September 30, 2014

Stormlight Book 3 Sample Chapter

Earlier today, Brandon Sanderson sent out a sample chapter from book 3 of Stormlight (Stones Unhallowed? Skybreaker?) via his newsletter. I have copied and pasted it from his newsletter into a post below.

Two Collections

Yesterday's post got out of my hands. There are some tales and stories that I was interested in, and wanted to share with you, so I did. 

Today, however, I would like to tell you about two collections (both by Penguin) that belong in that post. Since they are collections, I thought it best to give them their own spot here.


THE SAGAS OF THE ICELANDERS

In Iceland, the age of the Vikings is also known as the Saga Age. A unique body of medieval literature, the Sagas rank with the world’s great literary treasures – as epic as Homer, as deep in tragedy as Sophocles, as engagingly human as Shakespeare. Set around the turn of the last millennium, these stories depict with an astonishingly modern realism the lives and deeds of the Norse men and women who first settled in Iceland and of their descendants, who ventured farther west to Greenland and, ultimately, North America. Sailing as far from the archetypal heroic adventure as the long ships did from home, the Sagas are written with psychological intensity, peopled by characters with depth, and explore perennial human issues like love, hate, fate and freedom.

ISBN: 9780141000039


THE PENGUIN BOOK OF NORSE MYTHS

The extraordinary Scandinavian myth cycle is one of the most enduring, exciting, dramatic and compelling of the world's great stories.
A series of intertwined tales which together form a strange and fantastical world teeming with gods and goddesses, heroes and monsters, battles and couplings, the Norse myths are as exciting to read as they are of vast cultural and historical importance.
Taking us from the creation of the world through the building of Asgard's Wall to the final end in Ragnorak, and featuring the exploits and adventures of such legendary figures as Odin, Thor and Loki,The Penguin Book of the Norse Myths brings alive the passion, cruelty and heroism of these unforgettable stories.
ISBN: 9780241953211

September 29, 2014

Ancient Legends


It is neat how influence and inspiration work, and how an interest in one thing can lead to an interest in another. 

As I said many times before (and will do so here again, although very briefly) I have Peter Jackson to thank for discovering, reading, and appreciate Tolkien and his works. 

However, in doing so, I have to appreciate something else because of Tolkien: poems. 


September 15, 2014

New Editions of The Wheel of Time - *Update* (Book 13)


The second last Wheel of Time book now has information, in the new style of trade paperbacks. 


ISBN - 10: 0765337843
ISBN - 13: 9780765337849

The release date for this one is June 9, 2015. So be sure to hold onto the ISBN I gave you above to get the new edition of the book. 

There is only one left to come now - book 14, A Memory of Light...

September 12, 2014

Book Spotlight: The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun


There was a lot more to Professor J.R.R. Tolkien than just The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, as evident in my most recent post which showcases The Children of Hurin. Even, there was a lot more to him than the realms he created. Tolkien was a great lover of poetry, and old myths (Anglo-Saxon, Old English, Norse, Icelandic, etc...) 

This post I shall talk a bit about something different from his usual material : The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun

September 10, 2014

Book Spotlight: Narn i Chîn Húrin (The Tale of The Children)



I know I have been talking about Tolkien a little bit the past few posts, I am attempting to create an awareness of some of his underrated and overlooked works. I won't delve into too many or all of them, expect the next few posts to do that. This go-around, I shall give a little info about what could very well be the last piece of the Middle-earth canon ever released [I hope not, but one should assume so as not to get hopes up. That way, any new entries, aside from special or anniversary editions of existing works, will come as a surprise.] which is The Children of Hurin.


September 8, 2014

What Else Is There??



Whenever a 'new' Tolkien book gets released or published, I (as selflessly as possible) always wonder: "What else is there left? What could they publish next? Is this book I have potentially the last new Tolkien item? Excluding anniverary, deluxe editions etc." 

September 6, 2014

"Egil's Saga" Told Again by Harper Collins



Egil's Saga is the 10th-century Nordic equivalent of The Iliad and The Odyssey. Translated from the Icelandic with an introduction, notes and an essay, this is the first time Eddison's version of this epic heroic saga has been published in paperback. The saga of Egil, son of Grim the Bald, tells the exciting tale of a medieval warrior-poet and his many Viking adventures. Challenged by his ugly appearance and haunted by rumours that his grandfather was a werewolf, Egil devotes himself to Odin, god of kings, warriors and poets, and determines to avenge his father's exile from Norway. With action ranging across Iceland and Scandinavia down to Scotland and England, Egil's thrilling encounters include kings, sorcerers, berserkers and outlaws, as the story follows his transformation from youthful savagery to mature wisdom. Sometimes considered the greatest of the Icelandic sagas, Egil's Saga is the 10th-century Nordic equivalent of The Iliad and The Odyssey. Eddison's acclaimed translation, published in 1930, has been long unavailable, and demonstrates the author's amazing capacity for evocative and erudite language. It reflects the swift dramatic terseness and vivid character-drawing which made the saga style in prose narrative such an enduring model for modern historical and fantasy literature, and his meticulous translation includes elaborate notes and annotations.

