The Missouri River Regional Library's Missouri Book Challenge Team
A creative retelling of Cinderella – with a little Tam Lin thrown in. Ash becomes an indentured servant to her stepmother when her father’s debts come due. She sees fairyland as an escape from her drudgery and abuse. The fairy Sidhean who could steal her away from mortals is reluctant to do so, seemingly because he is cursed to love her and have his heart broken. Eventually, Ash falls in love with the Kings Huntress, and realizes, she might want to stay in the mortal realm. Enjoyable, fast-paced read.
Not all goes as planned, first, they weren’t sure the dragon still existed, since no one had seen him. Then it turns out the dragon really didn’t want to deal with humans, he was too old, and humans too dangerous. Then it turns out that dragons horde very different items depending on their own particular interest. This particular dragon hordes shoes. The protagonist Creel, gets a pair of shoes from the dragon, shoes with special powers. A delightful tale, I did think back to the Stolen Child, about the theme, enjoying what you’ve got, when Creel was living in the dragon’s cave, eating well, pleasant company, and able to embroider to her heart’s content. To someone who would love more time to craft, it sounded idea.. Not as good as the other 2 books I’ve read by Day, the pacing was a bit too intense towards the end for me.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes examines archetypal themes in fairy tales relevant to unleashing creativity and letting your unique talents blossom. Estes uses a combination of Jungian psychology together with family wisdom to explain the significance of various tales. I learned that she had been held at gunpoint down in Guatemala, during a period of civil unrest, listening to her inner voice/angel, she eventually started singing to her kidnappers, who let her go, saying the singing was driving them nuts. She finishes each chapter with a blessing. I really liked this title, As it was so deep & rich, I wouldn’t want to read several back to back. I really enjoyed this book, & feel like I benefited from her wisdom.
This was a mixed bag of tales. Some lived up to the advertising, others were less successful. One of the problems I had with some of the tales, is telling me how smart the protagonist is, and then all she did was sprinkle magic fairy dust that she had from somewhere to solve all the villages problems. I realize it is more difficult to show instead of tell, in short tales, but maybe you can’t have short fairy tales that cannot be shown, but must be told. I did enjoy the story Janet Burd (a Tam Lin variation), as well as the Mollee Whoppee story.
Another delightful retelling of a fairy tale by Jessica Day George, this time, we revisit the story Cinderella. In this version it is the Fairy Godmother who is wicked, and Eleanora (Cinderella) is but a victim. The protagonist is Poppy one of the Twelve Dancing Princesses from an earlier book. I think I must read all of this author’s books – they are enchanting!
Odd is a kid who smiles all the time, even after his father dies. The village people do Not understand him. Then he attempts to use his father’s giant axe, and in the process injures his leg; he builds himself a crutch and drags himself home. His mother remarries a man who doesn’t care for Odd. But Odd perseveres, using the talents he has, he is able to help out the Norse gods, Odin, Loki, and Thor, who have been turned into different animals. This was a fun short read.
A reinterpretation of Snow White. In this fractured version, the protagonist, an innkeeper’s daughter, is a larger girl who is sometimes treated poorly by other people because of her looks. However, she has the most beautiful voice in the kingdom. This was well written and challenged our culture’s obsession with good looks, asking the reader to question our assumptions we make based on physical attractiveness.
A satire on Political Correctness covering a number of common fairy tales. In one the helpful woodsman gets his head chopped off, for intruding and doubting that Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf, couldn’t work out their own problems. It was ok, I did learn some things about discrimination and different ways of viewing the world.
A wonderful entrancing story! a hobgoblin, trades places with the real Henry Day, getting a chance to life out a human life, after waiting about 100 years for his turn. The previous Henry Day, now renamed Anaday, struggles to make sense of his world, and to fit in with the band of hobgoblins. Both characters struggle to figure out what to do with the lives that they have. I like the fact that Donohue took a familiar narrative, that of the stolen/exchanged child, and tackled deeper questions of what it means to live a meaningful life. This book reminded me of both and Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Never Let me Go” as well as Adam Phillips’ book Missing Out (which had too much psychoanalysis for me to finish).
