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Among the Mermaids: Facts, Myths, and Enchantments from the Sirens of the Sea

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From Homer's Odyssey to Pirates of the Caribbean, Mermaids have fascinated popular culture for centuries. Among the Mermaids is an enchanting collection of classic stories, facts, and tales of mermaids from around the world that will thrill every lover of this romanticized mythological creature. Compiled by Book of the Bizarre author and Magical Creature devotee Varla Ventur From Homer's Odyssey to Pirates of the Caribbean, Mermaids have fascinated popular culture for centuries. Among the Mermaids is an enchanting collection of classic stories, facts, and tales of mermaids from around the world that will thrill every lover of this romanticized mythological creature. Compiled by Book of the Bizarre author and Magical Creature devotee Varla Ventura, Among the Mermaids includes turn of the century tales of merfolk from Bret Harte, T. Crofton Croker, and W.B. Yeats, along with tantalizing trivia, facts, firsthand accounts, and speculations about mermaids in popular culture. Some facts about the fluid and the fair from the book: Many people believe today that early explorer sightings of mermaids were manatees. (Scurvy + many days away from your lady = a blubbery creature looking supple and bodacious.) Blackbeard, the fierce and terrible pirate, was afraid of his crew being lured into a watery grave by mermaids, so he ordered his ships to avoid certain areas reputed to have a high number of mermaid sightings. Since 2009, the town of Kiryat Yam, Israel has offered a prize of $1 million dollars to anyone who can prove the mermaid off their coast is real. The prize remains unclaimed.


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From Homer's Odyssey to Pirates of the Caribbean, Mermaids have fascinated popular culture for centuries. Among the Mermaids is an enchanting collection of classic stories, facts, and tales of mermaids from around the world that will thrill every lover of this romanticized mythological creature. Compiled by Book of the Bizarre author and Magical Creature devotee Varla Ventur From Homer's Odyssey to Pirates of the Caribbean, Mermaids have fascinated popular culture for centuries. Among the Mermaids is an enchanting collection of classic stories, facts, and tales of mermaids from around the world that will thrill every lover of this romanticized mythological creature. Compiled by Book of the Bizarre author and Magical Creature devotee Varla Ventura, Among the Mermaids includes turn of the century tales of merfolk from Bret Harte, T. Crofton Croker, and W.B. Yeats, along with tantalizing trivia, facts, firsthand accounts, and speculations about mermaids in popular culture. Some facts about the fluid and the fair from the book: Many people believe today that early explorer sightings of mermaids were manatees. (Scurvy + many days away from your lady = a blubbery creature looking supple and bodacious.) Blackbeard, the fierce and terrible pirate, was afraid of his crew being lured into a watery grave by mermaids, so he ordered his ships to avoid certain areas reputed to have a high number of mermaid sightings. Since 2009, the town of Kiryat Yam, Israel has offered a prize of $1 million dollars to anyone who can prove the mermaid off their coast is real. The prize remains unclaimed.

30 review for Among the Mermaids: Facts, Myths, and Enchantments from the Sirens of the Sea

