Monday, September 26, 2016

Banned Books Week and Fairy Tales

Hello all, I am still busily trying to get life back to a semblance of normal but I cannot let Banned Books Week pass without some recognition here at SurLaLune. This is my post for Banned Books Week from 4 years ago to share you:

Today starts Banned Books Week: Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Freedom to Read. There's always books we'd prefer not to read ourselves but taking the right away from others is a slippery, dangerous slope. And it's pertinent here at the blog because several fairy tales have been banned over the years, from the Grimms in general to tales in particular like Little Red Riding Hood--for having wine in her basket! Nevermind the more gruesome tales that are ignored by banners because they aren't as prominent.

During my years as a public librarian in California, I only had one book challenged by a patron and ironically it was fairy tale related. Only my coworkers knew about SurLaLune, so this was not related. I was quite simply the children's and YA librarian and had added the book to the collection.

What was the book? The Rose and The Beast: Fairy Tales Retold by Francesca Lia Block. Now this book is not light reading and deals with difficult themes. I wouldn't recommend it to every teen I know but it was sitting on the shelf next to the Gossip Girls series among others. My first reaction was total shock. Fortunately, I kept my guffaw muffled when I realized which book was upsetting the patron in the YA section. And refrained from saying, "You think this is rough, try this (fill in the blank several times)." I didn't handle the situation very well--it was a strange day and a strange incident--but it was well enough that the complaint went no farther for which I have always been thankful.

Anyway, read a fairy tale this week and you'll be celebrating Banned Books Week! And thank the librarians who fight to keep the books on the shelves where you can find them. It's not an easy job, emotionally or financially!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Bargain Ebook: Baltimore,: Or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire

Baltimore,: Or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden is on sale in digital format for $1.99.

Book description:

From celebrated comic artist Mike Mignola and award-winning novelist Christopher Golden comes a work of gothic storytelling like no other. Reminiscent of the illustrated tales of old, here is a lyrical, atmospheric novel of the paranormal—and a chilling allegory for the nature of war.

“Why do dead men rise up to torment the living?” Captain Henry Baltimore asks the malevolent winged creature. The vampire shakes its head. “It was you called us. All of you, with your war. The roar of your cannons shook us from our quiet graves…. You killers. You berserkers…. You will never be rid of us now.”

When Lord Henry Baltimore awakens the wrath of a vampire on the hellish battlefields of World War I, the world is forever changed. For a virulent plague has been unleashed—a plague that even death cannot end.

Now the lone soldier in an eternal struggle against darkness, Baltimore summons three old friends to a lonely inn—men whose travels and fantastical experiences incline them to fully believe in the evil that is devouring the soul of mankind.

As the men await their old friend, they share their tales of terror and misadventure, and contemplate what part they will play in Baltimore’s timeless battle. Before the night is through, they will learn what is required to banish the plague—and the creature who named Baltimore his nemesis—once and for all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Deborah J. Brannon, Guest Reviewer: Roses and Rot by Kat Howard

Hello all, I have a guest review to share today from SurLaLune reader, Deborah J. Brannon. Thanks for sharing with us, Deborah!

Roses and Rot
Author: Kat Howard
Publisher: Saga Press; 1st edition (May 17, 2016)
Print length: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1481451161

Roses and Rot is a knife in the dark, and a comforting embrace after that sudden welling of blood. That sounds melodramatic, but it can’t be - not with this book. Roses and Rot is Kat Howard’s debut novel and it is a paean to survival, to thriving, to fairy tales.

You think you know this story - and maybe you do, but only because you’ve lived it. Two sisters grow up under the cruel ministrations of a manipulative, self-centered mother. The older sister escapes and goes away to school, leaving the younger sister unprotected and alone. They lose each other for seven years, only to find their way back together in a magical, mysterious land: Melete. Melete is a prestigious retreat for artists of every kind. Melete is a Greek Muse and a word that means “contemplation.” Melete is the perfect place for two sisters to find each other again and then to find their own voices and their own successes.