ISBN: 9780007578092

Release date: Sept. 11

Fans of Tolkien's poems (Legend of Sigurd & Gudrun, The Fall of Arthur, etc) as well as poetry, fantasy and myth will most likely enjoy this title! Many thanks to Harper for publishers. 

'Hyrule Warriors' Pre-Order Bonuses


The new Warriors game starring Legend of Zelda characters (this is not, and I repeat not a Zelda game) is coming later this month, and there quite a few pre-order DLC bonuses. Here is a listing of what some of them are, that give you bonus in-game content. 

This info is courtesy of Nintendo:
Here’s a nice offer involving a (usually) not-so-nice guy: if you buy Hyrule Warriors for Wii U and register the game with Club Nintendo between 9/26/14 and 10/23/14, you can receive a free download code for the Demon King Costume Set DLC: two costumes for Ganondorf that you can use in-game.
You must be a Club Nintendo member to participate, and the offer is available only in the US and Canada.

A little unfortunate for those hoping to get the game for Christmas but worth mentioning! 





If you pre-order through EB Games (or Gamestop), you get the Ocarina of Time costume set. 




If you pre-order through Amazon.ca (or.com) you get the Twilight Princess costume set [the one I am hoping to get myself]. 


Also, Futureshop / Best Buy grants you the Skyward Sword set. 


Download Instructions
  1. Connect your Wii U console to the Internet and make sure your Wii U has the latest system update.
  2. From the Wii U Menu, select the Nintendo eShop icon.
  3. Select “Enter Download Code” located at the top of the screen.
  4. Enter the Download Code.
*Deposit may be required. See participating retailers for details. Download code provided upon paid balance and receipt of the game. Offer good while supplies last. Download codes must be redeemed by 3/31/15. 

I imagine you can buy or obtain the various DLCs after the game is out, or unlock them in-game somehow...well, I hope. 




September 4, 2014

Favourite TV Dramas



What I like about TV dramas is that they tell a story. Same with drama films, however I found lately movies for the most part have not been as good. TV seems to be the 'go to' area for entertainment on film these days. There are some movies out there I like and have interest in seeing but that is for another post....

Anyway, I find some TV dramas are much like a novel in terms of pacing, writing, character development...some series on TV are just so rich. Some of them 'original' others are 'adapted' but I enjoy taking about 12-16 hours per year to tell a story, or part of one, than approx 2 hours. 

So in this post, I shall list my favourite TV dramas that are still running / ongoing (example: I can no longer mention Breaking Bad, as the series is now complete.)


Sherlock (BBC)

Sherlock Holmes on TV and film has been around for as long as the formats existed. Indeed, if you were tow atch all the Sherlock Holmes serials, series, and films you can essentially witness the evolution of film. That being said, this series is one of, if not the best, and one of the best dramas on TV. It takes place in London, but it takes place now. There are also some classics spins, twists and the like of classic Sherlock Holmes found throughout.

What's next - Season 4 



Game of Thrones (HBO)

Feeling more like medieval historical fiction than 'fantasy', this is the most popular show on TV at the moment. It is a medieval fantasy, with strong emphasis being on character, story, the noble families, rulership, etc and very little on the 'fantasy' part. I watch it because I enjoy George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels on which it is based on. Also, it is made very well on the production side of things. It follows the books fairly closely, but as the show gets deeper and deeper into the story, and further in, it diverges. Yet most of the changes are done with taste. The show is unpredictable, addictive. Be sure to also give the books a shot, too. 

What's next - Season 5
 





Mad Men (amc)

One of the earlier shows that solidified my interest in TV drama. The series takes place in 1960's Manhattan, is about an advertising agency. Quite well made on the production side of things, the story is quite good. Over the course of the series you can witness that because the times are changing (1960s New York) some of our characters change too - for better or for worse. I call this series the beginning of the golden age of TV. 

What's next - the final episodes of Season 7. 
 


Downton Abbey (ITV / PBS) 

I am way behind on this one, but i have seen all of season 1. Essentially, this about the 'upstairs' and 'downstairs' of an English manor. The characters range from maids, servants, butlers, cooks to lords, ladies and other nobility.  It is a period piece, and judging from episode / season descriptions, spans decades. As with any great drama, this one is no exception - great acting (Maggie Smith!), writing, and production. My guess? (remember I've only seen season 1) is that by the end of the show, something will happen to the manor itself (fire, demolition, the family goes broke...).

What's next - 2014 Christmas Special, then Season 5.

 
House of Cards (Netflix)

I'm not here to talk about the fact this series is a Netflix original (those without Netflix or decent internet connection, you can buy the seasons) but rather how great this (us version) of the series is. It takes place in Washington, especially the White House. The central character is a 'whip' so will stop at nothing, do whatever it takes to get what he wants. The series is produced by one of my favourite movie directors, David Fincher, and it definitely feels like one of his films. It has similar look and feel to The Social Network and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I am presently working my way through season 2. 

