So I just finished listening to the audiobook "The Kalevala" via Audible (13 hrs, 23mins total!).
For those who don't know, The Kalevala is Finland's national epic, compiled by Elias Lönnrot from Karelian and Finnish aural traditions. It consists of 23,795 verses, divided into fifty cantos.
I had always wanted to read the book but found myself struggling. More often than not, I'd re-read the same verse over and over and eventually give up and put the book down. It's a difficult poem to get your head around, however, having it read aloud by someone made it really enjoyable.
The Kalevala has inspired a sense of national pride among the Finnish people (ultimately leading to Finland's independence from Russia in 1917), and also served as inspiration for the artwork painted by Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865 - 1931), and of course the music of Jean Sibelius.
The poem itself has been likened to Homer's Odyssey and J.R.R. Tolkien's claimed he drew inspiration from it for his books, including parallels between Wäinämöinen and Tom Bombadil in the Lord of the Rings.
Kalevala Audio Book @ Audibl: http://bit.ly/1Ay5gPG
Kalevala @ Wiki: http://bit.ly/1v3apZb
Sibelius @ Wiki: http://bit.ly/1yOVcwg
Akesli Gallen-Kallela @ Wiki: http://bit.ly/1zUZoAz