One of my favourite things in the world is reading, and therefore I always love starting my blogs out with a little homework for you. I will, occasionally, share a book that I am reading, have read, or think is valuable to understand the subjects I write about. Actually, consider this a Works Cited list of sorts. I may occasionally refer to one of these pages (hence I name them 1.0, and so on) if I use a particular part from a book. I will include where-to-buy links for people in The Netherlands, but I will also include the ISBN for those of you that aren’t around. Why don’t I just include amazon for ALL of them? Come on, I work in a bookshop. I will always prefer people buying from real stores rather than online outlet malls like amazon, ebay, and bol.com. Wanna buy there anyway? That’s what I gave you the ISBN for, isn’t it?
Viking Myths & Sagas, retold by Rosalind Kerven
Thought I would start with an Edda? Think again. No, you were almost right, I just prefer this one. Why? The Edda is a clutter. Sure, the stories are beautiful and some of the translations do a marvellous job, but I always have the idea I am reading something unfinished. Very often, I found myself tagging three or four books along because I wanted to read different stories from different manuscripts. Guess who fixed that? My pal Rosalind Kerven! No, I am kidding, but I am also partly speaking truth. This retelling contains tales from the Edda and some of the other most prominent Norse texts that are around. The translations/retellings are among my favourites, keeping that old, authentic tone to them without making it entirely unreadable and just no fun (a habit that sadly a lot of Dutch translators have picked up along the way). I actually used this book for the dutch translation I handed in at my MA translation application.
Buy it here
The Sagas of Ragnar Lodbrok, translated by Ben Waggener
For those of you who watch Vikings, this is not an unknown name. Even though they tend to spell it as Lothbrok. Who cares, this is actually a collection of cool sagas about Ragnar as well as his sons. If you put this next to the series, there are actually quite some enjoyable similarities. It includes the Krákumál, Ragnar’s dying speech, which is quite beautiful on its own and describes Ragnar’s death in the snake pit. Anyway, it ends with ‘læjandi skalk deyja’ which loosely translates to ‘laughing I shall die’. Nordic warrior morale, it wouldn’t be the thing I would say when I was on the verge of, you know, dying. Anyway, interesting tales, beautiful poetry. I prefer the sound of original but my old Norse is rusty as best, so I’ll make do with this translation.
Buy it here