Book of the day
The great Norse myths are woven into the fabric of our storytelling – from Tolkien, Alan Garner and Rosemary Sutcliff to Game of Thrones and Marvel Comics. They are also an inspiration for Neil Gaiman’s own award-bedecked, bestselling fiction. Now he reaches back through time to the original source stories in a thrilling and vivid rendition of the great Norse tales.
Gaiman’s gods are thoroughly alive on the page – irascible, visceral, playful, passionate – and the tales carry us from the beginning of everything to Ragnarök and the twilight of the gods.
Galvanised by Gaiman’s prose, Thor, Loki, Odin and Freya are irresistible forces for modern readers and the crackling, brilliant writing demands to be read aloud around an open fire on a freezing, starlit night.
Facts of the day
1903 The Wright brothers attempt to fly the Wright Flyer for the first time at Kitty Hawk, NC, USA.
In Iceland, if an item is sold at a sale price for six consecutive weeks, that discounted price becomes the new regular price and it cannot be advertised as the sale price any more.
Iceland has a reputation for being expensive but prices of luxury goods compare favourably other countries for shopping. Overhead costs are not high and the markup is usually considerably lower than in other places. Tourists receive a tax-free refund, which is approximately 15% of the price, for purchases of 4000 ISK or above on one sales receipt: individual items do not have to to amount to the minimum figure. Price tags in Iceland always include the sales tax amount.
Third Yule Lad
In Iceland, the third of the 13 Yule Lads drops by every home this evening. Tonight, Stúfur (Stubby) – the smallest of the Yule Lads – will raid your kitchen, looking for dirty pans to lick off any burnt food residue. Will you let him have the chance to do so?
Photo credit The photograph is taken from Edward Hancox’s Iceland, Defrosted blog and used with the author’s permission.
The percentage of all greetings cards sent every year that are Christmas-related is 45%.
On average, it takes 475 hours to write a novel.
1503 Nostradamus (France)
1777 Juan Nicasio Gallego (Spain)
1791 Charles Wolfe (Ireland)
1853 Salvador Díaz Mirón (Mexico)
1883 Jane Cowl (USA)
1884 Regina Ullmann (Switzerland)
1895 Paul Eluard (France)
1908 Mária Szepes (Hungary)
1916 Shirley Jackson (USA)
1923 Gerard Reve (The Netherlands)
1931 Jon Elia (Pakistan)
1941 Ellen Willis (USA)
1953 Joe Toplyn (USA)
1967 Ewa Białołęcka (Poland)
Jokes of the day
I once bought my kid a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying ‘Toys not included.’
Cartoons: Dave Granlund, Early Christmas shoppers, DaveGranlund.com
Quote of the day
Groucho Marx: ‘I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.’