Book Wrap Up #2

Sunday, 3 November 2019

For my second book wrap up I thought it’d be nice to have a theme. I figured that a set of nonfiction books would do nicely. So without further ado, here’s my nonfiction book wrap-up.
Legends of the Maya: A Guide to Mayan Mythology by Kezip Macleod.
I have found it! I have found the cure to insomnia! All you have to do is read this book and you’ll be fast asleep in no time.
I jest, but this was one of the driest most boring books I have ever read. I don’t meant this next critique as a disparaging remark to Kezip Macleod, instead a disparaging remark to their writing.  The whole book was written like someone took dictation from a high schooler giving a presentation on Mayan Mythology that they hardly studied for.
I get it. I get that a lot of the history was lost. But the book read like Macleod put no effort into the art of writing and just turned his research notes into a book. Take a little pride in your craft. The only small saving grace is that the stories are interesting but not interesting enough to make this boring book worth the read. If they ever did an audio version of this, which they should never do, they should get Ben Stein and put him on heavy sedatives just to get the voice of the book just right.
Legends of the Maya: A Guide to Mayan Mythology by Kezip Macleod gets a 2 out of 11
Fun fact about that last book. It was free on Amazon and it was one of the first books I ever got for my kindle. Note: It’s no longer free. It’s now 2.99 and not worth the price. It wasn’t worth the price when it was free either.
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
In stark contrast to the previous book, literary superstar Neil Gaiman wrote a nonfiction book about Norse Mythology and did it way better than Macleod did.
Maybe there are some good reasons for this, but all that matters is that this is a better book. Norse Mythology covers a lot of the more popular tales from the Viking gods and a plethora of stories I never knew. I knew the story of Baldur, the theft of Thor’s hammer, Loki’s questionable horse child, but there were so many others I didn’t know and all told by Neil Gaiman.
To his credit, Gaiman doesn’t embellish. What he does is add some dialogue to some stories that I’m not sure ever had any. But he doesn’t tweak the stories to make them more interesting. His honest retelling is aided by his way with words and his skills at storytelling. This book tells stories that start with the beginning and end with Ragnarok, the end of the gods. So by the end of the book I felt like I was told a complete tale, even if it did jump around more than a drop of water on a hot skillet.
Lets be honest. You already know if you’re ever going to pick this book up or not. Do you have any interest in Norse Mythology? If so, then pick this up right away. If not, then don’t. Easy peasy. Since this isn’t an original Neil Gaiman work, you don’t even have to be a fan of his to enjoy this. Though if you’re not a fan of his, I question your literary tastes.
Norse Mythology is a good retelling of classic Norse tales and if you have any interest at all, then this is the book you should pick up. It also helps that I had Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston to picture when reading about Thor and Loki. Anytime I can picture them is a good time.
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman gets an 8 out of 11
I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend by Martin Short
I was never one for memoirs or biographies/autobiographies. I like fiction. But because of my jaunt down paths less traveled, I found myself picking up more and more non-fiction. Guess what I learned? That, just like with every other type of book, there are good and bad biographies.
So far I’ve yet to read a bad one. But I think that’s because I’m really picky as to which ones I choose to read. This one, however, was a book I stumbled upon thanks to Audible. Each day Audible has a book on sale for a fraction of the price of a normal audiobook and one day I happened to glace at the sale section and this was the pick of the day. I was willing to risk a few bucks on a comedian and actor whose work I tended to like. I’m so glad I picked this up.
Much like Billy Crystal’s memoirs 700 Sundays and Still Foolin’ ‘Em, this book is filled with great stories and a wonderfully colorful past filled with famous names. While Crystal’s past was filled with meetings with music and sports legends (like Muhammad Ali and Billie Holiday), Short’s early life and career were spent working along side other comedians like John Candy, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, and Harold Ramis.
True, Martin Short does drop more names than an actor in a McCarthy Communist inquiry, but it’s what I expect out of a book like this. If you read the memoir of an actor and don’t like name dropping, then you picked up the wrong book.
Short tells his story with a bit of humor, a dash of humility, and some gut punches right in the feels. Martin Short has an interesting enough story to keep the book interesting and it’s written well enough to keep the flow going. This was an interesting and well written book but there’s one inescapable fact. If you’re not interested in Martin Short’s story, then you should never pick this up. It could be a technically perfect book and if you don’t care about his life story, then nothing is going to make it interesting. But if you’re even remotely interested then I say you should pick this up. It was a charming tale that ran the gamut of emotions and in the end, I’m glad I read it.
I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend by Martin Short gets an 8 out of 11

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