Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Odds 'n Ends

We are 16 cm away from setting the all-time snow record for Ottawa!!! That's about 6 inches of snow, for my American readers. 6 inches!!! We had snow yesterday, which thankfully got washed away in the rain later, about an inch of white stuff fell. We're so close now.....just one little storm and all this snow, the piles of snow everywhere still, would be worth it!!

I went book shopping today - a tiny used bookstore near my work had a 'liquidation sale', which turns out they are offering 25% off their sale price to reduce stock only. It's a mostly French bookstore, but since it is close to big government building (my building is one of two others further down the road), there is a selection of English books. I found 4! April shopping begun:
Two Penguin classics -
-Njal's Saga (trans by Magnus Magnusson). I'm collecting these. I am fascinated by the Norse culture, in part because York in England where i lived was settled by the Vikings in 800 AD, after the Romans built a settlement there. York takes its name from Yorvik, the old Viking name for the town. Every year there are re-enactments of various battles in and around York, including a Viking battle. There is also a fascinating Viking museum set up under a street in center York, where a large - one of the largest finds in England - of Viking life was found. York is layers upon layers of cultures, one of many reasons I love it so much. So I'm reading Norse sagas partly to understand Norse culture (and its effect on the British Isles when they came), partly because Tolkien built his Elvish language and wrote his sagas based on the Norse myths, and because I love old adventure stories and history!
-The Mabinogion, the Welsh medieval prose stories. My family ancestry is Welsh (among other countries) and I want to learn more about Welsh culture and history and literature. I also love Celtic names and myths, and this is one of the original Welsh sources for these.
-E. Nesbit's The Enchanted Castle - I honestly believe I have not read a book by this acclaimed children's fantasy writer, and i've decided to change that! Plus, the book comes with illustrations, so my daughter will have pictures to look at while i read it to her.
- Last, but not least - China Mieville's Perdido Street Station. I've wanted this book for so long, but never came across the paperback, and lo! there it was! So it joins my pile of TBR books immediately. I am so excited, this was a real find, and the best thing (other than finding these books) is that none have cracked spines! They are in excellent shape!

*Sigh* now I'm going to read Inkheart and see how quickly I fall asleep. At least Emily agrees with me that this is not the great read everyone makes it out to be, so I'm not the only one. I'm disappointed - I'm halfway through, and I really want to like this book! i will blog about it when I'm done. I will also be doing a follow-up blog to my Men of Jane Austen vote, when the second part of Sense and Sensibility is over next Sunday. So it's not too late to go vote at my blog post Emma
and cast your vote for your favourite lead actor in a Jane Austen production. At last count, Colin Firth (Darcy) was edging Jeremy Northam (Knightly)......

I will also do a quick follow-up blog to my fairy tale, since I had such a great response to my question on what's your favourite fairy tale Thank you so much, everyone, for responding! And it's not too late for those who are still pondering....
But I'm too tired tonight. Happy reading, everyone!


Rhinoa said...

I love The Mabinogian and keep meaning to read the whole series by Evangeline Walton (I have only read The Song of Rhiannon so far). I have Njal's sega to read (probably next year now) and really enjoyed Perdido Street Station earlier this year so I hope it was worth the wait for you.

Andi said...

A friend bought the Mabinogian, and I love it - although I can only read it in bits because of the names - Welsh is a bear for me.

And I'm with you on Inkheart. I loved Inkspell, but the second one - snoozer!

Iliana said...

What a good way to start the month - with new books!
As far as favorite fairy tale - Rumpelstiltskin has always been a favorite of mine.

Nymeth said...

I got The Enchanted Castle a while ago and I'm very much looking forward to reading it. And I promised myself I'd read The Mabinogian this year. I meant to buy a copy when I was in Wales, but I could only find the Dover Trift edition and kept wondering if there wasn't a better translation out there.

Anyway, it sounds like you have some excellent reading ahead of you!

Chris said...

Great book buys!! I've been wanting to read some Mieville for a long time. I've heard some great things about him. He's on my TBR list somewhere :p

I have Inkheart sitting on my shelf and I'm really hoping that I enjoy it. It seems like a love it or leave it book. But the people who have loved it really love it and the people who don't seem to really not like it, so we'll see. I read When Santa Fell to Earth by here in December and it was good. Very cute little Christmas story and something different.

Susan said...

Rhinoa - I had the whole series by Evangeline Walton at one point!! A very long time ago, and then gave them to someone and now, I find, I want to read them! It's a very painful lesson I am learning, don't give my book collection away!!! Sooner or later I will want to read them!!! How was Song of Rhiannon? And I'll let you know when I've read Perdido Street station. IT looks really interesting, intriguing, fascinating.....

Andi: So you're reading Mabinogion too! I had no idea that it was still being read in fantasy circles, so I am delighted. As I read it, I will post about it, so we can compare what we think :-) I know already Welsh is difficult (my great=great-great grandfather did not pass down the Welsh language unfortunately...)

Iliana - another vote for Rumpelstiltskin! and yes, new books every month, *sigh* a wonderful way to live!

Nymeth: When are you going to read The Enchanted Castle? We can try reading it around the same time, if you like.
I'm not sure about the Dover Trift edition, but am very happy with the Penguin classic version. when were you in Wales, and where did you go? My family are from Glamorganshire area.

Chris: I've been hearing lots too about China Mieville. His Lun Dun book also. so I'm anxious to read it and see if Perdido is as good as everyone says (it did win the Arthur C. Clarke Award). I'll let you know!
I know what you mean about Inkheart and people loving it or hating it. i'm really trying to like it! Which is sad, because liking a book shouldn't be hard, and there are things I like in the story. I'll let everyone know when I finish reading it, how I like it - hoping to finish it tonight or tomorrow.

Becky said...

Love the Mabinogion, and also E Nesbit. Hope you enjoy both. BTW, The Owl Service, by Alan Garner, is a children's book that picks up one of the stories from the Mabinogion.
I got Perdido Street Station for Christmas - it's very good, but I found it bleak. Will be interested to see what you think!

Nymeth said...

I'm planing on reading the Nesbit book early next month - how would that be for you? It would be fun to discuss it :)

I was in Wales in early February this year. It was the north that I visited - Bala, Caernarvon, Bangor, Beaumaris, Llangollen, the Snowdonia area. I absolutely loved it, it was even more beautiful than I had imagined. And I'm going to look for that Penguin edition then!

Susan said...

becky - I read the Owl Service many years ago, before I knew it was part of the Mabinogion! So now i have to reread Alan Garner after I read the Welsh myths! I loved Alan Garner and have read most of his books, but again this was 20 years ago when I was reading all kinds of fantasy for the first time. Now I'm beginning to reread it again :-)
will let everyone know when I read Perdido Station.....

nymeth: yes, I can read The Enchanted Castle then. That sounds perfect. I was hoping you want to do this!
Are you in the UK or US? If the US, let me know, I can find Penguin editions here in Canada. They can't be sold in the US for copyright reasons - many UK publishers, especially the older ones, can't. If you're in the UK, you should be able to find the penguins everywhere!!!

Nymeth said...

It's a deal, then. We'll read The Enchanted Castle in early May!

I'm in Portugal, but we go get penguin editions here, fortunately. And then there's always thebookdepository (my favourite online bookshop - free shipping, woohoo!)