Should I do Dunnett?

One author I have yet to read is Dorothy Dunnett.  I own the first few volumes of the Lymond chronicles thanks to my late Mum. She enjoyed them very much and was re-reading them back then. They are renowned for not being an easy read though, requiring perseverance and frequent referring back or to a guide to remind yourself of who’s who and what’s what.

For anyone who’s not heard of the Lymond Chronicles, they are set during the middle of the 16th century, and tell the story of Francis Crawford of Lymond, a Scottish nobleman. They feature a lot of real historical characters too, and the action ranges from Scotland across Europe and the Mediterranean. There are six volumes in the series – each of around 500 pages.

She has a heavyweight cadre of fans too. Before she died in 2001, she set up the Dorothy Dunnett Society; they now host an ‘International Dorothy Dunnett Day’ or IDDD which will be on November 10th this year.

Before I read up a little about her and discovered the existence of the above society, I toyed with the idea of inviting you lot to join me in reading the first in the sequence, The Game of Kings. It has four parts of roughly 190, 90, 90 and 200 pages – the last can be split again into two.  Then if we liked it, we could do the second volume Queens’ Play.  We could take it in leisurely fashion, starting on IDDD (Nov 10th) and regrouping in the New Year to review the first and largest chunk, then the smaller chunks over the next four months to the end of April …

… then I read DGR’s post from 2007 and saw the problems Lynne and her co-readers had with ‘Dunnettmania’.  It all sounds more than a little daunting. Added to that, all the books are out of print in the UK, (although it is in e-book format), and secondhand copies are available – at a price…

So dare I?  Dare we?  Have you done Dunnett?

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To explore further on Amazon UK, please click below:
The Game Of Kings
Queens’ Play
The Dorothy Dunnett Companion


Who killed the penguin?

Morgue Drawer Next Door by Jutta Profijt, translated from the German by Erik J Macki.

This unusual crime novel is narrated by Pascha – he used to be a car thief – the best young one in Cologne. Pascha has become a sort of detective, teaming up with Dr Martin Gänsewein, a forensic examiner for the city. They have a bit of a love-hate relationship, Martin is very good at his job, but is a little set in his ways; Pascha can be like an annoying dog, always nipping at his heels. Martin does believe in justice though, and Pascha’s heart is in the right place for an ex-car-thief.

They met in the morgue, when Martin was performing Pascha’s autopsy – yes, Pascha is a ghost! Martin is the only person he can communicate with, which drives him mad – but the two do work together well. The story of their meeting, in which they investigate Pascha’s own murder, is told in the first book of this series Morgue Drawer Four, which I’ve not read, (but would now like to).

In Morgue Drawer Next Door, the unlikely pairing have a new case to investigate. A convent in the posh area of Cologne, has a fire in which one sister perishes, and another is burned to a crisp, but hangs on in ICU. The run-down convent needs a lot of expensive restoration work done and the police are inclined to think that the fire was an accident. One person knows differently however – the nun who died, Sister Marlene. Marlene’s spirit lingers – she has a mission to accomplish before passing on.

When Pascha finds her, he takes her under his wing and vows to help. The only problem is that Martin is a) not supposed to be back at work yet after having been stabbed (in the previous novel), and b) would rather Pascha was not around so he can progress his fledgling romance with the lovely Birgit. Pascha becomes go-between, for Marlene can only communicate with him, and goaded on by the two ghosts, Martin grudgingly gets on the case.

Martin is gloriously grumpy and reluctant to get involved in another case – after all, he got stabbed the previous time. He also wants more downtime from Pascha being in his head. He’s not a policeman, he’s a pathologist, but knowing that the fire was no accident, he can’t leave it. He must find a way of getting the right information on how to solve the crime to the police without them condemning him as a crackpot who talks to ghosts! Luckily for Pascha, Martin’s new girlfriend Birgit is game for helping him out, and has no idea about the ghosts.

This brings me to Pascha and Marlene. Their interplay is so sweet and funny. You can imagine how a middle-aged nun would react to the testosterone-led mindset of a young man, yet there is no-one else for her to turn to to show her the ropes of being a ghost. Sister Marlene soon realises that, and the chalk and cheese pairing are soon whooshing all over the place and manipulating situations to find the proof they need.