  1. 5 out of 5

    Amalia Gkavea

    ‘’Since the first stories were told, the sea has been the folklore, myth and mystery in every corner of the earth, and the life-sustaining and life-threatening centre of every coastal culture. Its sheer vastness holds a promise of power and the unknown and leagues under the surface lives a world as different from ours as another planet’s.’’ A cute and informative guide to all the secrets that are well hidden deep in the water, the realm of the mermaids and their legends. Along with stories of ‘’Since the first stories were told, the sea has been the folklore, myth and mystery in every corner of the earth, and the life-sustaining and life-threatening centre of every coastal culture. Its sheer vastness holds a promise of power and the unknown and leagues under the surface lives a world as different from ours as another planet’s.’’ A cute and informative guide to all the secrets that are well hidden deep in the water, the realm of the mermaids and their legends. Along with stories of old, narrated by some of the most important folklore writers, we learn about the most prominent mermaid figures in World Culture. The queens are the Irish mermaids and the selkies of the well-known myths from beautiful Orkney in Scotland. We will meet Lorelei, residing in the Rhine, Yemaya, the Queen of the World in Santeria, Nuliajuk, the vengeful spirit of the Innuit legends, the Mermaid of San Francisco Bay, the alluring temptress of Zennor, commemorated by the very real Mermaid Chair. But there are also ‘’real’’ mermaids, women who have turned water into their natural habitat, like the amazing women in Jeju island, in Korea. And there are myths. Myths are always present to remind us how mermaid tears turn into pearls, to amaze us with strange incidents experienced by tourists in Bermuda. They are immortalized in beautiful mermaid statues (and I was delighted to see the Paros Mermaid, here, in Greece, had been included), in myths of ghost ships, seaweeds lore and nautical curiosities. ‘’Oh, then, Dunmore Castle, it is you that are the gloomy-looking tower on a gloomy day, with the gloomy hills behind you, when one has gloomy thoughts on their heart, and sees you like a ghost rising out of the smoke made by the kelp burners on the strand, there, the Lord save us! as fearful a look about you as about the Blue Man’s Lake at midnight.’’ My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.word...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kayla

    Very rarely whenI go to my local mythology section in the bookstore do I ever encounter anything to do with mermaids and selchies and the like. It also carries into my favourite genera, paranormal romance, where still very few novels are written about these elusive creatures. So you can understand I was quite excited when I saw this thinking it would be a lovely edition to my collection of mythology books. However, after opening the book and reading the first few pages that is where the excitemen Very rarely whenI go to my local mythology section in the bookstore do I ever encounter anything to do with mermaids and selchies and the like. It also carries into my favourite genera, paranormal romance, where still very few novels are written about these elusive creatures. So you can understand I was quite excited when I saw this thinking it would be a lovely edition to my collection of mythology books. However, after opening the book and reading the first few pages that is where the excitement stopped. So what were my issues: To begin with the way this book is written is more a collection of random thoughts in some cases mariginally related to mermaids plus stories from other works relating to mermaids. In some parts of the book we would get a brief description of what the story was going to be about, then the story and then with no real bridge into the next part a few intersting facts that rarely if ever had anything to do with the story we just read. Now it is worth pointing out that while some of the stories were nice additions to the book and I had not previously read them some of the old language that the stories were originally formatted in made them rather difficult to read and in some cases understand. There was no reason that I could tell as to why the author couldn't have adjusted these for a modern reader. Now for my next major issue, as lovely as it was to have illustrations right through the book, and it did give the book a fairy tale charm, very few of the images actually ever related to the text. Therefore why are they there??? In one particular section Ventura goes through a list of the top 10 mermaid statues and proceeds to describe why she was delighted with them, however, there are no images to accompany these supposed works of art even if it was only of a select few. That would have been an appropriate time to add pictures!! As the book progressed it apperead as though a little more thought was added to the arrangement of sections, including the section relating to real life mermaids and mermaid encounters, however, I hardly think it was appropriate to include the websites of businesses that sold both mermaid tails and other merchandise, this should have been left to the appendices. Finally, what on earth was going on in the 9th Chapter regading the Aquarium, it is lovely that the author was able to find this unique description of an aqaurium built years ago, however, was it really neccessary to include the full article?? Especially when it really didn't have much or anything to do with mermaids at all.. In fact I think the original writer was more enamoured with the sea anemones than anything else. It also followed one of the better stories in the book about the Merrows, however, the article writer rehashed exactly what we just read les than 20 pages ago in enough detail that it was infuriatingly repetitive. All in all while I did enjoy portions of the book and was interested in some of the facts I thought that this was a very poorly executed account of mermaid history. There was so much room for expansion of ideas, refinement of sections, what sounds like many further stories which could have been added to the collection. I mean at one point Ventura even mentions the more recent excietment regarding mermaid sightings and exisistence and then the documentary(mockumentry) proving they dont exsist, I mean that would have made a really interesting addition to the book if it had been further discussed. As to the editor who let this book through to publication in the current state, it was a promising idea but it needed a hell of a lot more refinement before it should have been printed. I'm sure some people will find this book charming, but I was not impressed.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Daniela Medeiros

