I read a book a while ago called Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon.  The book isn't really about stealing, of course, but about how to go about capitalizing on inspiration and understanding the differences between emulating a style because you appreciate it and straight up copying someone else's work.

When I heard Neil Gaiman was going to publish a book of Norse mythology (inventively entitled, Norse Mythology), I immediately thought of Steal Like an Artist because one of the things Kleon talks about in the book is getting to know the influences of your influences.  If you want to paint like Van Gogh, find out not only all you can about him, find out all you can about the painters that he admired and that influenced him.

Gaiman's appreciation for Norse myth is very obvious when you read his novel American Gods, since several characters directly from Norse mythology are transformed into main characters of the novel.  However, I'm excited to read the Norse myths retold by Gaiman himself, since they are such a significant influence on his writing.

Norse mythology is not nearly as well known in America as its Southern European counterparts.  Indeed, the word mythology in and of itself generally gets people thinking of Olympus and Hercules and the rest of the Greek pantheon.  Norse mythology is quite different.  The gods are more heroic and human, their enemies are much more diverse and, frankly, weird, and the nine worlds that make up the Norse universe provide a multitude of paths a departed soul can take from life instead of a simple trip across a river to the Underworld of the Greeks and Romans.

Anyone who has asked for book recommendations at Kards Unlimited has undoubtedly been pointed in the direction of Neil Gaiman.  All of his books have been picked as favorites of at least a few of the staff and the KU Book Club has read three of his novels over the course of our meetings.  I'm certainly not alone in being excited for Gaiman's newest book, and I think you will be too.  Come pick up a signed copy, on sale tomorrow, 2/7/17!

By    No Comments

So, what do you think?