Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Once Upon a Time IX

I just happened to stumble across one of the coolest reading challenges over at Stainless Steel Droppings and could not resist joining up. The main focus is on four genres: Fairy Tale, Folklore, Fantasy and Mythology but the event is divided up into various sub-challenges to suit your reading schedule. Pretty neat. This is also the perfect opportunity to read more Guy Gavriel Kay. ;)

Taken from site: 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. My list so far (a general guideline, I won't be reading all of these):
  1. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Anonymous
  2. Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
  3. The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter 
  4. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly 
  5. The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell
  6. Book of Greek Myths by D'aulaires
  7. The Iliad by Homer 
  8. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  9. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
  10. Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay
  11. River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay
  12. Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay
  13. Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay
  14. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
  15. Kraken by China Mieville
  16. Discworld by Terry Pratchett 
  17. Ilium by Dan Simmons 
  18. The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth
  19. The Girl Who Circumnavigated

Taken from site: Fulfill the requirements for The Journey or Quest the First or Quest the Second AND top it off with a June reading of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream OR a viewing of one of the many film versions of the play. Love the story, love the films, love the idea of that magical night of the year and so this is my chance to promote the enjoyment of this farcical love story.

Considering my love for Mr. Shakespeare and Midsummer Night's Dream, this one is a no-brainer.

I would really appreciate some recommendations of folklore, fairy tales and mythology. My knowledge on these genres is quite limited.


  1. You're crazy, you know! How many challenges? How many reviews? How much reading? ....... before you self combust? ;-)

    Actually I will deign to admit that this challenge proved an almost insurmountable temptation, but I resisted for this year. We'll see about next.

    Okay, as for recommendations:

    Phantastes by George MacDonald
    The Well at the World's End by William Morris
    Mythology by Edith Hamilton
    The Golden Bough by James Frazer (on my TBR list)
    The Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne
    The Wonder Book by Nathaniel Hawthorne
    Metamorphosis by Ovid (I'm going to be reading this soon)
    Beowulf (I'm thinking of having a Beowulf read-along in May if you'd like to join)
    The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
    The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
    The Gormenghast Novels (I can't wait to read these!)
    Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis (a great one!)
    The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison
    A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay
    The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper
    At The Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald (lovely!)
    A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain
    Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus
    The Five Children and It by Enid Blyton (hilarious)

    I can't wait to see how long this comment is going to be!

  2. Yep, there's more than a few loose screws. But this wouldn't be literature frenzy if I didn't go a little, you know, Craaaaaaaazy! I don't plan on reading all of these for the event because that would qualify as pure insanity. I just have to read 5. Anymore than that would be a bonus but like you said, there are already so many other reading challenges/reviews that I am working on too!

    Thank you so much for the recommendations, Cleo! This is great. You are obviously well-read when it comes to mythology so this seems like the perfect reading challenge for to join me? :P

    I have read a few on your list: 'Mythology' by Edith Hamilton, Beowulf, Lord of the Rings. Didn't care much for Beowulf, sowwy. I loved move 'The Neverending Story' but haven't read the book. I read Shelley's version of Prometheus so it would be interesting to see where he got his ideas from.

    I will have to add "Till We Have Faces" and should read Metamorphosis but its too loooooooooooong. Woah, 'A Voyage to Arcturus' sounds pretty darn cool. Got any brief thoughts on this one? I love Sci-fi so this would play right into my wheelhouse. 'At the Back of the North Wind' also sounds fantastic. I'll have to look into that one.

    AHHHHHHHH so much to read, so little time!

    1. Well, to make you feel better, I think I have some screws loose too. ;-) But less this year, than last.

      You're welcome! I was thinking that we should read a book together at some point and compare notes. I know that we're reading The Voyage Out, but I mean another one. If you let me know what you've decided on this front, I may pick one of them up.

      Yes, but did you really READ Beowulf? There's alot going on in it.

      I have C.S. Lewis' thoughts for you on A Voyage To Arcturus, as I haven't read it myself yet. It inspired his Space Trilogy and he loved "the idea that 'scientification' appeal could be combined with 'supernatural' appeal" and Lewis said that his debt to Lindsay "was very great". However, he highly disliked the theme of the book, calling it "on the borderline of the diabolical .... (and) so manichean as to be almost satanic." One of the things I love about Lewis is his abilities to segregate the various aspects of books and love some while disliking others.

      I know what you mean about reading time. I've spent most of mine on the computer today. The weather here is atrocious --- I am reminded that I live in a rain forest climate ---- so tonight I hope to get some good reading time in.

    2. Think I'm done with reading challenges for the next little while though. We'll see in 3 months...muhahahaha

      Awesome, I'd be down to read something together. Or perhaps co-host some kind of read-a-long? I'll have to think about some titles that might interest you.

      True. I read Beowulf about ten years ago when in school, so yeah, it clearly went over my head. Perhaps a second attempt would prove different. If anyone can convince me of its greatness, it would be you.

      CS Lewis was a great literary scholar and wrote so many critical essays. His analysis of Paradise Lost is a brilliant piece of of literary criticism.

      It's been rainy the last few days here but it doesn't compare to the amount of precipitation you get. There is something really comforting about curling up with a good book when its raining.

  3. I have American Gods on my to read list. I also have Kay on my to read list but I've already read some of what you have listed and what I have isn't there. Darn. Oh well. Curious to see which five you choose.

  4. I tried reading American Gods years ago but couldn't finish it. Still not sure if I will be up for giving it another try considering there are so many other titles that have priority.

    What are some of the titles that aren't on my list that you would recommend?

  5. I see Terry Pratchett! Good Omens is a cool book, I'll watch out for your review. Once Upon a Time is easily one of my favourite events of the year. In fact, only yesterday I ordered The Lions of Al-Rassan for this, after your wonderful commentary on the book. I love your other choices too, Angela Carter, Dan Simmons, Mieville, John Connolly, Valente! Looks like you're going to have a great time... All I'm sure about for my challenge is the Guy Gavriel Kay book and I must finally read something by Ursula K. Le Guin. :)

    1. Hello Priya! I am still trying to narrow down my list to five but you might be happy to know that Discworld #1 made the cut. Good Omens is still in the trial period.

      Oh my goodness, you just made my day. I really sincerely hope you enjoy Lions of Al-Rassan but hopefully I didn't hype it up too much.

      Yeah, so many great titles to choose from for this reading event, which makes it so difficult to choose which ones to read.

      I finished my first Le Guin novel a few weeks ago and it was pretty good. Nothing mind-blowing but I can see the appeal and there is no denying her writing talent. The story just didn't register with me as much as I had initially hoped. Dispossessed will likely be the next novel I read by her.