Friday, February 04, 2005

I spotted this

and now can't stop thinking about it--Michael Chabon says on his website that he's written an introduction to one of my most favorite childhood books: "I also completed an introduction to a reissue, by NYRB, of one of the most important books of my childhood, that dark and luminous compendium, the D'Aulaires' Norse Gods and Giants, which has somehow, shockingly, gone out of print." This book really was stupendous, I can't wait to get a copy. For some reason I only had D'Aulaires' Greek Myths at home and had to check the Norse Gods one out from the library. Basically I would just renew it week after week and pretend that I really owned it. I'm not surprised MC likes it, you can see that kind of thing in his wonderful novel Summerland. Neil Gaiman's American Gods also surely owes something to the same book, unless he had a totally different compendium of Norse stuff (entirely possible). These are two novels I suddenly have the urge to reread as well, though as with most books I really love, I've given away my copies to people I thought must read them.

The NYRB book reissues really have been excellent. They also republished one of my very favorite novels of all time, a novel I must really have read 20 times, The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West.


  1. I can't believe I've finally come across someone else who has read "The Fountain Overflows". I've probably read it as many times as you have, and I'm gearing up towards another reading. I've given copies to other people to read and NO ONE will read it! Okay, one did, but she didn't love it as much as I did and then I was sad.

  2. Yes, isn't it strange? To me it is so much the most compelling novel I've ever read, and I've given 3-4 different people copies, and either they don't read it at all, or else they say, "Yeah, it was pretty good, I guess."

    One of life's great mysteries!

    Did you read Richard Powers' "The Time of Our Singing"? It's curiously Fountain Overflowsesque--as is James Baldwin's "Just Above My Head" (only with a lot more sex). Both also favorites of mine.

    Anyway, I am delighted to have found a fellow-fan!

  3. Very exciting news about the D'Aulaire's book and thrilling to hear of now two other fans. I was raised on all those books (Norse, Greek and the biographies of Lincoln--the best, Washington, and Franklin, too). I adore them and can't believe they're not more widely beloved. Now, happily, it looks like they will be. Hooray!

  4. Haven't read the Powers OR the Baldwin! They both just went on my must list. Thanks!