Imogen, the elder sister, is a writer. Marin is a dancer. They both bear deep wounds from the psychological, physical, and emotional abuse inflicted upon them by their mother. Some are obvious; some lurk to be stumbled over later. Melete encompasses the same complexity: a prestigious and intense artists’ retreat on the surface, Melete actually serves as the feeding ground for the Faerie Host. The creative focus and passionate spark of artists sustain the Fae, and each year the most promising Melete Fellow is selected to pay that tithe. They are taken into Faerie for seven years, alone and plumbed for their deepest passions, before being cast back into our world. Their reward is guaranteed success in whatever creative endeavors they pursue.

This is a book about how we help and hurt each other. It’s about the font of creativity, and paying for our choices. It’s about parents failing children, and people finding ways in camaraderie to build each other up. It’s about people who want to be less human and creatures who want to be more. It’s about what happens when we fail, and what happens when we don’t.

It’s a thorned rose aching in your throat when you find yourself in its pages - as many of us childhood survivors will.

It’s a story about facing down the tithe, and this is no Tam Lin.

Kat Howard’s Roses and Rot is well worth your time, as she builds compelling characters and weaves an enticing setting in contemporary rural America. She intelligently explores mature themes and the artist’s working life, while still evoking the wonder of creation and salvation of loving friendships. You’ll find her story doesn’t easily let you go. You’ll be drawn back to Melete, back to Imogen and Marin, their friends and enemies, more than once. I’d say I’m sorry - but I’m not.

Deborah J. Brannon

(Deborah received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.)

Monday, September 12, 2016

III International Seminar on Fairy-tale and Storytelling Therapy 2017

It is with great pleasure that we would like to invite share with you the information about our III Seminar on Fairy-tale and Storytelling Therapy that will be held from 4 till 8 of April 2017 in Sintra, Portugal. It will be another opportunity to bring together specialists, academics, therapists, storytellers and all other enthusiasts of fairy-tale and storytelling, and their therapeutic and healing potential.

And we are most happy to inform that this time the Seminar will be proceded by pre-Seminar workshops which will take place on the 4th of April. Due to its format these workshops have fewer places than the Seminar and the registration is not included in the full Seminar registration. So please check the detailed information regarding each of this workshops.

All the details regarding both the Seminar and the pre-Seminar are available under this link:

It would be lovely if you joined as and let yourself be enchanted by the magical Sintra....

Places for both Seminar and pre-Seminar are limited, so please make sure that you register as soon as possible,

With warmest regards from Portugal,

Adriana Jurczyk Duarte

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Call for Papers: Thinking with Stories in Times of Conflict: A Conference in Fairy-Tale Studies

Conflict can give rise to violence but also to creativity. In the 1690s, French fairy-tale writers imagined through their fairy tales ideal resolutions to political conflict (Louis XIV’s absolutism), as well as conflict in conceptions of gender and marriage practices. The German tale tradition was transformed by the migration of French Huguenots to Germanic territories after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, which prohibited the practice of Protestantism in France. The German Grimm Brothers drew from the tale tradition to create a cohesive notion of Germanic traditions and to contest French domination in the nineteenth century. Postcolonial writers such as Salman Rushdie, Patrick Chamoiseau, Nalo Hopkinson, and Sofia Samatar draw from wonder tale traditions in ways that disrupt Western narrative traditions. And multimedia storytelling that dips both into history and the fantastic has advanced decolonial and social justice projects. These are only a few examples of the ways in which authors think with stories in times of conflict.

With this conference we hope to bring fairy-tale scholars together to reflect upon the genre in relation to questions that include but are not limited to: migrants and migration in different geographical locations and historical periods; political and social upheaval; and transformations with an eye to alternative futures. One of our goals is to encourage a dialogue between creative and scholarly thinking with wonder tales in times of conflict.

The conference will consist of plenary talks, workshops, panels with papers, and roundtables.

This conference will take place at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, August 2-5, 2017.

Plenary Speakers and Workshop Leaders include Pauline Greenhill, Dan Taulapapa McMullin, Veronica Schanoes, Kay Turner, Jack Zipes, and more to be confirmed.

Deadline for Abstracts: January 10, 2017.

Papers for panels: Please send us a 300-word abstract along with your institutional affiliation for papers of no more than 20 minutes.

Roundtables: If you would like to propose a roundtable, please include a 150-word abstract of the topic and a list of participants with their institutional affiliations; each presentation by roundtable participants should be no more than 10 minutes.

Please send abstracts to: Cristina Bacchilega (cbacchi at hawaii dot edu) and Anne Duggan (a dot duggan at wayne dot edu)

Acceptances by February 15, 2017.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Celebrate National Read a Book Day--Read a Fairy Tale!

Today is National Read a Book Day! So what book do you want to read today? Over the holiday weekend, I craved some comfort reading with all of the ongoing personal stress right now and found myself returning to Jane Eyre for the umpity-umpth time. The book has changed for me over the decades as I have changed, but I don't grow weary of it as I have with many other books that will remain nameless here today. Bonus that Jane Eyre counts as fairy tale reading for me with the overt Bluebeard references, too.

Jane Eyre and Jane Austen, comfort reads forever, I think. And on a related side note, if you haven't seen Love and Friendship yet, well, it's now available on DVD as well as streaming. Excellent movie!

So what fairy tale or folklore related title do you hope to read today? My stack is to the virtual rafters with little time allotted for fun reading today, so I think I may choose to read the book I've been hording for over a month, Beauty and the Beast by by Mahlon F. Craft (Author) and Kinuko Y. Craft (Illustrator). I've already seen most of the illustrations from the Beauty and the Beast 2017 Fairy Tale Wall Calendar, but I haven't read the book and explored all of the illustrations yet.

From National Day Calendar site:


National Read A Book Day is observed annually on September 6th. On August 9th, we all celebrated National Book Lovers Day. While these bookish days may seem similar, National Read a Book Day invites us ALL to grab a book we might enjoy and spend the day reading.

Don’t keep it to yourself. Share the experience! Read aloud either to children or to grandparents. Read to your pets or to your stuffed animals and plants.

Reading improves memory and concentration as well as reduces stress. Older adults who spend time reading show a slower cognitive decline and tend to participate in more mentally stimulating activities over their lifetime. Books are an inexpensive entertainment, education and time machine, too!


Sit back, relax and read a book. Use #ReadABookDay to post on social media.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Bargain Ebook: Black Swan, White Raven edited by Datlow and Windling

Black Swan, White Raven by Ellen Datlow (Editor) and Terri Windling (Editor) is on sale for $1.99, down from $6.15 in ebook format for the first time (to my knowledge). As I've said before, I have a hard time justifying rebuys when I own a hardcover and paperback edition of the book already, but $1.99 always lets me except that frugal policy.

Only five of the six books in this series have been digitized. Four have now had sale prices at some point--and I've shared those sales on the blog here--so just one more to go, Black Thorn, White Rose! And it is worth the full price if you don't own it yet, of course.

These books were part of the inspiration for SurLaLune's creation many moons ago. Hopefully someday the sixth missing book, Snow White, Blood Red, will be digitized but that may never happen since most likely reprint rights are standing in its way.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction -- Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling
  • Words Like Pale Stones -- Nancy Kress
  • Stronger Than Time -- Patricia C. Wrede
  • Somnus’s Fair Maid -- Ann Downer
  • The Frog King, or Iron Henry -- Daniel Quinn
  • Near-Beauty -- M. E. Beckett
  • Ogre -- Michael Kandel
  • Can’t Catch Me -- Michael Cadnum
  • Journeybread Recipe -- Lawrence Schimel
  • The Brown Bear of Norway -- Isabel Cole
  • The Goose Girl -- Tim Wynne-Jones
  • Tattercoats -- Midori Snyder
  • Granny Rumple -- Jane Yolen
  • The Sawing Boys -- Howard Waldrop
  • Godson -- Roger Zelazny
  • Ashputtle -- Peter Straub
  • Silver and Gold -- Ellen Steiber
  • Sweet Bruising Skin -- Storm Constantine
  • The Black Swan -- Susan Wade
  • Recommended Reading -- Misc. Material

Book description--Note, the book description for the Kindle edition is for the wrong book, so I grabbed this from the paperback (and I corrected several misspellings in that one!):

Once Upon A Time . . .

