Sunday, 1 March 2009
Sunday Salon: A post NOTabout fantasy (well, almost....)
I thought for a change that I wouldn't talk about science fiction and fantasy! though I went to bed last night thinking sleepily that I did want to say that every genre of books has the capability of being very very good - it's what makes it so good for the reader, that interests me. What does the writer capture in the book that makes it genre-making? It needs looking - going - deep within, to a place where the self meets the figures that that particular self is afraid of, and in bringing it to the light, allows all of us to access that figure. Whether we use myths and legends, fairy tales, or previous classic books in the genre, doesn't matter; what does matter is that the source material reached is meaningful. As one reader pointed out in comments to my last post, books like Gulliver's Travels and Alice in Wonderland could be thought of as classics in science fiction and/or fantasy, though I disagreed as their effect on subsequent fantastical writing isn't genre changing as Lord of the Rings is. What do you think, my Gentle Readers? It is very easy to write trilogies using the quest motif of LoTR, or any other book previously written. Those are copies, though, shadows of the original work, and bring nothing new to life. Darn, I wasn't going to write about fantasy today!! It's such an interesting topic, though, and points that Le Guin raises in The Language of the Night, are worth thinking about.
Book Lust: So, on to non-fantasy for the day: I am waiting for Carl's challenge to begin - it's almost Once Upon a Time 3! And I am stockpiling fantasy for the challenge. (Hmm. There's that word again!) I'm waiting for the final two books in Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series to come in, so I can read them with Nymeth and Kerry this month. (oops, that's more fantasy!) In the meantime, while I was at the bookstore, this is what I did buy:
- The Serpent's Tale - Ariana Franklin (book 2 in the Mistress of the Art of Death series) Having just read book one, which might be on my ten best books of 2009 already, I had to get book 2. Right away. Look, it's not a fantasy!
- Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons - for Nymeth's mini-challenge, I'm doing a graphic novel, and this is a classic I've been wanting to read for a while now. This also gets Nymeth a Bad Blogger point, since hers was the latest review that prompted to say, I must buy this now and read it! So it's fitting it's for her challenge! ooh, look, it's a fantasy....
- Territory by Emma Bull - Just because I've been reading her since she came out writing in the 1980's and was one of the leaders of the urban fantasy movement. Territory is set in Tombstone, Arizona in 1881, and yes, deals with the shoot-out at OK Corral - and yes, it's a fantasy!
-The Blue Girl - by Charles de Lint - for my Canadian Challenge 2 - yes, I've only read one book so far, but I am going to finish it This is one of his latest books and got rave reviews when it came out, and it's set in Newford, so I can hardly wait. Another fantasy.
- Wicked, Lovely - Melissa Marr - Kailana gave the latest review for this, which prompted me to move the book up from the 'soon' list to get it now! The question is, can I wait for Carl's Challenge to begin? well, that's 4 out of 6 books that are fantasy!!! *note to self: admit fantasy is what I read.
- New and Selected Poems - Mary Oliver. I haven't been able to find editions of her earlier books, and since I read Owls and Other Fantasies last year, she has become one of my favourite poets. This is Volume Two, and now I'm looking for Volume One. The back of the book says "she is recognized as an unparalled poet of the natural world," and I find myself thinking of her poems sometimes when I am out on my walks by the river. I love the natural world and her poetry illuminates some of what I feel when I encounter nature. (hey, not fantasy!)
- Shakespeare Wrote for Money - Nick Hornby. I'm halfway through his The Complete Pollysyllabic Spree, and I find myself laughing on the bus or wherever I am! He writes in a confidential manner like we all suffer from the same book lust (we do), buying books and not telling exactly all that he buys, and never reading it all the same month it's bought! Plus he dislikes pretentious books, and boring bios, and illuminates why he does like something. And, most important, he loves Arsenal too. I wonder what he thinks of Arsenal's current run of 4 straight goalless Premiership matches? We need Fabregas back!!! (hurray! it's even non-fiction!)
So that is two points to Bad Bloggers. Well done! but I don't know what to read today, and for once the housework is done before Sunday, and we have no obligations and a dinner to go to so I don't have to cook. What shall I read today?
While I choose what to read today, I want to send you to Nymeth's post for today, because she writes about a cause dear to all of our hearts: one of fantasy's best writers, Peter S Beagle, needs our help to get a bigger print run for his new book of short stories We Never Talk About My Brother. Now, I don't know about you, but I consider a chance to get a collection of his short stories as a real find, and I consider him to be one of fantasy's treasures, and I would love to pay an author for the privilege of him using his gift......Best of all, this publishing site offers a chance to buy a signed copy, as well as a personalized signed copy, at very reasonable prices (ie $30 and under). Hmm, if I get it soon enough, I can add it to Carl's OUaT3 challenge..... and show the world that fantasy is read.......and for those who don't know, I read Tamsin last year, link here, and I still find it floating in the back of my mind. The ghost, the Wild Hunt, the Judge, the characters - it was beautiful, and if you haven't read it yet, it's a very good ghost story. He is a powerful, amazing, beautiful fantasy writer. He has an ongoing fight he has with the companies over the The Last Unicorn animated DVD from over 20 years ago, and the animated Lord of the Rings, which he wrote the script for, the link here to why buying from Conlan Press both The Last Unicorn DVD ( the 25 th anniversary copy came out in 2007) and the short stories will help Mr Beagle both financially and show him our support directly. I didn't know where to get a copy of The Last Unicorn dvd, which my daughter (as well as me) loved when we rented it from our video store last fall. So thank you to Nymeth for writing about him and bringing him to our attention.
So, for a post not about fantasy, quite a lot has worked it's way in, hasn't it? I might as well give in and say fantasy claims a large part of my attention and interest!
And, for a change, here is one of my favourite, and my husband's favourite, picture from our trip to London at Christmas. I've been meaning to do a post about London and will do shortly. It deserves it's own post, I've just been deciding between doing a historical tour with my photos, and a landmark tour (almost the same thing!) I'd love to do a literary tour, but I didn't get to as many places as I wanted to.
What are you reading today? What's on your mind regarding books?