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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Once Upon a Time

It is time for Carl's annual Once Upon a Time Challenge!  It is hard to believe that this is the sixth year.  I participate every year, although I'm not always so good about posting on the review site.

I've gotten a few ideas from Marg and Kailana about some possibilities for this year's list of books.  Marg was interested in Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth, but since Amazon didn't have it listed yet, and  I haven't read any Forsyth, I added Witches of Eileanan (Book 1) to my wish list.

Kailana did the worst damage to my resolution not to order anything more from Amazon this month because I downloaded The Summoner:  Book I in the Chronicles of the Necromancer to my Kindle and added several others to my wishlist.

I'll probably do

Read at least 5 books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time categories. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology…or your five books might be a combination from the four genres. 

Carl offers several Quests for this challenge, including The Journey-- It means you are participating, but not committing yourself to any specific number of books. By signing up for The Journey you are agreeing to read at least one book within one of the four categories during March 21st to June 19th period.Just one book. If you choose to read more, fantastic!

I've enjoyed this challenge every year and have read a variety of fantasy each year, but I do enjoy the retellings of fairy tales and have three picked out:

 Beauty: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley
 Beast by Donna Jo Napoli
 Beauty by Sherri Tepper.

I'm not sure if I'll read all of them, three retellings of the same fairy tale may be too much in two months.  But there are plenty of other retellings-- for example, of Repunzel--that I'm interested in.  I've read Zel by Donna Jo Napoli and liked it very much.  Other possibilities here.

A favorite nonfiction Challenge read from the past:  Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales by Kate Bernheimer is a fascinating look at the importance of fairy tales in the lives of various authors and includes essays by Le Guin, Julia Alvarez, Margaret Atwood.

Do you have any suggestions for books that fit the fantasy, fairy tale, folklore, myth categories?

I can't wait to get started!


  1. haha, Witches of Eileanan was almost on my list. I have it and a few of the sequels here somewhere. When Marg told me about Bitter Greens I couldn't help thinking that if I actually read the books on my TBR pile once in a while I could have all ready been a huge fan of her books... It just got too time consuming when I decided to add pretty pictures...

    I hope you enjoy The Summoner!

    I kind of forgot about Donna Jo Napoli. I also read and enjoyed Zel. I should look into her other books. The McKinley was good and I hope to read the Tepper this year...

    And, I have Mirror, Mirror on the Wall. I started it last year, but it just didn't happen. I should try to make it a priority this year!

  2. I am planning on reading Fairy tale retellings, I notcied I've got quite a pile. I have Mirror, Mirror on the Wall as well. It looks great.
    I'm looking forward to your reviews.

  3. Kailana - It does get time consuming when you start listing books, links, pictures--but I'm glad you did because I got some good ideas!

    Started The Summoner last night--a typical quest, good friends on a dangerous journey. So far I'm enjoying it.

    I loved the essays in Mirror, Mirror; hope you enjoy the book.

    Caroline - Fairy tale retellings and analogs always fascinate me, and there is such a variety from which to choose. So many good authors and poets have enjoyed playing with fairy tale themes.

    Some of the goriest, most graphic fairy tales had beneficial effects for the essayists in Mirror, Mirror. Really interesting reading.

  4. Bitter Greens hasn't actually come out here yet. I was lucky enough to get an ARC and I am really looking forward to reading it!

    Glad to have provided some inspiration in some small way!

  5. Marg - :0 No wonder I couldn't find Bitter Greens listed! Eager to hear what you think when you get around to it.

  6. Jennie, this has inspired me to pick up some of the unread fantasy books on my library shelves. I'm starting with Robin McKinley's SPINDLES'S END.

  7. I LOVE McKinley's Beauty, and her Spindle's End is great too (also a good alternative if you don't want to stick to just one fairy tale). Juliet Marillier has some good fairy tales-retold too.

  8. Teresa - This is a fun challenge and a great reason to read fantasy and fairy tales. I like McKinley, but haven't read Spindle's End--I'll add it to my list.

    Cheryl - I don't know that I will stick to one retelling, there are so many possibilities! I've added some Marillier to my list, but I haven't read anything by her yet, just seen several reviews.