I was first introduced to Anne Sexton in college during an American Poetry class. Actually, I was inDisclaimer: ARC via Open Road Media and Netgalley
I was first introduced to Anne Sexton in college during an American Poetry class. Actually, I was introduced to Sexton’s poetry because by that time she was long dead. Shortly afterwards, I read her Transformations which will always be one of my favorite books. In her poetic retellings of various Brother Grimm stories, from the most famous to less well known, Sexton shows how fairy tales are still current and powerful, and still can be connected to the modern day. Therefore, when Open Road Media put this up on Netgalley, I immediately downloaded it.
If you are someone who has been following my reviews for a while what I am about to say is old hat. If not, then you should know that I am Auto-Approved for Open Road Media titles on Netgalley. For me, Open Road Media is one of those publishing companies that synonymous with excellence. I love their reprinting of various lesser known feminist books as well as various studies of current issues (such as abortion). The Complete Poems of Sexton continues in this tradition. Care was taken in producing the digital version. As most readers of digital media can tell you, poetry is not always formatted well for e-readers. This is not the case here. Open Road Media took care to preserve each poems structure and look. The only criticism I have on this front is the lack of illustrations for Transformations.
Sexton’s poetry is dark and hits the reader hard. There is something unflinching or uncompromising in her writing. In this collection, one can not only see that but also how fairy tale and myth inspired/influenced her writing even before Transformations. Take, for instance, “Where I Live in This Honorable House of the Laurel Tree”, a poem written from the viewpoint of Daphne after her transformation into the tree when trying to escape from Apollo. In Sexton’s poem, the lines are more blurry, the anger subdued, and the tragedy up front and center. Or “The Farmer’s Wife” a poem that showcases a marriage that isn’t as blooming as would first appears. Here, she is tapping into the ideas and themes in the Feminine Mystique or for the more modern reader as expressed in the music of Paula Cole.
The witches are here as well, both as giver and taker. They are tied with Sexton’s view of life and birth. In fact, many of the poems mediate about birth and the connection to finding oneself. This is most powerfully expressed in the poem “The Abortion” as well as the poem “Water”. In fact, it is impossible to read either one of those poems without thinking about current issues before the US Supreme Court. Considering Sexton’s struggle with mental illness, it is no surprise that many poems, even those about birth, also connect to death or even a struggle against an unimaginable though not evil darkness. There is “Sylvia’s Death”, about Plath, which eventually gives way to poems that meditate on religion. And in many ways these poems (“Protestant Easter” being one) that are the most powerful because they are about that quest of understanding and a desire to come to terms with something that in many ways defies description. The poems are not just about doubt, but even a desire, a need, to believe.
Sexton’s poetry has long had the reputation being dark, but that is a simplistic description. Her poetry is human. This collection showcases that. ...more
Rather inventive and humorous retelling of the Pied Piper story. Some of the changes are a tad bit over the top, but the reading questions at the endRather inventive and humorous retelling of the Pied Piper story. Some of the changes are a tad bit over the top, but the reading questions at the end actually address these issues, which makes the book ideal for a learning environment. Entertaining at the very least....more
This is a cute retelling of the Grimm’s Clever Elise using bears, who are not the run of the mill bear family. The draw Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.
This is a cute retelling of the Grimm’s Clever Elise using bears, who are not the run of the mill bear family. The drawings are cute. It’s a bit wordy, and doesn’t seem to be crafted to be read aloud via performance. The book is well suited to be read, not performed, to a child or for a child to read on his or her own. The artwork is lovely, and the fact that it shows a brother and sister working together is nice as well. The brother and sister aren’t lovely dovey, but an everyday type of brother and sister. ...more
This collection presents a couple new tales with previously published work. The stories are geared, as you have no doubt discFull Review at Booklikes.
