Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Book Reviews x2

I've been going through my book collection lately as I'm beginning to sadly run out of room. In a box under the bed, I found two books I had only ever briefly flipped through so I decided to give them a closer read today.

Celtic Book of Seasonal Meditations: Celebrate the Traditions of the Ancient Celts by Claire Hamilton (© 2003 Red Wheel | ISBN: 9781590030554 | 263 pages) — Rating: 2/5 stars
Nice to see a book from a neopagan publisher include so much mythology and tradition. However, it's presented through a Neo-Druid lens so you have the three groups (bard, ovate and druid), four elements, eight festivals, it makes mention of the tree calendar, and the Maiden, Mother, Crone trinity is featured prominently. All of which, I could have done without but it isn't as terribly annoying as it normally would be. I guess that's because I knew beforehand that Claire Hamilton is a member of OBOD, so I knew what to expect. 
What did annoy me—as it often does in these book that combine Gaelic and Brythonic traditions into one—is a mixing of terminology. For example, on page 80 where the author is talking about "The Three Divinatory Practices" (all of which are Irish) she uses the word awen (a Welsh word meaning inspiration -- which she also misdefines as "watchers"). In fact, when using any native words not once did she point out the country of origin for that word, leaving the reader to guess. That's bad form to me, but then again, I expect too much. 
Most of the poetry contained within the book was reworkings by the author from Old Irish translations, but proper credit was not given to the original translators from which she gleaned her poem. That did not sit well with me.
Overall, I think this book had the right idea but could still have used some serious guidance.

Celtic Inspirations: Essential Meditations and Texts by Lyn Webster Wilde (© 2006 Duncan Baird Publishers | ISBN: 9781844830992 | 160 pages) — Rating: 3/5 stars
Nothing extraordinary here and I would beg to differ with the book's subtitle of "essential meditations and texts" as not one thing is essential in here either lol. It's way too brief a text for anything to be counted as indispensable. 
However, it would make a great little gift as a coffee table book. The artwork and photographs are gorgeous, and would really be the only reason to own it. I'd only be giving it two stars if not for the beautiful presentation, that made it three.

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