Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Back in high school, I was quite taken by Greek mythology. We learned about the 12 gods on Olympus in Literature class, and I took it to another level and read more myths that weren’t covered in class. Fast forward seven (?) years later, and I found a special edition of Norse Mythology at my favorite local bookstore on Independent Bookstore Day in 2017. Truth be told, I was not interested in Norse mythology at that time (I was late to the Marvel game), but I figured I’d grab the copy anyway because (1) Neil Gaiman wrote it and (2) I might end up liking it.

Unfortunately, I have a bad habit of hoarding books and not reading them until years after, so here we are in 2021, and I still have unread books from 2016. Since I am on a quest to read all the unread books on my shelf, I finally picked up Norse Mythology and read it in March 2021.

As someone who has finally watched (at least half of the) movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), I have some familiarity with the Norse gods. Truth be told, I only knew two things:

  1. Thor, the god of thunder, had a hammer that no one else could lift; and
  2. Loki was Thor’s evil but not-so-evil brother whom I never truly understood.

While Norse Mythology definitely had a lot of tales of the mighty Thor, it was Loki who stood out for me. I loved his mischievous character, and I thought he was just as daring as Thor … in a different way. For me, Thor came off a little arrogant, and I felt like ok I get it you’re Thor… I did find his insanely large appetite for food entertaining, so there’s that.

Now that I’m done with the book, I will say this: for some reason, I’d thought that Norse Mythology was going to be a dark or serious read. I was pleasantly surprised to find it a light and easy read. At times, the stories were funny. I’m going to attribute this to Neil Gaiman’s storytelling until I read other Norse mythology materials. Finally, I loved that I did not feel pressured to binge-read the book since every tale, while related to the next, stood for itself—though I did read more than one story a day.

This is definitely staying on my shelf.

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