, as it hadn't come out yet, when I was in college and I remembered a) that it was about a girl being magically raised as a boy and b) that I had really enjoyed it.

What I did not remember was the deeply creepy dead baby magic. So that's awesome. (I realize that sounds sarcastic. I am completely sincere - I am totally here for creepy dead baby magic.)

I also seem to recall reading this book and Iain Banks' The Wasp Factory in pretty quick succession, though I can't remember if I did that on purpose. That must have been a fun couple weeks of creepy genderfuckery. Maybe I should reread that as well.

*Which I loved so much, OMG. I did not want that book to end.
darchildre: a crow being held in one hand.  text:  "bird in hand" (bird in the hand)

- Thanks again to everyone who gave me fantasy recommendations! I have so many things on hold right now - it's very exciting.

- While waiting for things on hold, I have checked out The Goblin Emperor, because it was immediately available in my library. I am about 150 pages in and, you guys, it is entirely delightful. And it feels weirdly novel to read a book about a protagonist who is so genuinely kind. I'm really enjoying it.

- On another note: a couple years ago, my sister gave me a textbook for learning Old Norse, which I have not previously gotten around to investigating in depth, but now I am working my way through it. And if you've ever thought you'd like to learn Old Norse - which I realize is not actually a goal a lot of people have - this book is pretty great. And because it assumes that you're learning Old Norse so that you can read the sagas (since no one speaks it anymore) all the vocab comes from the sagas. Which means that I know how to say "settler" and "king" and "man of accomplishment" by chapter two but not, I don't know, "mother" or "house".

- I totally have a particular saga I'm excited about reading once I have enough Old Norse under my belt, too. It is Þiðrekssaga, which I've wanted to read for a while and which has not, as far as I can tell, been translated into English, though you can find the Old Norse easily online. Look at the description on wikipedia - dragons, Niflungs, Attila, and death-by-horse-that-turns-out-to-be-the-devil. Also, in some sources, Þiðrek can evidently breathe fire (though I don't know if that's true in this saga). It sounds amazing.

- The family and I are going to a baseball game today! I...do not really care about sports, but I enjoy going to games. Today, we are going to see the Tacoma Raniers, which should be fun.
darchildre: children reading books in a field. (books are for adventure!)
Friends, I am in the mood for reading some epic fantasy. Would you like to recommend some epic fantasy?

Here are things I like:
- Glossaries. If your book has a glossary in the back, I am halfway to loving it already.
- Religion. Interacting with the gods = cool. Characters with coherent religions actually shown practicing their faith = cooler.
- Fantasy lands that aren't just England. I mean, England is cool and I love me some fantasy!Vikings, but it's nice to go other places as well.
- Nifty and coherent magical systems, if we're doing that kind of magic.
- Kickass ladies.
- Interesting villains. Interesting villains with interesting motivations who don't lose just because they suddenly caught the Idiot Ball on page 500.
- And if said interesting villain just happens to have an even vaguely interesting minion, well...that would be a definite plus for me.
- Happy endings. I don't mind if there's suffering to get there, but I'm not in the market for bleak right now.

And things I don't like:
- Stories that aren't finished. I am not up for another George R R Martin right now.
- On that note, I'd really prefer to avoid sexual violence, if at all possible. Or graphic violence in general, though that's more negotiable.

Anybody have any recs?
darchildre: text:  library rules 1) silence 2) books must be returned by due date 3) do not interfere with the nature of causality (library rules)
So, I am rereading Guards! Guards! for the first time in...possibly ever? I mean, I have pretty vivid memories of reading it the first time (sitting under a tree in a park in Bellingham), but no memories of ever rereading it, so maybe I haven't. Huh. In any case, it is the one Watch novel that I don't have on audiobook and is thus the Watch novel that I have not listened to enough time to have bits memorized. (Well, and Snuff. Because that one's newish, so I haven't had time yet.)

Anyway! The point of this post is OMG, Sybil Ramkin, I love you so much! I mean, that is always true (Sybil is the best thing) but she is so lovely in this book, all excited about dragons and no nonsense about anything else and basically just steamrolling over everyone. It is great.