Although this all sounds delightful and irreverent, which it is, there is a more serious side to the novel regarding the work of the convent. Amongst other things, they run a night shelter for the homeless, and none of their neighbours like it. The surrounding area has gone up in the world, and the new posh inhabitants don’t want bums on their doorstep, nor do the allotment owners nearby, or right-wing groups. The nuns are under pressure on all sides to shut up and ship out.

The novel is narrated throughout by Pascha, who maintains that he is writing a book, and there are frequent asides about his Editor. Initially, this was slightly irritating, but you can’t help warming to Pascha. There is a lovely bit where he tries to justify his having been a car-thief to Marlene – generating wealth in insurance, people buying new cars etc, and keeping the manufacturers in work.  Marlene too, although pious, is humane and does have a good sense of humour for a nun – something she had needed in her work one surmises.

If you enjoy crime novels with humour and a lot of heart, this may be one for you. Knowledge of the first volume is not necessary to enjoy this one, but I certainly want to read it now I’ve read the second. (8.5/10)

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I received my book to review from Amazon Vine.
To explore further on Amazon UK, please click below:

Morgue Drawer Next Door by Jutta Profijt. Amazon Crossing paperback, Jul 2012, 256 pages.
Morgue Drawer Four – the first book in the series.

Mid-book cull – pause for a giggle or three…

As you may have surmised, I’m in the throes of having a major book cull. I gave seven bags full to my daughter’s school fête back in June, and have been working my way through the other piles, double-stacked shelves and bags over the past weeks.  I’ve sorted out some worth selling via various routes (including the tab above), loads to car boot or try other methods, and some will go to the charity shop. There are over 200 to go now, lots still to come – I may make a list.

Apart from my own book mountains – there were a couple of unsorted bags-full from my late Mum’s still to deal with, and I’m having fun going through them…

Firstly, I’ve allowed myself to be distracted from the heavyweight pleasures of John Saturnall’s Feast by a short Edna O’Brien novel – the first of hers I’ve read, but it seemed appropriate for the time of year… August is a Wicked Month is a 1965 novel in which a twenty-something divorcée looks for love while her young son is on holiday with his father. A couple of chapters in and it’s very racy, and I’m sure that 50 shades author E L James would never describe a certain something as like a ‘foxglove‘ – ‘high and purple‘! (*blushes*). Fun though so far, ahem!

My late Mum often stuck a Post-it note with comments on book covers, or cut out a review and stuck it inside after reading a book. Delving in a bag I came to a book called Pushkin’s Button by Serena Vitale.  Inside was a clipping from the Literary Review of another book about Pushkin, with her note on top – this sounds better-written than this book.  Further down the bag was the book in question – Pushkin by T J Binyon – with a Post-It on the cover saying ‘Better than Pushkin’s Button’. Don’t think I’ll read them though.

Lastly – a nice coincidence…  Today Simon T posted about a book he abandoned after just 1.5 pages. That was Gone to Earth by Mary Webb. Funnily enough, I found a very tatty ex-library copy of it amongst my Mum’s books – and I binned it.  Seems I had the right instinct about it!

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To explore further on Amazon UK, please click below:
John Saturnall’s Feast by Lawrence Norfolk
August is a Wicked Month by Edna O’Brien
Pushkin’s Button by Serena Vitale
Pushkin by T J Binyon
Gone To Earth (Virago Modern Classics) by Mary Webb

An evening with Vera and Jimmy … and Ann Cleeves

I spent a great evening hearing about two fictional British detectives yesterday. Two totally different people – the frumpy, middle-aged Vera Stanhope (pronounced Stannup) from Northumberland, and the descendant a Spanish sailor from the Armada who was shipwrecked at Fairisle in the Shetlands.

Both were created by Ann Cleeves, who had escaped for the evening from a writers retreat at St Hilda’s college in Oxford to come and talk to us at Mostly Books in Abingbdon.

Anne talked at length about her two detectives, how they came to life and the experiences that gave her the ideas for the novels.  Ann was really witty and entertaining, telling us about some of the funny little details that she believes make novels. She also told us of her love of translated crime novels – particularly Henning Mankell’s spectacular beginnings, (cf Sidetracked).

