Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Tomes of Terror by Mark Leslie

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of  Should Be Reading.
Anyone can participate. just do the following.
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t  give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 

 This week's teaser is from Tomes of  Terror - Haunted Bookstores and Libraries by Mark Leslie. This is a cool book of actual hauntings of bookstores and libraries as reported by people who work(ed) there as well as sometimes those who visited there.

Today's teaser comes from the Thornhill Village Library in Thornhill, Ontario.
Staff also got used to the daily routine that the ghost seemed to have. Every evening they would overhear noises coming from upstairs, the same footfall pattern as though someone were walking around preparing for bed.
(Kindle 14%)
 Even though the building serves as a library now, it has served as other things over the years including a private residence.

To read more about the ghosts that inhabit this library and others possibly at a location near you (there are locations both in Canada and the U.S.), pick up a copy of Tomes of Terror. A review is coming after I finish reading my copy, but so far it's interesting.

What book are you reading this week? What's your teaser? Leave us a taste or a link in the comments below. Thanks for coming by!

Dav Pilkey, Creator of CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS, on Banning Books

Monday, September 22, 2014

Banned Book Week 2014 - The Top 10

Banned Book Week is September 21-27, 2014. There are many resources available now about banned books, Two of them are the American Library Association Site  and this year there is a site dedicated to Banned Books Week  http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/.

According to the Banned Book Weeks site, the focus this year is on frequently challenged and banned comics and graphic novels. Surprisingly, the number one most challenged book, not just comic or graphic novel, both in 2012 and 2013 was Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants series. People who sought to have it banned did so on the basis of one or more of the following: offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence.

Supporters of Captain Underpants point out that the book series fills a need. It hooks reluctant readers on reading, especially boys. It tends towards potty humor, the protagonists are a pair of elementary school aged boys, and there are plenty of black and white illustrations. What's not for a young boy to like?

The other books in the top ten most challenged list for 2013 are as follows:
2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
by Sherman Alexie
4. Fifty Shades of Gray by E.L. James
5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
7. Looking for Alaska by John Green
8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
9. Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
10. Bone (series) by Jeff Smith

The data for 2014 is still being collected. Have you read any of the top 10 books? I've read some of Captain Underpants, but not the whole thing. Enough to know it would be funny to a kid. Let me know what you're thinking in the comments.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Review: The Last Days of Dorothy Parker by Marion Meade

The Last Days of Dorothy Parker: The Extraordinary Lives of Dorothy Parker and Lillian Hellman and How Death Can Be Hell on Friendship by Marion Meade is the story of much of Dorothy Parker's adult life in brief including her death and what became of her remains. As such it also touches on the others in her life: husband, friends, acquaintances. Much though is dedicated to Lillian Hellman and her roll in Dottie's life and thereafter.

Lilly considered herself Dottie's best friend. And they were close friends even though there was an age difference of about a decade. The age difference caused problems towards the end of Dottie's life though because of Lilly's vain type of personality and her inability to see a friend in such shape as Dorothy had achieved.

Honestly, I expected more about the relationship between Dottie and Lilly and less on the history of Dorothy overall. It was still interesting to me because I had not read a biography of Dorothy before. I can understand that the history was needed to place things in perspective. And especially needed towards the end to show Lilly's character.

It's important that you read the afterword if you read the book. It explains why some of the detail seems to be rather scant.

It's a good book, but a little dry. I liked it, but I didn't love it. I'm not sure what if anything the author could have done to improve it given what she had to work with. It's a must read if you are a Dorothy Parker fan, especially if you haven't read a biography yet. But, don't expect it to be full of wit and bon mots. It is pretty much just the facts m'aam. The author leaves the quotations from works to books such as the Portable Dorothy Parker, an edition she edited. If you like this book, or want to read further about Dorothy Parker, you may want to check out the author's other full biography of her entitled, Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This?

I gave this book 3 stars out of 5. Good, but not great.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Scholarly Side of Fairy Tales

copyright Unholyvault Dreamstime.com
Fairy Mushrooms By the Water photo
Many of us love fairy tales. There are scholarly type books devoted to fairy tales and folk tales and their origins and meanings. One of my favorites is The Witch Must Die: The Hidden Meaning of Fairy Tales by Sheldon Cashdan. I inherited an autographed copy from my grandmother. Makes it sound ancient, but it was published in 2000. It was required reading for a course she was taking at UMass in her golden years. One of the most notable things about the content in the book is that he thinks fairy tales help children deal with their problems. He says that children see the characters struggling with good and evil and identify with the struggle to some extent.

