I purchased this book many years ago at the Book Alcove (now Wonderbooks.) I was in a fairy tale appreciation stage that I never truly got out of. ThiI purchased this book many years ago at the Book Alcove (now Wonderbooks.) I was in a fairy tale appreciation stage that I never truly got out of. This book, from 1968, is utterly delightful. The illustrations, while definitely showing the time the book was printed, are still beautiful - and in the case of Puss in Boots - purely amusing.
I enjoyed the way that these books were told. While it lacked a framing story (something I did enjoy in Old Peter's Russian Tales) it still carries a distinct taste of the French nature of the tales. While many of the tales were familiar (Cinderella, Bluebeard, Little Red riding Hood, etc.) the French variation of them was often surprising. Some ended before I expected them - others included more trials that I'd not heard of before.
All in all, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fairy tales. It's a great addition to any collection. ...more
At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O'Brien was a book that I had no real what to expect of. I went into it with very limited information (the likes of which wAt Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O'Brien was a book that I had no real what to expect of. I went into it with very limited information (the likes of which was primarily several interviews on the fact it was being turned into a film) and no real expectations. Due to this, I can say that I was wholly unexpected for what I got.. in truth, however, even with what information the introduction gave - I was still shocked by what I got. There is no real preparing for the likes of At Swim-Two-Birds.
I could say that the book contains around seven different levels of narration, each with its own distinct writing style, and I would be telling the truth... I could say that it involves an author's creation coming alive and usurping his story, and I would be telling the truth - but neither which is really what At Swim-Two-Birds is about. I would compare it to James Joyce in terms of word usage, levels of narration, and other forms of style (something that Flann O'Brien apparently hated) and I wouldn't necessarily be lying.. but I would be doing the book, and author, a bit of a disservice. The similarity, while there and requiring comment, devalues the individuality of each of the authors and the rather robust self that they each bring to their works.
At Swim-Two-Birds is a book that needs to be read as much as Flann O'Brien is an author that needs to be read - the two are inseparable and greatly defy definition. If the film is made, and I do believe that it will be, it shall be one well worth seeing. Read it, and laugh at its irreverence, appreciate its style, and wonder at the author that can juggle as much as Flann managed without even blinking an eye.
My hat is off to this.. not book as much as experience....more
This book was something I could not resist purchasing, especially with the .95 price tag. The book.. well, it is pretty much what it claimed to be.
EacThis book was something I could not resist purchasing, especially with the .95 price tag. The book.. well, it is pretty much what it claimed to be.
Each fairy tale is lovingly turned into a politically correct, and sanitized version of its formerly heathen self. I read the book with my boyfriend, each of us trading off stories between sips of beer. I would pretty much say that that is the best way to read the book.
Otherwise, well, the jokes get old rather quickly. Still, an amusing novelty read....more
This second reading was significantly easier than the first, if only because I knew what to expect and to brace myself for the tedious list of How CulThis second reading was significantly easier than the first, if only because I knew what to expect and to brace myself for the tedious list of How Culhwch Won Olwen. The bits of Taliesin included in this copy that weren't included in the Sioned Davies translation were also a distinct treat, though Davies included in hers some other material that Patrick K. Ford omitted. To each their own with this strange tradition.
For a first time reader I would recommend Davies, as she provides a more thorough grounding within the Welsh tradition. Her footnotes fill in the blanks that allow subsequent translations to better describe why what was being said was said and a more thorough analysis of the stories. Honestly, I'm excited to read more translations of it, now that I've two under my belt and can actually form preferences in regards to them. I'm a bit curious as to the bowdlerized one as well, though I'm uncertain when I'll try and if it will ultimately be disappointing... Though I understand it is a better reflection of the Victorian Romantic sensibility than it is of the prehistoric Welsh and Arthurian Tradition. ...more
I've previously read A Prickly Affair by Hugh Warwick, as well as a handful of articles on the animals by him. While A Prickly Affair focused primarily upon the habits of the European Hedgehog and the need for conservation, Hedgehog focuses far more upon the cultural significance of the animal. The book is organized into sections detailing the hedgehog in literature, in film, in music, in mythology, etc. In short, hedgehogs have been insinuated themselves into our lives in more ways that one might expect!
