29 May 2012

The Travelling Fantasy Round Table: Part 3: Religion in Fantasy

Part 3 of the Travelling Fantasy Round Table, our roaming discussion on aspects of fantasy literature, is up at Carole McDonnell's blog.  This month we're looking into religion in fantasy.

15 May 2012

And All the Stars preview

Previews are something I never read because I can't stand then having to wait to read the rest, but for those who enjoy such things I've added a two-chapter preview for And All the Stars.

The preview can also be viewed via the book's Goodsreads page.

09 May 2012

Another far-off giveaway...

Since I'm now reasonably certain I'll have this done this year.  [On chapter 9.]

Goodreads Book Giveaway

And All the Stars by Andrea K. Höst

And All the Stars

by Andrea K. Höst

Giveaway ends December 20, 2012.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

08 May 2012

All those other fairytales...

So everyone knows fairytales.  Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Snow White and the Huntsman...

Odds are good that there'll be a few people who can't name many more.  Most will also produce Rumpelstiltskin, Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack the Giant-killer, the Nine Dancing Princesses, the Princess and the Pea, Three Billy Goats Gruff, the Three Little Pigs...Donkeyskin...Snow White, Blood Red...  And then we'll begin to peter out, different people coming up with a few more suggestions.  You'd think that there were only twenty or thirty fairytales out there.

With my memory, I couldn't really claim to name dozens off the top of my head.  But I was lucky enough in my teens to stumble across the collections of Ruth Manning-Sanders, which exposed me to so many more.  Manning-Sanders collected fairytales from all around the world (though with a preponderance of European tales) in books with names like A Book of Sorcerers and Spells and A Book of Enchantments and Curses.  Bizarrely, libraries liked to keep these gems in the reference collection where few were likely to find them - but that worked out well for me!  No competition.

Not only did I discover that there were a great many fairytales which feature Girls Doing Stuff (usually rescuing princes), but the Manning-Sanders collections were taken to an extra level by the illustrations of Robin Jacques.

Frontispiece, A Book of Charms and Changelings
Delicate, detailed, beautiful and gruesome, the illustrations were definitely worth more than a glance.

Chien-Nang: be careful who you elope with
The Flute Player: Witches & changelings (or baby stew!)
The Great Bear of Orange: Katrine gets thrown to the snakes, the sharks AND the lions!

The Hat: First rule of fairytales: always be kind to strangers.

Vasilissa Most Lovely: Baba Yaga has an eccentric taste in torches.
All of these books are out of print, but if you've a child who likes fairytales (or like them yourself) it's worth checking out AbeBooks for ex-library copies.  Some are rare (the mermaid volume goes for around $100) but most are reasonably priced and quite lovely.