Black Orchid tells or retells the story of one of DC comic’s superheroes (or superheroines). The Black Orchid had appeared in DC Comics of the 1970’s. Neil Gaiman performs a twist on the usual narrative of a superhero. The story begins with our superhero getting killed in the beginning pages. Then a former friend uses the woman’s DNA to create a plant/human hybrid, that has different superpowers. It is a very violent story, with death upon death of the both the good and the bad guys. Lex Luther is the main bad guy, while other superheroes/villains make cameo appearances. This title is credited with helping to break the way for less traditional graphic novels.
Apparently the Harlequin is a stock character in European and British theater specifically, the Commedia dell’Arte format – along with a whole host of other characters – including Columbine – his love interest. In this retelling of the Harlequin’s usual story, Gaiman adds a twist to the standard narrative. Even though I was not familiar with the standard narrative, I could see that giving the woman powers and moving her into a main character status is a twist on the standard narrative where the woman is often the object, and Not the subject. Interesting piece.
Did you know that the Puritans banned the celebration of Christmas in the US & UK for almost 2 Centuries! So working Christmas was the norm, when Bob Cratchit asked Scrooge for the day off. The Christmas Carol story makes it seem as if, Scrooge is being a mean person, as opposed to a law-abiding citizen, a shrewd business person. The biggest reason for the revival of the winter holiday celebration in Britain & America was the book, the Christmas Carol; the 2nd reason for the revival of celebrating Christmas, was the press’ fascination with the young Queen Victoria & Prince Albert from Germany who captured the royal families’ Christmas Tree in the newspaper. The “tradition” caught on.
A pioneer in the world consciousness effort, Shakti Gawain details the practical technique of using mental imagery and affirmation to produce positive life changes. This includes the Pink Bubble Technique, Grounding and Running Energy. I find these exercises very useful and recommend work by Shakti Gawain.
Martin a career criminal with OCD, only steals items that won’t be missed. Food, cleaning supplies, and higher end pieces, like jewelry that hasn’t been used or silver. He likes his “clients” and when he accidentally knocks a toothbrush in the toilet, he is unable to just wash it off, but rather replaces it, which leads him to his first good deed. He begins to think that maybe he is meant to be in these houses for more than personal acquisitions.
Something missing refers to both the items in people’s homes as well as relationships in Martin’s life.
Trapped in an Underwater Vessel with a Brilliant Mad Misanthrope! that about sums it up. Since our challenge this month was classics, and I haven’t tried many graphic novels, I thought I’d give this book a go. This is my 2nd or 3rd graphic novel, and I find I don’t get much out of these [though as a kid, some of the Classic Comics really brought to life some of the classics, but others didn't work]. On top of the limited plot-line the artwork was dreary, you could have had some beautiful underwater scenes, for example of Atlantis or the cool fish. But No.
Wow! I was so impressed with this 2nd book of the Raven Cycle trilogy. Definitely, a book that stands on its own (well the background story would be nice to have). Part of the credit goes to the awesome narrator of the Audiobook – Will Patton. Patton manages unique and appropriate voices for each character. The other part I really loved about this book, is the way it takes common narratives and breaks them, oh oh, the mother and aunties are letting the Hit Man into their house! danger danger, oh, but these women aren’t stupid, no they’re just braver and more clever than women usually get credit for. This story focuses on Ronin and his abilties to dream objects and bring them back. Also: Great Worldbuilding!
Breakfast at Tiffany’s seemed to be mostly a character sketch of Holly Golightly (Gloria Vanderbuilt is one of many supposed models for the character). The narrator and Holly both live in a brownstone Manhattan apartment building. Holly was a vivacious country girl, who has become a society girl, socializing with wealthy men, who give her expensive gifts and money. The narrator seems to be a version of Truman Capote, observer and writer.