Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Library Haul (4) Plus a bit about Green Angel by Alice Hoffman

In lieu of actually writing a review (see posts below--I'll be with you shortly) here are the books I got from the library today. Even though I have a ton to read already these items are reservations that all happened to come in together. And they're just so pretty!

Graceling by Kristen Cashore has been all over the bloggy-verse and it sounds pretty darn cool. Tamora Pierce gives it a big wow, and seeing as I want to be just like her when I grow up I have to read it.

The Time Traveller by H. G. Wells. Picked as the first dystopian novel ever written and published in 1895. At only ninety pages you should see a review from me very soon.

Over coffee with the the lovely publicist and publisher of Melbourne-based feminist Spinifex Press (just down the street from me at Australian Scholarly) , the three of us shared our mutual love for YA lit. It's rather amazing how passionate we are considering we all work in non-fiction publishing! I was heavily berated for not having read any Margo Lanagan. As I detest short stories (and short coffee, short men, short sleeps) I picked up her novel, Tender Morsels.

So I HATE Lucas and Bianca isn't shy and the first half of Evernight read exactly like Twilight, but for some reason I just have to read Stargazer. It must be the atmosphere and the flipping gorgeous covers. Stargazer is pretty, but did you look really closely at the typography on Evernight, with the little gravestones and blood spots? SO COOL. A beautifully designed book. And the spot varnish! I could go on and on about the spot varnish. I adore a good spot varnish. But if Bianca goes all passive and sappy I will be writing a very severe review of this!

The Billionaire's Curse by Richard Newsome won last year's inaugural Text Prize (for YA lit) and is just about to be released. It just arrived in the post today and I'm reviewing it for the Australian Book Review.

Poo! I was just outbid on eBay for the first three book's in Tammy's Immortals series. Have I told you how much I love this series? How much I love Numair? Geeks are hot! I swear, as well, that Pierce modeled him on Giles. Angel's hot, Spike's sexy in an angry British way, but now that I'm nearly middle-aged (the big 2-5 in November!) I see the error of my ways: I'm Giles all the way now baby.

Lastly, a few words about Green Angel. Nice book. Not my thing. Too airy-fairy. Too repetitive. Too much like a poet trying to write prose. I just can't respect a book in which sparrows weave a fishing net out of the heroine's hacked off hair. It reeks of the Brothers Grimm, and I loath fairy tales in their original form. I prefer them after Mercedes Lackey or Sherri S. Tepper has put them through the wringer and given them a bit of goddamn GRIT.

This book could almost be slipped into my dystopian challenge if you all looked away while I bent the rules, but as I really don't feel like writing three hundred words about it, I won't.


  1. I am a huge fan of original fairy tales. You know, I have read a lot of Lackey and Tepper (and McKinley and so on), but the originals are just as brutal and dark as anything put on paper in the last 50 years. They sure didn't shy away from baby pies and walking until your feet bled through your iron shoes or plucking out eyeballs or putting someone in a barrel studded inside with nails and rolling her down a hill.

    Andrew Lang's collections are particularly incredible. He worked from the earliest versions he could find when he had things translated, and it shows. Of more "modern" fairy tales, Lang said:

    "But the three hundred and sixty-five authors who try to write new fairy tales are very tiresome. They always begin with a little boy or girl who goes out and meets the fairies of polyanthuses and gardenias and apple blossoms: 'Flowers and fruits, and other winged things.' These fairies try to be funny, and fail; or they try to preach, and succeed. Real fairies never preach or talk slang. At the end, the little boy or girl wakes up and finds that he has been dreaming. Such are the new fairy stories. May we be preserved from all the sort of them!"

  2. I picked up The Annotated Brothers Grimm a little while ago and I agree, it has more than it's fair share of death and horrible injury. What annoyed me, however, was how many times a deus ex machina was used to solve the plot. Unwedded handsome princes seem to be wandering everywhere in search of wives! Things just seem to happen for no reason, and that frustrates the hell out of me. Maybe I'm expecting too much... I did read in the intro, however, that the stories I was reading were late editions and somewhat sanitised by Christianity and morals and being more for children. Must find the older versions.

  3. Yeah, get one or two of the Andrew Lang books (Red Book of Fairy Tales, Blue Book of Fairy Tales, etc) and see what you think. The hero is usually more of a third son who's been left to wander due to lack of inheritance than a prince out there for no reason.