A seduced prince willingly fell prey to a sensuous usurper's erotic treacheries . . . a flesh-eating ogre gamboled in the footlights . . . a gingerbread man fled in terror from the baking pan to the fire . . .

The award-winning editors of Snow White, Blood Red return us to distinctly adult realms of myth and the fantastic -- with eighteen wondrous works that cloak the magical fictions we heard at Grandma's knee in mantles of darkness and dread. From Roger Zelazny's delightful tale of Death's disobedient godson to Peter Straub's blood-chilling examination of a gargantuan Cinderella and her terrible twisted "art," here are stories strange and miraculous -- remarkable modern storytelling that remold our most cherished childhood fables into things sexier, more sinister . . . and more appealing to grown-up tastes and sensibilities.

Monday, August 22, 2016

I Return and I Revisit The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and Grandma

Hello everyone! No, the SurLaLune Blog isn't dead--it has only been neglected the last several weeks as a family medical crisis and a few demanding projects sucked every moment of my time, energy and sanity into their vortexes. I may not post regularly the rest of the month yet, but I really wanted a new post out there for the world to see I am still here. She's alive!

I first reviewed The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and Grandma by Diane & Christyan Fox almost two years ago. This past weekend as my four-year-old nephew and six-year-old niece stayed over for a sleepover, I desperately combed my shelves for "new(ish) to them" books they would both enjoy. They are well and widely read so that is a challenge, especially if I am looking for books short enough to keep bedtime a reasonable hour. Even my hundreds of picture books were at a lower batting average for our immediate needs Friday night. Fortunately, Kensie doesn't think picture books are below her, but just loves words however they are presented. Yay her! Although she would prefer to have the long, long fairy tale picture books read to her, her brother isn't that interested or patient with those unless there are trucks involved.

Well, this was one of the books that successfully came off the shelf--getting laughter and giggles from both of them--and was demanded as a reread, especially by Clark. He ran up to me the next morning with, "You said you would read this one again in the morning." So we did. He laughed some more and thought it was great fun that Dog thought of Little Red Riding Hood as a Superhero story. He understood all of the humor, laughing without prompting, so he is the perfect age for it now. Kensie had a few triumphs as she was able to read some of the lines herself, too.

From my previous review, which I still stand by especially after testing it with some more kids:

This is one of those picture books that works better for the older kids instead of the preschool set thanks to the humor. With lines about "bad fashion sense" and "kindness rays" and even "exploding eggs," reading this book to a younger preschooler will lead to just as many interrupting questions as the dog himself asks in the story.

So most kids under four-years-old won't appreciate the humor. The text also works well as a read aloud, but the illustrations don't accommodate a story time setting either, say in a kindergarten or 1st grade classroom. But honestly, it will be best appreciated by literate kids who can get some of the jokes on the pages by themselves, such as the Cat's checklist. So it's a read aloud with one or a few children who are a little older and will get the humor. That said, the humor is fun and it's a good book. I'll share a video and illustrations below. A good buy for libraries and an amusing fractured fairy tale interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood for classrooms. Parents with kids who like to ask a lot of questions will also enjoy it out of sympathy for the cat.

Book description:

A comical twist on "Little Red Riding Hood" told by Cat and Dog!

Cat starts reading "Little Red Riding Hood" and explains, "It's a story about a little girl who always wears a red cape with a hood."

Dog says, "COOL! I love stories about superheroes. What's her special power?"

Cat says, "She doesn't have any special powers. It's not that kind of a story."

And then the fun ensues!