This collection presents a couple new tales with previously published work. The stories are geared, as you have no doubt discovered, to the more adult reader. They range from the absolutely hilarious to the political (a tale dedicated to Rushdie) to the most wrenching version of Rumplestilken you will ever read (“Granny Rumple”). Three of the stories are interconnected and concern the trials of a fairy family who finds itself sucked into Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, and a bottle of bad wine. There is a harsh because of its truth version of Thousand Furs and a rather delightful version of Snow White. If you don’t like one story, odds are the following one will leave breathless from laughter or a darker emotion....more
I was somewhat hesitant to pick this up, but then I got gift cards and the price was reduced on the kindle version so what helCrossposted at Booklikes
I was somewhat hesitant to pick this up, but then I got gift cards and the price was reduced on the kindle version so what hell. It’s friggin awesome. The darker stories seem to be, for the most part, by Amanda C. Davis while the lighter stories are by Megan Engelhardt I love, absolutely totally, completely wonderfully love Questing for Princesses. It’s about a prince and a desire not to quest. But I knew I was in good hands after the first story “Instructions” which is about tempting an elf to come and help you. The poetry, such as the first “Flytrap”, is good, but on the whole the stories are better. The short stories tend to be reflective. This means that there are two version of Rumpelstilken, both dark but both focusing on different aspects. Quite frankly, I found The Gold in the Straw to be one of the best, if not the best, retelling of Rumpel, dealing with many of the problems that exist in the story. A Letter Concerning Shoes is a far more emotive tale of the 12 Princesses then A Breath of Bones. Yet, both are powerful and both have their points. I like them for totally different reasons. There is a different look on Hamelin, a re-inventing of Hansel and Gretel. A Shining Spindle is a poem that feels more like a story and is about why it isn’t a male sleeping beauty. Have to love that. This is really a quite inventive and gripping collection. It is like that box of delights, that keeps opening, a chest of wonders. Even the weaker works are quite strong. If you enjoy dark fantasy or fairy tale retellings, this is a wonderful book. ...more
So this isn't bad. It's actually somewhat good (see below). However, I got it when the author offered it for free, and did not pay the 1.50 now beingSo this isn't bad. It's actually somewhat good (see below). However, I got it when the author offered it for free, and did not pay the 1.50 now being charged for it.
It isn't really worth the 1.50.
The thing is, I think this would make a better song than tale told in rhyme. It would work really well set to music. Then a 1.50 or even more. But now, no. There really is nothing new or interesting enough. It feels like a good, if not great, fan fiction. Which is why it would work as a song (a filk)....more
I really don't know how to review this book. I really don't. I enjoyed it. The retelling of "Goldilocks" is really funny, and the version of "Pied PipI really don't know how to review this book. I really don't. I enjoyed it. The retelling of "Goldilocks" is really funny, and the version of "Pied Piper" is really rather touching and powerful. Yet, I have a feeling that if I were a parent reading these to a child, I might be upset at the twists that are given to "The Princess and the Pea" and "The Ugly Duckling". To be honest, the twist given to "Princess" didn't bother me that much, and while the twist to "Duckling" is very true and very swan like, part of me feels it is too much of a violation of Andersen's original.
Yet, the other three were quite good. So if you are thinking of reading these to your child, read them yourself first....more
No, not that gay. The older meaning of the word gay. You know, like Gay Paree.
Though, I'm not entirely sure if that is the correct meaning of the wordNo, not that gay. The older meaning of the word gay. You know, like Gay Paree.
Though, I'm not entirely sure if that is the correct meaning of the word here either.
Carryl takes several well know tales, drawing from Grimm, Andersen, and Arabian Nights, and retells them in a rather funny if saticial way.
For instance, Beauty and the Beast ends far differently than you would think. Though I liked it. His Little Red Riding Hood is equally as funny. Some of the stories are misses, for instance his retelling of Aladdin, which is very politcally incorret by today's standards....more
Not as funny as it pretends to be. The idea is good, but it is rather stupid and tries to be funny. Maybe if I hadn't read Jim Butcher or Terry PratchNot as funny as it pretends to be. The idea is good, but it is rather stupid and tries to be funny. Maybe if I hadn't read Jim Butcher or Terry Pratchett?
It's like that stupid comdey movie series, you know that spawns Meet the Spartans....more
You have many Princesses in literature and movies. There's Princess Leia who got to shot people; there's Belle who got a library; there's Princess MooYou have many Princesses in literature and movies. There's Princess Leia who got to shot people; there's Belle who got a library; there's Princess Moonbeam, who got to (okay, I can't remember what Moonbeam got, but she got something). There's Eowyn who got Faramir, but more importantly got RESPECT AND UNDERSTANDING!
Who wouldn't want to be a princess?
After all,princess get clothes that look heavy, they get to wear shoes that look painful, they get talking animals (so how they eat meat, I don't understand), they get to watch their biological father blow up thier home and record collection, they get cursed, they get husbands who are charming but not sincere, they are looked at as a food source, dragons want to roast them, man save them and except sex, even if the princess is in love with someone else (even if the knight is supposedly in love with some one. Her beauty made me do it is a very old excuse after all).
