#FolkloreThursday: Retellings and Adaptations I covet

Greetings on this, the first Folklore Thursday post in quite a while. I’ve missed these posts and getting to completely nerd out over folkloric things so I am very pleased to bring them back.

While looking through my reader today, I saw two really interesting posts about retellings and adaptations, one from Mikaela at The Well-Thumbed Reader and the other from Heather at The Sassy Book Geek. I’ve been trying to think of a list post, and as if by magic, these two posts appeared and I just had to throw mine into the pot too!

These are folk tales that I love and that I haven’t read/seen any retellings of but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any. (Please let me know if you know of any!)

1. Chang’e (China)

Chang’e is the Chinese moon goddess, who I have mentioned before. There are lots of stories that can be drawn on and I would be happy with any of them. I am obsessed with the moon, so any story involving it makes me happy and would make me a very happy reader. It has tragic elements, a husband and wife separated (regardless of whether they started as immortals but were punished with mortality, and thus probably deserved it, or whether they were human and definitely did not deserve their separation), a plague, and would make for some very interesting reading. Plus, I could imagine Chang’e as both a delicate and a fierce female protagonist, and I am very much here for a three-dimensional heroine who is not just strong. I would love to read more Eastern-based literature.

2. The Enchanted Quill (German)

The Enchanted Quill features a crow whose feathers, when used to write, make wishes come true, three sisters (two of which are snide and unforgiving, and one who is full of intrigue and cunning and blushes at the thought of a little crow), and of course, the transformation from animal to prince… for a price. I love crows and other birds hailing from the Corvidae family, they carry with them a little bit of magic; the crooked kind of magic that I can’t seem to get enough of (there’s that word again…). It has echoes of Beauty and the Beast, another story I adore, but brings its own little twists and turns to the transformative archetype.

3. The Seven Ravens (German)

Again, I am bringing you Corvidae and potentially fabulous female characters.  A mother and father have seven sons and want desperately to have a daughter. Eventually, they do and she is a sickly little thing so the sons have to go fetch water for her baptism (either to make her better or to ensure she’s accepted into heaven in the event that she dies – I am unsure which), the sons fail horrendously and so the father wishes them into ravens. Years pass, the daughter grows strong and discovers that the ravens that always seem to be around are, in fact, her brothers and goes off on an adventure to restore them to their human form. I love a good adventure story.


So there you have it, three folk tales that I would love to see adapted or retold in some way or another. There are more that I can think of but it’s late and I need some sleep (cue yawning).

Watch this space for part two, coming to a Folklore Thursday post in the probably-not too distant future.

Are there any folk tales you’d love to see retold? What are they, and would I love them? (The answer to that last bit is probably yes.)

Happy Thursday!

#FolkloreThursday Favourites: Retellings and Folklore-based books

I’ve been following the Folklore Thursday tag on Twitter for a while and it has only just now occurred to me that perhaps I should do some Folklore Thursday happenings on my blog. I am not sure how this managed to pass me by for so long but pass me by it did.

No longer! I am going to try for an interesting folkloric/fairy tale-esque post every week. It’ll give me more excuses to read folklore, so I am excited.

For my first foray into the world of Folklore Thursday, I am going to share some of my favourite retellings and books based heavily on folklore.  Hoorah.

1. Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

9781472108685Oh my goodness. I am still not over this book. If you’ve been lurking in this corner of the internet for a while, you already know how much I love this book.

It tells the tale of Marya Morevna and Koschei the Deathless, and it is probably my favourite book. It is the book that made me interested in Russian/Slavic folklore and mythology (an interest which is very much bubbling at the moment). It is lyrical and beautiful and dark and painful, and I will never get over it. Ever.

I will always recommend this book, it is the first book I mention whenever someone needs something to read.

2. American Gods by Neil Gaiman

4407If you’ve not heard of this book before: 1. How? 2. Look it up, look it up right now.

American Gods is fantastic. So fantastic that it will soon be a TV show. I am eager. I’m not sure whether I will actually be able to watch it from my little flat in the West Midlands but I am eager.

Unlike DeathlessAmerican Gods does not just focus on one particular country’s mythology. It has everything, it even creates new things. New gods. New gods which make me want to squeeze them until they break. Ahem. Bit scary there, sorry about that. It’s a jaunt through many mythologies and comes highly recommended.

3. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

276750I discovered this book in college, I think. Someone had found it or been reading it and was outraged by the dark, dark story ‘The Snow-Child’. Of course, I had to read it for myself and then I had to buy the book.

Again, this collection draws from a lot of different places and isn’t just a collection of retellings of tales I was familiar with. My favourite stories are: ‘The Bloody Chamber’ from which the collection gets its name, which tackles the story of Bluebeard; and ‘The Erl-King’, a story featuring a figure from Danish and German folklore, who I’ve been interested in since discovering a wonderfully dark piece of Labyrinth fan fiction which uses the tale as its inspiration. If you like a bit of darkness, give both the Carter and the fan fiction a read.

4. Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente

24886019Of course, of course, there is another Valente book on here. How could there not be? She just has so many greats to choose from! This book is gorgeous, both in the writing and in the illustrations by Charlie Bowater. I have long loved her work and was so happy to discover that it would be paired with Valente’s writing.

Six-Gun Snow White is a Western take on, you guessed it, Snow white and it’s a take only Valente could think up. I adore it. It’s a quick read, I discovered it last year and I am pretty sure I devoured it in one sitting.  It’s a wonderful twist on the tale and is just as very enjoyable experience all round. Plus, the hardback is beautiful.

5. The Book of Lost Things  by John Connolly

69136I’ve mentioned this book briefly on the blog before. It’s lovely. Aimed at younger readers, it includes a number of different fairy tales as well as a few little things of its own. Definitely one I intend to read to any potential future children I might end up having.

My love for this book also comes from my experience of it. My copy is delightfully deformed. The book block has been put into the hardcover upside down and back to front. I wouldn’t have noticed if not for the fact that I like to look under the jacket. Much to my amusement, I found the embossed cover upside down on the back of the book. It just seemed to suit the novel so well that I couldn’t help but enjoy it.

6. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

25493853The most recent read of this list, The Bear and the Nightingale is another book based in Russian folklore. I will be posting a full review in the near future so won’t say too much here. I will say that as soon as I saw the cover of this book that I needed it. I didn’t even know what it was about at that point but I needed it. Just look at it, it’s beautiful.

It draws on folklore that I hadn’t yet discovered, which made me deliriously happy and has a wonderful way about it, which I will talk more about in my review.

I know a lot of people had been excitedly anticipating this book until its release on January 12th – it was worth it.

So there you have it. Six of my favourites. I’m always on the look out for more books of this ilk so please do tell me your favourites in the comments – recommend some books! All of the books! I may have a mighty TBR pile but there is always room for more.

Tune in next week (we hope) for a list of books I want to read, and the week after (we hope even more fiercely) for something that isn’t a list.

Have a lovely Thursday!