Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman

oddandthefrostFrom Goodreads:

The winter isn’t ending. Nobody knows why.
And Odd has run away from home, even though he can barely walk and has to use a crutch.
Out in the forest he encounters a bear, a fox, and an eagle – three creatures with a strange story to tell.
Now Odd is faced with a stranger journey than he had ever imagined.
A journey to save Asgard, City of the Norse Gods, from the Frost Giants who have invaded it.
It’s going to take a very special kind of boy to defeat the most dangerous of all the Frost Giants and rescue the mighty Gods. Someone cheerful and infuriating and clever.
Someone just like Odd.

I checked an audio version of this out via my lovely Overdrive app a few weeks ago, and was just delighted with it. Neil Gaiman, doing Norse mythology for kids and reading the book himself. The book was less than two hours long in audio, and flew by.

Like many people, I don’t know a lot more about Norse mythology than the Thor and Avengers movies have taught me, so I was pleasantly surprised when some of that movie mythology turned out to be legit. I mean, clearly Thor was the god of thunder and Odin was the king of Asgard and Loki was Thor’s brother, the god of mischief. Those things I knew. I didn’t know that Loki really was a frost giant, abandoned, though.

This story isn’t really about the gods, though. It’s a story about a young boy with a bad foot and an irrepressible spirit. Odd smiles though he has no reason to. And he saves all of Asgard because he has that special power of smiling when he has no real reason to. I can’t say much more without spoiling the book, but I highly recommend this one. It may have been written for children, but The Mr and I both enjoyed it thoroughly.

What’s your favorite Norse mythology book? Do you have one? Oh, and happy April Fool’s Day. 🙂

Three Things I Needed to Hear Today.

I have a confession. I like to listen to commencement speeches. A caveat to that: I especially like to listen to commencement speeches given by authors. I don’t particularly seek them out, but when I find them, I give a listen.

Today I stumbled upon one by Neil Gaiman, one of the premier names in fantastic literature today. He gives a lot of advice, but he said three specific things that I really needed to hear today:

1) ENJOY THE RIDE

The road to success in any creative field is difficult and unsure. Even when success is at hand, there’s usually the worry that the success won’t last, or that somehow someone will take it away from us, and it’s important not to let those worries distract us from the triumphs we do achieve. Even without success, though, we should be enjoying the things that we create. Otherwise, what are we doing it for? And if we don’t enjoy it, who else will?

2) MAKE GOOD ART

This seems like a no-brainer, but it is something to be remembered. In Gaiman’s speech he talks about making good art in reaction to everything, good or bad. This is something that I try to do, but I wonder if I get lazy sometimes.

and

3) FAKE IT ‘TIL YOU MAKE IT

This is something I have to admit I heartily believe in. After all, I’ve publicly admitted that I like to Author-Interview myself in my head. Whenever I want to shy away from my dreams, because it’s just taking me so long to get to them with life in the way. Plus, let’s face it, you never really know how to write a novel until you’ve… finished writing a novel. That’s just a fact. But until then (and I’m moving ever closer! Hi 75K!) I’m just going to keep pretending that I know how to do this thing.

If you want to see the rest of Gaiman’s address, it’s here: