Monday, September 26, 2016

Banned Books Week and Fairy Tales

Hello all, I am still busily trying to get life back to a semblance of normal but I cannot let Banned Books Week pass without some recognition here at SurLaLune. This is my post for Banned Books Week from 4 years ago to share you:

Today starts Banned Books Week: Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Freedom to Read. There's always books we'd prefer not to read ourselves but taking the right away from others is a slippery, dangerous slope. And it's pertinent here at the blog because several fairy tales have been banned over the years, from the Grimms in general to tales in particular like Little Red Riding Hood--for having wine in her basket! Nevermind the more gruesome tales that are ignored by banners because they aren't as prominent.

During my years as a public librarian in California, I only had one book challenged by a patron and ironically it was fairy tale related. Only my coworkers knew about SurLaLune, so this was not related. I was quite simply the children's and YA librarian and had added the book to the collection.

What was the book? The Rose and The Beast: Fairy Tales Retold by Francesca Lia Block. Now this book is not light reading and deals with difficult themes. I wouldn't recommend it to every teen I know but it was sitting on the shelf next to the Gossip Girls series among others. My first reaction was total shock. Fortunately, I kept my guffaw muffled when I realized which book was upsetting the patron in the YA section. And refrained from saying, "You think this is rough, try this (fill in the blank several times)." I didn't handle the situation very well--it was a strange day and a strange incident--but it was well enough that the complaint went no farther for which I have always been thankful.

Anyway, read a fairy tale this week and you'll be celebrating Banned Books Week! And thank the librarians who fight to keep the books on the shelves where you can find them. It's not an easy job, emotionally or financially!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Bargain Ebook: Baltimore,: Or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire

Baltimore,: Or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden is on sale in digital format for $1.99.

Book description:

From celebrated comic artist Mike Mignola and award-winning novelist Christopher Golden comes a work of gothic storytelling like no other. Reminiscent of the illustrated tales of old, here is a lyrical, atmospheric novel of the paranormal—and a chilling allegory for the nature of war.

“Why do dead men rise up to torment the living?” Captain Henry Baltimore asks the malevolent winged creature. The vampire shakes its head. “It was you called us. All of you, with your war. The roar of your cannons shook us from our quiet graves…. You killers. You berserkers…. You will never be rid of us now.”

When Lord Henry Baltimore awakens the wrath of a vampire on the hellish battlefields of World War I, the world is forever changed. For a virulent plague has been unleashed—a plague that even death cannot end.

Now the lone soldier in an eternal struggle against darkness, Baltimore summons three old friends to a lonely inn—men whose travels and fantastical experiences incline them to fully believe in the evil that is devouring the soul of mankind.

As the men await their old friend, they share their tales of terror and misadventure, and contemplate what part they will play in Baltimore’s timeless battle. Before the night is through, they will learn what is required to banish the plague—and the creature who named Baltimore his nemesis—once and for all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Deborah J. Brannon, Guest Reviewer: Roses and Rot by Kat Howard

Hello all, I have a guest review to share today from SurLaLune reader, Deborah J. Brannon. Thanks for sharing with us, Deborah!

Roses and Rot
Author: Kat Howard
Publisher: Saga Press; 1st edition (May 17, 2016)
Print length: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1481451161

Roses and Rot is a knife in the dark, and a comforting embrace after that sudden welling of blood. That sounds melodramatic, but it can’t be - not with this book. Roses and Rot is Kat Howard’s debut novel and it is a paean to survival, to thriving, to fairy tales.

You think you know this story - and maybe you do, but only because you’ve lived it. Two sisters grow up under the cruel ministrations of a manipulative, self-centered mother. The older sister escapes and goes away to school, leaving the younger sister unprotected and alone. They lose each other for seven years, only to find their way back together in a magical, mysterious land: Melete. Melete is a prestigious retreat for artists of every kind. Melete is a Greek Muse and a word that means “contemplation.” Melete is the perfect place for two sisters to find each other again and then to find their own voices and their own successes.

Imogen, the elder sister, is a writer. Marin is a dancer. They both bear deep wounds from the psychological, physical, and emotional abuse inflicted upon them by their mother. Some are obvious; some lurk to be stumbled over later. Melete encompasses the same complexity: a prestigious and intense artists’ retreat on the surface, Melete actually serves as the feeding ground for the Faerie Host. The creative focus and passionate spark of artists sustain the Fae, and each year the most promising Melete Fellow is selected to pay that tithe. They are taken into Faerie for seven years, alone and plumbed for their deepest passions, before being cast back into our world. Their reward is guaranteed success in whatever creative endeavors they pursue.

This is a book about how we help and hurt each other. It’s about the font of creativity, and paying for our choices. It’s about parents failing children, and people finding ways in camaraderie to build each other up. It’s about people who want to be less human and creatures who want to be more. It’s about what happens when we fail, and what happens when we don’t.

It’s a thorned rose aching in your throat when you find yourself in its pages - as many of us childhood survivors will.

It’s a story about facing down the tithe, and this is no Tam Lin.

Kat Howard’s Roses and Rot is well worth your time, as she builds compelling characters and weaves an enticing setting in contemporary rural America. She intelligently explores mature themes and the artist’s working life, while still evoking the wonder of creation and salvation of loving friendships. You’ll find her story doesn’t easily let you go. You’ll be drawn back to Melete, back to Imogen and Marin, their friends and enemies, more than once. I’d say I’m sorry - but I’m not.

Deborah J. Brannon

(Deborah received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.)

Monday, September 12, 2016

III International Seminar on Fairy-tale and Storytelling Therapy 2017

It is with great pleasure that we would like to invite share with you the information about our III Seminar on Fairy-tale and Storytelling Therapy that will be held from 4 till 8 of April 2017 in Sintra, Portugal. It will be another opportunity to bring together specialists, academics, therapists, storytellers and all other enthusiasts of fairy-tale and storytelling, and their therapeutic and healing potential.

And we are most happy to inform that this time the Seminar will be proceded by pre-Seminar workshops which will take place on the 4th of April. Due to its format these workshops have fewer places than the Seminar and the registration is not included in the full Seminar registration. So please check the detailed information regarding each of this workshops.

All the details regarding both the Seminar and the pre-Seminar are available under this link:

It would be lovely if you joined as and let yourself be enchanted by the magical Sintra....

Places for both Seminar and pre-Seminar are limited, so please make sure that you register as soon as possible,

With warmest regards from Portugal,

Adriana Jurczyk Duarte

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Call for Papers: Thinking with Stories in Times of Conflict: A Conference in Fairy-Tale Studies

Conflict can give rise to violence but also to creativity. In the 1690s, French fairy-tale writers imagined through their fairy tales ideal resolutions to political conflict (Louis XIV’s absolutism), as well as conflict in conceptions of gender and marriage practices. The German tale tradition was transformed by the migration of French Huguenots to Germanic territories after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, which prohibited the practice of Protestantism in France. The German Grimm Brothers drew from the tale tradition to create a cohesive notion of Germanic traditions and to contest French domination in the nineteenth century. Postcolonial writers such as Salman Rushdie, Patrick Chamoiseau, Nalo Hopkinson, and Sofia Samatar draw from wonder tale traditions in ways that disrupt Western narrative traditions. And multimedia storytelling that dips both into history and the fantastic has advanced decolonial and social justice projects. These are only a few examples of the ways in which authors think with stories in times of conflict.

With this conference we hope to bring fairy-tale scholars together to reflect upon the genre in relation to questions that include but are not limited to: migrants and migration in different geographical locations and historical periods; political and social upheaval; and transformations with an eye to alternative futures. One of our goals is to encourage a dialogue between creative and scholarly thinking with wonder tales in times of conflict.

The conference will consist of plenary talks, workshops, panels with papers, and roundtables.

This conference will take place at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, August 2-5, 2017.

Plenary Speakers and Workshop Leaders include Pauline Greenhill, Dan Taulapapa McMullin, Veronica Schanoes, Kay Turner, Jack Zipes, and more to be confirmed.

Deadline for Abstracts: January 10, 2017.

Papers for panels: Please send us a 300-word abstract along with your institutional affiliation for papers of no more than 20 minutes.

Roundtables: If you would like to propose a roundtable, please include a 150-word abstract of the topic and a list of participants with their institutional affiliations; each presentation by roundtable participants should be no more than 10 minutes.

Please send abstracts to: Cristina Bacchilega (cbacchi at hawaii dot edu) and Anne Duggan (a dot duggan at wayne dot edu)

Acceptances by February 15, 2017.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Celebrate National Read a Book Day--Read a Fairy Tale!

Today is National Read a Book Day! So what book do you want to read today? Over the holiday weekend, I craved some comfort reading with all of the ongoing personal stress right now and found myself returning to Jane Eyre for the umpity-umpth time. The book has changed for me over the decades as I have changed, but I don't grow weary of it as I have with many other books that will remain nameless here today. Bonus that Jane Eyre counts as fairy tale reading for me with the overt Bluebeard references, too.

Jane Eyre and Jane Austen, comfort reads forever, I think. And on a related side note, if you haven't seen Love and Friendship yet, well, it's now available on DVD as well as streaming. Excellent movie!

So what fairy tale or folklore related title do you hope to read today? My stack is to the virtual rafters with little time allotted for fun reading today, so I think I may choose to read the book I've been hording for over a month, Beauty and the Beast by by Mahlon F. Craft (Author) and Kinuko Y. Craft (Illustrator). I've already seen most of the illustrations from the Beauty and the Beast 2017 Fairy Tale Wall Calendar, but I haven't read the book and explored all of the illustrations yet.

From National Day Calendar site:


National Read A Book Day is observed annually on September 6th. On August 9th, we all celebrated National Book Lovers Day. While these bookish days may seem similar, National Read a Book Day invites us ALL to grab a book we might enjoy and spend the day reading.

Don’t keep it to yourself. Share the experience! Read aloud either to children or to grandparents. Read to your pets or to your stuffed animals and plants.

Reading improves memory and concentration as well as reduces stress. Older adults who spend time reading show a slower cognitive decline and tend to participate in more mentally stimulating activities over their lifetime. Books are an inexpensive entertainment, education and time machine, too!


Sit back, relax and read a book. Use #ReadABookDay to post on social media.