Monday, November 29, 2010

Fairytale Reflections (11) Megan Whalen Turner at SMoST

I'm behind and still catching up so perhaps you are, too, and missed this.

This past Friday gave us Fairytale Reflections (11) Megan Whalen Turner at Seven Miles of Steel Thistles. I'll admit now I saw the title and had a little "squee" moment because I am an unabashed Whalen Turner fan. I use her series to judge what books to recommend to readers. If you like her books, we will be about as full-blooded kindred reading spirits as it is possible to be in my experience. And I love introducing her series to the uninitiated.

Whalen Turner (I have to use both names) didn't choose a fairy tale to discuss but instead discusses a collection of fairy tales and the illustrations that haunted her.

When Katherine asked if I might like to write a blog post about my favorite fairy tale, I drew a blank. Having read the previous posts and their loving attention to various stories, I’m almost afraid to admit this, but I didn’t like fairy tales when I was a kid. I thought they were dry, their characters two dimensional and their plots predicatable. But as I wrote my e-mail, meaning to decline, one particular book did come to mind. It was Alice and Martin Provensen’s book of fairy tales, and I remembered it mainly for the illustrations, which were terrifying.

I asked Katherine if that sort of subject would do for a non-fairy tale reader and she said, yes. So . . .

It's an interesting twist on this series of author essays. And I admit that I went through a few years as a child feeling the same way about fairy tales as she does, rather put off by their generic plastic packaging in the most readily available anthologies. Then I remember picking up and reading Rapunzel in a non-illustrated collection and realizing, "Oh, my gosh! She's pregnant!" It blew my pre-adolescent mind and I was hooked. It is a vivid memory actually, I was laying on my bedroom floor wrapped in my sleeping bag on a cold winter night. In those days, I thought sleeping in my sleeping bag on the weekends made the days off from school more special. Kid brain! Although through most of my teen years I was drawn more to the novel and short story length retellings, such as from Robin McKinley and the Datlow & Windling series, I eventually came to obviously adore fairy tales on many levels.

And as for Whalen Turner's books, well, please do read them. Here they are:

The Thief (The Queen's Thief, Book 1) The Queen of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, Book 2) The King of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, Book 3) A Conspiracy of Kings

Instead of Three Wishes: Magical Short Stories

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