For beerburritowhiskey:

Okay, Chris. Here’s my starting point.


The best book on the Viking years is A History of the Vikings by Gwyn Jones. He has been mildly criticized for straying a bit into stating as fact some things that are controversial, but it’s the definitive text and has been revised a couple of times as new archeological evidence and manuscripts have been discovered and old ideas disproved. It’s been a long time since I read it and this is making me want to stay up all night with it, but Jones is a very respected scholar of the languages and history of Northern Europe, a translator, and even novelist, and he’s not afraid of making those revisions. 

Sidenote: That cover on the new paperback edition, however, is hideous.

Another well-regarded book is Kings and Vikings by P. H. Sawyer. His central point is to separate fact from fiction, history from legend. One of the problems in the whole field of study is that much of what came to be accepted as gospel was written down by non-Vikings. They, themselves, left very little writing. The Eddas, the Sagas, and Heimskringla - the primary sources from Iceland - were all written long after and incorporate many things that are legends as well as amalgams of stories and persons.

Women in the Viking Age by Judith Jesch is another recommendation, which you can guess why from the title alone. There are the Lagerthas, the farmers’ wives, the slaves. So much research and passion went into writing it. And Viking Age - Everyday Life During the Extraordinary Era of the Norsemen by Kirsten Wolf is one more I like. It is about the other 95 percent of Scandinavians who weren’t out raping, pillaging, slave trading, slaughtering, and exploring the world.

The Sagas:

No doubt you know that much of the true Viking literature came from Iceland well after the Viking Era had ended and Christianity came to Scandinavia. There are dozens, but two that you might find interesting are Laxdæla saga and Egil’s saga. The former tells a lot about the Irish slaves brought to Iceland and the latter is about a man not unlike Ragnar Lothbrok. A dozen or so are collected, these included, in a giant book from Penguin called The Sagas of the Icelanders.

If you can deal with Beowulf after having been forced to read some awful translation in high school, I highly recommend the Seamus Heaney version. Very readable and engaging. An important historical document made highly accessible.

Sidenote: I collect editions of Beowulf and read them all. It is one of my favorite works ever. Heaney’s is hands down the very best.


I’m going to stick with my favorites being the trilogy by Jan Fridegård - Land of Wooden Gods, People of the Dawn, and Sacrificial Smoke. I like his style, I like his brevity as well as his detail, I like the story. While I love writers like Thomas Mann who probably knocked out 2000 words a day, I also very much enjoy those who, as they say, shit and get off the pot.

Another novel is Gunnar’s Daughter by Sigrid Undset, who later wrote the three-part Kristin Lavransdatter and the four-part The Master of Hestviken. She won the Nobel Prize in 1928. Gunnar’s Daughter is about a woman in the Viking era who is raped and bares a child, and then faces the world as a single mother. So much of it we’re still talking about today. Her world view changed over the next two decades - embracing Roman Catholicism, losing children, having to flee Norway when the Nazis invaded, returning home broken and unable to write - and the other novels are much more celebrated, but I think this is a great one.

Sidenote: Women writers have been very influential in Scandinavian literature since the late 1800s. But only the best-sellers - prior to this barrage of grim and lurid crime fiction - have ever been translated into English. I’m sincerely hoping to be able to change that. Tiina Nunnally has been tirelessly bringing as much as she can to English-speaking readers, but they aren’t profitable and people don’t know what they’ve been missing.


Women’s roles in Scandinavia - from pre-Medieval times to the present day - are, I think, unique in Europe in that women had a lot of power and freedom, but their world was still run by men. This is reflected not only in the stories themselves, but the way writers of the 19th, 20th, and 21st century draw from past attitudes and roles that persist despite the ultra-liberal nature of modern Scandinavia. I also like that scholarly types are really exploring just how much women did, especially back in that time. And if you move past the Vikings, there are a number of other books, especially from Norway, both male and female writers, that I’m sure you would find interesting.

There are two films that I like very much. The first one - The Raven Flies or When The Raven Flies (Hrafninn flýgur) by the Icelandic director Hrafn Gunnlaugsson - is all but impossible to find, but well worth the search. Gunnlaugson, who I’ve met a couple of times, is absolutely crazy and hordes his films, selling DVDs from a website built in the 90s for $100 or more a pop. But you have Vikings and Irish slaves and revenge.

The other, which you may well have seen, is Valhalla Rising, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) and starring Mads Mikkelsen. It’s a completely different Viking-themed film and I find it mesmerizing.


