Title: Old Norse For Modern Times

Publisher: Outland Entertainment

Authors: Ian Stuart Sharpe, Dr. Arngrímur Vídalín, and Josh Gillingham

Pages: 102pp

Price: $22.95 hc / $7.99 ebook

Over the last few years, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading (and reviewing) Sharpe’s The All-Father Paradox and Loki’s Wager. Those books are a wild ride incorporating everything from Norse mythology to quantum physics to the art of sacred poetry and song to causal loops and time travel. So, when Old Norse For Modern Times appeared on netgalley, I snapped it up.

I suppose I am a bit weird in that I love reference texts, and the more oddball and specific the reference material, the better. Old Norse is sort of a reference book, and it’s sort of a humor book, and it’s sort of a history text. It’s also a commentary on modern popular culture and, in a round-about way, an examination of contemporary ethics, values, and social norms.

After a brief introduction, in which Sharpe explains how the project came about and how to pronounce certain letter combinations, the book is divided into nine chapters, each of which is further subdivided. For example, the third chapter — Old Norse For Going Online — features sections entitled “Staying Connected When Going Viking” and “#soundsbetterinoldnorse,” while the fourth chapter — Old Norse For the Big Occasion — includes sections such as “At the Gaming Table” and “The Viking Video Gamer.”

For me, the funniest and most interesting translations are those which deal with popular culture and literature. I think that demonstrates just where our collective interest lies these days, and how we make connections with one another. After all, if you proclaim “Vetr kømr!” (“Winter is coming!”) everyone will not only get the reference, but recognize your geekdom, as well. The same goes for “Nafn mitt es Bóndi, Jakaupr Bóndi” and “Megi fjǫlkynngin fylgia yðr.” (Go look them up.)

Highly recommended to fans of Sharpe’s previous work, as well as language nerds, gamers, sincere Heathens, and people who just want to confuse their coworkers by dropping “Drepum hann rækiliga í þeta sinn” into the middle of a conversation.

[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]