She also spoke about the experience of having them transfer to the small screen: Vera is 2 series in on ITV starring Brenda Blethyn; and Shetland’s Jimmy Perez will be on the BBC this November, portrayed by Dougie Henshall, (who lacks the Jimmy of the book’s Mediterranean ancestry, but Ann thinks will be great).  Although having had to hand over her characters for the TV series, Ann was very pleased to have been involved throughout the process, and is particularly delighted that parts of Shetland were filmed in situ, bringing work there and helping to promote tourism.  She met her husband while working on Fairisle as a cook at a bird sanctuary many years ago, and they return to the Shetlands regularly.

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Which brings me to Raven Black – the first novel in the Shetland Quartet…

It’s New Year’s Eve and Magnus is ready for visitors, revellers, not that he’s expecting any, but you never know. He doses, then he’s woken up by a banging on the door …

‘Come in,’ he shouted. ‘Come in, come in.’ He struggled to his feet, stiff and aching. They must already be in the storm porch. He heard the hiss of their whispers.
The door was pushed open, letting in a blast of freezing air and two young girls, who were as gaudy and brightly coloured as exotic birds. He saw that they were drunk. They stood, propping each other up. They weren’t dressed for the weather yet their cheeks were flushed and he could feel the health of them like heat. One was fair and one was dark. The fair one was the prettier, round and soft, but Magnus noticed the dark one first; her black hair was streaked with luminescent blue. More than anything, he would have liked to reach out and touch the hair, but he knew better than to do that. It would only scare them away. (page 2)

It’s not giving the game away to tell you that one of the girls will soon end up dead, and that, for various reasons, suspicion will fall on Magnus who has a murky past. Inspector Jimmy Perez has to get the investigation started, and call in the crime scene experts from the mainland; it’ll be his first murder case. The pressure is on to solve it before Up Helly Aa – the Shetlanders’ Viking fire festival later in the month. They send in a team from Aberdeen to speed things up, and Inspector Taylor, a hyperactive Scouser, takes charge. He and Perez take to one another and work together to solve the case, (working together – unusual for a crime novel!).  Taylor’s expertise and Perez’s local knowledge will both be needed to unravel the tangled webs of relationships on this island where everyone knows everyone, or at least think they do.

As Ann explained, the major theme of this novel is outsiders.  The old guy Magnus is an outsider because of his past; the murdered girl’s family are incomers from London; and Perez – although an islander, is from Fairisle outside the main island group, and with his Mediterranean heritage is also an outsider of a sort. That’s not to say that Jimmy doesn’t know how Lerwick’s society works though – when he was eleven he’d had to come from Fairisle to stay with the other pupils from outlying islands in the hostel for school. Perez is conflicted between his love for Fairisle and the possibility of returning to become a crofter, and the love of his job and the possibility of a more exciting life.

I liked Jimmy Perez very much, and am really looking forward to the next in the quartet, White Nights, which is set at midsummer.  Raven Black won Ann the first Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award (which replaced the CWA gold dagger). If you’re not read any of the Quartet, Ann recommends starting at the beginning, whereas the Vera novels are more standalone.

Despite being a crime novel set in the depths of winter, Shetland is a really alluring setting. That, combined with Jimmy and a plot that is strong on interrelationships made Raven Black a brilliant read. (9/10)

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I bought my copy. To explore further on Amazon UK, please click below:
Raven Black (Shetland Quartet 1) by Ann Cleeves. Pub Pan Macmillan. Pbk 320 pages.
White Nights (Shetland Quartet 2)
The Crow Trap (Vera Stanhope 1)
Vera Series 1-2 [DVD]

A dystopian psychodrama that packs a punch…

I Have Waited, and You Have Come by Martine McDonagh

Set in a near future where global warming has wreaked Mother Nature’s revenge on the Earth and made large parts of the globe uninhabitable due to rising water levels, Rachel lives alone in a old mill in the Yorkshire Dales. Jacob used to live with her but he left. Rachel still keeps his study as he left it though, as if he might walk through the door again one day.