Also, it's nice to be excited about reading a book, because that hasn't happened in a while. Comics, yes, but not books. So that's good.
darchildre: text only:  "Circumlocution:  It's a way of speaking around something.  A digression.  Verbosity." (our little sillinesses of manner)

- Went to Emerald City Comicon this past weekend with my sisters, which was pretty much exhausting and honestly, not as fun as I'd hoped. I mean, I had a pretty good time, but there are just too many people and the panel format doesn't allow for discussion and, really, it's just not the kind of con I enjoy. (Plus, standing on the crowded show floor for more that five minutes made me literally feel like I wanted to cry, just from overstimulation.) So, I will probably not be back next year. Maybe next year I will try to go back to Wiscon instead.

- Though, I will admit, hearing the current creative team on Batgirl talk about the book was pretty cool. (Also, I am so excited for the upcoming Black Canary book, OMG.)

- The library is unveiling our new brand today, which...okay, I am not a sales-and-marketing kind of person, I understand why this sort of thing is important but I find it hard to get excited about. Mostly, it means that I have a new nametag. Which is on a lanyard now, so while I will be wearing something that obviously marks me as a library employee (which will make my managers happy), it will also be something that is easily manipulated to not obviously show my name (which will make me happy). So that's an improvement.

- I am going through one of my periods of being actively fannish about Discworld. This is always a little weird, because Discworld is normally just part of the background noise of daily life - my bedtime audiobook is a Discworld novel 95% of the time. I enjoy them as I'm going to sleep and basically don't think about them during the day. Except now I am actually reading one of them, and also reading fanfic. It is very exciting.

- Last night, I was seized by the urge to rewatch Farscape. (Or, let's be honest - an urge to rewatch all the Scorpius bits of Farscape.) I'm going to wait and see if the urge lasts till this weekend before embarking, because that is a perilous journey, fraught with emotion. (And also fraught with complaining about the general lack of the type of fanfic I want to see in the world, let's be real. I will be on my deathbed complaining about the internet's general lack of Scorpius porn.)
darchildre: moody black-and-white crow looking thoughtful (crow is thoughtful)

- I have felt really kinda blah all week. No real reason for it - just feel bored and tired. However, I actually slept well last night, so maybe things will improve.

- Also, it is Friday and I have nowhere to go tomorrow and thus can just relax. And on Sunday, we are going to Seattle to see my sisters and have brunch and possibly (weather permitting) go to the zoo. So that's cool.

- Also also, Friday is now Family Movie Night. Tonight is my movie, so I have to provide snacks and a western. (I am doing westerns, Mom is doing mysteries/thrillers, and Dad is doing WWII movies. So far, we have watched The Third Man, which was great, and The Thin Red Line, which was so. very. long.) So we are watching Stagecoach and I am making salty honey pie. Which is a terrible name, but I think the pie will be good. ETA - I think I will call it a honey chess pie from now on. That name is accurate and I feel much better about it.

- So, the other day I read a semi-recommendation for a scifi book series* (semi in that it pointed out things that were really cool about it and also things that were really awful and I decided that I could deal with the awful because of the cool) and I got the first one from the library. And I am really enjoying it and am about halfway through, so I thought I'd put the next one on hold. But the library doesn't have it - it has books one and five, which is terrible. So now I am trying to decide what to do. I can submit a purchase request, which could take a couple of months and there's not guarantee they'd buy it, or I can buy the book myself, even though I just want to read them and don't have any sort of burning fire to own them. It is a conundrum.

- Speaking of which, what are your favorite books that you can't in good conscience recommend to people? Y'know, the books that absolutely do something for you and you love them but are maybe terribly written or are about things that you don't want people to judge you on. And while you read them, you find yourself constantly saying, "Why the hell am I reading this book?" but you can't put it down. I love those kinds of things. Mine are the Jurisdiction series by Susan R Matthews. They are kind of terrible and also written really weirdly in places but I got the first one from the library, read half of it, and immediately bought the rest of the series. Fortunately, the covers look like respectable space opera so you can read them in public. Unlike my other favorite terrible books, the Black Jewels series. I love these books and would never actually recommend them to anyone ever, because you can't without a page of caveats that make you look like a creeper. Tell me about your favorite books like that.

*It is The Myriad by R M Meluch. It is a fun space adventure with neat aliens and space romans and weird wormholes things and I am really enjoying it but oh god, the female characters make me twitch.
darchildre: children reading books in a field. (books are for adventure!)
I am having myself a little Frances Hardinge binge. I read Face Like Glass this weekend, which was wonderful. And then it was over, so I decided to reread Well Witched*. And stayed up late last night to finish it, because Well Witched is so very excellent.