This book is notable for showing a change in heart in Hugh Warwick as well. Previously the author viewed African Pygmy Hedgehogs in the pet trade in a derisive manner, and this book definitely softened that harsh edge. It wasn't an apology, per se, but rather a clarification of his perspective on the manner that was easy to understand. As African Pygmy Hedgehogs get more and more popular as pets (and more and more domesticated) the European Hedgehogs get pushed aside. The lessening of focus on the European Hedgehog has lead to a lessening in their conservation efforts, which is problematic in places where they're soon to be extinct in urban areas - such as England, Denmark, and Norway. Understand also that urban areas are where hedgehogs tend to thrive and you'll see why this is worrisome, and why The Disappearing Hedgehog is an apt name for one of their conservation efforts.
While the future is still rather shaky for the European Hedgehog, this book is a wonderful testimony to the charm that they have and the love that they elicit from people. They're a truly wonderful species, and this book highlights that beautifully. ...more
This book was a fascinating overview of the Kistune myth in Japanese history. Rather than delving into analysis, the book simply presented texts (or sThis book was a fascinating overview of the Kistune myth in Japanese history. Rather than delving into analysis, the book simply presented texts (or summaries of the texts) themselves with accompanying old illustrations of the like. The book was divided into several sections, each detailing a different place where the Kistune myth had popped up (i.e. books, poetry, No plays, etc.)
While I think the book would have benefited from some analysis, the stories were still very entertaining and some of them seemed to give a certain idea of the folklore's development. In particular, the section of fox-possession was interesting as it included several case-studies of people who had been possessed by foxes.
Rather than satiating my interest, this book only seemed to further it, which I suppose is a good thing overall. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the topic of Kistune, however I would not recommend it to people who are looking for a truly in-depth study of the phenomenon itself....more
This book is a collection of old Wyandot tales, told by Hen-Toh himself. The stories are written in the pidgin English that most of the Elders spoke aThis book is a collection of old Wyandot tales, told by Hen-Toh himself. The stories are written in the pidgin English that most of the Elders spoke at the time of its writing. What this does is give the tales a distinct personality, a kind of insight into what the perspective of the people was at the time of its writing.
Each story teaches a separate lesson, although the lessons are not inherent within the tales themselves. At no point do the tales come off as paternal or condescending, instead they hold a character entirely their own which differs from normal folklore in that it is accepting. None of the stories are exceedingly dark as the traditional German tales, instead they simply accept the world - both good and bad - with a humor that is admirable.
There is a lot to learn from these stories, and I can tell you, me, that I'm going to try to memorize them to pass them on. :)...more
The Mabinogion is a collection of medieval Welsh tales that makes up a rich mythological tradition. The tales themselves are only tangentially relatedThe Mabinogion is a collection of medieval Welsh tales that makes up a rich mythological tradition. The tales themselves are only tangentially related - only one character, Pryderi, appears in all four branches. Nevertheless the tales are fascinating, rich and varied in their interpretation. This translation, Sioned Davies, was recommended to me as a good starting point so I happily took it. I'll likely try out other translations as the year goes on.
Not being too thoroughly versed in Welsh culture, I found it fascinating. Small clutches of mythical symbolism and characters can be seen. Glimpses of British, of Irish, of Gaul - small swaths of Orkadian creatures and belief. There's King Arthur there, there's the cult of a head, there's a cauldron of plenty. The myths are rich and strange. Here are the original versions of some characters that later got bastardized into something else. Arawn comes to mind for that one...
All in all, it's great. This edition also carries within its a wonderful version of Parzifal that I'd highly recommend to anyone who enjoys that story. ...more
Lupa is a practicioner of therioshamanism and this book is pretty much an introduction to that combined with a healtSo, this is a bit out of the norm.
Lupa is a practicioner of therioshamanism and this book is pretty much an introduction to that combined with a healthy dose of chaos magick. It's an interesting text, and I suppose a good one for a beginner? I don't really know enough about it to comment too deeply, since I've not read many occult texts of that nature. I found it informative, interesting enough to keep me reading and pondering it. From an anthropology standpoint it's fascinating that people believe in this and practice it regularly. I don't really think I could practice much of it, even out of curiosity, since I'm so darn bad at meditation. Oh well?
