Keeping up with the goal is going well. Much better than I expected. But as before, writing about the books I’ve read is another river to cross.

I have also recently discovered the wonders of audiobooks. As far as psychologists have explored, to the brain, reading a book and listening to an audiobook makes no difference. And if you compound this with the harsh reality of Manila traffic, well, listening to an audiobook is the best way to keep my sanity intact. So, thanks to Audible and thanks-but-no-thanks traffic, I have finished more books than I expected over the past months.

So where have I been lately?

 

[1] With Shadow and Mr. Wednesday

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To give me a sense of where the TV series is going, I read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. This was the first time I ever read Gaiman, and wow did I enjoy his writing. I did have some bias coming into the novel because I was comparing it with the flow of the TV series. The producers – Gaiman included – did say in various interviews that they are deliberate in ‘updating’ the novel’s story arcs for the TV show, so reading the novel and watching the series at the same time was a bit painful. And because of the updates, and the greater effort put into even the minor characters, I’m enjoying the TV series more.

But that is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the novel; I did very much. But what it does for me is to give me a guiding star to follow when I continue watching the TV series.

 

[2] To Asgard and the other worlds of the gods and giants

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The best thing about this audiobook was that it was read by Neil Gaiman himself. This is the second Gaiman book that I read – the first being American Gods. And boy did I wait until the audiobook was available. I already saw copies of this in Fullybooked – expensive, as expected. But the audiobook was cheaper, and Gaiman serving as reader of his own work is a marvel of its own.

I have not thought about Norse mythology as much as I invested time and effort reading Greek and Roman mythodology diligently as a child. Norse is wilder. I had an inclination to jump into Norse mythology as well because of the influence of History’s Vikings show, which I have followed since the beginning.

I didn’t know Hel was Loki’s daughter before this. Nor did I know why Thor’s hammer is short in its handle. I didn’t know Thor carried the title of the greatest alcohol drinker among all the gods. I didn’t know he had a wife. I didn’t know that Loki will inevitably cause Ragnarok. And I didn’t know that Odin sacrificed himself to the great grandness of all – his eye and his life included – just to be able to gain wisdom that nobody else possessed.

I highly, highly, recommend this book to everyone.

 

[3] Out to the Universe, into a Black Hole, and then home

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This was a quick audiobook. Just three hours. Which, you know, is just one trip to Makati and then back to Quezon City. What’s cool about this book is that it condenses astrophysics into a college-level narrative and serves it with entertainment from the author himself. Yup, Neil deGrasse Tyson read this one. You should hear him crack up a joke or two.

As expected, it’s as entertaining as it gets. The part that I like comes early into chapter 1; I believe it’s the last line:

“We are stardust brought to life, then empowered by the universe to figure itself out.”

Somebody wipe my tear.

 

[4] TO WESTEROS. THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO.

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I am trying to finish this book before the start of Season 7 next week. The artworks here are AMAZING. And, um, I also purchased the audiobook. So help me old gods and the new; I need to finish this over the next days. LOL

But in terms of scope it does not offer anything particularly new so far. (I am at Chapter 17 of I think a thousand. Haha) What it does is to put together the tales of the beginning and everything in between, until I believe the content of the main ASOIAF novels.

It’s a good refresher for the tales and legends. And it gives you the benefit of a coherent narrative compared to how the novels would reference this person or that person from long ago. This refresher narrative for ASOIAF would be particularly useful because for the upcoming season, we should be drawing nearer and nearer to Azor Ahai.

I swear it should be Jon Snow.

Riding one of the dragons.

Beside his auntie-queen. Incest-ing as Targaryens do.

Fighting the Night’s King.

As the Prince that was promised.

*insert GOT theme here*

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