I love Well Witched. I keep trying to recommend it to people at the library, but the kids who want somewhat scary fantasy are put off by the fluffy and misleading cover art, which does not at all prepare the reader for the fact that the book contains, among other things I don't want to spoil, a boy who grows new eyes on his knuckles, a woman who own house nearly drowns her, and a terrifying well goddess. I mean, it's Frances Hardinge, so it is heartwarming and occasionally funny, but also gorgeously creepy in places. You should all read it.

And then you should read all of her other books. Face Like Glass is about an underground civilization where people make cheese that shows the future and perfumes that enslave the mind and everyone wears Faces instead of having expressions. Gullstruck Island/The Lost Conspiracy is about astral projection, sisterhood, colonialism, and a love triangle between three volcanoes. And it has been long enough since I read Fly-By-Night that I can't remember much about it other than it contained conmen, revolution, and a homicidal goose, but surely that is enough.

I am now reading Cuckoo's Song, which I couldn't get my library to buy, as it's only available for the kindle so far in the US. I'm only about five minutes in, so I can't tell you what it's about yet, but I'm excited about it.

*Which is Verdigris Deep in places that are not the US. Verdigris Deep is an entirely better title for the book, really.
darchildre: a crow being held in one hand.  text:  "bird in hand" (bird in the hand)

- This past weekend, my mother, sisters, and I went to Women's Own, which is Grown-Up Girl Scout Camp*. It was absurdly fun. The great thing about being at camp as an adult is that you get to do whatever you want. There were schedule events you could attend if you wanted and meals were always at a certain time but other than that, you get to figure out whatever you want to do and do it. We did various arts-and-crafts things, went swimming in the Hood Canal, did a little hiking, and spent most of Saturday sitting in a chair reading a book, which I haven't done for far too long. There was a camp fire and a talent show and a night we all dressed up in make-shift 1920's regalia to play bingo and roulette to win cheap-ass prizes. And everyone was friendly and helpful and welcoming, but willing to leave you along if that's what you wanted. We are already planning to go back next year and if you are a lady who lives in Washington and wants to go to Grown-Up Girl Scout Camp, I thoroughly recommend it.

- Also, I bought a gorgeous Girl Scout pocketknife in the camp store because I have always wanted a good pocket knife and it was beautiful and I am an adult and can buy myself knives if I want to.

- While at camp, I read about 200 pages of The Stand, which I haven't read in about 10 years. You guys, that book is still pretty great. Though of course I'm not quite sure if that's because it was definitely one of the Books Of My Adolescence. I read The Stand a lot as a teenager - it's one of those books I can point at and say, "That is where I learned this thing".*** It's not quite as scary as it once was, but the little creepy things remain very effective - the dead soldier with the soup in his eyebrows, those first few glimpses at Randall Flagg, "Come down and eat chicken with me, beautiful - it's so dark". (It's possible that I think that whenever I am in dimly-lit staircases.) I am unsurprised but a little ashamed to find that I still really identify with Harold Lauder in a lot of ways. Look, I was - am - a pretentious nerd and while I like to think that I wouldn't really go to the Dark Side, if you'd caught me at the right point in my lonely pretentious nerdgirl adolescence, I can't promise that I would haven't. Like Eleanor Vance, my identification with Harold is undeniably present and undeniably uncomfortable (I am not ashamed of my continuing love for the Trash Can Man.) The fact that I have never yet managed to read The Stand at a point when I don't have a runny nose always adds to the experience somewhat.

- It is the last week of Summer Reading which is always both a little melancholy and a little bit of a relief. Now, of course, we get a bunch of emails about our annual All Staff Day, which is coming up in about a month and about which I am not excited. The higher-ups really want us to be excited, though. This year, there is apparently some sort of after-party. I cannot imagine who will be attending that - after a mandatory 8 hours of meeting and socializing while seated in uncomfortable chairs, all I want is to go home. At least now it's on a Thursday instead of Monday, so I don't have to go to choir right afterwards.

- Choir starts in two weeks! I'm so excited! I haven't sung properly since April and my range has probably atrophied terribly, but I'm still so excited!

*My mother always wanted to be a Girl Scout but never got to be. Thus, all of her children were, for varying lengths of time**.

**I stayed in the longest and made it to Juniors. (Got my wings, baby!) Sometimes, I regret not sticking with it for longer, but my troop kinda sucked and I wanted to take taekwondo, so...

