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Author Topic: What's Everyone Reading?  (Read 143001 times)

Graegwulf

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #45 on: June 02, 2011, 10:34:00 AM »
I wonder if that's the Paul Binns who makes swords and other Mediaeval weaponry?
Not a common name I would have thought.

Paul

cenwulf

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #46 on: June 03, 2011, 04:53:51 PM »
... a book by Paul Binns called 'Conquest'...
I assume you mean Stewart Binns ;)

Brian Murrell

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #47 on: June 12, 2011, 12:11:59 PM »
New fiction, The Wordsmith's Tale.  (The reference to J Campbell The Anglo-Saxon, is a Penguin book 1991)

http://www.bridgwatermercury.co.uk/news/9078498.The_Wordsmith_s_Tale___new_novel_by_Stephen_Edden/

Brian

Horsa

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #48 on: July 03, 2011, 03:09:57 AM »
... a book by Paul Binns called 'Conquest'...
I assume you mean Stewart Binns ;)
[/quote]

Commendation by Daley Thompson!? I'm reading this book.

At the moment I'm reading Jean M. Auel's 'The Clan of the Cave Bear'. I've had a bit of a interest in homo neanderthalis for a while and have many near misses with this book but finally saw it at the library and got it out. The writing is a bit clunky in places but she knows how to tell a story.

My biggest problem is with the depiction of neanderthals. It's my problem, though. I can't help thinking that neanderthalis was more similar to sapiens than it was different. Recent discoveries say that they had language, music and art and that they interbred with sapiens. They didn't die out, they were bred out, much like what's happening to the scottish wild cat.

ubique

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #49 on: August 14, 2011, 06:31:34 PM »
Currently reading The Elder Gods by Steve Pollington and will be doing a review for the Wiðowinde.Must say it an exellent book so far ;D

Wulfric

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #50 on: August 16, 2011, 10:47:43 AM »
Hello all,

This isn't exactly a what I'm reading but a related suggestion for the site.

The idea... A book list. Not just a book list though but an expanding book list divided into topic categories that members can add reviews to.

I don't believe it would render this thread redundant as I would see book list reviews as having to be fairly concise. Therefore if people really want to enthuse about or slate a book in great detail or have an ongoing discussion about a book this would still be the place.

The advantage a book list would have would be that no matter how old the review was it would be there for all to see, no matter how long it is since any member has read the book, the book and it's details would still be there for anyone online to find listed in it's category.

Categories could be, for example:
Language, religion, warfare, building, agriculture, etc...

For a less impressive book list then the one I would hope the Gesithas could put together see; http://www.vikingsonline.org.uk/resources/readinglist/rlindex.htm I was imagining something more like the Anglo Saxon books' topic list but not only limited to that publisher.

The only problem is that someone who knows how to design websites would need to set it up. Once in place members could add their books and reviews and once a book was up it could have more reviews added.

Hope people find this of interest!

Wulfric.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2011, 11:45:18 AM by Wulfric »

Karen Carlson

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #51 on: August 16, 2011, 10:50:14 PM »
Currently reading The Elder Gods by Steve Pollington and will be doing a review for the Wiðowinde.Must say it an exellent book so far ;D
Yes, isn't it?  I was thinking of doing a review, but you may beat me to it. :)  Mine would not be ready for the next edition.

ubique

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #52 on: August 17, 2011, 09:50:40 AM »
Yes, isn't it?  I was thinking of doing a review, but you may beat me to it. :)  Mine would not be ready for the next edition.
[/quote]

Hopefully mine will be ready on time or it will have to wait till the winter addition but im on track so far ;D

Linden

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #53 on: August 18, 2011, 05:15:16 PM »
I found a fictional "Hereward" by James Wilde in Asda yesterday.  Have only just started it - seems a bit gory for my taste but I'll persist for a while at least as I've run out of any decent SciFi for bed-time reading.

