Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Once Upon a Time V Wrap-Up Post

I'm so happy to have finally joined in on the Once Upon a Time Challenge this year! It was nice to explore myth and magic this spring, especially since the sun decided not to ever come out in Seattle and so I've had to escape through reading.

I started in April with a re-read of Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones for Tif's Tales to Tomes reading group. I was just as heartbroken by the heavy topics this time through but fell in love with the book all over again. (mythology)

I then read the middle-grade new release Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis. This was a fun tale of magic but I thought it relied too much on copying its magical and Regency influences rather than forging its own path. (magic)

I then went with the amusing and charming The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde. The sequel is already in the works and I can't wait to find out what happens next for young Jennifer Strange! (magic)

Next was The Emerald Atlas by John Stevens which I couldn't get enough of. It was the perfect blend of adventure and mystery. (magic)

Then I read Clockwork Angel, the first in the Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. This was also for Tales to Tomes and it was kind of awesome. (magic)

My last "youth" read for the challenge was The Witch's Boy by Michael Gruber. This one took fairy tales in a fascinating direction and also took me by surprise with how good it turned out to be. (fairy tales)

Next, I picked up a very adult read -- American Gods by Neil Gaiman. This was an amazing and intense book that won't be for everyone. (mythology)

Finally, I found time for another Diana Wynne Jones re-read -- House of Many Ways. Though this is billed as a sequel to Howl's Moving Castle, it can definitely be read as a stand-alone book. It's one of her most perfect stories and I adore it. (magic)

And, because it was part of the quest I signed up for (5 books and a play), I finished this journey with a joint reading and watching of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. I prefer Shakespeare when it is spoken aloud and, as I didn't have much time to myself to recite it, I simply read along with a bizarre version of the play from 1968, starring Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, Ian Holm, Diana Rigg and others. The acting was quite good but the makeup, costumes and special effects were rather bad and it was somewhat startling to see Judi Dench's breasts on nearly-full display. I think I prefer when this play is performed in a more whimsical and sweet manner rather than the dark and hate-filled way it was done in this version.

And that is the summary of my challenge overachievement! I can't wait to participate again next year.

With a little magic,


  1. Glad the challenge was a success for you! I am listening to American Gods on audio at the moment... Will take me forever!

  2. That's a lot of books! Which ones did you enjoy the most?

    I read Dogsbody for Tif's Tales to Tomes too - it's the first Diana Wynne Jones book I've read. I read American Gods last year, definitely a thought-provoking premise for a story.

    I've also read A Midsummer Night's Dream (but many years ago), but I've never seen it performed. Hopefully next year.

  3. All of those books but Gaiman's American Gods are new to me. But, that's one of the things I love about this challenge; it's always exposing me to new thoughts, ideas and literature. Isn't it great to see, or read, A Midsummer Night's Dream in June? Love that!

  4. I got so distracted by the thought of Judi Dench's near naked breasts that I forgot what else you wrote about!

  5. We just awarded you the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award

  6. Kailana - I didn't realize the book was so long until I was in the middle of it! And I am really interested in the new full-cast recording they just did of the book!

    Tracy - Well, the DWJ books were re-reads but I loved them both again. I would say that the strongest book was probably The Witch's Boy. And, as a Jasper Fforde fan, I loved The Last Dragonslayer but I'm not sure what someone would think if they weren't used to his style.

    Bellezza - Yes, I definitely love the way A Midsummer Night's Dream uses the feel of the spring/summer transition in so many ways! And my TBR list always grows after Carl's challenges!

    Jenners - I was watching it on the iPad but then watched a portion on the TV after Z went to bed and freaked my husband out with Judi's girls! I guess we Yanks didn't really get to know her until she was older and it's quite strange to see her so young and perky. :)

    Barbara - Thanks so much!

  7. I seriously need to join this one next year! It has some similarities to my own challenge, but has some interesting twists as well! Looks fun!

  8. Tif - I definitely enjoyed the range of categories on this one and the opportunity to pull out the Shakespeare!