Well for once, it's not research reading; it's stuff I wanted to read just because. And at a pace that I haven't indulged in in a while. I went a little crazy at Amazon and got a whole bunch of cool stuff, most of which has come in already.
What have I read? This week it's been:
Heaven, Heroes, and Happiness: The Indo-European Roots of Western Ideology by Shan M.M. Winn. An attempt to trace the cultural ways/mythic ways of looking at things/attitudes of Europe to the original attitudes and mythic structures of the proto-Indo-European speakers. I liked the attempt. I like the realization how we speak shapes how we view the world. But I consider some of the conclusions rather speculative, but interesting.
Working IX to V by Vicki Leon - a light fun book about Greco-Roman jobs, and some of the people who worked. Funny, a bit snarky, and interesting
The Adventures of Alyx by Joanna Rush. Well, it's a collection of short stories and a novella. I had read them all when I was in my late teens, I think. I skipped the novella, but I enjoyed the others.
Cloth and Clothing in Early Anglo-Saxon England: AD 450-700 by Penelope Walton Rodgers. A cool book delving into the archaeology of what we have left of clothing of this period, comparing it to art, and related groups, and spending a nice bit of time on fabric and it's making, and various types of garments themselves. I'm a big junkie on early cloth and clothing, so this was right up my alley.
The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki - translated and introduced by Jesse L. Byock. Back a long time ago, Poul Anderson wrote a novel called Hrolf Kraki's Saga, based on the lives of people who lived contemporary with the Beowulf legend (in fact, they somewhat overlap). It's full of magic, and fairy tale-like elements, not the usual historically based type of stories I'm more familiar with by the title of Saga.
This version is the source material for Anderson's tale, and it was interesting to see just how close he kept to it...
The Orkeyinga Saga: The History of the Earls of Orkney translated with an introduction by Hermann Palsson and Paul Edwards. Written about 1200, it covers the history of the Norse family that ruled Orkney. I found it interesting, cause of my interest in all things Norse, but also because at least one of my family lines originates in Orkney, and has Norse genetic markers...very typical family saga fighting for power. I enjoyed the first part of the book, when there were fewer descendants to keep track of more than the last bit.
I have spot-read Towns in the Viking Age, looking at a few areas I was most interested in, but I can't count that yet, cause I didn't finish.
I'm almost finished with Before Scotland: The Story of Scotland Before History by Alistair Moffet. It traces what we can know about the people who settled in Scotland in prehistoric times up to about 900 AD. Interesting reading; I have a few disagreements about some of his cultural assumptions, but not enough to spoil the fun of the book for me.
Next up (book just got delivered today) The Ties that Bound: Peasant Families in Medieval England by Barbara A. Hanawalt and Magic at the Gate (yes, fiction!) by Devon Monk.
So if you wonder why I seem, well, odd, look at what I read for fun...LOL