I bought Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman last year thinking I would dive right into it, but other books caught my interest before I could get started.
I read a Swedish book about the Norse Gods (Asken Yggdrasil by Alf Henriksson) when I was a teen and I loved that one. The Gaiman book had many of the same stories – of course, they were based on the same source material – but there were a few that were new to me or that changed the story up a little from what I remember.
I was surprised at how misogynistic the Norse myths really are and it made me really angry and put me off the book. It’s not the fault of Gaiman though, I blame the Norse men who told these stories. I was especially put off by the phrase where people who died valiantly in battle came to Valhalla but everyone who died an non-heroic death, like from old age or in childbirth (!) came to Hel.
This came back to haunt the Aesir though as they had their asses handed to them at Ragnarök when the army of Hel rose up and kicked butt.
I can think of few deaths that are more like dying in battle than dying while giving birth.
I’m glad to have the book read though as it put me off reading completely. I hope my next pick is better. And I can always go back to read some of Gaiman’s other books that I have loved (Anansi Boys and Neverwhere e.g.)