And finally, yes, Lagertha returns in Season Two and she’s there to kick some ass and not take names. All the women characters on the show are excellent and I like how each one has a different role to play in the society. Archetypes, perhaps, but revealing about the culture in such short blocks of time allowed by a television series. Athelstan has an interesting arc. If you like Floki, he has a great plot line and the actor is just fantastic. I love him so much. And King Horik … Just let me say it’s straight out of The Cook The Thief His Wife and Her Lover.

Tag Game. I was not tagged. Death to you all. (I will avenge you.)

1. Why did you choose your url?

I wrote a note to beerburritowhiskey once that was super benign, like, ‘please take out the trash, FedEx coming tomorrow, ps I am not drunk.” or perhaps it was a love note ending with that signifier; regardless, I was super drunk, as I frequently am. I liked the irony. You can also follow me on twitter.

2..What’s your middle name? Noelle, actually. Name as middle name. I am Catholic; we are weird.

3. If you could own a fairy tale/fictional pet what would it be?
I don’t have enough for the vet bills, but definitely a Wookie

4. Favourite colour? (Fuckin’ Canadians) Black as your darkest thoughts. Or purple.

5. Favourite song? Currently on a Ben Folds kick, and of now : Songs of Love. So fucking optimistic and joyful. Asshole.

6. What are your top three fandom? I don’t know what this means, and I won’t respond to it.

7. Why do you enjoy tumblr?
 Anonymity did not equal assholery. In fact the opposite.

8. Tag four followers to do these
beerburritowhiskey herblondness helms-deep andribbonsofeuphoria now-beacon-now-sea

The laugh out loud does happen. It does.

I’m counting on andybrwn to keep me updated on the world, but my new follows are going to stay slim because I need to stay away from the angst.

That said, the handful that I am following are going to kill me with laughter before the week is done.

For example:

casilemental for the Scarlett Johansson post

anewfoundpeace for numbers 3, 14, 23, and 31 in the 36 Reasons Tumblr was the Best post

therealmardallie for the Paul McCartney is goin’ somewhere post

scottstartsover for the give-a-fuck-o-meter post

beerburritowhiskey for the "you won’t disclose the number of sexual partners you’ve had which makes me think it is upwards of three" post

proud-atheist for the Godzilla is real post

buttchurch for the Lee Pace as a ladder post

wolpaw for the "I wonder how many ponytails I can put in my hair" post

bookoisseur for the LOTR undies post

And so on ….


PS - Not a laughing matter, seriously, but beerburritowhiskey has his beard back. Who’s not excited about that?

beerburritowhiskey asked:

Hi Eòin! I think you posted a little while ago that you are into either Nordic or Norwegian literature or culture. If not, please discard this note. If so, do you have any favorite books on the subject? I have been watching "Vikings" recently (just got into S02E02 and holy damn!) and I have more of an interest in learning about the people at that time than just reading Wikipedia. I'll take my answer privately or on the air. Thanks!

Hey, Chris. 

Oh my, you’ve opened a can of worms.

(I recently finished S2 of Vikings and liked it much more than S1. There’s a lot to respect about that show. And just wait until Lagertha returns.)

But anyways … 

Are you interested in Vikings specifically? Or Norway specifically? Or history specifically? Or literature specifically? Everything Scandinavia? Shield Maidens?

I’m not an expert on anything (at all), but I could talk/write your ear off on these topics.

I’ll wait for you to tell me before I write 12,000 words, but here’s a suggestion in the vein of the Vikings TV show:

There was is a highly regarded Swedish writer named Jan Fridegård (1897-1968) who wrote, amidst a huge body of work, a trilogy of books in the 1940s that has come to be known collectively as A Viking’s Slave Saga. The English translations were done by Robert Bjork when he ran the Center of Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Arizona State back in the late 1980s. 

  • Land of Wooden Gods (Trägudars land) - 1940
  • People of the Dawn (Gryningsfolket) - 1944
  • Sacrificial Smoke (Offerrök) - 1949

The original editions are long out-of-print, but they should be easy to find through the SF library system - or used copies - and it has been released as a compendium e-book. 

beerburritowhiskey asked:

Hi Rachael! Given the Amazon kerfuffle with Hachette, what are some great online alternatives to buying books that you would recommend? Stephen Colbert mentioned Powell's and they look like a great option. Are there others that you like? I'll take my answer on the air, thank you.

I am a huge, huge fan of Kobo for e-books. They have an app you can put on your phone if you don’t want to buy a dedicated device and the library is pretty awesome. Also, you can register your account through bookstores like wordbookstores and then it’s like you’re buying the e-book direct from them. 

It’s also a great idea to check out the big indies to see if they will ship you books just like Amazon does but from their stores rather than from Amazon. powells is awesome - I got Matt Debenham’s collection of short stories from them. wordbookstores is also great. skylightbooks is fabulous. And there are many more…I just don’t have a comprehensive list at my fingertips. 

