Finally, my list for Carl's Challenge - the guy really put a lot of thoughts and effort into this. Carl identified 4 genres we will be exploring: Fairy Tale, Mythology, Folklore and Fantasy. After deliberation, I chose Quest 3:
Read at least one book from each of the four genres of story, and finish up the challenge with a June reading of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
I'm going to pick one book for each genre, then list a few BONUS choices. I haven't been very successful with Book Challenges recently so for this challenge I'm trying to set more realistic targets but always with the option of going a little further.
These are my choices:
- [FAIRY TALE]: Neil Gaiman's The Sandman: Dream Country
This collection includes the World Fantasy Award-winning short story, A Midsummer Night's Dream by Neil Gaiman. Charles Vess teams up with Gaiman in this reworking of the story behind Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Since I'm reading Shakespeare in June, I thought I kick off the challenge with one of the more enjoyable reworking of fables and fantasies: The Sandman. Since Carl had a Charles Vess tribute, I thought it fits in just nicely.
BONUS: Stardust by Neil Gaiman & Charles Vess
- [MYTHOLOGY]: The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell
The Winter King is the first of Cornwell's Warlord Chronicles, which takes a more "realistic" reworking of the Arthurian myth.
I've wanted to try Bernard Cornwell for a long time. He seems to really know the historical epic novels really well. Most importantly, George R. R. Martin is a fan of Bernard Cornwell and I'm a fan of George R. R. Martin. ;)
I hope this will be a full-blooded read.
BONUS: Book 2 & 3 in the series: Enemy of God & Excalibur.
The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander
- [FOLKLORE]: Book of Ballads by Charles Vess and other contributors
A lot of folklores are transmitted in the oral tradition of songs and ballads. Charles Vess started the project to illustrate and reinterpret the many ballads across different cultures, and many talented writers and illustrators came onboard for the endeavour.
I started collecting the series many years ago, when it was first released by Green Man Press. I loved it, but there was always the problem of publication delays. Then it later just sort of disappeared. Thankfully it has finally been collected into a hardcover - later in a trade paperback. Finally, I'm setting aside time to catch up with what I've missed.
BONUS: The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers - I have this book on my selves from my university days, back when we were doing the poetry of the Romantics, and later the Gothic. It was Danielle (from A Work in Progress), who reminded me of this neglected little book.
- [FANTASY]: Ill Met in Lankhmar by Fritz Leiber
Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd & Gray Mouser series is said to be one of those sword and sorcery fantasies that ought to read more widely.
White Wolf previously released the Fafhrd & Gray Mouser stories in 4 volumes - with cover art by Mike Mignola. I had the paperbacks on my bookshelves for too long unread. It is time to do justice to them.
BONUS: Books 2-4 of the Fafhrd & Gray Mouser series: Lean Time In Lankhmar, Farewell to Lankhmar & Return to Lankhmar.
Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko - remember the Russian vampire film? That really cool one? This is the book that the movie is based on. With the forthcoming release of the Day Watch movie, I'm preparing myself.
Threshold by Caitlin R. Kiernan. More in the horror genre, about an extraordinary albion girl with special powers.
Actually, I'll probably add more books as I find them.
Additional condition for myself: No buying of new books for the challenge.
All books selected MUST be from my existing stash or loans from the library and friends. Still trying to get around to reading those neglected books.
Let the reading begin!
To read all the reviews for this challenge, visit the Central Hub Blog, which has links to them.