Without Jacob, Rachel survives, taking no joy from life. Rachel grows vegetables, keeps chickens and takes more care of them than herself. She had wanted children, but Jacob said they wouldn’t survive being brought into this world and persuaded her it was a bad thing – she can’t help being broody though at her age. She used to be an artist, but that’s fallen by the wayside too.It’s an effort to do anything, and her nearest neighbours are a short trek away. She prefers to keep to herself, remaining hidden within the walled compound of the mill except for her visits to the market run by Noah…

I duck into my favourite doorway, which I use as a lookout to check the coast is clear before going down to the market. Today of all days it is important I have Noah to myself because what I am about to do is something I would once have considered rash.
An intense, yellow, off-kilter stare from the opposite doorway jolts me back into the present. I step forward, whooshing air through my front teeth, and stretch out a hand to attract the attention of the mange-ridden but still charismatic ginger cat. But he fancies himself as a sphinx too disgusted with humanity to even acknowledge my existence. I straighten up and disguise my intimidation by fumbling in my jacket pocket for the scrap of paper I put there; unfold it to check its eight-number inscription is still legible: Rachel. I refold it and pin it to my palm with my fingernails.
Reassured now that Noah is alone, I step out into the precinct. Hel-lo. One syllable per footstep, I rehearse my grand entrance.

Noah is the only man Rachel knows, and she’s plucking up courage to ask him out. Meanwhile a new man is on the scene – Jez White.  He suddenly starts cropping up when she expected to see Noah. She begins to feel as if she is being watched, or is she getting paranoid?  She needs to find out more about Jez White.

This novel manages to combine the nightmare of a post environmental apocalypse with a psychological thriller and throws in a few overtones of Margaret Atwood’s classic The Handmaid’s Tale for good measure.  Rachel being an outsider and aloner, her refusal to want to belong to any of the remaining isolated communities, makes her tough yet fragile. You aren’t quite sure how reliable she is as the narrator, and the growing sense of unease as the story progresses adds to the tension.

She is a survivor though, and that thought inevitably led me back to a favourite TV series of mine from the 1970s – Terry Nation’s Survivors, (the original, not the more recent TV remake). In this series, a killer flu epidemic wiped out 95% of mankind, leaving the remainder to fight it out, keep the species going, and impose a new world order.

McDonagh’s novel is a fine example of the spec fiction genre, the changed world she has created seems eerily real. I enjoyed reading it very much. At the moment, it is her only novel, but I do hope she publishes more.  (8.5/10)

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My copy was sent by the publisher – thank you.
I Have Waited, and You Have Come by Martine McDonagh. Myriad Editions paperback 2012. Originally published 2006. 181 pages incl Author Q&A.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Survivors – Series 1-3 Box Set [DVD] [1975]

My Policeman, Your Policeman …

My Policemanby Bethan Roberts

This is a story of two people who love the same man.  Firstly Marion, who fell for Tom, the brother of her best friend, the first time she saw him …

He was leaning in the doorway with the sleeves of his shirt rolled up to the elbows, and I noticed the fine lines of muscle in his forearms. He couldn’t have been more than fifteen – barely a year older than me; but his shoulders were already wide and there was a dark hollow at the base of his neck. His chin had a scar on one side – just a small dent, like a fingerprint in plasticine – and he was wearing a sneer, which even then I knew he was doing deliberately, because he though he should, because it made him look like a Ted; but the whole effect of this boy leaning on the door frame and looking at me with his blue eyes – small eyes, set deep – made me blush so hard that I reached down and plunged my fingers back into the dusty fur around Midnight’s ears and focused my eyes on the floor.

The other, later, is Patrick.  As the book opens, Marion is setting down her story, telling it for Patrick who has had a stroke.

It’s Brighton in the 1950s, and Thomas – Tom, has returned from his National Service to become a trainee policeman.  Marion is now a school teacher, and strikes up a friendship with Tom who offers to teach her to swim. They become a couple, but their relationship is not exactly romantic.

One day, Tom takes Marion to the museum to meet a friend of his, Patrick, one of the curators.  Tom has a naive appreciation for art that belies his tough rugged exterior; Marion goes along with it.  Patrick becomes a regular feature of the couple’s lives, and still Marion doesn’t suspect … or does she?

Patrick takes up the story in his diaries, and from him, we get to see how circumspect and brave he has to be to maintain a gay relationship during this time when it was illegal – and with a policeman too.

The narrative alternates between the two, each telling us about their policeman. Tom is sometimes quite difficult to read – he has a strong physical presence, but is very laconic, very self-contained and self-absorbed. Our sympathies lie not with him, but with the two people who love him.  As their lives pan out, and things take on a dramatic turn which I can’t tell you about, I was so caught up in these lives that I found a tear running down my cheek.

This evening I went to hear Bethan talk about the book at Abingdon Library – she’s a local girl and worked in the library for a while before doing a creative writing MA, and moving to Brighton where she’s now based.

