Norse Mythology is my first Neil Gaiman book.  I’m not sure why it took me this long to get around to reading something he wrote as he writes a metric ton and I’ve known of his popularity for eons.  In any case, better late than never.

This book is fantastic!  I’ve always been a fan of mythology in general, and Norse mythology in particular.  I’m listening to the audio book, read by the author, and getting to hear the way he reads his own words just further cements my newfound fandom of his writing style.  Maybe I’m just a sucker for English accents.  I don’t know, but it’s good.  It’s really good.

The book is presented in the form of several short legends of the gods and giants of the Norse mythos.  How the gods of Asgard came to be, the creation of the worlds, the furious, petty, and at times humorous squabbles between the gods themselves.  Perhaps it’s the audio book presentation, but hearing these tales read aloud, I cannot help but feel more connected to oral tradition where stories are passed down from one generation to the next.  The stories and legends we tell our children carry seeds of truth, moral compass points, warnings of life’s pitfalls, and a good dose of awe and inspiration for the world around us.

I feel like a kid, sitting cross-legged and staring wide-eyed beside a crackling campfire, while Neil Gaiman speaks to me of the gods and beasts of a world I never grew up in.  With each pause between stories, I can almost hear him lean forward to stoke the fire with a stick and then continue on with his tales, all under a starlit sky full of constellations and wonder.

Good for the kiddos?

I don’t have a good sense of child-appropriateness in content yet, whether it’s TV, movies, books, or games.  I’m still getting a feel for when it’s okay or not to expose a child to more mature themes and I’ll often consult my wife on the matter.  She’s a kindergarten teacher.  I figure she knows a bit more about what kids can and can’t handle than I do.

A few of the stories get a little graphic and violent, so I’ll probably wait a little longer before reading this with my sons, but it will definitely be read to my sons.

I can’t wait to see what other stories Neil wrote for us.

Highly recommended.