In terms of getting e-books though, I am a swearer-by of Kobo. I adore my little e-reader. And when I can’t find something in their library for sale, I can find it on iTunes so I just buy there. 

And It Has Been Answered... #AcademyAwhydidIdothis

The game is afoot, and we have come to terms. Oscar Challenge 14 has commenced and a victor will have her (Noelle’s) spoils. 

Once again, it is winner-take-all for all categories for tomorrows awards, and the loser must acquiesce to the successors rewards, or do dumb stuff on Tumblr.

And so it goes, the terms of The Bet:

  • (If Noelle is the [Prophesied, Clearly Ultimate] Winner: 

Lots of you are lovely, and take lovely selfies. My gambit is to have Chris re-create these selfies after they are published, including wigs, props, and possibly some legs. He is to publish ten (10) of these from March 3-March 31 of his choosing. This means that the selfies  you publish will be lovingly recreated by the be-bearded Chris Huff (@beerburritowhiskey). This is in no way a mockery but an homage. This also means that you are welcome to put him into compromising positions. I have requested leg pics.

 That means that ya’ll can get creative and pose in various fashions that would be funny on a (handsomely) aging 36 year-old. 

  • If [the skies open up and Lucifer himself changes the natural course of history and] Noelle loses:

As was suggested and subsequently amended by @perzadook (followed!), in the unlikely case I am thwarted… which is unlikely (hubris!) I will submit to four (4) audio-only monologues from Oscar-winning movies (one of which will be chosen by me), posted on Mondays, …recorded while completely hammered on Saturday night. I have no right to veto these recordings and I will be super wasted. 

All of these events will be posted on both Tumblrs and we hope will be reblogged. Thank you for participating, and God help us all. 

Five random facts about myself

(as requested by beerburritowhiskey, Thanks Chris. I’ll try to come up with things I don’t typically discuss on tumblr such as my love for craft beer,photography, travel,coffee, etc..)

I’m terrible at these things but here goes nothing.

1. I like to collect things like antique cameras and historical artifacts, mostly related to NYC but not limited to.

2. I like to sing but don’t do it often, or unless I’ve been drinking. I’ve been told I actually have a good voice. meh.

3. I’ve worked the same job since the summer of 2001, after declining a job offer from a friend to work for a financial institution located inside tower one of the World Trade Center. We all know how THAT ended.

4. I went to catholic school for 11 years of my life which accounts for much of my catholic guilt.

5. I’m a member of probably over 2 dozen museums, clubs, organizations, etc. Most of which I never use the membership to because I don’t have the time, but I like donating to these places to help keep them going for future generations.

(Bonus: I love toast)

Book List Thingy (Cause I Like Books)

Rules: In a text post, list ten books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take but a few minutes, and don’t think too hard — they don’t have to be the “right” or “great” works, just the ones that have touched you. Tag ten friends, including me, so I’ll see your list. Make sure you let your friends know you’ve tagged them!

Tagged by: jennhoney!

  1. The Rain Catchers by Jean Thesman
  2. The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
  3. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  4. Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
  5. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (full series, really)
  6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  7. I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan
  8. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  9. My Only Story by Monica Wood
  10. Last Orders by Graham Swift

This list is in no particular order, I just listed the books as they came to me.  I’m certain after a few moments I’ll realize that I’ve missed some special favorites—-yep, I have—-but these ones came to mind, what can I say?  

Most of the people I would tag have already been tagged by jennhoney, so I’ll just add a few people that might not have been previously tagged.  I play no follower/followee favorites!  I love you all equally!

Okay so I’m gonna do the first half but not the second because my lunch break is almost over and THERE’S NO TIME, THERE’S NEVER ANY TIME, I’LL NEVER GET INTO STANFORD! And now I can check “Channel Jessie Spano” off today’s to-do list. ON TO THE FACTS!

  1. I used to sail a lot as a kid - like every year for my spring break my family would get on the boat (32’ lazy jack) and wander around the coast for a week or two. Every Thursday was sailing night, and most weekends involved a day on the Gulf as well. We sold the boat when I was in high school and I still miss it.
  2. My eyes are two different colors. One is green and one is blue.
  3. I skipped my junior prom to go see The Skatalites and the Toasters with my boyfriend because duh.
  4. I’m a chronic re-reader and -watcher. I’ve read my favorite books and seen my favorite movies hundreds of times.
  5. I take my passport with me almost everywhere I go and always have a backpack in my closet with some travel essentials so that I can take trips on the fly should the opportunity/need arise.