Category Archives: Classics

Everything Old is New Again, Part 2

Did you love reading and/or listening to Fairy Tales and Folk Tales as a child? Adult versions of these same tales have been showing up for years, and have become very popular. Here are some of our favorites:

THE SNOW CHILD by Eowyn Ivey

“Eowyn Ivey’s exquisite debut transports the reader away to a world almost out of time, into a fairytale destined to both chill and delight. Her portrayal of an untamed Alaska is so detailed you can feel the snowflakes on your own eyelashes, even as her characters’ desperate quest for, and ultimate redemption by, love will warm your heart.” ~Melanie Benjamin, author

THE CRANE WIFE by Patrick Ness

“Ness fashions his mosaic of prose, piecing narrative with snips of a myth-like fable to create a bittersweet story of loss and love. The narrative pace will keep the pages turning, while the imagery and metaphors wound throughout will stay with readers long after they close the book.” ~Library Journal

DOWN AMONG THE STICKS AND BONES by Seanan McGuire

“Beautifully crafted and smartly written, this fairy-tale novella is everything that speculative fiction readers look for: fantastical worlds, diverse characters, and prose that hits home with its emotional truths.” ~Library Journal

THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE by Katherine Arden

“Arden’s debut novel has the cadence of a beautiful fairy tale but is darker and more lyrical.” ~The Washington Post

BOY, SNOW, BIRD by Helen Oyeyemi

“With her fifth novel, 29-year-old Helen Oyeyemi has fully transformed from a literary prodigy into a powerful, distinctive storyteller…[Boy, Snow, Bird is] transfixing and surprising.” ~Entertainment Weekly

ALIAS HOOK by Lisa Jensen

“Jensen’s second novel, a twist on the Peter Pan story which reconceives of Captain Hook as a tragic hero, shows how she’s matured as a writer since her excellent debut, The Witch from the Sea. Jensen’s wonderful imagination and devotion to history and myth allow the reader to fly with her through this outstanding adventure–no fairy dust required.” ~ Publishers Weekly

Everything Old is New Again, Part 1

If you like reading the classics, you may be interested in some of the new interpretations that have come out in the past few years. One publisher, Hogarth, has a series of Shakespeare tales retold by some of today’s most popular authors. Here is a sampling:

VINEGAR GIRL by Anne Tyler

Pulitzer Prize winning author Anne Tyler brings us a witty and irresistible modern take on Shakespeare’s THE TAMING OF THE SHREW. “A fizzy cocktail of a romantic comedy, far more sweet than acidic, about finding a mate who appreciates you for your idiosyncratic, principled self — no taming necessary.” —NPR.org 

If you would like more information, or would like to place a hold, click here.

HAG-SEED by Margaret Atwood

The author of THE HANDMAID’S TALE, Margaret Atwood, has written an enchanting reimagining of Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST. “A marvel of gorgeous yet economical prose, in the service of a story that’s utterly heartbreaking yet pierced by humor, with a plot that retains considerable subtlety even as the original’s back story falls neatly into place.” New York Times Book Review

If you would like more information, or would like to place a hold, click here.

THE GAP OF TIME by Jeanette Winterson

A retelling of Shakespeare’s THE WINTER’S TALE, “The Gap of Time takes the play’s themes of love, jealousy and estrangement and spins them into a taut contemporary tale.”—New York Times 

If you would like more information, or would like to place a hold, click here.

SHYLOCK IS MY NAME by Howard Jacobson

Jacobson’s retelling of THE MERCHANT OF VENICE is “Sharply written, profoundly provocative.” The Huffington Post

If you would like more information, or would like to place a hold, click here.

DUNBAR by Edward St. Aubyn

St. Aubyn’s  DUNBAR is “A brilliant reworking of William Shakespeare’s King Lear for our day.”—Kirkus 

If you would like more information, or would like to place a hold, click here.

NEW BOY by Tracy Chevalier

A retelling of OTHELLO that “…is an engrossing and ultimately convincing story of its own, with characters you’ll believe in and a tragic ending worthy of the Bard.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

If you would like more information, or would like to place a hold, click here.

Look for future additions to this series including Jo Nesbo’s take on MACBETH (April 2018), and Gillian Flynn’s take on HAMLET (2021) .

 

Harry of Monmouth

Title: Harry of Monmouth

Author: A. M. Maughan

Publisher: W. Sloane Associates, 1956

Summary: This classic novel brings to life Henry V, the victor of Agincourt. From the loss of his mother as a boy to generational based conflicts with his father, Henry IV, and sibling rivalry with his brother, Tom, the young Harry grows to maturity. All hold their breath to see what kind of king he will make and get their true measure of Harry’s worth when he and the English, with their back to the walls, face the French at Agincourt. But more than his wars with France, will Harry ever succeed in winning his true love, Princess Katherine of France?

Who will like this book?: Harry of Monmouth is recommended for those who like their medieval kings in a heroic mode.

If you like this, try this: Good King Harry by Denise Giardina, Fortune Made His Sword by Martha Rofheart, and Henry V by William Shakespeare.

Recommended by: Mona, Reference Associate and Library Lecturer

Complete Stories

Title: The Complete Stories

Author: Flannery O’Connor

Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1971

Summary: When I travel, I like to read books written by authors from that part of the world. So, on a recent trip to Savannah, I finally picked up A Good Man is Hard to Find, a book that had been on my ‘to-read’ list for ages. That book is contained within this larger collection of all the O’Connor’s short stories. While her career was relatively short, Flannery O’Connor was a highly-regarded master of the Southern Gothic: the scenery is dripping with humidity and the haunted characters all struggle as they are forced to face the darkness in their twisted souls.

Some of the tales are downright terrifying and some, like The River and A Stroke of Good Fortune end in a shocking, unpredictable turn of events. Almost all have characters coming to a not-so-pleasant realization about their place in the world. These are not happy stories, but the writing is so mesmerizing that you will find yourself rereading each turn of phrase. Don’t wait as long as I did to pick up this American classic!

Who will like this book: Fans of short stories, regional fiction, and darker themes. People who like their books a little twisted.

If you like this, try this:Other great Southern Gothic authors include Truman Capote, Carson McCullers and Tennessee Williams. Flannery O’Connor: A Life by Jean W. Cash.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian