Book 7 – American Gods by Neil Gaiman

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I was really looking forward to reading this book. Reason for it was that a lot of my friends from my writer’s group absolutely love it! Granted, a couple of them are huge Neil Gaiman fans, but still if you hear people talking about something with so much passion you’ll end up being curious about it. I heard them talking about it so many times that it really got me interested.

I liked the idea of the old Gods in today’s world and seeing how they would remain standing while new Gods try to take their place. I really like the concept and the idea of the story. In that regard it reminded me of ‘Once upon a time’ the HBO television show where fairytale characters live in our world. Little by little you’ll find out who is which fairytale character and how their story fits into the bigger whole.

American Gods is similar, the title tells you that it’s all about Gods but without telling you immediately who’s who. It sets for a very intriguing story line. But at the same time it’s also a very confusing story. Reading the book took me quite some time, it was a book which I really wanted to read however there were also times where I needed to process what I was reading. Confusing that is what it was at times. I honestly can’t say that I love the book, yet I don’t hate it either. The book had also parts which pulled me in and made me wanting more and more. I was determined to finish the book, sometimes when a story confuses me I get bored with it. This was different though, I wanted to finish it and despite it being difficult at times I really enjoyed reading it. Although I do think that this is one of those stories where you want to read it more than once and if you do you’ll probably see a lot of signs and connections you hadn’t seen before. So this book will surely go on the must-read-again list.

The book versus the television

As you might know there is also a television show. The book and the television show are very different in my opinion and while that is in some cases a shame and often causes an uproar among fans. In this case it works, probably mostly because Neil Gaiman is working on the television show as well so nothing happens without his approval and in complete Gaiman style he’s said before that he wanted to surprise the fans of the book as well as new fans. There were some things I’d expected to see in the television show but we haven’t seen them so far – yet it doesn’t feel wrong. With Gaiman involved in the whole process and it can’t be wrong. It’s his story after all – these are his characters and knowing that he approved it all makes it good.

So while it might be vastly different it’s still the same story, just in a different format. I really loved the portrayal of the characters, they certainly came across as the same characters in the book they represented. Seeing it all on screen cleared some things up for me personally – it made it easier to grasp certain connections. There where some scenes in the book where I wasn’t sure what they meant in the whole story while I was reading it, but seeing them on screen made it easier to give them a place and to understand it all.

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Visually the television show is absolutely stunning! It’s dirty and it’s grimy, shiny and radiant all at the same time. It all fits the characters as you can see in the posters above and the same goes for the story. I think that the tone of the television show is simply perfect.

I love how they choose to diverge from the story and give certain characters a bigger role, most importantly Mad Sweeney. His interaction with Laura Moon is so funny and the macabre humor really brings some fun to the show as well.

I’m looking forward to see more. I certainly recommend this book and the television show. Yes, I certainly do however I do recommend both of them. In my opinion the television show makes the story easier to understand.

 

 

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September in hindsight

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Okay, so let’s get this show back on the road. I really need to do better when it comes to my blog. I was doing so well and in less than a month I completely ruined all of my hard work. And that is a shame.

In all honesty I don’t think that I have a whole lot to tell about my month of September. All I know is that this is the busiest month of them all when it comes to my job and I worked a lot of overtime. Basically two hour extra each day and I also worked two Saturdays. And what little spare time I had left was literally booked with other appointments as well so September came and went so fast that I can hardly comprehend that it is October already.

NoSun Festival

The weekend of the 23rd was simply said awesome. On Saturday we had the NoSun Festival, a sort of reunion festival organized by the travel agency. Two of my fellow travel companions and I decided to go there. We arrived just before one in the afternoon. Our first job, setting up our own tent for the evening. OMG! Last time I put up a tent was in my early teens – I think I was twelve we where on a camp with everyone in my class to celebrate that we were about to leave school – so it had been a while. Luckily for me I had an expert with me who helped me. Without Lind,a I’m sure the whole unpacking and put it up somewhat presentable wouldn’t have happened so smoothly and when Daniel arrived his tent was set up even faster.

Despite my precautions, extra warm clothes to sleep in that night it was cold – ice-cold. And by the time morning came around I felt like a freaking popsicle. In all honesty, I don’t think I really slept at all during that night. Now you must know that every single person that stayed the night received a tent for themselves. And there were a lot of us staying. All of the tents were green and there was literally one person who brought their own tent with them. So you really don’t want to know how many times I heard people exclaim during the nigh; ‘How the hell am I going to find my tent!’ And each and every time the answer was the same; ‘It’s the green one!’ Anyway finally morning came around,  and at that point I didn’t really believe that I would ever feel warm again. Though I have to admit a warm shower does wonders – it took a while to heat up but not nearly as long as I expected it to take. Besides the hot shower we also had a really nice breakfast outside. Bread with bacon and eggs, that really helped. Besides that the sun was shining and it looked like it was going to be another beautiful day.

City trip: Madurodam / The Scheveningen Pier

Coincidentally we also planned some family time during the same weekend, so after I left the campsite behind I made my way to The Hague. Where my family and I went to visit Madurodam. For those who don’t know what Madurodam is let me explain it. Madurodam is a park in which you can see scaled versions of famous Dutch buildings and object all scaled to 1:25. I’d been there years ago, many many years ago so it was nice to see it again. But in my honest opinion it’s not all that spectacular. Of course you’ll see a lot of families with small kids and often grandparents with them and a lot of tourists.