What's next - season 3.


 
Hell on Wheels (amc)

This series is one of the most underrated on TV. As you might have seen from the picture, it is a western. It takes place during the building of First Transcontinental Railroad across the United States. The lead character is a likeable anti-hero, a rogue. It is well-filmed and gets pretty suspenseful at times. The name 'Hell on Wheels' is in regards to a mobile caravan town that follows the train and the construction of the railroad.

What's next - season 4 is on TV at the moment, fingers crossed for a season 5. 

...and now for the ones I want to start watching:









September 3, 2014

Fall Beer



It's fall beer season - means Oktoberfest! There are quite a few great offerings available. 

first and foremost, is this year's Beau's Oktoberfest Mix Pack, pictured above. It should be on sale anytime now, depending on which LCBO you go to, as well as directly at the brewery and through BYBO.ca.

I mentioned previously about the beers, but here they are again:

Oh, and you get one of each.

1) Happy Pilsner Bohemian Pilsner • 5.3% alc/vol
The Bohemian pilsner is a staple of the German diet, and we're happy to include one for you in the 2014 Beau’s Oktoberfest mix pack! Pale blond in colour, Happy Pilsner’s light floral, herbal and honey aromas take your senses on a trip to their happy place: the ever-enjoyable taste of a crisp, clean traditional lager. Traditional to the style, the flavour has some yeast-derived soft sulfur notes. The hopping provides medium bitterness that balances the malt profile without harshness.

2) Dark Helmüt Imperious Schwarzbier • 7.3% alc/vol
Dark Helmüt is an extra-strong version of a German black lager. It displays a mellow roasted character that is juxtaposed with the enjoyable lager crispness. Malty, bready notes (think pumpernickel without caraway) provide the backdrop to this clean, crisp beer. Dark Helmüt has refined mocha inflections and a surprisingly subtle roasted flavour for a beer as dark as the furthest reaches of the galaxy. Malt depth maintains a pleasant balance and keeps the bigger alcohol presence nicely integrated.

3) Rauchstack Smoked Dunkel • 6.9% alc/vol
Rauchstack is a smooth, full-bodied smoked ale. The distinctive smoky character, courtesy of wood-fire kilned malts in the recipe, is balanced by rich, malty sweetness. The body is luscious and the flavour echoes the smoky scent, giving the sense of a beer that could almost be a meal. Our friend Thomas at Weyermann Malts in Bamberg, Germany, custom-designed the malt profile for this recipe (over breakfast no less!), and we brewed it in tribute to our close ties with them.

4) Dial "Z" for Zwickel Zwickelbier • 5.7% alc/vol
Dial “Z” for Zwickel is a rare new creation from the Beau’s brew team, a hazy copper-coloured lager called a zwickelbier – a beer so über-fresh, it tastes like you walked right up to our tanks and poured it yourself. The flavour and aroma are ripe with bready, yeasty goodness and fresh grassy notes, and a finely balanced hop presence. Zwickelbiers are seriously not meant for aging, and best served… right now!

I am not sure how long Beau's keeps their mix packs for, so if you see it grab it. I am guessing approx 2-4 weeks, and this is brand new in stores so you should be good for at least two weeks at the very minimum. 

Also, let's not forget about Night Marzen, their seasonal for the fall....



Märzen is the traditional Oktoberfest style of beer. Our only regularly produced lager, this rich malty beer uses just the right amount of noble hops to balance the Munich malts and features an ultra clean finish to complete the package. Like all our beer, Night•Märzen is brewed with local springwater, organic malts and organic hops.


Typically, you can expect to find the seasonals a lot longer than the mix packs [the best of Beau's will replace the Oktoberfest one. That one should be out late Nov, early Dec but I shall keep you posted.

I don't follow too many craft breweries all that closely, the two I do my best to keep track of are Beau's, and Mill St. Speaking of, their fall seasonal / Oktoberfest sampler....   





In this one you get 3 Pumpkin Ales....

5.0% alc./vol.) Appearing in the fall this devilishly delicious ale is brewed with real pumpkin and generous amounts of spice. This smooth medium bodied amber ale is made with a blend of 5 malts, 6 spices, unmalted wheat, pure vanilla extract and pumpkin in the mash. its spicy aroma and hints of ginger and clove leave a lingering “pumpkin pie” aftertaste.

...and 3 Oktoberfest Beers! 

Be sure to try them! Also, check out some beers that are actually made in Germany, too! (Holsten, Daab, Erdinger,...) 

 


September 2, 2014

Tolkien Spotlight: Fall Reading



In a previous blog post, I mentioned how I associate fall reading with fantasy (especially with Tolkien and Harry Potter.). It was thanks to both Tolkien and Harper Collins (for putting various editions of his works) that got me into books. Not "reading" but "book buying" (different than 'collecting'...somewhat).

So make sure you read up on some Tolkien now that school is back in session, and it is now the beginning of the ideal reading season. 

 This post is a brief run-down of Tolkien's works, as well as some quality cost-effective editions worth checking out.