Buy me a Coffee! If you find this post or this site interesting, and would like to see more, buy me a coffee. While I may actually buy coffee, I’ll probably buy books to review.
Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s I was one of the people working for The Voyager Company, helping create the first widely-distributed, readable, user-friendly aesthetically pleasing ebooks.
I like ebooks; they’re much more portable in terms of weight, they’re easy to search, and you can annotate them without defacing the book.
I first read ebooks on my Mac PowerBook 180, then on my Palm, then on my iPhone and iPad. I’ve been reading and producing ebooks a very long time. Mostly recently, I’ve been reading a lot of ebooks on a Kindle Paperwhite.
The early versions of the Kindle were like reading wet newspaper. The Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader is much much better; while I still prefer to read some books on my iPad, because of the high resolution screen and color, the Paperwhite delivers a reasonable reading experience.
This is a curated list of books in several ebook file formats.
I link to books available from Apple’s Apple Books; you can read these books with a free app on Macs or iOS devices like iPads, iPod Touch and iPads.
I link to ebooks.com ebooks (which used Adobe’s ePub file format) for available titles.
Celtic Studies Ebooks
Cunliffe, Barry. The Celts: A Very Short Introduction.
If you only want one book about the ancient Celts, this is the one.
This is exactly what the title suggests; a very short introduction. While it is compact, it’s a thorough survey of Celtic history and culture from a leading archaeologist and expert on the ancient Celts. It’s readable, accurate in spite of its brevity, and a good overview for those looking for the current research and theories, as well as a solid introduction for those who have interest but neither time nor money for the larger tomes. You can read my review of Cunliffe’s The Celts: A Very Short Introduction.
The Mabinogi are the four Welsh mythological tales. Ford doesn’t include the romances, which aren’t part of the Mabinogi proper, but he does include the four branches, the native tales, and Taliesin material that is not available elsewhere in English. I think Ford’s introduction alone is worth the price of the book, and his translation is faithful to the tone and text of the Welsh, and easier to enjoy than any other.
Gantz, Jeffrey. Early Irish Myths and Sagas. London: Penguin Books, 1981. ISBN 0140443975.
Gantz offers his own abbreviated translation of the Táin, as well as most of the central Ulster tales and mythic sagas (The Death Of Aife’s Only Son, The Wasting Sickness of Cú Chulaind / Serglige Con Culain, The Tale of Mac Da Thó’s Pig / Scéla mucce Meic Da Thó, The Intoxication of the Ulaid, The Exile of the Sons of Uisliu).
These are accessible, readable translations in standard English of texts than can be difficult to find in English in translations that aren’t Victorian in style and attitude. Gantz’s translation of The Feast of Bricru / Fled Bricrend is the most recent, modern English translation that’s readily available.
Kinsella, Thomas. Translator. The Tain. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1970. ISBN 0192810901.
Simply the most readable English translation going of the Irish national epic, and the associated main mythological tales. Kinsella also offers a brief introduction to the Tain itself and places the various “pre tales” he includes in context. Kinsella makes note of where he has turned to an alternate version from another manuscript, and adds contextual notes to assist in trying to create a narrative in the modern sense from a collection of loosely connected tales.