Friday, September 21, 2012

Spotlight: Fairy Tales


Though some of us put fairy tales aside as something for children (or babies), the truth is that many of these stories were originally intended for all ages or even adult audiences. Of course, some of us never outgrow our love for the fantastic, magic and danger and things seen from the corner of your eye.

The enduring appeal of these stories is handily demonstrated by the fact that 2012 saw not one, but two movies based on the story of Snow White: Snow White and the Huntsman (starring Charlize Theron and Kristan Stewart) and Mirror, Mirror (starring Julia Roberts and Sean Bean). And on television this fall will be the second seasons of both Grimm and Once Upon a Time.

Before we get too far, Carnegie-Stout does have collections of classic fairy tales by The Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Edmund Spenser, and Charles Perrault. And there are even more in the children's section.

Because fairy tales come from the tradition of oral storytelling, there's been no shortage of adaptations, remixes, and retellings over the years. For example you have Disney's animated feature Beauty and the Beast, the '80s television program Beauty and the Beast, the modern day YA novel (and movie) Beastly, and, of course, the numerous variations in the romance section.

We have graphic novels inspired by fairy tales, from Castle Waiting by Linda Medley (see Andrew's staff review) to the Fables series by Bill Willingham. Both of which take elements familiar from bed time stories, and create something for a more adult audience (Fables, in particular, is not meant for younger readers).

Many authors have built careers around creating or recreating fairy tales. J.R.R. Tolkien has inspired generations of fantasy fans with his tales of Middle-earth. Charles de Lint was one of the original authors of urban fantasy (the kind without vampires), and Holly Black helped to reinvent the sub-genre for modern YA readers. Eowyn Ivey's recent debut novel, The Snow Child, is a retelling of a Russian fairy tale, and yes, she's named after the Tolkien character.

There are many, many more examples, but we don't want to overwhelm you. If you're not sure where to start, try My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me (Fiction Short My), a collection of fairy tales by 40 contemporary authors. Stop by the Recommendations Desk or submit a Personal Recommendations request online, and we'll help you find a new version of your favorite story.

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