It's interesting, informative, but probably not for anyone above novice level, let's say. Her blog is fascinating and goes far more in depth on the different shamanic aspects of her belief and practices. I highly recommend it for the curious and she's quite fun to talk to....more
Jonathan Carroll more than any other author lures me into the worlds he creates. The mixture of wonder and cynicism in his work draws me deeper and deeper into the magical realism of Vienna and Prague, Rondua and half-recalled dreams. The more I visit the mind of the author the more I get inspired to continue my own writing.
Sleeping in Flame touched me in a rather vital way, and reminded me of all the things I adore about Jonathan Carroll in the first place. His unusual use of language and his strange reality mixed and lodged within my brain until there was just one thing I wanted to say.
I know exactly who it is that I want to steal horses with....more
The first 8 issues of Sandman are collected in this addition. As the forward and afterword state - not the best comics out there. The artwork is engagThe first 8 issues of Sandman are collected in this addition. As the forward and afterword state - not the best comics out there. The artwork is engaging, and the characters interesting, but the storylines are all very basic.
Dream, trapped by a wizard, decides to wreak revenge on those who trap him and find his Tools once more. Most of the issues are him finding his tools, little backstory is given, and it's.. basic. Other DC characters make somewhat clumsy appearances. Not much there.
Where Sandman finds its voice, and its intrigue, is in the last issue of the first volume where Death gets introduced. Things begin getting interesting as soon as she tells Dream to stop feeling sorry for himself. Traditional Gaiman comes in, and saves the day via making the comic worth reading more of. We'll see how the rest of the story goes soon. I'm looking forward to seeing how this series became iconic....more
The collection is very slim, consists of twelve stories, and is apparently the second book in a duologyBought this book at Wonderbooks in Germantown.
The collection is very slim, consists of twelve stories, and is apparently the second book in a duology of folklore. Although the collection is for children, it is well put together and the author seems to not have taken much liberty with the stories themselves. What I mean to say is, they're still plenty dark and contain a lot of the original Irish words with parenthetical translations (or none, where the meaning is obvious to anyone with a passing knowledge of the language.)
I found the stories to be entertaining, and helpful, as I was hoping they would be. The book was perfect for spurring some ideas, planting the seeds for some stories that I am working on. As far as being a children's book, though, I'm not certain that it would be terribly interesting for little kids to read. Not enough pictures or action for today's youth.
It's perfect if you've an interest in folklore, though, and want a quick read....more
Well, it seems that I've had this book on my list since 2008 and only now got around to finishing it. Sadly, I think I've owned it since before evWow.
Well, it seems that I've had this book on my list since 2008 and only now got around to finishing it. Sadly, I think I've owned it since before even 2008. Finishing it feels like a great accomplishment, to be perfectly honest. More sadly, my lack of finishing it was not at all due to a lack of interest.
Others reviewers have complained that the book doesn't truly seem to follow any exact pattern, and I have to agree with that. Some of the lectures seem entirely unrelated, but nonetheless they are all quite interesting. Campbell, as always, is a delicious read and a wealth of information even if he does tend to repeat himself now and again.
I would recommend the book as a reference to anyone working within the mythic or the folkloric. It may not all read smoothly as a whole, but take any one of the essays out of there and you will have something informative and fascinating to read....more
First, I would like to make it clear that I did enjoy this book. The essays were both interesting, and informative - they gave a lot of food for thougFirst, I would like to make it clear that I did enjoy this book. The essays were both interesting, and informative - they gave a lot of food for thought. They were taken from a documentary (if I'm not mistaken, Mythos I and Mythos II?) shown on PBS some years ago. This book contained a good deal of artwork and pictures, going hand in hand with what Campbell was discussing - being printed in black and white, a bit of the artistic grandeur was lost.
I didn't give the book a higher rating, simply because I had some difficulty with the way the book was put together. Beyond the fact that the physical copy I was reading was falling apart in a few places, I felt that the transcription could have been edited better. Some of the essays went off in different directions and were a little bit hard to follow. Furthermore, the book could have been arranged in a bit more of a coherent manner....more
Well, here is another book that I have owned forever and just now got around to reading fully. This requires a bit of background.
The first time I starWell, here is another book that I have owned forever and just now got around to reading fully. This requires a bit of background.
The first time I started reading Chimera I got through the first novella, and gave up halfway through the second. The second time, I got a tad bit further... this time, I nearly gave up through the third story. Nonetheless, I did plow through. Yes, that is the right terminology. Plowed through. Finishing Chimera felt a bit like one of the 12 tasks of Hercules, unfortunately. I wanted to like this book better, I really wanted to like it.
The first story is brilliantly constructed, a tale within a tale within a tale. The different portions wind up together, every little diversion is a pointed one that lends itself towards a deeper understanding of the frame story. The second story begins the falling apart of it all. The second story, Perseid, becomes a lot more dense. The plot twists are not fully spelled out until somewhere near the end where we figure out who exactly is doing the bulk of the speaking. The third story, Bellophorniad, is where you just want to give up. Everything is meta this, meta that, who is telling the story, where is the story headed - wait, everyone is dead? While the end more or less ties everything up nicely the first two acts of the third story are so bloody dense it doesn't feel worth it.
Essentially, Barth should have stuck to the commentary that he did so well in Dunyazadiad - who is reading the story, how do they inform the story, who is narrating it and what do they change? Frame of reference was better suited for a story with a generally likable protagonist. There was nothing likable about Bellerus, again, unfortunately....more
Seamus Heaney breathed new life into the unknown poet's text and brought it into a recognizable vernacular - I could eBeowulf was pretty damn awesome.
Seamus Heaney breathed new life into the unknown poet's text and brought it into a recognizable vernacular - I could easily imagine my grandfather being the one to tell me this story. The poem became direct, important, and even strangely intimate. The advice that Hrothgar gives to Beowulf reads as if it is being whispered in your own ear. The text feels important - it's truly extraordinary.
Not being able to read Old English, I still appreciated being able to look at it, and found myself studying it a couple of times. It's incredible both how far the language has advanced, and how little it has - seeing words that I could recognize without much difficulty (or sound out) went a bit beyond novelty. I really gained an appreciation of the old language.
Furthermore, the introduction (Yes, I read those) lent further import to the text itself. Reading the poem trough the lens of both time and distinctly Irish history (yes, I know the poem isn't Irish) brought it into a rather different perspective - particularly the ending. Watching the death of a culture, and a people who knew they were soon to be defeated, hit home in a variety of ways. Beowulf signifies an end of an era - the change from Paganism to Christianity, from the Geats being a force to be reckoned with to knowing there is no way they can survive - in a lot of ways, I think only an Irishman born to a family with a healthy respect of that Republic could translate it with such a keen eye towards how that feels....more
Bart D. Ehrman is probably my favorite author when it comes to New Testament scholarship, and his booksTwo stars was about right for this book for me.
Bart D. Ehrman is probably my favorite author when it comes to New Testament scholarship, and his books never fail to hold my interest. That having been said, this book was a rather large missed opportunity in my opinion. Much of what is said is repeated from section to section, and later traditions are not treated at all. I understand the purpose of this book was to explain what historical figure lies behind the traditions, but the traditions could have been treated more thoroughly prior to pulling back that mask.
Also missing were quotations from the texts themselves. I'd more highly recommend a book like Lost Christianities or even Misquoting Jesus for this sort of information. This book could easily have been much better....more
I bought this book several years ago and by several I mean many but never got around to reading it in its entirely. I thought it was about time I didI bought this book several years ago and by several I mean many but never got around to reading it in its entirely. I thought it was about time I did that, so.. well, I did. Although it took me ages to finish it, that is in no way a reflection on the quality of the book itself - more my ability to be distracted, etc. So, let's get on with the review.
As someone not terribly familiar with Norse myth, I came away from the book feeling that I understood the essence of it a bit better. Having recently traveled to Austria, and in previous years been to much of the Baltic region, I felt that those trips supplemented my understanding of the text a bit more than the copious notes at the back of the book did.
The way that the book was set up was a bit troubling to me. The notes at the back of it, rather than say.. footnotes, or notes on the side of the page, made for much flipping. At times, the notes were just reminders of the meaning of certain words (e.g. norns and disir) rather than truly supplementary or explanatory material.