  Has anyone read it? - it was published in June this year. 
Cræft biþ betere ðonne æhta

Jayson

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #54 on: August 23, 2011, 09:44:13 PM »
----I've just started dipping into a book I've had for years  --  The Languages of the World by Kenneth Katzner.   It divides languages up into families and then gives more details of the individual languages.   There is quite a section on English  --  old, middle and modern  --  and quotes from Beowulf and The Canterbury Tales as well as explaining how the language developed.   Useful for those who know little about languages.   I'm thinking of Christmas presents!
Wessex Woman

Linden

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #55 on: August 24, 2011, 06:56:30 PM »
I have just purchased a book on the Exeter Book riddles called "Say What I Am Called" by Dieter Bitterli.  Published by the University of Toronto Press in 2009 it examines the possible relationships between the contemporary Old English and Latin riddling techniques. It discusses 2 dozen of the Exeter riddles.  I will try to write a bit on it when I have finished it.
Cræft biþ betere ðonne æhta

Horsa

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #56 on: October 14, 2011, 12:29:49 AM »
I've managed to get my hands on a copy of EETS Aelfric's Lives the of the Saints. 541 Pages (divided by two; it has a facing translation) of Old English prose. I think that's more Old English than I've read up to now. It's so much better than the Google books' version that I attempted to read a year or so ago. If I don't understand a word, I just have to glance the the right rather than scroll up, scroll back down again.

I think my Old English is finally getting good. But then it does seem to be a lot easier to read than a lot of poetry or even prose. It's easier than Wulfstan. I'd recommend it for that. I'm averaging about 5 unknown words per page. It's nice to read something that doesn't attempt to reproduce the Latin original's word order and idiom.

Has anyone else read this?

Bowerthane

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #57 on: November 04, 2011, 03:16:13 PM »
Just finished reading The Making of a Legionnaire by Bill Parris ( Cassell 2004, ISBN-13 978-0-3043-6697-2).  Subtitled ‘My life in the French Foreign Legion Parachute Regiment’ and one of the best autobiographical accounts of military training and experience I’ve found yet.  This chap is not just a grunt.  Originally he wrote it for his sons because, having hacked it in at the deep end in Rwanda and helped fight off rebels-cum-insurgents backed by Colonel Gadaffi in Chad, he seems to be dying of some unrelated illness.

Where on earth the Old English come in is because I was looking for some sort of bum-steer as to the fighting man’s point of view to things for the kiddies’ book I’m writing.  Several of my child characters grow up to be hearthtroopers, and one makes good as the de facto commander of Lady Etheldræda’s hearthtroop during the Reconquest of the Danelaw in the early tenth century.  All too many military autobiographers skimp through their training so as to get stuck into the career-and-combat side, which is why Parris’s book is a ‘find’ for me.

In particular, hands up all those who long knew that Old English warriors sang their lays, and no doubt made a few vaunts, passing round the glee-wood in the mead-hall… but always had a bit of trouble joining the dots as to quite how fighting men, tough hombres with hairs up their nostrils and all that, could genuinely enjoy any kind of sing-song?  Like me?  No offence to any grizzled veterans out there who know eighteen ways to rip my arm off, but it’s never been the kind of thing I’d think of as quite your cup of tea.

Well for some idea as to quite how that might work, I am indebted to Bill Parris for an account of how much store the French Foreign Legion sets on its special songs, and even poems and prayers, that Legionnaires are expected to memorise along with Le Code d’Honneur.  Even for his word that he enjoyed learning them, and not just because it made a break from the march-or-die training they were put through!  Their singing lessons lasted “for hours” and their instructors, mostly one and the same instructors as were harrying them through weapons drills, route marches etc., were every bit as exacting as for the tough stuff.  Not that all were in French “some were rendered in German and others in English” and Bill Parris says he never became a fluent French speaker.  Nor was he the only one who enjoyed it, and remember there’s lectures that give them a break from the hectic physical training.  Indeed “it was the company song you burst a lung for and sung with added gusto and enthusiasm”.  But generally, “we were somehow inspired and when an entire section’s voices are on song there is no sound like it.” Musically literate folk will correct me if I’m wrong, but from the “very deep, low register, but good and loud” in which they were taught to sing, I’m guessing that these songs were pre-adapted to the natural intonation habits of a burly squaddie, rather than expect to make choirboys out of them.  Legionnaires are also taught to sing whilst marching, making me realise that a hearthtroop might do the same riding to and from battle, or just about a bit.  “The sight of forty Legionnaires singing in tune and marching with slow purpose… seeming to bristle with contained strength truly is a force, awesome to behold.”

