So, I’ve got to be honest with you readers. After several months of selecting different reads for our GeekyNerdy Book Club, I was a little unsure about what direction to go in for the final selection of the year. To be sure, I mentioned a couple of options in last Thursday’s post, as did Mei-Mei, but as I weighed the choices again, nothing was really grabbing me. Then, I thought about the fact that I’ve done a pretty good job of choosing male and female writers, but it struck me as I did that the men have written the novels, while the women have authored the non-fiction choices. Since I’ve been feeling a bit feministy lately, I wanted to change that, but nothing was easily coming to mind.
After reading about the magical elements in Charlie Jane Anders’s book, All the Birds in the Sky, which is on Mei-Mei’s TBR, I liked the idea of finding something in that particular genre, especially since I’ve also been trying to make sure that we have a good variety of reads to consider and discuss, but again, I wasn’t sure what to do! Luckily, Barnes&Noble’s Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog came to the rescue and I found a book – albeit new and only available in hardcover or e-book – that I think will give us A LOT to talk about: The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, which is edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe.
While the (spoiler-free) review by Ardi Alspach was enough to sell me on the title, the more I thought about it, the more excited I got! I grew up having illustrated anthologies of fairy tales on my parents’ bookshelves and realized that those were things that the Mysterious Mr. C and I didn’t have on ours. Plus, I love reading retellings of classic stories – as evidenced by my long-time enjoyment of Jon Scieszka’s The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and The Frog Prince, Continued. In addition, the writers of these tales include a who’s who of the current sci-fi/fantasy landscape (such as Anders) and may spark some ideas for future book club reads! On top of that, each story includes, as Alspach notes, “some lovely bonus materials, in the form of author’s notes at the end of each story, showcasing the voice of each contributor and giving us insight into why and how they chose which fairy tale to reinvent, and the thought processes involved in the retelling.” According to him, “They’re magical, these glimpses of the sources of the inspiration that defines this anthology, and sets [sic] it apart.”
If all of that still hasn’t sold you on the book, I don’t know what will, but I also love the fact that the anthology includes retellings of familiar tales from the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson, as well as less-familiar ones from Asian and Middle Eastern writers. The Starlit Wood truly seems to feature a little bit of everything and I can’t wait to dive in! Hopefully you feel that way too and will tune in on Thursday, December 15, when I share my thoughts!