May 2017 was an odd month for me as I was preparing for my Iceland trip, writing several freelance articles (deadlines!), and evidently not reading as much as normal. Grace Grits Reads May 2017 totals only three books. Sad! (Three that I can recall as I sit here in Iceland trying to remember, anyway.)
My brain is tired.
Maybe I really read eight. Ha.
by Neil Gaiman
I selected this book because author Neil Gaiman was inspired to write it after a trip to Reykjavik, AND I thought it would help immerse me in the culture and mood of Iceland. It did. For the most part, I truly enjoyed this book. At times, I LOVED the story. Once or twice, I almost quit reading. But somehow the author casts a spell, and I couldn’t not finish it. American Gods is as long and deep as the Westfjords (over 700 pages!), and the story is as mystical and poetic as Iceland itself. The basic premise involves a man recently released from prison, his dead wife, and a job he reluctantly accepts because he finds himself a bit untethered. Nothing is ever as it seems. Magic plays a role. Or does it? Underlying forces influence everything. Or do they? If you are offended by sex, penises, and the idea of Norse gods, you won’t like this saga. If you prefer a straightforward, black and white story, move on to something else. If you enjoy a touch of fantasy and remember devouring mythology in junior high, you may just see the magic in Gaiman’s prose.
(Yes, Starz produced a series based on the book, but I always favor the book first.)
This book made me: Think. Look at Iceland differently. Remember the mythology I learned in 7th grade. And FYI, I will never see a taxi / Uber driver the same way again. Never.
My favorite line: “All we have to believe with is our senses.”Continue Reading