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'Old tales in new skins.' A clever and charming cycle of fairy tales retold from various female perspectives, haunting and beautiful and not a little creepy. I loved the way the tales folded into each other; it felt a little bit forced at times, but for the most part worked very well. My favourite was 'The Tale of the Rose', despite - or perhaps because of - the fact that I could see what was coming all the way through.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/10289116
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
As the title suggests, a variation on the Cinderella story from the point of view of one of the stepsisters. As it happens, I'm not actually convinced by the title, which sets the wrong tone - one expects something with more of a 'chicklit' flavour, I think... it does make more sense as you approach the end, but I'm not sure that's worth the cognitive dissonance through the rest of the book.

I did like the early modern Dutch setting (very skilfully evoked) and the emphasis on art. I was not so happy about the increasing vilification of the stepmother - if one has to redistribute the villainy in Cinderella, why does it have to be among the women? I'd have liked to see some more interrogation of the systems that put them in this situation in the first place; Maguire does make an effort, but it feels very half-hearted.

Nice try, but always felt it could have been done better.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/9981161
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
This little book is travelling round the Favourites of 2011 bookring along with 'Fugitive Pieces'. It's a gem: delicate, incisive poems, each featuring a pair of fairy tales. I came back to it several times.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/8660871
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This is an anthology of folk tales from around the world that concern witches. They're mostly not more than a couple of pages long, and I've been reading a few every day for the past couple of weeks. They're arranged loosely by theme, and it's interesting to see how the various archetypes show up across all sorts of cultures. Nice, too, to find good witches as well as bad witches, and clever women generally. I enjoyed this - one can always rely on Virago for charismatic women.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/7685152
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
This is the Egerton Hall trilogy stuck together in one volume. Reading before sending on to a bookcrosser who is, according to her profile, very fond of fairy tales and fairy tales retold. These ones I loved when I was in my teens, though it was a while before I managed to track down Pictures of the Night. Still love them, though find the men a little feeble these days - not too much of a problem though, seeing as how most of the focus is on Megan, Alice and Bella, as it should be.

The stories are essentially played straight, but with such swinging sixties fervour and vibe, and so cleverly done, that they're a real joy to read. I don't mind parting with this volume, though; I think I prefer them separate.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/10056772
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
Retellings of Andersen's fairy stories for the teen market. Readable enough, though I was never really that sort of teen (I used to read Jacqueline Wilson, and that was as trendy as I got) and it's a book that I'm not breaking my heart over parting with.

I had forgotten how depressing Andersen can get - or, rather, I always applauded his miserably ever after endings, but it's somehow different when it's human kids and not mermaids or tin soldiers or whatever. I think, though, having read the Snow Queen-inspired story in this, I probably could now go back and read the original. I have been too scared to for years. (Not entirely true - I was scared for some years, and then I forgot about its existence for the rest of them.)

Quite fun, wouldn't go out of my way to re-read.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/9948291

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