Her previous two novels took their inspiration from real stories and people – The Pools from a local murder, and The Good Plain Cook from the life of Peggy Guggenheim. My Policeman also took its inspiration from a real life – that of E M Forster, his posthumously published novel Maurice, and Forster’s relationship with Bob Buckingham, a policeman, whose wife May nursed Forster after he suffered a stroke.

Bethan transposed the bones of that story from the 1930s into the 1950s for the novel. She enjoyed researching the period, getting lots of extra tips from her mother and aunt about growing up in that decade. The attention to detail shows.

Any novel that can move me to tears has to get my recommendation. I loved this book. (10/10)

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I received my copy to review from Amazon Vine. To explore further on Amazon UK, please click below:
My Policeman by Bethan Roberts – Vintage Paperback, Aug 2012, 352 pages.
The Pools, The Good Plain Cook – both by Bethan Roberts.
Maurice (Penguin Classics) by E M Forster

Generations of family photos …

Doing some sorting out this afternoon whilst watching the Olympics, and found some family photos that had belonged to my Great Aunt.  I adored this one, so I thought I’d share a few with you.

It shows my maternal Grandmother Ethel (known as Ettie) on the left and my Great Aunt Muriel on the right. There’s no date on the back, but it judging by their ages it’ll be early 1910s. I just loved Ettie’s nonchalant expression and casual pose, whereas Muriel is the epitome of sweetness – lovely little Yorkshire lasses.

Here they are again (below) in their early twenties, (middle two), and Muriel with the glasses has overtaken Ettie heightwise. Girls about town in Llandudno in 1929.

Finally, here is Ettie (right) with her daughter, my Mum – Maureen in 1931 by which time she was married and living in Belfast, and with me (left) in 1960.

Sadly, she died in 1961 aged only 57 when I was not quite one, so I never knew her, but it is lovely getting acquainted just a little through family photos.

This tale’s pinned on a donkey …

Caroline: A Mystery by Cornelius Medvei

This short novel is a weird and wonderful thing, slightly surreal in parts, but utterly captivating.

It is the story of Mr Shaw, who takes his family on their annual vacation where he tries to unwind from his day job in insurance, but is fretting internally (as is his wife), over his impending retirement. One day, they’re all out for a walk, and in a field up the road, Shaw’s son spots an animal…

‘It’s a donkey,’ my father said.
As if to confirm this statement of the obvious, the donkey stepped out of the carriage doorway and trotted up to us, and it was then we saw that she was a female. She tossed her head and snorted, and stopped in front of my father.
They faced each other across the sagging gate. He saw a rusty grey, barrel-chested donkey, with pretty ears nine inches long (one cocked, the other drooping to the left), head on one side, flicking her tail to keep the flies away. I noticed her shaggy coat and the pale whiskers on her upper lip, and wondered how old she might be. …
… And she, fixing my father with her great, dark, limpid eyes – ‘eyes a man could drown in’, as he later described them – took in the hair thinning at the temples, his nose reddened with sunburn, his stomach bulging slightly over the waistband of his shorts (like all his colleagues, my father always wore shorts on holiday, regardless of the weather; shorts were not allowed in the office).
I suppose this was the moment when the whole strange affair began; the moment, so well documented in classical poetry and TV soaps and sugary ballads, when two strangers come face to face; the heart thumps, an overpowering force shakes them like the wind in the birch trees above the stable – in short, they begin to fall for each other… An odd way, perhaps, to describe the first meeting, in a muddy field, of a middle-aged insurance broker and a donkey. But this was how it happened.

Instantly smitten, Shaw’s father buys the donkey who is called Caroline. He sends his family home in the car and takes two weeks to walk Caroline back home to live in their front garden. Soon he’s spending every spare minute with the donkey.

When the neighbours complain about her braying when he’s at work, the solution is simple – he takes her to work with him. Then one day his son discovers his father playing chess with the donkey in her shed … and this is when the tale takes a more surreal aspect, and here I’ll stop to save spoiling things, save to say that there is plenty more to come.

The narrative is interspersed with extracts from Mr Shaw’s papers, his researches into donkeys, his opnions on R.L.Stevenson’s classic travelogue Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes, together with rather amateurish and grainy photos.  They all add to the charm of this strange friendship.