***I don't think it's the first book I read in which abortion was mentioned, but it's definitely the first book that connected it with coat hangers. What an odd thing to remember. It is also the book where I learned about That One Yeats Poem Every Horror Fan Knows.
darchildre: rebis in a purple trenchcoat, looking enigmatic (rebis says:)

- Did I spend a good chunk of this morning making a big list of apocalyptica on goodreads? Yes. Yes, I did. Alas that much of it is not at my library, because it is old sci-fi and, unless it is considered "classic", we don't have a lot of that. (Some of it is, though, so I will work my way through that first.)

- My mother, sisters, and I are going to grown-up Girl Scout camp next week, so I am carefully placing holds so that I have a couple books to bring with me. I had thought that I would be able to bring Riddley Walker, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to be done with it before then, even if the language does slow my normal reading speed.

- The thing about reading Riddley Walker especially if you, as I did today, spend time reading it aloud to yourself and you are, like me, something of a sponge for turns of phrase, is that you end up feeling like saying things like, "I ben on my oansome" out loud to other people is perfectly normal. It changes the way I form sentences in my head. Lots of books with particularly strong voices do that, of course (I am apparently very obnoxious after reading Dorothy Sayers, for example), but I haven't read one that did it this strongly in a while. The last one I remember that did was Grapes of Wrath.

- Good gods, has it really been ten years since I read Grapes of Wrath? Maybe I should do that again.

- Tonight was movie night at Bainbridge and we watched Lady from Shanghai. Which was fun. Less fun was the discussion afterward, during which there was a small argument over the question of "is film noir in general and the figure of the femme fatale in specific misogynist?" Which, yes, of course it is. Look, I love me some femme fatales, but if your film genre overwhelmingly presents women as being manipulative and evil and then being punished for it, maybe your film genre has a problem with women. But several middle-aged dudes disagreed with me on that and were condescending and one of them actually said, "Well, some women really are like that." Which, just, wow. Look, dudes, I am not trying to take your movies away or tell you that you are bad people for liking them - I like them too. And I get that it can be hard liking something that is problematic - you want to talk about a genre that has problems with women? Come watch horror films with me sometime. But middle-aged dudes do not get to tell me that the movie I just watched about an evil scheming woman destroying all the men in her life because she is an evil scheming woman is not maybe a little misogynist.

- Staff meeting tomorrow. I do not want to go. Alas.
darchildre: text:  "bless me, father.  i ate a lizard." (post-apocalyptic monks! eeee!)
So, right now, I am in the middle of reading Riddley Walker, which, oh man, you guys, it is pretty amazing. And it has so many things that I love: super interesting use of language, the formation of new societies after a shadowy and half-forgotten catastrophe, weird new mythology (I would read an entire book of different Eusa stories, not going to lie), and creepy puppets. I am only a third of the way through - one of the nice things about the language is that I'm forced to slow down while reading it - and I kinda want it to never end.

It has reminded me of how much I love post-apocalyptica*, so it's probably time to start compiling a list and reading a whole bunch. Guys, what is your favorite post-apocalyptic novel?

*I have been a bit put off the subgenre in the last few years because it seemed like every time I found a new one, it turned out to be about zombies. Now, zombies are fine, but they are not my favorite kind of apocalypse. Also, I tend to be more interested in what happens after the actual apocalyptic catastrophe than in dealing with the catastrophe itself. I will read pages and pages of worldbuilding about your new (and inevitably horrible) society - I do not much want to read about you fighting zombies.
darchildre: moody black-and-white crow looking thoughtful (crow is thoughtful)
The thing is, it has probably been years since I read The Talisman (or Black House, which I'm pretty sure that I love a lot more than in deserves), and yet I still find myself saying "when everyone lived in California and no one lived anywhere else" in conversation as a way to express "it was a really long time ago."

And now that I've had that thought, I also have the urge to revisit. Maybe I should put those two audiobooks on my ipod.
darchildre: the master reading war of the worlds (reading)
The Saga of the Volsungs, chapters 15 through 23.

In which a sword is forged, Sigurd is revenged for the death of his father, there's a fight with a dragon, Sigurd learns to understand the language of birds, and we meet Brynhild! Also, there is a chapter devoted to telling us how hot and awesome Sigurd is. And we have hopefully figured out by now that every time there's a mysterious old man with a beard, that's Odin.

There's a good bit of poetry in this section, which contains some kennings* and weird names, so I'm going to explain those under a cut. This one right here, in fact. )

Previous parts of this saga can be found here. Enjoy!