There are other books out there and other web sites. A great web site on fairy tales  is  http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/ From the web site description: SurLaLune Fairy Tales features 49 annotated fairy tales, including their histories, similar tales across cultures, modern interpretations and over 1,500 illustrations. Also discover over 1,600 folktales & fairy tales from around the world in more than 40 full-text Books.

Speaking of books... There are 2 non-fiction books coming out about fairy tales soon; one in October, the other in December. 

The first non-fiction book that's coming out is being released on October 15, 2014. Children into Swans: Fairy Tales and the Pagan Imagination by Jan Beveridge is being published by McGill-Queens University Press. From Goodreads: 
Fairy tales are alive with the supernatural - elves, dwarfs, fairies, giants, and trolls, as well as witches with magic wands and sorcerers who cast spells and enchantments. Children into Swans examines these motifs in a range of ancient stories. Moving from the rich period of nineteenth-century fairy tales back as far as the earliest folk literature of northern Europe, Jan Beveridge shows how long these supernatural features have been a part of storytelling, with ancient tales, many from Celtic and Norse mythology, that offer glimpses into a remote era and a pre-Christian sensibility.

The second book is Once Upon a Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale by Marina Warner. It's due out December 1, 2014 from Oxford University Press. From the publisher:
Marina Warner has loved fairy tales over her long writing career, and she explores here a multitude of tales through the ages, their different manifestations on the page, the stage, and the screen. From the phenomenal rise of Victorian and Edwardian literature to contemporary children's stories, Warner unfolds a glittering array of examples, from classics such as Red Riding HoodCinderella, and The Sleeping Beauty, the Grimm Brothers' Hansel and Gretel, and Hans Andersen's The Little Mermaid, to modern-day realizations including Walt Disney's Snow White and gothic interpretations such as Pan's Labyrinth

In ten succinct chapters, Marina Warner digs into a rich collection of fairy tales in their brilliant and fantastical variations, in order to define a genre and evaluate a literary form that keeps shifting through time and history. She makes a persuasive case for fairy tale as a crucial repository of human understanding and culture.
I'm looking forward to checking them both out. Let me know what you think. Do they interest you? Have you read anything like these before? Have you been to the SurLaLune web site before? What did you think of it? Drop me a line in the comments.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #55: Wishes and Sorrows by Cindy Lynn Speer

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. 

Due out October 30, 2014
from Dragonwell  Publishing
This week, I had my mind on fairy tales when I was looking through the books that are coming out soon. I came across this collection of stories by Cindy Lynn Speer entitled Wishes and Sorrows.

Dragonwell publishing's blurb says:

For every wish there is a sorrow...
Wishes are born from sorrows, blessings are sometimes curses, and even fairy godmothers cannot always get what they want. In this original collection, Cindy Lynn Speer, the author of The Chocolatier's Wife, brings to life creatures of myths and tales mixing them into a vibrant tapestry of stories, happy and sad, magical and real, each lovingly crafted and sure to touch the reader's soul. 

Step into the world where magic is real and every mundane bit of reality is as magical as a true fairy tale.

 It makes me think of the phrase, "Be careful what you wish for." On the other hand, I was wishing for a book with fairy tale type stories and there it is. So, sometimes we get lucky. 

What book are you waiting on this week? Give me a link or a title in the comments below. And Thanks for coming by!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: The Last Days of Dorothy Parker by Marion Meade

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of  Should Be Reading.

Anyone can participate. just do the following.
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t  give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 

This week is a second teaser from The Last Days of Dorothy Parker by Marion Meade

My sentences come from about 60% into the book starting at location 1167:

 "For a valid reason, Lilly described Dottie as a reluctant memoirist: often enough she had been overheard saying that rather than write her story she would cut her throat with a dull knife."

(on writing a autobiography) ..."she had tried, "but it doesn't come." One reason it didn't come was her speed. For a slow paced writer who joked she put down five words and erased seven, the completion of a full length book on any subject was virtually impossible."

It's funny, but until I read this I never pictured the witty lady having any trouble writing down anything after her bon mots and certainly not something as easy for her to tell as the story of her life. So, live and learn. 

What book is your teaser from this week? Give us a taste or a link in the comments. And thanks for stopping by!