When you think of humans with animal best friends, at one extreme there are the very real close relationships between shepherds and their dogs, (and yes, even the X-Factor winners Ashleigh & Pudsey). At the other end of the scale is James Stewart and his invisible six foot rabbit friend Harvey (from the 1950 film, and 1944 play by Mary Chase).  You are never quite sure how real Harvey is, whether he’s truly imaginary, or a fairy spirit, whereas Caroline is quite clearly a real donkey with winning eyes and a way of getting people to do what she wants – but how real is her chess-playing prowess?

Whatever her skills, the relationship between the donkey and Mr Shaw is lovely, platonic, but also obsessive on his part. He, however, had been wondering how to handle his retirement, and she is both the way to ease him into it, and able to give him a new lease of life at the same time.

Full of humour, yet equally touching, this is a gentle but quirky novel that was a pleasure to read. (9/10)

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I received my copy courtesy of Amazon Vine. To explore further on Amazon UK, please click below:
Caroline: A Mystery by Cornelius Medvei – Vintage pbk, pub July 2012, 160 pages.
Harvey [DVD] starring James Stewart (1950)
Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes and the Amateur Emigrant (Penguin Classics) by Robert Louis Stevenson

Once upon a time, there was a girl who didn’t read proper fairy tales …

When I was little, the books I enjoyed reading the most were fairy tales. My childhood favourite was the Puffin A Book of Princesses selected by Sally Patrick Johnson published in 1965. It’s a great collection combining old tales like The Twelve Dancing Princesses with ones by E E Nesbit and Oscar Wilde. I still have my copy somewhere complete with coloured in illustrations.

Soon, I was devouring the wonderful fairy tale collections of Andrew Lang. I’ve been addicted to fairy tales ever since, building up a collection of volumes from around the world together with commentaries on the subject.

Lang’s collections comprise twelve volumes in every colour of the rainbow, not to be confused with the Rainbow Magic franchise that today’s early readers are offered. There are over 150 of these tediously similar stories for little girls now! My daughter did read some of them when she was five or six, but by the time we’d read maybe a dozen, she lost interest, (phew!). These books are written by a wide range of authors under the name Daisy Meadows, and always feature two schoolgirls Kirsty and Rachel who have adventures with their fairy friends. I’m sure they do have some value in building confidence in young readers, but they are seriously formulaic, very sanitised, and frankly no-one needs 150 of them.

Many of the traditional fairy tales were not written specifically for children, although they were included in the intended readership by the Brothers Grimm in the early 1800s for instance.  In their original versions, some of these tales are very dark indeed, being full of violence with people getting eaten by wolves as in Perrault’s Little Red Riding Hood, (1697) or tragic like Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid and Little Match Girl, (1830s-40s).

With all the animated Disney adaptations, enjoyable as they are, but which reinvent the traditional tales with new happy endings, and the formula books mentioned above, I feel that general opinion has rather dumbed down fairy tales as stories for young children. We know better.  My daughter, however, gave up fairy tales completely – swapping them for family dramas by Jacqueline Wilson, Hilary McKay, Sophie McKenzie et al.  Quietly, I despaired…

…then a couple of days ago, I found her starring at my Folio fairy tale shelf …

She was admiring the Andrew Lang Fairy Books, and she said could we start reading them.  We started with Lang’s rather different version of the Three little pigs from the Green Fairy Book, but then she decided she wanted to start at the beginning and read all of them – so back to the Blue Fairy Book (which is the first chronologically too, but I’ll have to adjust the order of the others though on the shelf!).

I asked why the sudden interest? She said that she hadn’t realised that the Three little pigs was considered a fairy tale, and that they didn’t necessarily have to have fairies in. That, plus she liked the book colours and covers. I hope her interest is sparked by reading these together, and that she can cope when we do meet a fairy, especially as the violet and brown volumes will be joining the others soon!

Do you have an opnion about the dumbing down of traditional folk and fairy tales?
Is our current fad for ghosts, vampires & zombies squeezing fairies out?
Which are your favourite fairy tales?

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To explore further at the Folio Society or Amazon UK, click on the links below:
Folio Society – Andrew Lang Fairy Books (Membership requirements apply)Book of Princesses (Puffin books)selected by Sally Patrick Johnson (available second-hand)
The Complete Fairy Tales (Vintage Classics)
Fairy Tales (Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions)
The Complete Fairy Tales (Oxford World’s Classics)
Olympia the Games Fairy (Rainbow Magic) by Daisy Meadows