*Kennings are a common feature of Norse poetry. They're a kind of poetic, metaphorical way of referring to things - for instance, in a poem one might say "the whale road" instead of "the sea". Sometimes, kennings get more complex or contain kennings within kennings. So you might have "the feeder of the swan of wounds," where "swan of wounds" means "raven" and "feeder of ravens" means "warrior".

It's assumed that the listener would understand the kenning, much like we would assume that a modern reader would understand if we said something like "it's raining cats and dogs," but since we aren't 13th century Icelanders, I will endeavor to explain the kennings we come across that don't seem immediately obvious. (For example, though the kenning "battlefield's ruler" was used in chapter 21 (meaning warrior), I thought you could probably figure that out.) If I ever skip one that you don't get, please let me know. I've been reading sagas and Norse mythology for a while now, and I sometimes forget what isn't obvious to people who don't do that. 8)
darchildre: the fourth doctor grinning.  text:  "snerk" (four says "snerk!")
Things I have explained to people about Beowulf in the last two days:

- Beowulf is not the same as The Canterbury Tales. (!?) It was written several centuries earlier by people speaking a different language.

- Yes, Beowulf does seem a lot less Christian than The Canterbury Tales. That is because, although it was written by Christian people, it is not about them.

- Yes, Beowulf is a pretty Norse-seeming story. That's possibly because it's about a bunch of Geats (from what is now Sweden) and Danes and is set entirely in pre-Christian Scandinavia.

- The book Grendel by John Gardner is not about St Peter* (!?) and the dragon, but instead is about Beowulf and, y'know, Grendel.

- Grendel is not the dragon.

- Beowulf is also not the dragon.

- But there is a dragon in the story, yes.

I'm not surprised about any of these (except the first one) - a lot of people haven't read Beowulf, and that's fine. I haven't read The Canterbury Tales. I'm just surprised that it's come up twice in as many days.

*I'm now torn between imagining St Peter fighting a dragon - St Peter in my head looks like the dude from the 70's version of Jesus Christ Superstar** - and wondering which saint the patron actually meant. I mean, it's either St George or St Michael, but I'm curious. Or are there other dragon-fighting saints?

**To be honest, most everything involving the Gospels looks like that movie in my head.
darchildre: the master reading war of the worlds (reading)
The Saga of the Volsungs, chapters 9 through 14.

In which Helgi has some adventures and then goes off to star in some lays in the Poetic Edda, there's a pretty cool senna*, we discover why you shouldn't try to date your stepmother's brother's girlfriend, Odin shows up at least two more times, Sigurd is finally born, and we learn his foster-father's tragic backstory (in which Loki guest stars). A dragon is mentioned, though he doesn't yet appear.

BTW, I'm assuming a certain level of familiarity with the various kinds of beings and happenings present in Norse mythology, but if there's ever anything in one of these that you want some clarification about, please feel free to ask. I am totally happy at any time to talk about weird Norse mythology things.

Part one of this saga is available here.

*Insult constest - an ancient Norse version of the Dozens.
darchildre: rebis in a purple trenchcoat, looking enigmatic (rebis says:)
Yesterday, because I was bored with the book I had been reading, I started reading The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki. Because it was on my kindle and I hadn't read it yet. Like most sagas, the guy it's named after doesn't get born till at least a third of the way in, so mostly I have been reading the story of King Helgi. Guys, King Helgi is a dick. Also, I have spent more time going, "Oh my god, what" at the screen on my kindle while reading this saga than any other. Let me tell you the story of King Helgi's amazing dickishness.

Spoilers for 13th century Icelandic sagas, includes rape and incest )
darchildre: the master reading war of the worlds (reading)
Okay, a couple people have expressed interest in hearing me read sagas, so here is the first installment!

The Saga of the Volsungs, chapters 1 through 8. This installment is approximately 30 minutes long.

It occurs to me that now would probably be a good time to describe the Volsungasaga a little. It's what called a legendary saga, which means that it takes place before the colonization of Iceland, though it was written in Iceland, some time in the 13th century. It concerns, as the title implies, the Volsung family, who are descended from Odin and are, essentially, a family of enormous badasses. The most famous of the Volsungs is Sigurd the Dragon Slayer and his story takes up the majority of the saga. The saga is one of the sources for Wagner's Ring Cycle and a major influence on the Lord of the Rings.

