Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Outside of a Dog, #88

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx.

Did you know that Tuesday was named after the Norse god of victory Týr? Wednesday is after his slightly-more-famous comrade, Odin (Previously called Wodan, so Wednesday comes from Wodan’s Day), and Friday is Frigg’s Day (or Freyja’s Day). There are lots of other naming stories about the weekdays, in several cultures. This week, why not check out some mythology books and read up on everyday things named after great heroes?

Scandinavian Mythology – Hilda Roderick Ellis Davidson
This edition is older than some, but presents a good look at Vikings and their lore for the common reader, rather than an academic’s eye. Check this out if you want a few good stories and a place to start from regarding Odin, Freyja, and their kin.

Bulfinch’s Mythology: The Age of Fable, the Age of Chivalry, Legends of Charlemagne – Thomas Bulfinch
The go-to guide for myth is Thomas Bulfinch’s guide, which begins with coverage of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses, with a side trip into Germanic tribe stories, then a chapter on King Arthur, and a chapter on the first great French Emperor Charlemagne. There’s so much information here, it can be hard to swallow, but start with the short story Prometheus and Pandora (about the legend of Pandora’s Box), and the stories will move quickly to the end.
Ref 291 B WDB

The Stories of Life: Six Greek Myths, Retold – Cynthia Rylant
Newbery winner Rylant (she won in 1993 for Missing May and has been writing since 1982) presents the stories of Pandora, Persephone, Orpheus, Pygmalion, Narcissus, and Psyche in this audio, read by repeat audiobook voice Alyssa Bresnahan. While this is intended and suitable for children 6-11, adults can also enjoy these tales.
BKD Jfic Rylant WCV

American Indian Myths and Legends – Richard Erdoes
American Indians have some of the most important and revered myths in the world. This book showcases the "oral history" style – stories told from one person to another, handed down over years. Inside, there’s Trickster tales, creation myths, and tribe-specific stories.
398.2 E WCV

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1) – Rick Riordan
We’ve reviewed the Lightning Thief here before, and it’s become even more popular now that there’s a theatrical release movie about the demigod boy who might just save Olympus. Start here and follow the hero’s journey through five other novels; and, if you enjoy Riordan’s amusing style, look forward to the Kane Chronicles, due out in May, for a twist on Egyptian mythology.
Juv Pbk R WCV
YA Fic Riordan WAM WDB

Odd and the Frost Giants – Neil Gaiman
It’s no surprise that we’re big fans of National Library Week Honorary Chair Neil Gaiman here at the libraries. This short novella, written for the UK’s World Book Day in 2008, was sold for $1 to promote the charity Book Aid International, and released stateside shortly after. Here, young Norse boy Odd (whose name isn’t "strange or unusual...not in that time or place") goes on a journey to save three tricked Norse Gods from the frost giants. While it’s a short story, it showcases the author’s unique myth-telling talent and sense of fun.
Jfic Gaiman WCV
electronic resource (WPL) - Overdrive WMA audiobook
electronic resource (WPL) - Adobe EPUB eBook

The Business of Fancydancing – Sherman Alexie
Sherman Alexie is the first name to come up in many discussions of modern Native American storytellers. Probably most famous for his short story collection The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, and the movie, "Smoke Signals" that followed, the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene author has been writing for a number of years. His classic humor about the Native American lifestyle, both traditional and contemporary, is well worth reading.
811 Alexie WAM
811.54 A WMB

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