Remembrance: Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak passed away today at the age of 83.

Best known for “Where the Wild Things Are,” Sendak illustrated his own stories and others, including the Little Bear series by Else Holmelund Minarik. His own tales combined dreamscape images with familiar comforts–be they chicken soup with rice or hot suppers left by your mother.

I think the best goodbye I can put is using his own fitting words about coming home.

Rest in Peace, Sir.

But the wild things cried, “Oh please don’t go–

we’ll eat you up–we love you so!”

And Max said, “No!”

The wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth

and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws

but Max stepped into his private boat and waved good-bye

and sailed back over a year

and in and out of weeks

and through a day

and into the night of his very own room

where he found his supper waiting for him

and it was still hot.


Remembrance: Jan Berenstain

Jan Berenstain passed away this weekend.

Some of my first reading memories go back to the Berenstain Bears. (Then they were the Berenstein Bears. At some point it changed after I had moved to chapter books.) They always made me feel cozy and warm, like I was visiting into a world where everyone was familiar. No matter what shenanigans Papa, Brother and Sister Bear got into, I knew it Mama Bear would set them all straight in the end.

I learned to not be afraid of storms and to be thankful for what I had:

To ignore prejudices and give people a chance:

To eat healthily:

And to be myself, not what others want me to be:

Thank you, Jan Berenstain.

Charmed by the Prince.

Or, the Prince Charming appreciation post that may have been inspired by ABC’s new show Once Upon a Time.

Prince Charming is an archetype that can be manipulated and remade a hundred ways. He’s more of an idea then an actual character (though I bet you that the image that comes to a lot of people’s minds is one of the two Disney animated Prince Charmings.) So I thought I’d highlight some of the memorable versions.

Since Prince Charming is most often related to Snow White and Cinderella (again, thanks Disney) I’m putting the main spotlight on those renditions. And my focus is on modern re-tellings then the stories that might appear in different fairy tale collections.

As always these grades are not a reflection on the writing quality but on the men themselves, on just how charming they actually are. And I’ve tried to refrain from major spoilers in this one but they still lurk below.

Continue reading ‘Charmed by the Prince.’

Mystique: Sir Hugh

As you probably know by now, when I read historical romances I tend to stick with the Regency period (or the decades immediately preceding or following). Medievals don’t tend to make on my list (though I read plenty of fantasy/sci-fi with medieval-esque settings). But this one caught my eye because (a) I’d read one book by the author and wanted to read more and( b) the description talked about a dark knight coming for a mystical jewel and a scholarly heroine. It’s like it knew just how to draw me in. (I think anything that reminds me of a childhood cartoon like some sort of magical jewel will probably draw me in the same way any book about a “wicked” hero does.)

And so I went in hoping for adventure and came out reading a love story that took on the dynamics between men and women, the effect of revenge and feuds  on families and yes, featured a dark knight.

Continue reading ‘Mystique: Sir Hugh’

Anne McCaffrey

Anne McCaffrey passed away today at the age of 85.

Certain authors, especially those you discover at a younger age, shape the way you read, write and approach fiction altogether. For me, one of these idols of the page was Anne McCaffrey.

I first met her through her Harper Hall of Pern trilogy, discovering the world of Pern and it’s dragons through the protagonist Menolly. From there I was hooked, latching on to her other characters, other stories. Devouring Pern and all the adventures and romance it offered. I owe an immense debt of gratitude to Dragonflight. Junior High Me scribbled away in her notebooks, shamelessly ripping off the heated moments between F’lar and Lessa for my own little stories. The novel had action, politics and a romantic subplot–all things I adore in the fiction I read nowadays.

The universes McCaffrey created were boundless, diverse and fraught with the complications of real life–which make her worlds seem all that more tangible. I’m deeply sorry to hear that she has passed and I thank her for all she did while she was with us.

Grimm’s Fairy Tales: King Thrushbeard

It’s fairy tale time again!

Continue reading ‘Grimm’s Fairy Tales: King Thrushbeard’

Serious Series Talk

I love series/trilogies/quartets etc.

But sometimes I hate them.

There’s a delicate balance between creating an expansive universe a reader can love living in and dragging the series on too long, leaving the reader disenchanted. I’d like to highlight how each formation works and doesn’t work and give out some recommendations if you’re craving a series at the moment.

With a flavoring of mancandy here and there, of course.

Continue reading ‘Serious Series Talk’

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