Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman fulfills the “Book Inspired by Myth, Folklore, or Legend” category of the PopSugar 2019 Reading Challenge.
If these are actual Norse myths, can I say they were inspired by myths? I need to do some research.
…Ten minutes later…
According to Wikipedia, the book is a retelling. Therefore, it might not count for the category, but I have read a couple Rick Riordan this year. I’m covered. I’ll review it anyway, seeing as I read the thing. (I need to be better about keeping track of my books. Twice now, I’ve doubled up on categories and read books I didn’t need. Sigh.)
I listened to Norse Mythology on audio with Mr. Gaiman himself reading the tale. It was lovely. When The Ocean at the End of the Lane came out, I saw him speak in Saratoga Springs, NY. I liked the Ocean book but didn’t love it. Then he read aloud, and I loved the book all over. He’s a wonderful storyteller. There’s something to be said for hearing a book read aloud by its author.
Yummy is that word.
Anyway, half of enjoying Norse Mythology was listening to Mr. Gaiman. The other half was a trip down memory lane. Though I read Norse mythology books as a kid, I remember none of the stories. The vaguest notion of Odin, Thor, and Loki float in my head, but not the movie version. I should also mention I’m not a huge Avengers fan. More about that later. (Double qualify—I won’t say Marvel here because X-Men are also Marvel and I love, love, love them.)
The book retold many old Norse myths from creation to Ragnarök. Each story was its own gem—funny, informative, and interesting. I love hearing about Loki’s tales and tricks that end up coming back to bite his ass. Like the story of Mjolnir—Thor’s hammer. The man ended up with his signature weapon because Loki tried to play the gods. Love it. There were a dozen more stories like that. Many of the tales contradict or don’t mesh with others, but Mr. Gaiman qualifies that from the start. These stories were passed over many generations. Things get mixed up.
So back to Avengers. I took a while to get into the whole Avengers saga mostly because I don’t care for Capitan America. Please don’t hate me. He’s just too vanilla for me. Hot, cute, sweet but, in my humble opinion, boring. I’m more a Wolverine or Deadpool person. My favorite characters are deeply flawed and messy. I spent the 90s watching my man Wolverine in the X-Men cartoons. No further comments necessary.
I managed to watch all the Avengers’ movies before I read Norse Mythology. In my head, I heard and saw Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston in every story. Not that it was a bad thing, but the movie influenced my reading and I hate that. I usually read a book before I watch a movie and never thought my experience with the book would be altered by a movie. But it was. Every page. Which I guess isn’t too terrible. I guess it means that Gaiman got the spirit of the Norse stories right and those two beautiful actors played the parts almost historically accurate. So I guess a win, even though it annoyed me.
In summary, Norse Mythology was a fun read, especially if you like Chris and Tom in your head. Thank you, Mr. Gaiman. I rate it five Mjolnirs