Tag Archives: adult non-fiction

Vikings, and Tolkien, and Thor, Oh My!

I’ve been exploring Norse mythology and Viking history  off and on for the past year or so, and I thought I would share some of the items we have in the collection that I found interesting. Let’s set sail and travel through Viking history and lore:

Northmen: The Viking Saga, AD 793-1241 by John Haywood – This book is a good one to start with if you’re looking for an overview about the Viking Era. It also demonstrates how far their travels took them – from Europe, to Asia, and of course, North America. It’s informative and well-researched, and I found it really interesting with enough detail and examination to satisfy my curiosity. I also really liked how the author chose to organize the material based on geographical area. If you have a particular interest in English history, follow Northmen with The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England by Marc Morris which explores what led to the Battle of Hastings and its aftermath. For those of you interested in North American history, try Graeme Davis’ Vikings in America.  Although I believe some of Davis’ claims require more proof, and would have liked more information about the artifacts discovered, it may have identified some questions which could lead to further research into the extent of Viking expeditions to North America. Continue reading

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding, by Kristin Newman

What I Was Doing While You Were BreedingI picked this book up because I thought the title was funny. And while I did find that funny and hilarious between the pages of this book, the more important discovery was a witty, poignant, honest recounting of a woman’s journey through singlehood. I mean it wholeheartedly when I say that this is an important book.

Kristin Newman was lucky in her professional life, in that she had steady enough work as a comedy writer in Hollywood (not an easy thing to achieve, especially for a woman). And her professional success allowed her to live a life that I have only dreamed about in my wildest dreams. She would spend the “on seasons” hard at work in the writing room, but when the “off-season” came along Newman would hop on a plane to an exotic location – Argentina, New Zeeland, Iceland, Brazil, and so on – and “do the thing you’re supposed to do in the place you’re supposed to do it”. But she would also have the most amazing adventures and vacationships. And in her book she tells (almost) all. Continue reading

Cave Paintings: The Expressions of Shadows and Light

Have you ever wondered about where the drive to create came from? Where did we begin our artistic explorations? I recently read The Oldest Enigma of Humanity: The Key to the Mystery of the Paleolithic Cave Paintings by Bertrand David, which describes his theory about how the paintings were created and the experiments he did to support his theory. It was a quick read, so if you have any interest in cave paintings this book may interest you.

David’s theory revolves around the idea of shadows. The paintings themselves are found deep within caves with no light. He believes that these early creations were tracings of shadows created using firelight and sculptures, because it is an easily taught skill and may explain why this art form lasted so long. Although his theory seems to make sense and is supported by his experiments, we may never have a definitive answer as to how the paintings were created or the reasons why.

However, it did make me think about the reasons why we create, and whether or not this creative drive is ingrained in our very beings or is a learned desire. Why does anyone want to create things? Is it to communicate something or part of the simple desire to bring to life something that did not exist before its creation?