It was a fun to watch and I guess that it’s really interesting when you get to see all of these buildings in a day when you are a tourist or a child. But I prefer to see them for real. In my honest opinion that makes it all the more interesting. But I can understand the need for a place like this where you can show it all at once. And give a little history lesson while you’re at it. Though I’m sure that the real deal is at least ten times more beautiful.

We spend a while at Madurodam but eventually we decided to take a tram to the sea. We were about five minutes away so it was perfect. And the weather was simply beautiful, the beach was filled with people – enjoying what we all thought to be the last good summer weekend of the year. We walked around for a while and enjoyed watching all the people with kites in al different sizes and colors. We had a meal at The Pier which was really nice, they finally gave the Pier a new destiny. For years it had been closed down and it was looking awful. Granted there still is a lot to do but they are definitely working on it and they made one of those food markets inside where you have all of these small market stalls and each and everyone has a different type of food. Often from different countries as well, not exactly the regular type of food you’d get at the store. I choose fish and chips but in an Asian style. With red peppers and spring unions and a chilly sause. Absolutely loved it!

Looking ahead:

  • Our second offical reunion, again planned in Utrecht this time because we all wanted to check out the Prison Island escape rooms.
  • I’m going to a Zoo, probably in October depending on the weather.
  • The Nanowrimo Kick-off party is about to happen.
  • And with that comes the beginning of Nanowrimo
  • I need to come up with a plan for November – most likely I’m going to be a rebel! We’ll see …  maybe I’ll make working on my blog part of my Nano mission.

 

 

 

August in hindsight

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I know it’s October by the time I’m finally posting this but September seemed to have flown by without me noticing it. Well I noticed it but it was a month which was too busy for me to take any time for myself. And the few spare moments I had I was too tired to focus on writing. It’s not an excuse but the way life sometimes takes over. Anyway let me start with telling you all about my August.

August was  a strange month, usually August would be the month that marked my vacation time. However this year I had my two week summer break at the end of June and the beginning of July. So my vacation was done long before most other people where even thinking about going on vacation. And the fact that the weather wasn’t too good didn’t really help either. I was at work while one colleague after another left for their break. It was a really strange situation from my point of view to be honest.

It was also the month in which my grandmother turned ninety! A very respectable age especially if you manage to do it the way my grandmother does it. For someone her age she’s doing really well. I love my grandmother, she’s such a sweetheart and we’ve always had a special connection. She’s an amazing woman and I really hope that she’s will continue on the way she’s doing right now.

Reunion

We’ve had our first ‘official’ reunion with the group from my vacation in Sardinia – I say official because this was a day planned ahead and we already had a mini-reunion at the lake near The Hague where some of us went windsurfing. Anyway this was the official reunion. It was a wonderful weekend, we went to Utrecht. A beautiful city in the center of the Netherlands. And while it is quite close to my home – about an hour away – me and some other people decided that we wanted to stay the night. So we wouldn’t have to worry about getting home. We rented a room with six people in a Hostel. If you ever need an Hostel in the center of Utrecht I can wholeheartedly recommend Stay Okay. It’s a very new – exactly one year old when we where there – Hostel which houses all kinds of different rooms and there were even families with kids and elderly people staying at the Hostel. In the afternoon we went bowling which is always a fun thing to do. Surprisingly the first round started off pretty good for me, better than expected. Not that I was the winner or anything but I wasn’t too bad.

After our bowling adventure we set out to find a spot at one of the many cafe’s for drink, and some pizza slices – something which happened at our vacation and what gave us a good laugh at this point but wasn’t really all that funny when it happened. Anyway after our pizza slices and drinks we went for a walk through the city to find our restaurant for the evening. A lovely small place which was in no way set up to host a group of 15 people but managed to do so anyway. We had a sort of tapas dinner where they made different types of small meals, not just Spanish but everything and anything. We had a lovely dinner. And afterwards we took another stroll through the city. We were planning on going out but it was still very early in the night. Eventually we ended up at Florin, which is the same place we always go with the Nanowrimo Kickoffs! The night ended at a club, not exactly one where I would have gone but it was fun nevertheless. Around three we rolled into our beds – which were luckily for us only a three minute walk away from the club.

The six of us – who rented a room at the hostel – had a very restless but fun night. Everyone slept a little but no one slept nearly enough and after a short night and a way too early shower we were sitting across from each other at the breakfast table. After the breakfast our ways split all over the Netherlands and we all made our way home either by car or by train.

Reading and writing

I’ve finally finished reading the When Woman Were Warriors books, all three of them back to back. I absolutely loved reading the books. They reminded me so much of the books I used to read when I was younger. In a lot of ways these type of books feel like they are historical novels but you know that the story is completely made up. A series of books dedicated to strong female characters! A series of books I absolutely recommend to everyone who loves to read about strong women.

And I started reading American God’s by Neal Gaiman, which is now also a television show. A lot of my friends recommended the book. So I’m really looking forward to reading it and seeing what it’s all about.

Looking ahead:

  • My parents went on their cruise vacation and they left from Amsterdam. I decided that I would bring them and pick them up a week later. So I spend two Sundays driving to Amsterdam, one of them was spend at a city beach and one of them in my hometown where we had a nice meal together.
  • Working lots and lots of overtime in September, like usual.
  • We had the NoSun Festival! Which was fun!
  • And we had another reunion!