The translation of the texts was good, if a bit.. heady. Having the translation be rather literal, including phrases such as "slaughter dew" when referencing blood, or "foot twigs" instead of toes always came off as a rather interesting choice. It added to the feel of the text itself - you could never forget you were reading something fairly ancient, rather than bringing the ancient into a more modern time period such as Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf did.
All in all, I did enjoy the book, but it would not be remiss for me to look into more contemporary or, rather, just alternate translations of what I read. I'm tempted to read Snorri's translation of the Prose Edda, though, which would be an even more.. insurmountable sort of task. Perhaps I should look up easier guides to the Nordic mythology prior to doing so, so I'm not jumping in entirely brainlessly....more
This book, like previous installments, was a bit more filler than it was pushing the story forward. You get Bigby with some World War IBack to Fables.
This book, like previous installments, was a bit more filler than it was pushing the story forward. You get Bigby with some World War II flashbacks, and the awkward banishment of Snow White and her children to the Farm. While it was intriguing, had some nice twists, and beautiful illustrations it just didn't... hold up as well as previous installments.
I know it'll improve shortly though, so there's that. Also, it hints at the start of Jack of Fables which should be a fun read in and of itself....more
I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I still enjoy fairy tales, so these were well met. It was interesting seeing the small diffeI was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I still enjoy fairy tales, so these were well met. It was interesting seeing the small differences that exist between cultures - The Golden Fish story, for instance, was nearly identical to an Irish legend that I read several months ago. It has its equivalents in English and American stories as well.
The book was well written, if dated, and would stand up rather strongly to being read aloud....more
What a fantastic book! I've owned this book for ages, but never read it all the way through. This year, I decided to change that. I read this book inWhat a fantastic book! I've owned this book for ages, but never read it all the way through. This year, I decided to change that. I read this book in small chunks, mostly while on the exercise bike, and I think that that reading of it really benefited me. It allowed me to try to digest each section I read, rather than plowing through the entire book too quickly. Yes, this is a book that requires much thought.
Joseph Campbell holds such an interesting view of the world. Moyers, in his interviews, really brought out the best of Campbell's perspective. I don't think there was a page of this book that bored me, Campbell, as always, breathes new life into old myths and creates an image of a world in which each day can be infused with wonder.
As always, he illuminates the power and ambition within each one of us, and highlights the best of the human experience. He doesn't deny the negative aspects of the human experience, but he does reframe it so that the world remains something that we all -want- and are proud of being a part of.
This book reminds the reader how extraordinary the world truly is....more
I don't believe anyone should go through life without at least giving this book a browse, or becoming slightly familiar with the works of Joseph CampbI don't believe anyone should go through life without at least giving this book a browse, or becoming slightly familiar with the works of Joseph Campbell. The Hero With a Thousand Faces isn't so much about what it's like being human, as what it means to be human. His works inform not only the way we think, but the way that we live and understand our lives.
The Hero With a Thousand Faces along with The Power of Myth are the two most easily accessible books of Joseph Campbell. The latter is an interview that examines the most basic aspects of his theories of the monomyth and the psychological reasons we tell stories and rely upon them. This book, however, delves rather a lot deeper into these concepts.
The beliefs of Joseph Campbell and the work that he has done now permeate our everyday lives and Western culture. We learn about The Hero's Journey in our classes, and we watch for it in our films, books, and videogames. It even gets referenced in cartoons now. To read this book is to better understand now just our stories, but our own lives.
I can't recommend this book enough, and I can't accurately describe just what Campbell's works mean to me as a person. I can only say read it. I can only hope it changes your life and informs your perspective like it did my own....more
Some have complained about the lack of facts when it comes to this book. There simply aren't a lot of hard facts about Billy - but there are a lot ofSome have complained about the lack of facts when it comes to this book. There simply aren't a lot of hard facts about Billy - but there are a lot of outright lies. The book addresses everything that it is capable of addressing, and puts to rest some of the worse rumors.
What I liked about this book was the thorough way it dealt with the time period in question. By the end I felt that I knew a fair deal about life in the 1860s and how that sort of environment bred outlaws such as Billy. The Wild West and the social stresses that created such an environment were quite clearly laid out.
Very readable, very informative, an all over quite a fascinating book. I'm very happy I picked it up....more