It does not happen often that I get myself a book and decide not to review it. Hraftzer Asatru: An Introduction is one such though. I got the book because I never heard of “Hraftzer” and was curious what new kind of Asatru would have sprung from the USA. The book proved to be a serious A4 book of 267 pages. It soon became clear that “Hraftzer” sprang from the mind of an individual who came up with the term just because it sounds somewhat Scandinavian (but says as much too). I know this may sound like a blow under the girdle, but I do not mean this that dismissive, but the book reminds of a certain manifestoe that was launched in Norway five years ago. Like in that manifesto, the author is gravely disappointed by modern society and aims to refer it to a more ‘traditional’ makeup with parts of ‘different kinds of people’. The book is more a sociological or even political manifest than a heathen one. Actually, “Asatru” seems nothing much more than a very thin varnish to suggest a return to a more tribal, each to their own, way of living with a few rituals, but mostly a lot of reverence for the ‘elder’ of the organisation.
At some point I thought it was a good idea to make a “blog” for every section so I could share other relevant information than reviews and articles. I see now that I have not done so in five years! It is not like I stopped reading books. Far from it! You also see new reviews frequently. So what exactly did I plan to use this ‘books blog’ for? I run into a publisher that I did not know every once in a while. A publisher may fold (such as Salamandar and Sons recently), I have longer running ‘projects’ (such as the 1800 page Manifesto of Breivik), but how interesting is all that? Oh well, it costs no extra effort, so I will just keep the “blog” open.
Electronic newsletter in Dutch, with announcements and a short article.
Because the software that this website runs on will soon release a version which requires newer server software than my host offers in their normal package, I ran ahead getting a new database on another server. The transfer was not easy. The biggest problems were importing a gigantic database dump and the fact that accented characters were replaced during the import. I hope I found all these weird characters replacing my é â ð etc. Should you run into one, or something else that looks funny, please contact me.
Newsletter in Dutch, with announcements and a short article.
Futhark: International Journal of Runic Studies
The scholarly annual journal Futhark has begun publication in december 2010. The periodical is published in digital form (Open Access), with a facility for print-on-demand.
The periodical is an independent journal, but has as its base of operations the Runic Archives at the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo, and the Runic Forum at the Department of Scandinavian Languages, Uppsala University.
The first issue can be bought in hardcopy, but also downloaded for free from the Journal’s website. It looks like an academic publication, connected to the University of Uppsala. I have not yet start reading it, but I thought you might be interested in hearing about it already.
Click here for the new newsletter of Werkgroep Traditie (in Dutch) with an announcement for the coming lecture of Alwin Goethals of Swarta about Western martial arts (4 March in Lier, Belgium), a lecture that I already heard and it is definately interesting. A history of Western martial arts with a link to the non-martial side these arts.
The problems for the famous Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica get bigger and bigger. The magnificent collection of Hermetic, Alchemistic, Rosicrucian, Theosophic, Christian mystic, etc. etc. manuscripts used to be the private collection of Joost Ritman who became rich making airplane cutlery. For many, many years he bought ancient books and manuscripts, displaying them in a public library, a mouthwatering place to visit with 20.000 items. In 1993 Ritman’s firm almost went bankrupt caused by the airtraffic malaise. He was forced to sell his entire collection of art (including Rembrandts and many ancient and famous works) and to retire as director of his library. For some time, things got better. About 10 years later, the problems returned and it even went so far that the Dutch government spent 18 milion euros to buy a third of the “unreplaceble collection”. These books remained in the library. Now we are again 5 years further down the road, but this time it does not look like things can be overcome for a third time. Apparently Ritman (though no longer director) spent the money that he was supposed to receive from our government (but still did not receive?) to rebuild the library, it even seems that there were plans to move to another location. Because he did not have the money yet, Ritman got yet another loan with his bookcollection as collatoral. Then Ritman thought he again needed more money, so he decided to sell his most expensive book at Sotheby’s, a manuscript about King Arthur which raised 2.8 million euros. Naturally the back did not appreciate that Ritman was selling their collatoral, so they sent a bailiff to ensure what is theirs. Like I said, the problems are not as easily solved this time, so the goverment decided to withdraw their part to the (now closed) library and move them to the Royal Library in Den Haag. The library has been closed for a couple of month and by the look of it, I would say that bankruptcy is inevitable. That would mean the definate end of the most magnificent library in Northern Europe, perhaps even of the world…
In the latest newsletter an announcement for the upcoming lecture about the ‘childrens fright’ (Sinterklaas, Santa Klaus and where they came from), an article about Santa Wodan, the sacred landscape and an announcement for the Hnikar midwinter celebration. The newsletter is in Dutch.
I just accidentally found out that there are reprints of the legendary Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte of Jan de Vries!! There has been no reprints of it since 1970 and the secondhand copies are extremely expensive. De Gruyter, the original publisher, recently made available hardcopy reprints and an ebook versions (the latter are only available for libraries) of both the 1956 and the 1970 editions. The reprints seem to be a printing-on-demand and cost the staggering sum of 123 euros or 175 dollars per volume (I got my two-volume secondhand copy for that!). Hopefully when the costs of digitalising the book are earned back, the price will drop. More information here. (And use the search function to look for “Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte.)
I was curious if that title is available from Amazon Germany and there I saw the reprints for 175 euros per volume.
It took quote some effort and a little luck, but I am very happy with the current states of the quotes section. In the navigation on top you can choose “quotes”, I am sure you knew. Since a few days there is one quote per “post”, because I managed to make a navigation similar to the “browse” function for the book reviews. As a matter of fact, I even managed to have quotes listed per author, with a link to the author’s book reviews. Theoretically this should also be possible the other way around, but I ran into some issues that are currently too serious for my coding skills.
Now I need to read ‘quoteworthy’ books!
Ever since I started to read again (about 20 years ago) and especially when my amount of books started to grow I had the idea that when I got the room for it, I wanted a library. I met a bibliophile girl and a little over three years ago we bought a house. One of the first priorities was the library. My girlfriend has many more books than I do. Contrary to me she buys books without the need to read them (immediately). What you see below is a glimpse of one half of our library. It even has a couch and a radio and yet I am alway never to be found in it. I prefer the living room where my music is and a descent audio installation… And ever since the library is finished it needs to be tidied up!
This blog thing does not yet really turn out the way I want, but let me say something else for a change. I am currently reading the book about Jacob Boehme in the Western Esoteric Masters series that I recently reviewed Ficino and Dee from. I am still waiting to get my book about Fludd. Another title that I am reading is De Vikingen Achterna in which the Flemish author Johan Nowé uses runestones as firsthand information of the history of the Vikings. Arrived last week The Journal Of Contemporary Heathen Thought. I am curious about that one, but I want to finish Nowé first. Then a book that I will not review is an old book about shooting guilds in my native province (Noord-Brabant) which seems an informative but not too good book. Just a cheap secondhand to page through and put in the library.
I know, I do not write these ‘now reading’ messages very often. I usually just read a book and review it. Currently I am reading quite a few titles at the same time.