    I picked this up for research purposes. I was surprised by how beautiful the book is physically - the cover is stunning, the entire text is in a delightful shade of teal blue, and the illustrations on every page are simply magical. This book contains a lot of information on the mythology of mermaids, containing stories from all around the world. Besides being informative, it is a very fun read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Hendrix Eva

    A bit disjointed, but delightful. Beach reading at it's best. A bit disjointed, but delightful. Beach reading at it's best.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lex

    Quite a different take on non-fiction mermaid literature, and I appreciate it!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Elson

    This review originally appeared on The Magical Buffet website on 1/9/14. When we interviewed Varla Ventura for the website, it was primarily in regards to her role as the curator for a line of ebooks for Red Wheel/Weiser Publishing. After reading her two latest books, “Among the Mermaids: Facts, Myths, and Enchantments from the Sirens of the Sea” and “Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires and Other Creatures of the Night: Facts, Fictions, and First-Hand Accounts”, I can safely say is curating is what Ve This review originally appeared on The Magical Buffet website on 1/9/14. When we interviewed Varla Ventura for the website, it was primarily in regards to her role as the curator for a line of ebooks for Red Wheel/Weiser Publishing. After reading her two latest books, “Among the Mermaids: Facts, Myths, and Enchantments from the Sirens of the Sea” and “Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires and Other Creatures of the Night: Facts, Fictions, and First-Hand Accounts”, I can safely say is curating is what Ventura does best. In a paranormal landscape where it may feel like you’ve read every bit of trivia and tale about vampires and werewolves, Ventura manages to find fresh new takes on the subject matter. And let’s face it, how often does anyone talk about banshees? She even discusses a few other rarely touched upon creatures like Pookas and Changelings. The back of “Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires and Other Creatures of the Night” has a huge list of resources such as books, movies, and websites where you can learn more. For as cool as that was, “Among the Mermaids” is, for me, a million times cooler. I have always been fascinated by mermaids and sirens. Other than a passage here or there in a paranormal or creature encyclopedia I had never found much reading about them. Then Varla Ventura comes along with “Among the Mermaids”, a whole book devoted to merrows, mermaids, and sirens. Again, Ventura finds legends and factoids that you’ll never find anywhere else! At the end, you not only find resources such as movies and books, but also shopping. Looking for mermaid art or jewelry? There are links for that! Looking for your very own, custom made mermaid tale? There are links for those too! As I said at the start, curating is what Varla Ventura does best and the wonderful work she did with these two books proves it. Both books are filled with unique myths and facts that make these must haves for lovers of legend.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Peekablue

    The book itself (paperback) is very attractive. It's much smaller than I expected, however, the size lends itself to comfortable reading. The cover is of nice quality with attractive artwork. Both the the front and back covers fold inward, just like a dust jacket would, if it had one. Inside, the pages are made from thick stock and printed in a sort of blue-grey ink. There are illustrations of mermaids and other sea life in the same color ink. Inside are several short stories about mermaids, selk The book itself (paperback) is very attractive. It's much smaller than I expected, however, the size lends itself to comfortable reading. The cover is of nice quality with attractive artwork. Both the the front and back covers fold inward, just like a dust jacket would, if it had one. Inside, the pages are made from thick stock and printed in a sort of blue-grey ink. There are illustrations of mermaids and other sea life in the same color ink. Inside are several short stories about mermaids, selkies, merrow, etc. that are compiled from many different sources and eras. Some are familiar, some are not. There are also side notes on nautical terms, piracy, and other facts having to do with the sea and/or mermaids. I enjoyed most of the stories very much, aside from one which was a somewhat lengthy description of a 19th century aquarium, which became a bit dull after several pages. At the end of the book, there is information about other mermaid things, such as a movie list, a book list, and a list of stores where one can purchase mermaid jewelry and apparel. I've already watched one of the recommended movies (one of the few I haven't already seen, anyway) and enjoyed it very much. I found that the movie, "Miranda" and its sequel "Mad about Men," are loosely based on one of this book's stories ("The Mermaid of Zennor"). This is a great read for any mermaid enthusiast or for anyone in love with the sea.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Henderson