Because of course this is all wrapped up with the history and traditions of the FFL generally, in which they are also steeped.  Knowing a bit about the Regimental System of the UK armed forces ( I was even in the Air Cadets for three years, boy and boy) I’ve already made sure to portray the different lords’ hearthtroops as differing in customs and battle-lore, along with different trophies ( warlooms if you will) hung up on the wooden pillars of each longhall, each hearthtroop wont to believe that they are a cut above all the others.  Yet I now see that the repertoire of lays known amongst Lord This and Lord That’s hearthtroop had better have their differences, too.  During her husband’s rule, when his ‘court’ such as it is has to be billeted on other lords when on circuit, I’ve already portrayed Lady Ethelflæda making an effort to see that there aren’t any spats between her husband’s hearthtroopers and ones sworn to the lord on whom they’re billeted: “with a strange hearthtroop and even stranger courtiers billeted on the neighbourhood, there was always a risk that somebody would forget that Mercians were on the same side.”

Another idea I might pinch was Parris’s experience at the FFL’s retirement home at Puyloubier.  Told it was a holiday, he and his comrades found themselves trucked over and told to listen, talk to and help look after les ancients, elderly and wounded veterans who, usually for lack of relatives to look after them, end their days there.  “Speak to the men who have fought,” their officer ordered, “veterans who have survived horror in the battlefield and built the Legion’s fearsome reputation, for these men are also our family now, they are still Legionnaires and your comrades.”  This made me realise that elderly and crippled veterans would also be a feature of your typical mead-hall, and I’ve already caught myself making out that falconry was a popular job with wounded hearthtroopers because a lord’s falconer needn’t lose touch with his old shield-mates, who could look out for him. 

And I wouldn’t want to be the only one.  Parris also made me realise that the UK armed forces appear to have no such practice.  When we have the Chelsea Pensioners for instance, to whom our squaddies-in-training could be bussed over to meet and treat.  I know some ġesīþas are ex-servicemen so how about you raising that suggestion at the next regimental reunion?  Or given the current cesspit state to British society, this is an idea our bloody schools and fuck-witted parents might like to adapt.   



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The moral right of the author to be identified as a member of the 1st Earth Battalion ( Territorials) has been asserted.

Horsa

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #58 on: November 04, 2011, 05:55:13 PM »
I always thoroughly enjoy your posts, Bowerthane.
This is why I'd like a 'like' button Facebook style.

The first thing I thought of when I read the first bit about singing was all those first world war films where the troops are singing 'inky pinky parlez vous' while marching, and films of US soldiers who sing that irritating call and response "I don't know what I've been told" song. As you say, singing isn't really associated with manliness, but I also thought of rugby teams who seem to have more songs stored in their brains than your average karaoke team have in their computer, and football supporters who seem to invent all kinds of songs democratically.

In terms of tough fearless warriors making up new songs, I'm reminded of the origins of rap and hip hop where young men would hang around and test their eloquence. The connections with boasting, violence and treasure are not hard to find either.

Also, when you spoke about 'les ancients' and the fact that the legion considered itself a family, I was reminded of the Wanderer and the Seafarer. It is hard for me to understand the horror of being lordless when I compare it to my life - being bossless. I'd miss the money, but certainly not my boss or many of my colleagues. The warrior band has to be understood as a family. Also, in pre-conquest times, when books cost the equivalent of a house today, you wouldn't have had any military manuals. That's where your old soldiers came in - valuable repositories of knowledge, even more so than those in the foreign legion.

I really want to read your book. It looks like you're creating an extremely detailed and credible world. In lieu of a time machine, fictions the best way to look around pre-conquest England.

