Friday Fifteen

Holy cow, this week got away from me. Another Friday Fifteen already! Here are this week’s book reviews in fifteen words or fewer.

1. Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody
Read in a high school class about the 60s; powerful in any history class.

2. Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins by Emma Donoghue
Short story adaptations of fairy tales. Mostly I remember the fairy tale-crossover transitions.

3. The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #6) by Lemony Snicket
First time I remember encountering the word ‘ersatz.’ Enjoyed the depiction of the elevator shaft.

4. Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
Quieter than I expected, but in a good way. Touching story, beautiful writing.

5. The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins
Everyone wants to come over when you’re making cookies.

Links Galore

A few links for today:

Links Galore

A few more links for today:

Law School, Cannibalism, and Heath Ledger: What You May Not Know About the Brothers Grimm

You may know the stories, but do you know the Brothers Grimm? Check out the fun trivia in this video from AbeBooks:

I was curious to hear about the editing to stories like Rapunzel. We tend to think Disney tones down classic fairy tales for family audiences, but apparently the Grimms felt that some versions were a bit too scandalous as well.

Links Galore

A few more cool links for today:

Adaptations and What We Bring to Them

I love adaptations of classic tales. Fairy tale adaptations like Shannon Hale’s The Goose Girl, or takes on Shakespear ala Something Rotten by Alan Gratz always gets my attention. But what makes a good adaptation? On her blog today, Mary Kole looks at that exact issue and why an adaptation has to be its own story as well. I love this description of making an old story new:

“She didn’t just tinker with the original, she took the entire thing apart, repainted it, and put it back together her own way. An adaptation in today’s market takes nothing less.”

The adaptation in question is Marissa Meyer’s Cinder, which I haven’t read yet (I know, I know), but even from the description it sounds like a really fun, unique, compelling take on the Cinderella story. Another one I love is Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. Even that’s a little more on the “traditional” site (there are fairy godmothers and princes), but it takes the Cinderella story to the next level by giving Ella a physical and emotional journey.

It’s always good to ask yourself “Why does this story need to be told? And why does it need to be told this way?” But it’s especially important when dealing with adaptations. Shakespeare already told us about Hamlet. Why do we need another Hamlet story? And is your Hamlet story going to be different than Something Rotten or Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead? It adds another layer of pressure onto the author, but it can lead to some rich and engaging new takes on old tales. I find it exciting to be told the same story from another point of view or with another layer added to it. Just make sure you’re still writing your own story.