Saturday, June 23, 2012

Books By Theme: Fairy Tale-ish Fiction

"The way to read a fairy tale is to throw yourself in."

 -W. H. Auden

Come Fall by A.C.E. Bauer book cover
Come Fall
by A. C. E. Bauer

Foster kid Salman Page is starting seventh grade in yet another new school when he's assigned a "designated buddy," eighth-grader Lu-Ellen Zimmer. Past experience has made him distrustful, so he tries to avoid Lu at first, but Salman eventually becomes friends with her and another kid on the fringes, Blos Pease. The three of them deal with the ups and downs at Riverfalls Junior High together, little suspecting that the fairy Puck (who narrates many chapters of the book) is meddling in their affairs. Based loosely on Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream, this absorbing mix of realistic fiction and fantasy "makes middle school feel like a trip through a dark and scary forest" (Publishers Weekly), but it has a triumphant, feel-good ending.

Reckless by Cornelia Funke book cover
by Cornelia Funke

After his father goes missing, 12-year-old Jacob discovers that a mirror in his house is a portal to another realm -- the dark and magical Mirrorworld. For many years after discovering the portal, Jacob visits Mirrorworld and retrieves enchanted fairy-tale objects (such as locks of Rapunzel's hair) for profit, but when his younger brother, Will, follows him into the mirror, disaster looms. Reckless is sure to make fans of somewhat sinister, action-packed fantasy adventures (like Chris Wooding's Malice) shiver with glee. 

Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz book cover
A Tale Dark & Grimm
by Adam Gidwitz

If you think of fairy tales as nice, pretty little stories to bore children to sleep with, A Tale Dark & Grimm will make you think again. Weaving the disturbing bits of several Brothers Grimm tales and plenty of his own mischief into a single story, author Adam Gidwitz tells his own version of the (often gruesome) adventures of Hansel and Gretel. Readers who enjoy wry humor, grisly horror, and interrupting narrators (à la Lemony Snicket) will be thrilled with this book -- and might also like the dark but less bloody stories in Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's collection Troll's Eye View.

Which fairy tale adaptations are your favorites?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Monstrosity Gazette

Bookish Quote of the Week:

Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.
 -Lemony Snicket

Today in Literary History:

On this day in 1816 the Shelleys, Lord Byron and entourage gathered at the Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva to tell the ghost stories that would trigger Frankenstein. The byways of literature being what they are, this most legendary of storm-tossed evenings has connections backwards to John Milton and forward to the language of computer programming.

For more, visit Today in Literature.

 Link of the Week:

30 books everyone should read before turning 30
Emily Temple writes: “Earlier this week, we stumbled across a list at Divine Caroline of 30 books everyone should read before they’re 30. We thought there were some essential reads missing, so we decided to put together a list of our own. We stuck to fiction and chose the books on a variety of criteria, selecting enduring classics, stories that speak specifically or powerfully to younger readers, and books we simply couldn’t imagine reaching 30 without having read.”...
Flavorwire, June 10; Divine Caroline, May 2010

Book I'm Eyeing this Week:

Chaperone by Laura Moriarty book cover
The Chaperone
by Laura Moriarty
Riverhead, June 2012

Summary in a Sentence:

Adolescent, pre-movie-star Louise Brooks, and her thirty-six-year-old chaperone have their lives changed on their visit to New York City in the summer of 1922.  

Read the Reviews:

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Beach Reading...

I'm heading to the beach on Tuesday, so I wanted to put together lots of reading options. Here's what I've come up with so far...

photograph of books to take to the beach for reading

Top row: 
  • Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua: A friend I carpooled with recently read this and always teased me with passages read aloud on the way to work. I've wanted to read it myself ever since.

Bottom Row:
  • The History of Love by Nicole Krauss: Just one of those books that's always been on my ginormous to-read list.
  • Death in the Stocks by Georgette Heyer: I discovered Heyer through other book bloggers; this is one of her mysteries. Gotta love the cover art.

What are you reading at the beach (or other various vacation-y places) this summer?

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