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Fairy Tale Fascinations

November 24, 2010

I’ve always loved a good fairy tale. I remember reading Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales from a beautiful, big green book we had. I was fascinated with the way the stories were all so familiar, such a part of growing up in Western culture, but the original tales were always slightly different than the Disney versions that permeated children’s lives. As I grew up, as a teenager, I loved to read any fairy tale retelling I could get my hands on. Books like Ella Enchanted and anything by Shannon Hale. In college, I was amazingly lucky enough to have two different roommates who worked at Desert Book and my first roommate, Brittney, had a wonderful collection of books she let me borrow. In just a few short months I had devoured the entire “Once Upon a Time” series and absolutely loved them!

Skip forward a few years, and I am now married to Michael, a comic book reader. And once I eventually started getting used to reading comic books, Michael introduced me to one of the greatest things I have ever read. The Fables series by Bill Willingham. I don’t even have the words to describe how much I love these books. It’s all about fairy tale characters living as refugees from their homelands in New York City and many different things that happen to them. It is such a fun book and I just love the integration of so many beloved fairy tale characters and the way the author plays with their storylines in this world. And of course, because it is a comic book series, I have wait forever for each volume to come out (or, if I had more money, buy them in single issues). So in the meantime, I’m hungry for more wonderful fairy tale fun.

Some I have found in more comic books, like The Wonderful Wizard of  Oz and Wonderland, and some I have found in other books. But I have found it is a little harder to find fairy tale adaptations for adults. And if they are written for adults, they are usually in the spirit of the original tales and very dark. Though I really enjoy a good young adult story sometimes the romances can be a little too much for me to stomach these days. But I discovered and very much enjoyed The True Story of Hansel and Gretel. Which is not actually a true story at all, but it is about two young Jewish children hiding in the woods during World War II. Like I said, it can be pretty grim, like any book about the Holocaust, but I really liked it.

Now I’m in the middle of The Book of Lost Things, which, interestingly enough, is also set during World War II, though this time in London. I have to say I’m enjoying it even more. The fairy tales are interwoven into the story with many interesting twists. It tells the story of David, a young boy who gets lost in a strange fairy tale world. So I just hope I can keep finding enough books to feed my growing frenzy for fairy tales. I did see that there is a new Red Riding Hood movie coming out sometime too. And there is a new comic book series called Kill Shakespeare with a concept similar to Fables. Anyway, I’m having a great time and I just thought I’d share with everyone my latest obsession! Thanks for reading!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Kathy permalink
    May 9, 2012 11:01 pm

    You might enjoy the 500 Kingdoms books by Mercedes Lackey. They are fantasy, set in a land where everything is manipulated by The Tradition to force it into the familiar fairy tale storylines. (i.e. any widow with a young daughter who decides to marry will always seem to end with a wicked step-mother, no matter how hard he tries not to.) Lackey has also done several other one-off fairy tale retellings, esp. Russian and eastern european stories like the Firebird and Black Swan.

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