The zany, fun back-and-forth of Dog and Cat celebrates the joy of reading -- and questioning. Young children will cheer Dog's persistent questions as well as Cat's dedication to keep telling the story.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Bargain Ebook: Black Heart, Ivory Bones by Ellen Datlow (Editor) and Terri Windling (Editor)

Black Heart, Ivory Bones by Ellen Datlow (Editor) and Terri Windling (Editor) is on sale in ebook format for $1.99. I didn't own this in ebook format yet (now I do!) so I don't believe it has been on sale before. I have a hard time justifying rebuys when I own a hardcover and paperback, but $1.99 always lets me except that frugal policy.

Book description:

Favorite fairy tales are updated and hauntingly reimagined by twenty of today’s finest writers of fiction and fantasy

Once upon a time, all our cherished dreams began with the words once upon a time. This is the phrase that opened our favorite tales of princes and spells and magical adventures. World Fantasy Award–winning editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling understand the power of beloved stories—and in Black Heart, Ivory Bones, their sixth anthology of reimagined fairy tales, they have gathered together stories and poetry from some of the most acclaimed writers of our time, including Neil Gaiman, Tanith Lee, Charles de Lint, and Joyce Carol Oates. But be forewarned: These fairy tales are not for children.

A prideful Texas dancer is cursed by a pair of lustrous red boots . . . Goldilocks tells all about her brutal and wildly dysfunctional foster family, the Bears . . . An archaeologist in Victorian England is enchanted by a newly exhumed Sleeping Beauty . . . A prince of tabloid journalism is smitten by a trailer-park Rapunzel . . . A clockwork amusement park troll becomes sentient and sets out to foment an automaton revolution. These are but a few examples of the marvels that await within these pages—tales that range from the humorous to the sensuous to the haunting and horrifying, each one a treasure with a distinctly adult edge.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Color the Classics: Beauty and the Beast: A Deeply Romantic Coloring Book by Jae-Eun Lee

It's National Coloring Book Day, at least as declared by Dover Publications!

So I thought I would share Color the Classics: Beauty and the Beast: A Deeply Romantic Coloring Book by Jae-Eun Lee since I didn't do so when it was released in May. And since this is my favorite fairy tale, that is rather a shame that it took me so long. But it's been that kind of summer...

Anyway, here are some illustrations as well as pages showing the coloring pages index from the book. Awesome concept! Shows you that there are a lot of pages to illustrate. Click on images to see them larger.

Book description:

Color your way into the Beast's heart, in this visual retelling of the classic French fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast.

Join the pure-hearted Beauty as she offers herself to the fearsome Beast in exchange for her father's life, in a coloring book romance that features over seventy pages of evocative artwork, ready to be brought to life by your coloring skills and imagination.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Bargain Ebook: The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey for $1.99

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey is on sale in ebook format for $1.99. This is the first time the book has been bargain priced to my knowledge. The book uses Russian Firebird folklore as part of its plot. The sale is probably short term, so don't hesitate if you are interested.

Book description:

For fans of Cassandra Clare's City of Bones and Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke & Bone, The Girl at Midnight is the story of a modern girl caught in an ancient war.

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, though if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren't as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Bargain Ebook: Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente for $1.99

Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente (Author) and Charlie Bowater (Illustrator) is on sale in ebook format for $1.99. This was on my wishlist so I haven't read it yet. Now it's sitting in my virtual book stack.

Book description:

A New York Times bestselling author offers a brilliant reinvention of one of the best-known fairy tales of all time with Snow White as a gunslinger in the mythical Wild West.

Forget the dark, enchanted forest. Picture instead a masterfully evoked Old West where you are more likely to find coyotes as the seven dwarves. Insert into this scene a plain-spoken, appealing narrator who relates the history of our heroine’s parents—a Nevada silver baron who forced the Crow people to give up one of their most beautiful daughters, Gun That Sings, in marriage to him. Although her mother’s life ended as hers began, so begins a remarkable tale: equal parts heartbreak and strength. This girl has been born into a world with no place for a half-native, half-white child. After being hidden for years, a very wicked stepmother finally gifts her with the name Snow White, referring to the pale skin she will never have. Filled with fascinating glimpses through the fabled looking glass and a close-up look at hard living in the gritty gun-slinging West, this is an utterly enchanting story…at once familiar and entirely new.