Vikings on the History Channel

I don’t have cable, so I’ll have to wait to see the new Vikings History Channel show on Netflix and reserve judgment until then.  Although as the co-author of a novel-in-progress about Vikings, it seems like nothing but good news.  In my fantasies, Vikings will be the next big thing, bigger than vampires and for sure bigger than zombies.  I don’t get the appeal of zombies anyway.  Vikings are much better.

Plus they filmed in Ireland!  Woot!

Sun Dancing (Geoffrey Moorhouse)

I picked this book up on the recommendation of a friend. It’s unusual. The first half is a set of imagined vignettes of the monks’ lives on Skellig Michael from its founding (circa 6th c) to eventual abandonment (circa 13th c). The second half is a set of non-fiction chapters about various aspects of early Irish history.

The whole book is well worth a look, although it’s good to remember that in the fifteen years since it was published, a fair amount of historical and archeological research has been done, some of which calls into question elements of the non-fiction chapters. For instance, the idea that anyone was wearing kilts (p. 205)this early in Irish (or Scottish) history has been reconsidered. Even so, it’s an accessible, intriguing entrypoint to the time period and culture.

The Other British Isles (David W. Moore)

This book is a quick read about a topic you (or at least me) thought you already knew something about–the smaller islands around England–but it turns out you’re wrong.  The prose is informative without being dense, always a plus.  My brain is still scarred from years of parsing academic articles.  If I never hear the word ‘praxis’ again, fine by me.  Anyway, this book.  Victor Hugo lived for years in exile on Jersey?  Who knew?  I was hoping for more information about Iona, since one of my current projects is set there but the book was fascinating nonetheless, particularly in regards to explaining how/why/how much the scattered islands do/do not consider themselves part of England.  Spoiler alert:  more no than yes.  The only real problem with the book is now I want to go see a whole bunch more places, all of which are relatively difficult to get to.