Oh, Hans Christian Andersen. My favorite of favorites. I love this man. Since I was a little girl, I must have read "The Little Mermaid" a few dozen t...moreOh, Hans Christian Andersen. My favorite of favorites. I love this man. Since I was a little girl, I must have read "The Little Mermaid" a few dozen times. I was also familiar with (and loved) his "The Princess and the Pea," "The Little Match Girl," "Thumbelina," "The Ugly Duckling," and "The Red Shoes." Later it was "The Snow Queen" and "The Nightingale" and "The Steadfast Tin Soldier." Somewhere along the way I realized that Andersen was responsible for all of my favorite childhood stories.
I'd been looking for a good translation or a definitive collection of his work for a few years. There's a lot out there. I was attracted to the Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition because of the wacky cover (inspired by the tale "The Traveling Companion"), and the translator's note cinched the deal. Tiina Nunnally was devoted to preserving Andersen's original language and interpreting his writing style. Her respect of his work really shows, and I slowly devoured each story. It took me a full year to get through this book, a total of 30 stories, and it has come everywhere with me like a security blanket. It's almost sad that I'm done with it.
This collection doesn't claim to be complete edition of all of his stories (which was what I originally thought I wanted), but is instead a sampling of some of his most important works. They are arranged in chronological order, and thanks to an extended timeline of Andersen's life and biography in the introduction, it's really easy to see this bizarre man's journey through life. Reading this tales, most of which were autobiographical in some way or another, I felt really connected to him.
In the back of the book, there are notes on each tale explaining why he wrote them and the publication history. I never knew that Hans felt he WAS the little mermaid, sacrificing himself for true love only to be handed disappointment. It's all the more heart-breaking to know that he drew from real life inspiration to compose it. (less)
"And there's nothing to say but wow. Wow. The same word backward and forward."
I think it's going to take me a long time to process this book, just as...more"And there's nothing to say but wow. Wow. The same word backward and forward."
I think it's going to take me a long time to process this book, just as it took me a long time to read it. But this is an instant favorite, just like Libba's other books. Though "Going Bovine" couldn't be more different from the "Gemma Doyle" trilogy if it tried. But all four are completely Libba, all the way, and I love that. Ms. Bray, I'll read your books till I die.(less)
Someone recommended this book to me years ago, because she said her boyfriend was going through a phase where he was questioning mortality and he was...moreSomeone recommended this book to me years ago, because she said her boyfriend was going through a phase where he was questioning mortality and he was loving this book. She said she thought I might enjoy this book too.
Now, I don't know what vibe I was giving off that she made the correlation between her boyfriend's issues and me - but I'm glad she recommended it. I previewed a bit at the bookstore and knew I had to own it. "Walking to Martha's Vineyard" was my first exposure to Franz Wright, and he has since become my favorite poet. I only have a small shelf of poetry crammed with about fifty or so poetry books, so maybe calling him my "favorite" isn't saying much to those who are more widely read in poetry. I just know this: this book speaks to me, and continues to do so over and over again.
I reread it about once a year, preferably in the autumn when things start getting gloomy and dying, and I find it comforting, cozy, and almost even magical. (less)
One of my favorite pieces of short fiction ever. I was first exposed to this story during my senior year of high school, where I just wrote it off as...moreOne of my favorite pieces of short fiction ever. I was first exposed to this story during my senior year of high school, where I just wrote it off as a creepy story. I enjoyed it, but I didn't really GET it. This 6,000 word story, written as a journal of a woman's descent into madness, is deceptively simple.
I came across it again years later, and I saw it in a different way. An extremely personal way. I related to this narrator in that I feared ending up like her. And if I'd been born in her time, I very well might have. I chose this story to be the focus of a research paper for a lit class, and studied it once again for another lit class. I am very familiar with this story and I've lost count of how many times I've read it. But every time I read it, I get a new feeling from it, and it chills me all over again.(less)