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What I've been reading

Elric of Melnibone. I am long overdue on reading or possibly re-reading this. I picked it up originally in the 80s when my ADD was at its worst and I know I tried to read it, but can only remember scattered images. Elric should, in my opinion, be added to the list of "fantasy and SF heroes with disabilities" since this albino wizard lives on all sorts of pharmaceuticals--pardon me, philtres and potions--to stay alive. The storytelling reminded me a lot of the stories of Jirel of Joiry, strangely enough. Very curious to see what his further adventures contain since he's a hero flawed by his own physical weaknesses and decent nature in a nation of degenerates.

Nordic Runes by Paul Rhys Montfort. This is a decent introductory book. It makes use of all forms of the Rune Poems and a reader at the end would have a good foundation in runelore with minimal New Ageyness. I'm on the lookout for a book that is intended for someone who is not a beginner, though; if I read one more explanation of what all the runes mean, I may go nuts. I've taken to jumping to the end of the third aett where interpretations can vary wildly.

Nordic Religions in the Viking Age by Thomas A. DuBois. This is an offering from U Penn Press and it's impressive. I wish it had more illustrations, but that's my only complaint. DuBois discusses the religious systems from Finland to southern Denmark and how Saami religion influenced the settled Norse religions. In fact, the book deals more with the Saami than any other group because their magic in particular was adapted into Norse rites. I was particularly interested in the age of Christianization. Before the forced conversions, crosses and Christian religious amulets were being placed in Norse graves since the medieval Scandinavians, having encountered the new religion on their travels, seem to have been adopting the Cross and Jesus Christ into their own set of gods. The Cross in particular is written of as having its own personality. Given the presence of pagan wood carving in medieval cathedrals I do wonder what the religious cross-polination would have led to if Norway hadn't decided that conversion by the sword was required. I am interested in sycretistic religion and this one would have been fascinating indeed. However it never came to pass. Thanks, Olav! /sarcasm.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
bork
Dec. 23rd, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)
I will have to check out the second. Thanks!
wombat_socho
Dec. 23rd, 2010 10:59 pm (UTC)
The Elric novels are...interesting. You'll see what I mean when you get there. I'd say more, but it seems all I can recall after 30 years are the completely spoilerriffic parts, so I better not.
(Deleted comment)
caprine
Dec. 28th, 2010 09:59 pm (UTC)
Ditto on the books. I discovered Elric via the cover paintings in Michael Whelan's Wonderworks, and went on to read Corum, Hawkmoon, Oswald Bastable, Jherek Carnelian, Erekosë...ah, the heroic fantasy of the seventies! I discovered a lot of books through that art portfolio...and more through Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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