Books · Fantasy · Non-Fiction · thinking out loud

Books Read, and Other Updates

I really haven’t been in a blogging mood lately. I’ve been reading a lot, although not quite the books that I had wanted to read in December. I’m just really tired lately. Not really sure why exactly. Anyway, tonight my sister will be arriving home from Russia – it’s her winter break right now. I’m looking forward to her return – no one could annoy me like she does, which means she’s my favourite person in the world. She’s really crazy about Stephenie Meyer right now, and Harry Potter fanfiction.
Yesterday I made an account at Bookmooch, since I think some of the books I have in the Desa View room should go to better owners. I realised that I have a mass market paperback of The Neverending Story still! Since I also have a hardcover edition, I guess I don’t really need the mass market. Usually when I find double copies or books that I don’t mind trading/letting go I’d give them to friends, but I thought I’d try Bookmooch. I haven’t added all the books I’m willing to give away, though. Will be doing that later.
In February our store will be having a promotion on selected fiction titles about the faerie folk. At first it was going to be just the children’s and YA section, so I was just helping Kit out a bit in book selection (since I read a lot of books with this theme). Then Kit decided that my section (Fantasy) should have a selection of books as well. Choosing ONE title to for our monthly promotions (Gems of the Month) is difficult enough. There’s the choosing part, which could get pretty annoying, and the paperwork, which is rather tedious. This is my first time doing a 20-book promotion, and since it’s the Chinese New Year month we had to get the final draft to the printers early. It’s as frustrating as it was exciting. I actually really love the fact that we’re having this promotion, but the work involved is incredible. Now that most of the paperwork is over, though, I could say that it was fun. And I’m really looking forward to it – our combined final list includes Jane Yolen and Patricia McKillip and Charles de Lint and Holly Black and Neil Gaiman and Juliet Marillier and Melissa Marr and Emma Bull and Will Shetterly and Terri Windling!

Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, retold by Nicky Raven. This is one of my favourite fairy tales, and this retelling is as enchanting as the original. My favourite thing about this particular book, however, is the illustration. Illustrated by Vladyslav Yerko, the art is just exquisite and full of little details that I might not have noticed if I hadn’t spent so much time looking at the pictures. I will probably be scanning some of the illustrations and posting them in my LJ after I’m done with scanning my Heath Robinson’s Andersen anthology.
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. Because I had lost my copy soon after finishing it the first time, and only bought myself a new one recently, this is my first re-read of Howl. And the first time I’m reading it in a very long time. What immediately struck me when I started reading it was how much I’ve missed the first time around. Back then I hadn’t read as much folklore as I have now, and that changed how I read the book in a big way. I wrote a “second impressions” rant on LJ that is about 3 pages on a Microsoft doc. file, and I’m even thinking of rewriting it and expanding it into a paper someday. (I haven’t been in a blogging mood much lately, but I have been in this “paper writing” craze, where I get ideas all the time and yet have no real reason to write them, since I’m studying Multimedia, not Lit) .

Robin Hood Book by Enid Blyton. I didn’t even know that Enid Blyton had a Robin Hood book! Found it at a used bookstore. The illustrations inside were really a distraction and doesn’t add anything interesting to the story, I think – I didn’t like them. But I enjoyed the book. Robin Hood is one of those legends that I’m only familiar with from the movies and one or two short pieces I read as a child, so Blyton’s version is the first time I’m reading it differently. I thought that since the volume was written for children, the story would have the same happy ending as the movies, but it went on to Robin’s death. This is definitely the volume I wish I had read when I was younger, and obsessed with Disney’s Robin Hood (my favourite Disney movie, even now).
The Sandman Papers edited by Joe Sanders. This anthology is meant for non-academic purposes, but the papers included are all very interesting. Some of them I really enjoyed, while at least one of them made me wonder if the writer have actually read The Sandman. The book is divided into two parts, the first one containing essays about specific issues or story arcs (mostly A Game of  You, The Kindly Ones, The Doll’s House and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”) from The Sandman, while the second part examines The Sandman from the context of other works, or studies certain elements in the series – the choice of costume/dress for the Endless, for example. Some of the papers were definitely more interesting than others, but I found this collection a fun read anyway. I wonder if I should include this under “Non-Fiction” or under “Anthologies” for my 999 Challenge?

Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis. To tell the truth, I didn’t think I’d enjoy this as much as I did. I found this copy at BookXcess for less than 20 ringgit, which was the only reason I thought I might as well try it. I ended up enjoying the story and the description of C.S. Lewis’ Mars (Malacandra), and I especially enjoyed Ransom’s observations about Malacandra and its inhabitants, as well as his conversations with them. I’m usually uneasy with, and will avoid, fiction that is heavy with any kind of religious symbolism, but with this book (as was with Narnia, for me) the story is enjoyable by itself. I’m definitely looking forward to reading Perelandra, the next book in the trilogy.
~ originally posted on blogspot

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