Quirky History: Cats in Medieval Manuscripts (or Charming Jerks and the Devil Incarnate)

On February 21, 2017, I published the following post on Quirk Books.

Quirky History: Cats in Medieval Manuscripts (or Charming Jerks and the Devil Incarnate)

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Cats pics and the internet go together like peanut butter and jelly. You can’t imagine one without the other. But did you know that LOL cats, cat memes, and cats being jerks go as far back as the Middle Ages?

If you’d like to read the rest of the post, please click here.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

People of Color in the Middle Ages: A Primer to Promote Diversity in Fantasy

On February 6, 2017, I published the following post on Book Riot.

People of Color in the Middle Ages: A Primer to Promote Diversity in Fantasy

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St. Maurice

A recurring topic of debate within the SFF community is the issue of historical accuracy in medieval fantasy fiction. Claims are repeatedly made that there were no people of color in medieval Europe. Therefore, the argument goes, medieval fantasy fiction with all white, Christian characters is historically accurate. Any inclusion of people of color or other religions is a distortion of history in the name of political correctness.

In actual fact, medieval Europe was a complex society where several different cultures, religions, and linguistic groups coexisted under the umbrella of the omnipresent Catholic Church.

As Jonathan Hsy shows in his book…

If you’d like to read the post in its entirety, please click here.

Quirky History: A Hootenanny with Owls in Medieval Margins

On November 9, 2016, I published the following post on Quirk Books.

Quirky History: A Hootenanny With Owls in Medieval Margins

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It’s #wolwednesday, the day of the week when we celebrate the animal that #wolwednesday’s originator author Sam Sykes calls the most perfect creation in nature, the furious and ruthless feathered bag of wisdom and anger—the mighty wol. Or, as it it is known to the rest of the world, the owl.

We’d like to highlight this weekly day of celebration by taking a closer look at owls in medieval manuscripts. Because, as we all know, the owls are not what they seem.

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If you’d like to read the post in its entirety, please click here.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

Quirky History: Fantastical Beasts in Medieval Bestiaries

On November 18, 2016, I published the following post at Quirk Books.

Quirky History: Fantastical Beasts in Medieval Bestiaries

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The fictional universe of J.K. Rowling is filled with fantastical creatures, and no other movie takes better advantage of this than Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them, which opens in theaters today.

When creating her magical world, Rowling is tapping into a literary tradition that goes all the way back to the Middle Ages and the literary genre of the bestiary.

Bestiaries are books of animals, both real and fantastical, accompanied by a description and a Christian parable. Even though bestiaries peaked in popularity in the 13th century, they continue to influence us today. Especially when it comes to fantasy fiction.

If you’d like to read the entire post, please click here.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Luttrell Psalter

On September 29, 2016, I published the following post on Book Riot.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Luttrell Psalter

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The Luttrell Psalter is one of the most famous manuscripts from medieval England because of the images that decorate its pages. Some of these images have been interpreted as the most accurate portrayals of medieval rural life while others seem to make no sense at all.

However, if we dig deeper into the layout of the images on the page, the Luttrell Psalter reveals itself to be a magnificent example of political satire and wordplay of the highest level.

Here are ten things you need to know about the Luttrell Psalter and its images.

If you would like to read the entire post, please click here.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

10 Things You Should Know about the Exeter Book

On August 3, 2016, I published the following post on Book Riot.

10 Things You Need to Know about the Exeter Book

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Did you think that English literature began with Beowulf?

Think again.

The book that is considered the beginning of English literature is a medieval manuscript known as the Exeter Book. The Exeter Book contains religious and secular poems, placed side by side with riddles written in double entendres that will make you blush.

Here are ten things you should know about the Exeter Book.

If you would like to read the entire post, please click here.

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

The Story of How Jameson Original became My Favorite Whiskey

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Yum.

When I was fifteen years old, I went to Dublin, Ireland, for a month to learn English. I decided on Dublin because all the other destinations for Swedish kids to learn English seemed boring.

Torquay, Brighton, Hastings. Meh.

Dublin on the other hand was a brand new destination, and it seemed really exciting.

In Dublin, I ended up in a class consisting of twenty-or-so Swedish and Finnish teenagers all eager to learn English and discover Ireland together with our three teachers–one Swedish, one Finnish, and one Irish. We spent half the day in class and half the day either on excursions or on our own.

One such excursion was a guided tour at the Old Jameson distillery on Bow Street in Dublin’s city center. I honestly don’t remember much of the actual tour. What I do remember, however, is what happened after.

When the tour was finished, our guide told us that usually there would be a tasting. But since we were all under-aged, we would have to skip that stage.

Disappointed, we all spilled out into the street. But then, our Irish teacher spoke.

She had Jameson at her apartment, and we were all welcome to join her for a shot of whiskey.

So off we went.

When we arrived at her address it turned out that she lived in an apartment run by the Iveagh Trust. The Iveagh Trust provides social housing. Our teacher had managed to get an apartment at the Trust after having been homeless.

I remember her apartment as being very small. Basically a kitchenette and a bedroom. And here we all piled in. Teenagers and teachers sitting on the furniture, on the floor, on each other, all the while our generous host served us one shot of Jameson whiskey each.

It was well worth the walk from the distillery.

Then, all I knew was that she served me a glass of whiskey that I really enjoyed. Today, I know that what she gave me was Jameson Original.

It has been my favorite whiskey ever since.

Sláinte!

In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.