    I received this book for free through a GoodReads giveaway. This is a cute little book about mermaids that brings back your inner child. I entered the giveaway because I was obsessed with Disney's A Little Mermaid growing up. I still picture all mermaids as the super friendly ones who collect random weird human things and randomly burst into song. But this book provides several short stories about the mermaids of legend that were also the mysterious "the sirens of the sea", who lured men in and h I received this book for free through a GoodReads giveaway. This is a cute little book about mermaids that brings back your inner child. I entered the giveaway because I was obsessed with Disney's A Little Mermaid growing up. I still picture all mermaids as the super friendly ones who collect random weird human things and randomly burst into song. But this book provides several short stories about the mermaids of legend that were also the mysterious "the sirens of the sea", who lured men in and had a somewhat devilish sex appeal. I enjoyed reading the stories and would recommend this book to people who also had/have a slight obsession with mermaids and would like to learn about them from a different perspective.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Laney Dunn

    This was a waste of time.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Plourde

    I thought the book was O.K. but I was expecting a more scientific out look with it. I did enjoy the the different tales throughout the book but it took me a while to read it because it did have some boring moments.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Martina

    I'm trying to do this review without any spoilers :) I won this book in Goodreads giveaway. I'm always interested in mermaids and stuff related, and so I decided to get this book a try. It was very enchanted to read ^^ and I enjoyed reading it very much. I'm trying to do this review without any spoilers :) I won this book in Goodreads giveaway. I'm always interested in mermaids and stuff related, and so I decided to get this book a try. It was very enchanted to read ^^ and I enjoyed reading it very much.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jeneba Charkey

    The Loneliness of a Coney Island Mermaid for any news of my Pod Sisters caused me to waive many of my objections to this idiosyncratic collection. With so few other books to choose from, my standards had to be relaxed. So - five stars!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stefania Casoni

    Mermaids. Mermaids. Mermaids. Nuff' said ;) Mermaids. Mermaids. Mermaids. Nuff' said ;)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    A quick and fun “tale” of all things Merfolk and Sea related. One I’m keeping around for the cottage.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

    A charming little book. Very fun to curl up with and browse. Perhaps not the most academic, but still entertaining.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    This was a book with just a few short stories about mermaids. They are old short stories and very charming. The only one I didn't care for was the one about the aquarium. Quick read. This was a book with just a few short stories about mermaids. They are old short stories and very charming. The only one I didn't care for was the one about the aquarium. Quick read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    The formatting on the book that I read (Oyster) was atrocious. It jumped all over the place. Would've been a 4 star rating if the formatting didn't irritate me the entire time I was reading. The formatting on the book that I read (Oyster) was atrocious. It jumped all over the place. Would've been a 4 star rating if the formatting didn't irritate me the entire time I was reading.

  18. 4 out of 5

    J. Rose

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

  20. 4 out of 5

    Eri

  21. 5 out of 5

    MaryEllen Clark

  22. 5 out of 5

    Monica Yohann

  23. 5 out of 5

    Julie Badaracco

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christine

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Crismon

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lo Rae

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kara

  28. 4 out of 5

    Stefanie Clayton

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alanoud Alajmi

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gene Reams

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