In this installment, we don't meet Sigurd yet, but we do get the origin of his family line, Valkyries with apples, the twin badasses Sigmund and Signy, mysterious one-eyed strangers (who could it be?), magic swords, weddings, betrayals, battles, witches, infanticide, incest, weasels with magic plants, two different kinds of werewolves, an enormous housefire, and a guy named "Sinfjotli", which is super fun to say. Have fun checking it out.
darchildre: the master reading war of the worlds (reading)
So, I am starting a project. I love Icelandic sagas and I love audiobooks but, alas, these two loves are not often found combined. So I am making my own. I'm starting with the Volsungasaga because a) it's short, b) I have a copy, and c) it is awesome. (There is an audiobook available of the Volsungasaga but I don't much care for the translation they used or the way the narrator handles footnotes.) If all goes well, I'm planning to eventually record other sagas - I'd love to do Njal's saga, for example.

I mention this because I wondered if any of you out there in internetland would also be interested in audiobooks of sagas and thus want to listen to my recordings. I can't promise that my pronunciation of all the names will be exactly correct but, beyond that, I read aloud well, though I say it myself. 8) I have a fairly pleasing voice, I think, with a close-to-standard US accent (if that matters) and I don't do character voices. I also won't be including footnotes. If people are interested in listening to me read sagas, they would probably be uploaded in chunks between 15 and 30 minutes long, whenever I get one done and I'm happy with it, probably at least once a week. I'm using Jesse Byock's translation.

So. Anyone interested?
darchildre: the master reading war of the worlds (reading)
So, I'm currently reading Ciaran Carson's translation of Táin Bó Cuailnge. I've never read it before or any Irish mythology/legends, really, and I have a question.

Are we really doing all of this over a cow? One cow? A cow the queen of Ireland doesn't even really appear to need for any purpose other than her husband has an awesome cow so she has to have one too? I mean, yeah, cattle were hugely important in some ancient European societies* but Medb and Ailill have an army of something like 50,000 guys (most of whom I assume Cù Chulainn is going to slaughter) to steal a single cow. Considering that they didn't know about Cù Chulainn when they set out, this seems like overkill.

It is a very enjoyable story but I keep getting stuck on the fact that huge numbers of people are presumably going to die over a single cow that the aggressors don't actually need. It's weird.

I assume there is a cultural context here that I'm missing.

*The first rune of the first aett of the futhark is fehu, which is usually translated as "wealth" but really refers to mobile wealth in the form of herds. In shape, fehu recalls the horns of a cow.
darchildre: seventh doctor and ace, moody and muted (ghostlight)
Atlas of Remote Islands: 50 Islands I Have Never Set Foot On and Never Will is somehow the saddest title of a book I have ever read in my life.
darchildre: the master reading war of the worlds (reading)
Three things about today:

1) Okay, so, this is the most horrible/hilarious thing that has happened to me this week. At Kingston, we have a patron who is somewhat brain damaged and he comes in every day for movies. We end up putting a lot of things on hold for him. On Tuesday, he asked me to put Primeval on hold, so I got him the first season. Today, he came in, picked it up from the hold shelf, and walked it over to my desk.

Patron: I'm just going to turn this back in.

Me: Oh, was it not what you were looking for?

Patron: No, it is. It's just, it's got four discs and I don't have a four disc player.

I hastened to assure him that you play the discs one at a time, not simultaneously, and he took the set home. So now he knows he can get tv shows from the library and watch them successfully and I know why he's never taken home the first season of SG-1, despite having put it on hold multiple times.

2) Today was the first of our two Crafternoons this month and was the one I wasn't expecting anyone to come to, due to the snafu over the date. So I got to sit in the cavernous room next to the library, at a table all alone, facing the door in case anyone came in. It's not possible to get to the library without passing that room, so basically I got to be the creepy solitary knitting girl, staring at all our patrons. (I did say hello if they looked at me.)

One of our chattier patrons did actually come in and ask me what I was doing, so I got to explain the situation with her. And she told me that she wants to learn to knit, so I gave her a beginning book and some recommendations on first projects and what supplies she'd need for them. She promised to come back next week for the Crafternoon that got actual advertising. Winner!

3) I got a hold today that I remember placing, but it was a couple months ago and I have no idea now why I wanted it. It is Still Life, by Louise Penny, and is apparently the first in a series of mystery novels set in a small town south of Montreal. Possibly someone recommended them to me? I don't know. But the first 10 pages have been good, so possibly my inexplicable past self had the right idea.


darchildre: a candle in the dark.  text:  "a light in dark places". (Default)

June 2016



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