Bowerthane

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Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Reply #59 on: November 06, 2011, 09:51:42 PM »
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“I also thought of rugby teams who seem to have more songs stored in their brains than your average karaoke team have in their computer, and football supporters who seem to invent all kinds of songs”
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Whoops, you’re quite right Horsa.  What I should have put was “that kind of sing-song.”  What made me sit up about the traditional songs, and even poems and prayers, in the FFL was that they were closer to the studied kind of rendition of an Old English lay, alliterating from the first half-line to the second etc.  That is, something that calls for somewhat more judgement, taste and reflection than a rugby song, football chant or even one of those question-and-answer refrains that the American military seem to go to town on.

You also made me realise I knew a few mucky marching songs in the Air Cadets, and I still am one of those who knew all the verses to The Engineer’s Song.  In all its extravagant pornographic inanity.  Endeavouring to defend my wayward youth to the women in my life ( can’t stop humming it now, can I?) I’m developing a hunch that the bawdy stuff and simple chants are only so good as ‘bonding agents’, if you take my meaning.  They’re surely better for keeping your mind off how freezing cold/ soaked/ pissed off/ knackered/ homesick/ scared shitless/ wounded/ in deep shit ( perm any) you are.  With an option on feeling a complete and utter tit/ wondering what on earth you are doing here. 
 
That and gallows humour in the face of Queen’s Enemies.  If memory serves, just as 3 Para were swinging into action at Goose Green and the storm of shot and shell was breaking, somebody’s radio operator quite deliberately gave everybody the giggles by broadcasting, “Aw, for f*ck’s sake beam me up Scotty.” 

Now I’m thinking about it, for military purposes all these seem to work mainly as coping strategies: they don’t take up many ‘attention bytes’, leaving your eyes and ears open for the task in hand, or to prevent what the enemy are trying to do to you, whilst keeping your mind off the gory details.  Learning regimental history, attending the requisite parades and observing regimental customs etc. is the ‘bonding agent’.  If there is any similarity between Old English lays and the FFL’s repertoire, it would seem to be that both span the two: they work as both a coping strategy and a bonding agent.  And they’re fit for women’s ears.

The other thing is, on this forum or the old one, somebody opened a thread asking about swearing of the modern effing-and-blinding kind in Old English times.  And nobody could come up with any evidence for it.  Swearing in medieval times, of the sort high-minded folk frown upon, seems to mean unholy outbursts such as William Rufus’ habit of exclaiming “by the Holy Face of Lucca!” so as to needle the clergy.  This, and recalling what went on in Chaucer’s Miller’s Tale, makes me wary of the assumption that the crude and coarse forms masculinity may take nowadays had exact medieval equivalents or, for all I know, any equivalents.  More or less crude or coarse than much else about them can seem to us, anyway?  Mind you, I’m writing for the under-fourteens so there’s only so far I could go down that wain-road, anyway. “Christ on the Rood!” seems to work as a medieval-style ejaculation meant to shock that is, for under-fourteens, neither too obscure nor too boring.   

I’m sure you’re right about The Wanderer, The Seafarer and the warrior band working as a surrogate family, too.  You made me realise that Old English guilds may not be as innovative as a substitute for a kindred as I thought.  IIRC, the reason geld and guild/ gild both go back to gield, ‘payment’ as well as ‘tax’, was because of the cash deposit you handed over to a trade guild upon joining.  Point being you’d forfeit it if you were remiss on any guild duty, such as going after lawbreakers or anyone else molesting you fellow guildsmen, the same as if they were your own kindred.  The which was usually too far away to help, ergo you joined or set up a guild along just these lines.

But of course would hearthtroopers sworn to the same lord need a ‘bond’ of that sort, when they already had the bond that comes of fighting like brothers?  And they’d surely avenge any wrong done to their own.  In this light, the whole idea of a trade guild may have been strongly informed by what hearthtroops had long been doing, and the lines “He knows who has experienced it how bitter/ Is sorrow as a comrade to the man who lacks dear friends” in The Wanderer fit.     
     

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[ T]ough fearless warriors making up new songs, I'm reminded of the origins of  rap and hip hop
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Now, are you telling me rap and hip hop did get started amongst military men?  I’d be eager to hear more, if so.

 

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The moral right of the author to be identified as the nice one has been asserted.

« Last Edit: November 06, 2011, 10:05:45 PM by Bowerthane »