I only want to be a princess, if it is in the tradition of Jim C. Hines.
This installment is good and gives the reader a good dose of Talia, who perhaps is most mysterious of the the three princesses. Her character gets more development, and we find more of her back story. This isn't to say that there aren't developments for Danielle and Snow, but Talia is center stage.
The action starts with what looks to be an attempt on the life of Danielle and quickly progesses to trip to Talia's home. Hines should get a huge amount of respect for his handling of rape (Talia is from Talia, the Sun and the Moon) and for truly thinking about the effect of fairy curses. Too often fairy curses and gifts are seen as blessings in disguise or just blessings, Hines takes a more realstic approach.
What I really like is how each of three (four if you count Hood) women is strong in a totally different way. Danielle who is the princess close to a Disney princess is wonderful because her philosphey is shown simply as different than Talia's. I loved, really loved, the way Danielle defeated the Wild Hunt. Snow is somewhat like a Jedi struggling with the dark side, but without the lightsaber and written millons of times better than anything Lucas turned out; Talia is more than just a ninja, Xena knock off; having many complex levels. I also really like that the amount of friendship that Hines shows in these books. Too often women are seen either just talking about men or backstabbing each other (women writers are just as bad as men writers in this regard), none of that here. True, Danielle mentions her husband and child, but it is not the center of conversation, more a facet of her character.
Hines also touches, briefly, but it is there on the current issues and concerns of the West with Shia (Shi'a, Shira) law. He changes it, of course, into fairy and human law. It should be noted, however, that Talia's culture is drawn from Muslim culture and the culture is treated with respect by Hines. While there is conflict over religion, Hines also illustrates more acceptance for behavior than in other cultures, like Snow's....more
I've read Dr. Florescu's books about Dracula and enjoyed them. This book I did not like as much. Part of it is undoubtably, I knew the theory he putsI've read Dr. Florescu's books about Dracula and enjoyed them. This book I did not like as much. Part of it is undoubtably, I knew the theory he puts forward.
It is interesting, and it has some lovely pictures and facts; however, to much of it is simply rewritten conversations. To be honest, I also really don't like reading about other people's dreams (unless its fiction)....more
I read this just after I read The Stepsister Scheme. This book answers some questions raised in the first and continues the characterization started iI read this just after I read The Stepsister Scheme. This book answers some questions raised in the first and continues the characterization started in the first.
Like the first novel, Hines seems to be writing in repsonse to the Disney Princesses trend. The princesses in his book, however, are far from passive. In this book, Hines tackles the story of "The Little Mermaid", relying more on the Andersen version of the story instead of the Disney bastard version.
It's a fairy tale for grown ups. Unlike Disney movies with the almost chronic absence of mothers (honestly, would you like to be a Disney mum?), Hines seems to be exploring the relationships that develop between female friends and family members. The Undines (mermaids) represent one type of family and Queen Bea and the three Princesses another.
Like the first novel in the series, Hines keeps the dark side of the tales present, making this book at times darker than the first novel. There is heavy cost to be paid, and the ending is bittersweet. It works well because of that.
What I really enjoy about Hines is that he writes women who are strong in different ways and who are friends and not rivals. Additionally, he does not do this at the expense of the male characters. This is more of female oriented story, but the men don't suffer from weak character either. Hines, for instance, does a good job of presenting two happily married couples.
There was on development in terms of Talia that I felt unsure about. In truth, when it was revealed, it illicited a small internal groan. Unlike some writers, Hines handles it well and in a rather touching manner....more
There's not much wrong with this book, and in all fairness, if I were more interested in children's literature than in fairy tales, I think I would've There's not much wrong with this book, and in all fairness, if I were more interested in children's literature than in fairy tales, I think I would've enjoyed the book more.
It is extremely well written and examines why children read what they do. I actually think I have discovered why Goodnight Moonwas not a favorite book. Along the way, you learn some interesting things about Dr. Seussand other authors. If you have read some of Tatar's other works, some of the information she has covered in varying degrees other places. Don't forget to read the appendix, which contains quotes from famous writers about reading....more
The collection includes various versions of the favorite tales as well as selections from Andersen and Wilde. The criticism refers not only to the incThe collection includes various versions of the favorite tales as well as selections from Andersen and Wilde. The criticism refers not only to the included tales, but fairy tales in general. A good starting point for fairy tale study....more
Tatar not only includes good annotations to the tales, but also brief bios about the writers and the artists. It is a wonderfully illustrated collectiTatar not only includes good annotations to the tales, but also brief bios about the writers and the artists. It is a wonderfully illustrated collection. A word of warning, the annotations for the Grimm and Andersen stories appear in those editions as well as here, so there is some overlap....more
The first Atwood novel I read was The Handmaid’s Tale. If I touch the book, I can remember that first reading. Devouring the book as I lay on the coucThe first Atwood novel I read was The Handmaid’s Tale. If I touch the book, I can remember that first reading. Devouring the book as I lay on the couch, the leather cool despite the fact that it was a sweltering Philadelphia summer, I remember being torn between the desire to read the book, the desire to watch the Bulgaria with its cute goalie in the World Cup, and the need to walk the dog.
