The Classics Spin is a “lottery” game in which each participant makes a list of 20 books from their Classics Club reading list, and the book that corresponds with the randomly chosen number on that list is the one that has to be read by a certain date. In this Spin, the number will be chosen on April 6th, and the book has to be read by May 15th. Below is my list. I’ll post which book I’ll be reading after the 6th, and, as with the last Spin, I might do a read-along.
1. Albee, Edward: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
2. Allende, Isabel: The House of the Spirits
3. Barrie, J.M.: Peter Pan
4. Baum, L. Frank: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
5. Dumas, Alexandre: The Count of Monte Cristo
6. Remarque: All Quiet on the Western Front
7. Smith, Betty: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
8. Fitzgerald, F. Scott: Tender is the Night
9. Burnett, Frances Hodgson: The Secret Garden
10. Burroughs, Edgar Rice: Tarzan of the Apes
11. Carroll, Lewis: Alice in Wonderland
12. Yeats, William Butler: Irish Faerie Tales
13. Golding, William: Lord of the Flies
14. Wells, H.G.: The Time Machine
15. Heller, Joseph: Catch-22
16. Hemingway, Ernest: A Farewell to Arms
17. Cooper, James Fenimore: The Last of the Mohicans
18. Crane, Stephen: Red Badge of Courage
19. de Saint-Exupery, Antoine: The Little Prince
20. Tan, Amy: The Joy Luck Club
Currently Reading: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg, a review book, The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott for The Classics Club, The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon, The Essential Feminist Reader, and Prince of Hazel and Oak by John Lenahan.
SF/F Bingo: I’m working on filling in the whole card, and it’s getting a bit more difficult.
Total pages read for the week: 489
Total number of books for the year: 16. I’m back into the swing of going to classes and working on my research papers, but I’ve added looking for a part-time job into my already busy schedule, so I haven’t had much time to read. Also, it was the Boyfriend’s Birthday this weekend. Besides the holidays, it’s the only day of the year that I don’t mind not getting at least a little time to read. When I did get time (other than during my commute), I concentrated on The Essential Feminist Reader, since it’s due back at the library soon, and I really want to at least get to the ’90s, when I was first introduced to Feminism by way of the Riot Grrrl bands.
This is by far my favorite fairy tale and Disney movie, and it was my favorite TV show when I was a kid (my parents once bribed me with it to get me to clean my room). Why? Belle is one of the few fairy tale characters that has real agency. First of all, she chooses to take her Father’s place in staying with the Beast. Secondly, she makes the best of a beastly situation (har-har) without any real help from anyone. She doesn’t have a Fairy Godmother to solve her problems, she isn’t taken in by dwarves, and, though she repeatedly gets marriage proposals from the Beast, she doesn’t immediately fall into his arms (In the original, unedited version, he asks her if he may sleep with her, not to marry him, but the response is the same). Also, in the Disney version, she knows Gaston isn’t the right man for her, and doesn’t give in to his pushiness. Finally, she is the one that saves the Beast from his curse, instead of being the one that is rescued. She even wins a rap battle against Cinderella, as far as I’m concerned.
So, I wasn’t surprised to learn that the story, while being a traditional fairy tale, was originally an adult novella written in 1740 by a French woman, Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, who was critiquing the marriage system of her time. A little more than a decade later, it was shortened, “cleaned”, and published in a women’s magazine by another woman, Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont. You can find free versions on Project Gutenberg, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. Also for free is Andrew Lang’s version of the story, which is a combination of Villeneuve’s and Beaumont’s, in his Blue Fairy Book. In addition to those, there’s an EPUB edition that comes with a free download of the audio book (I’m not affiliated with Barnes & Noble, and don’t receive any profits from sales of the book).
Below is a list of Beauty and the Beast retellings. All of the links are to Goodreads:
I recieved this book through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program.
This is the perfect “classic” Fantasy book. The whole time I was reading, I was reminded of some of my favorite RPGs, and I frequently thought that the story could fit perfectly into a D&D or Pathfinder game. If I were to be any character in the book, I would be Fantasia, who has the personality of a grown up Arya Stark. Instead of a sword being her weapon of choice, though, she’s an archer, which happens to be my go to weapon in any RPG.
There is very little to criticize in this book. The only time it got a bit dull was during the chapter when Madame Asra comes into the story, and the only time I had difficulty suspending disbelief was when the siblings’ guardian, Orion, just happens to know all about the Buan. It seemed a little implausible, even by Fantasy standards, but I understand that Alexander, Aurelia, Fantasia, and Weylyn had to get the information about what they were becoming from somewhere, and having it come from the mouth of the one person they’re close to makes sense. I just didn’t see Orion as being the type of character to have a large amount of little known ancient knowledge.
Beyond those two tiny things, I loved this book. I don’t know if I’m going to add it to my all time favorites yet, since it is only the first book in a series, and I tend to only add a series to that list after I’ve finished it and love it as a whole. What I do know is that as soon as I read the last page, I looked up the second book, Company of Heroes, and added it to my wish list on Goodreads. I highly recommend reading this one if you’re just getting into Fantasy, or you love Fantasy (especially “classic” Fantasy), or you love RPGs (especially if you loved Baldur’s Gate, any of the Diablo games, D&D, or Pathfinder).
The above information is for the paperback and ebook edition. I listened to the free “podiobook” version from podiobooks.com.
Though I’ve listened to audio books before, this was my first “podiobook”. I’m now a huge fan of the format, John Lenahan, and his book, Shadowmagic. My commute to and from school has never been more fun! I deliberately held off on listening to it until I was in my car, unless I was finishing up the last couple minutes of a chapter, which was difficult at times. I frequently had the urge to continue listening, but I told myself it was better to savor it, since it would be over all too soon. I’m already listening to the second book, Prince of Hazel and Oak, and I have a feeling I’ll be just a little bit sad when it ends. I’m sure there are other great books on podiobooks.com, but finding them will likely involve a bit of trial and error. Thankfully, they’re free.
I can’t say for sure, but I think listening to the book, which is narrated by the author, rather than reading a print version, is what got me hooked. I felt like I was being told a story, instead of just being read to, if that makes sense? I think the difference is in the enthusiasm of the author as he narrates. In an author’s note at the end of the book, he mentions that he wrote it for his son, and I’m sure that’s a factor in his performance. If I had been reading the book, I might have felt that the story was a little silly, but then again, maybe not. I really don’t know. I just feel that this is a story that needs to be told rather than read.
With that being said, I have to recommend the “podiobook” version. It’s free, so it gives you the chance to try it out without costing anything in case you’re not 100% sold on it yet. If you love Fantasy, the childlike feeling of being told a story, or Irish Celtic mythology, you can’t go wrong with Shadowmagic.
This check-in is for March 16th – 22nd. Since I hurt my back, and was stuck on the couch, I didn’t even wear my Fitbit for about half the week. So, I’m not bothering with the week’s step count.
Though most of the pain is gone, I’m still uncomfortable when I do anything other than lie down for more than a couple hours, so I’m not trying to meet my goal of 8K steps this week. I’ll be taking the bus to and from my car on campus until all that walking up and down the stairs and hills is no longer an issue.
If you’d like to add me as a friend on FitBit, you can find me HERE.