Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Norse MythologyNorse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a pretty solid read on Norse mythology, which just happens to be a topic I’ve been studying. There’s still something about Gaiman’s writing that doesn’t quite click with me (yes, I know, I’m the only human alive who feels this disconnect), so I struggled at first.

In the end, I stuck with it, because I wanted a good overview of Norse mythology and knew this was going to provide it. Somewhere around 1/3 of the way in, I started to get comfortable with the style and began to really enjoy this from a storytelling perspective and not just as research. There’s definitely some good stuff here.

Book 162 read in 2018

Pages: 304

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And More Vikings: Sorry, People!

VikingsVikings by Valerie Bodden
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The content is minimal but okay. Basic and simple, which is probably to be expected at this level.

However, the format isn’t great. Text running different directions is annoying, and I found reading the spiral to be especially aggravating, though perhaps a child more patient than I would do so.

I also don’t love the pastels, and very few of the pictures have captions, which I found to be frustrating. Don’t show me something and then fail to tell me what it is. Argh!

Overall, not bad for a starter book on vikings. Could be better. Could be worse.

Book 146 read in 2018

Pages: 32

Viking Raiders (Usborne Time Traveller)Viking Raiders by Anne Civardi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, this is by far one of my favorite Viking reference books (out of the 12-ish that I’ve read so far), even though it’s written for kids (probably because of that). It provides so much straightforward information about the Vikings in a format that is very easy to peruse and consume. It’s both informative and fun to look at.

This text has a bit of a graphic novel feel about it, because it uses pictures and explanations to help explain Viking life, with big sprawling two page scenes full of descriptions for what’s going on in the pictures. It did a great job of helping me better understand what a Viking village might have looked like, what the inside of a Viking longhouse might have looked liked, and all the different parts of ships and ship building.

I really love this one so much that I may see if it’s possible to buy a copy.

Pages: 36

VikingsVikings by Kenneth W. Harl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an interesting course, with 36 different lectures on the Vikings. I found it to be engaging, and while some of the lectures were more interesting to me and my research than others, this was overall an excellent series.

The professor really knows his information, and if you are looking on a reliable and more in-depth resource on Vikings that is still captivating, then this may be for you.

For the lectures that were really of interest to me, I was all in and hanging on every word. If there are lectures that are less interesting to you, then you may be able to skip some of them. However, you never know when information might tie across from one lecture to the next, so I went through all 36. I just took a bit more out of some than others, depending on the topic, my interest, and how relevant it was to the specific research I was doing.

Since I enjoyed this so much, I may check out courses on other topics the next time a research bug hits me. Also, I suspect once I complete my research, I may go back and listen to specific lectures from this series that really bring a topic full circle, to make sure I got the whole picture correct.

Pages: 421


Vikings: A Guide to the Terrifying ConquerorsVikings: A Guide to the Terrifying Conquerors by Sean McCollum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a great, basic resource. I really liked the format and the way the information was divided up. It was easy to consume, and it had a good combination of pictures to text for the targeted age range. While it would be a great resource for kids, it’s also handy for adults. It covered some information about basic Viking life that I have wanted but didn’t find in other longer resources. I’m a fan of this straightforward and easy to read approach.

Book 158 read in 3028

Pages: 48

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Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2)Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Unfortunately, this is the end of the line for me, and my actual score is more of a 2.5. I really wanted to love this one, but for me, it was drawn out and tedious. There was a huge lull from about 1/3 to 2/3, and I think this whole story could have been successfully accomplished and be far better in half the number of pages.

They still don’t address the time travel issue in any way that is helpful or more satisfying than the previous novel, so I’ve effectively read 1,700 pages of a classic time travel novel and continue to have no answers or even clues to my most basic questions. All they did was give me more questions, and there’s a point at which mystery and delay can be good for a story, but it’s not after 1,700 frustrating pages of no real answers. I think I’ve finally accepted that actually addressing the concept of the story is never going to be a priority, and that sits poorly with me, since it’s the concept that attracted me.

In addition, I got tired of rape scenes being used as filler to help drag the story out and add another 100 pages of drama. There’s a limit to how much of that I want to continue to read, especially at this point.

This novel also diverged from almost everything I truly loved about book one, and that about did me in. Instead of being different or interesting, it took away all the things I loved most and expected me to hang on through those 600 or so middle pages of exhausting nonsense which did little to improve or progress the plot.

I just can’t anymore. The characters aren’t enough of a reason to continue on, especially now that I know these books are going to all be dreadfully long due to an inability to edit effectively, rather than a true need for each story to be so lengthy.

There’s a phrase in the writing world that says, “kill your darlings.” It basically means that if you want to have a good story, you have to be able to delete useless words, sentences, paragraphs, scenes, chapters, and sometimes even sections of your manuscript to create a better story. Unfortunately, there are no dead darlings in this monster. They’re all there, and you have to read them all, no matter how slow, unnecessary, and boring they may be. And sometimes they aren’t boring. Sometimes it’s a funny scene but still completely useless to the story, in which case, I would have preferred some humor through a different method.

A drawn out story can be good, if there’s enough motion to compel someone forward. There just isn’t here, and I quit this book so many times and had to force myself to restart and restart and restart to finish it. While the ending was more interesting, it should have arrived 500 pages sooner, in order for me to continue onward. I don’t by any means dislike a long book, but I can’t slog through so many chapters of nonsense just to get to the good stuff. I’m not that patient. I think this just isn’t my cup of tea after all, but I’m glad I finally know what this series is all about after years of wondering.

Book 148 Read in 2018

Pages: 976

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