Neil Gaiman: Norse Mythology

downloadNorse Mythology
by Neil Gaiman
narrated by Neil Gaiman
(mythology, non-fiction)

I really enjoyed this book. It was great to hear the Norse myths presented in the way I grew up hearing the Greek and Roman myths. I wish I had had this book when I was younger to broaden my experience of mythology. (I knew the Greek myths well, and the (stolen) Roman ones only slightly less well (since they’re only slightly different). But I knew little to nothing about any other culture’s mythology.)

To be clear: my review is on the Audible audio version of this book. I don’t know if I would have enjoyed it as much had I been reading it myself, because I would have likely gotten distracted by looking up the pronunciation of the various names. Having Mr. Gaiman read the names to me was much more enjoyable than struggling through them on my own. (Names like Thor and Odin would be no problem. It’s the ones like Yggdrasil and Fjorgynn and einherjar which would have given me trouble.)

I do appreciate the way the information is presented here, too. It feels more similar to how the tales would have been told originally (especially when enjoyed in the audio book format), AKA verbally. It feels like stories that would be told around the fire at night before bed. It’s not as dry as some mythology books are. (I have never understood how mythology tales can be made dull, but some authors have done just that.)

This is well worth the read if you’re interested in Norse mythology. Just remember that, as in most mythology, that the classic gods are not as sanitized as the tales we are often told about them now. Thor and Odin are not always “good” in the sense that we are used to thinking of “good”. They do selfish things. Don’t expect to see the Marvel version of Thor in this book, because what you get is a truer, more real Thor.

Rating: 5 stars


~ by Nicole on April 27, 2017.

2 Responses to “Neil Gaiman: Norse Mythology”

  1. Gaiman is definitely a storyteller and I that lends itself to his retelling of these myths, especially with him reading them due to their oral tradition. A lot of mythology books can focus on the academic and sociological aspects of Ancient Greece, so this was definitely a bit of fresh air. Though, I have seen a few Norse mythology purists (if that’s not an oxymoron) who have scoffed at this book, I think it is a good way to introduce those who may be wary or simply unaware. Fantastic review!

    • Thanks! I enjoyed hearing Gaiman narrate these stories, and I certainly benefited from the less academic nature of this book. I think that more books of this nature are needed in order to get the general public familiar enough with the myths to appreciate the deeper aspects that so many scholars focus on. Thanks for stopping by!

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