No “Myth-stake”: It’s Time For The Next Book On My Reading List

Max likes to keep my lap warm while I read. Actually, he just finds the book gets in the way.

The next book on my reading list was a no brainer. For the category a book to help you escape to another world, I certainly have a lot of good books to choose from in my collection. But I know from experience that if I want to be transported to another world, Neil Gaiman delivers. Besides, I am so unbelievably excited that The Sandman is finally being made into a live action tv show that I just had to have some of Gaiman’s work on my reading list this year.

There are other works by Neil Gaiman that have sat unread on my shelves for much longer, but after much deliberation, I went with Norse Mythology. This was one of my birthday gifts to me from last year – so at least it was sitting on my shelf for over a year before I finally picked it up. Honestly, the main reason why I chose this book in particular is because the cover is irresistibly gorgeous. Even the texture of the cover is different than most books in my collection. Plus, it’s clear from Gaiman’s other works that mythologies are a huge influence from him. This is clearly something he is passionate and knowledgeable about.

Personally, although I heard a couple of Norse myths before picking up this book, I really didn’t know a whole lot about the mythology. As a member of my high school Classics Club, I was predominantly familiar with Greco Roman mythology and had a handful of knowledge of other world mythologies. So, I was eager to read about the stories from a different culture – one I was not as familiar with.

Reading this book was as interesting experience because of duality. From the introduction, complete with a mention of sources, it felt like I was reading a generic mythology book. It’s exactly the kind of thing I would pick up at the store if I wanted to learn about a particular culture’s mythologies, regardless of the author. Plus, Gaiman stresses the importance of why these kinds of stories should be retold. We have already lost many Norse myths – as I’m sure we’ve lost the mythologies of many other cultures – so sharing and retelling the ones we still have are important. But the style in which the stories were presented made this a Neil Gaiman book. At no point did I think I was reading some random author’s translation of Norse myths; Neil Gaiman was present on every page. His unique, personal style and quick pacing kept the myths interesting and made for a fast read. I was so absorbed in the stories that I powered through this book much more quickly than I expected to.

Most importantly, I did feel like I escaped to another world as I read Norse Mythology.

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