Today I am stepping away from my usual reviews of novels and heading into the world of the reference book with A New Dictionary of Fairies by Morgan Daimler. Many thanks to Morgan, and to John Hunt Publishing for my copy of this book, which I received via NetGalley.
Fairies are a challenging subject, intertwining culture, folklore, and anecdotal accounts across centuries and millennia. Focusing primarily on the Celtic speaking cultures, with some material from adjacent cultures including Anglo-Saxon and Norse, A New Dictionary of Fairies has in-depth entries on a variety of fairies as well as subjects related to them, such as why we picture elves with pointed ears or where the idea of fairies being invisible comes from. It also tackles more complicated topics like the nature and physicality of the fairy people. Anyone with an interest in the Good Neighbours will find this book a solid resource to draw from.
Those of you who have been with me since the start of my blog will know that it was intended to include posts about my attempts at writing a novel. You will no doubt have noticed that these posts have fallen completely by the wayside as my writing efforts stalled. I had an idea for a fantasy novel based in British folklore, but after an enthusiastic start, I lost my mojo a bit. Sitting down and reading this book, however, has inspired me once more though and I now have ideas for not one but four books set around each of the Celtic nations, and I am excited about writing again. I owe Morgan Daimler a debt of gratitude for this.
A New Dictionary of Fairies is exactly what you would expect – an A-Z of all things fairy. It is an easy book to dip in and out of, and feels incredibly thorough. As I was reading it, I found myself making notes about folkloric accounts and poems that I wanted to look up and read in their entirety as my creative juice really started to flow. I have a LOT of books on folklore and fairies, but this is by far the most accessible that I have read so far.
I know this is a book that I will refer back to time and again as I write, and I already have more of Morgan’s books lined up ready to read – more on those coming soon!