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What I've Been Reading

It's been limited, because the first book was an 1148 page monster called "Kristin Lavransdatter". This is a biographical novel by Norwegian novelist Sigrid Undset that takes place in Norway in the 14th century. Undset was the daughter of archaeologists, and the book is still praised for its archaeological and historical accuracy.

I read the book for the first time in high school, in the translation by Charles Archer. Archer, who worked in the 50s, decided that what a book about medieval life REALLY needed was lots of "thees, thous, haths and doths" instead of the clear, modern language Undset used. He also censored out no less than 18 pages of text, deeming them too dirty. (They are Victorian-era dainty.)

This translation by Tiina Nunnally reflects Undset's plain style and restores the underlying passion between Kristin and her husband Erlend. I could also picture perfectly well this world, where although people observe strict Lenten fasts and pray to St. Olav (spits on the floor), they still are wary of trolls and elves who are given to stealing children, and offer food every week to the grave of the first man to own the family farm.

Long, but rewarding.

I also finally read "American Gods" which I won't review because so many of you have already read it. I liked it a lot and am going to start passing it around. Certainly it revived my fascination with roadside attractions, and I do want to see the House on the Rock.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
garpu
Feb. 20th, 2010 01:49 am (UTC)
I might have to check out the Kristin Lavransdatter book. I know some EWTN types were waxing poetic about it, but I'd trust your recommendation.
khandreia
Feb. 20th, 2010 03:53 am (UTC)
If the House on the Rock is still anything like it was when I visited with my parents as a young'un about 20-ish years ago, it's very much worth it. Heck, that whole part of the state is fantastic, and I need to get out there again one of these days.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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