Despite the strong memory and the fact that I have taught it, The Handmaid’s Tale is not my favorite Atwood novel. The Robber Bride is.
I brought and read this book soon after I read Tale. I have read this book countless times, and each time I re-read it, I find myself looking forward to certain parts, Tony’s eating of the armies for instance, yet I cannot skip forward to those parts. That would be the worst kind of cheating.
There is something far more compelling about this book than the immediate danger of Handmaid’s Tale. Perhaps it is because the central characters are wonderfully drawn. The women are real and not perfect. Roz, Tony, Charis, each woman has her own section of the novel. Even though Atwood uses a third person narrator, the style subtlety shifts when each woman takes center stage. There are four different styles, one for each of the three women, and the last an impersonal narrator, not Zenia but someone else.
Perhaps part of the compulsion comes from the mysteries that are kept mysterious, like the character of Zenia herself.
It is fascinating how the different stories intersect and overlap. Each tale, each back-story, reflects and sometimes refines an aspect of another. Certain patterns repeat. Atwood not only examines the battle of the sexes, but the battle that occurs between the members of the same sex. We want to believe in sisterhood, but Atwood is wise enough to know that sometimes the oddest things make a sisterhood, and sometimes sisterhood does not exist at all.
Despite Zenia’s evil aura, the reader is fascinated by the character. We want to pluck at her mystery, we want her to change, even as we know that her latest plot is going to harm Roz or Tony or Charis, all of whom we care deeply about. We know when Zenia is lying, and we can see though story after story, yet we always want the story to end differently. But we know it won’t. Atwood’s ability to put in the reader in the same situation as Roz, Tony, and Charis is simply amazing.
This is the first time I have read the book since my visit to Toronto last year. When I was there, Toronto was in this midst of celebrating books that were set in the city. Most of the book stores I went into had displays of non-fiction and fiction (and I discovered Fragile Pieces). Yet, Atwood seemed conspicuous by her absence. Is it because her portrayal of Toronto, in this book, isn’t a blind lover’s sonnet? She captures a city in a midst of a recession, and it is hardly going to be a pleasant description. The city, however, is has much of a character as any of the women in the novel. Was she absent because it was over ten years after the publication of the book? That hardly seems fair considering some of the other authors on display.
It did a disservice to this wonderful book. ...more
A wonderful book that traces the development of the literary fairy tale. Zipes includes famous authors, such as Wilde and the Grimms, but he also inclA wonderful book that traces the development of the literary fairy tale. Zipes includes famous authors, such as Wilde and the Grimms, but he also includes less well known stories. The stories range in style, some are funny, some are dark. Most, however, are just plain good. I first read this when I was a freshman in college, and it turned me on to author's I had not read before. I have also used this in reading classes, and the students (even the males) enjoyed it....more
Lang wrote some of the stories, but he largely edited this collection. Like the Grimms, but far more honest, Lang used translations provided by his wiLang wrote some of the stories, but he largely edited this collection. Like the Grimms, but far more honest, Lang used translations provided by his wife and other women (he thanks the women in his introduction, gives credit to original sources at the end of the tales).
It makes this collection, the first, rather interesting. By and large, the stories are mostly from the Grimms and French Salons. They include well known favorites like "Cinderella" but also lesser known ones such as "The Yellow Dwarf".
Perhaps what is refreshing or even heartening is the lack of white wash that the tales have. True, in relating the story of Perseus, Lang, who wrote the adaption, avoids the tricky question of Zeus as dad, but he does leave in the idea of Sunlight. The ending to two tales, "The Yellow Dwarf" and "The Ram" are kept intact. Was this Lang's doing or the women who worked the stories?
The only tale that feels out of place is Gulliver. In many ways, Lang has kept the original intentions far clearer than the Grimms. ...more