Friday, September 28, 2012

Enchanted


You've heard of fractured fairy tales, right, adaptations of the stories we all grew up with? To put it in a classic SAT way, Beauty and the Beast is to Alex Flinn's Beastly as The Twelve Dancing Princesses is to Heather Dixon's Entwined. Some of these books are imaginative and innovative retellings, with authors inventing new and surprising ways to approach the classics. Well, Alethea Kontis has boldly gone where no-one has gone before; She hasn't re-told just one fairy tale, she has included all the fairy tales, from familiar to obscure, in her new book Enchanted.

Let me give this a shot: Sunday is the seventh daughter of a woodcutter. She meets an enchanted frog that may also be a prince. Her brother trades a cow for magic beans. Her fairy godmother bestows gifts on all the Woodcutter children. There's a giant, an enchanted mirror, animal companions, fairies everywhere and, yes, someone looses a shoe. And there's more, much, much more. Somehow Kontis weaves these complicated threads into a coherent and charmed story of kids growing up in a magical kingdom, falling in love, and learning the secrets of their past. It's a magical achievement!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Happy One Hit Wonder Day!


I don't know how he feels about it, but Vanilla Ice appears to be the poster boy for National One-Hit Wonder Day, which is today! Look at that guy. Look at him! I lived through the 90's, people. Respect.  (I'll not ask you to watch the video for his "Ice Ice Baby," but you may enjoy Jim Carey's classic "White White Baby.")

So what qualifies as a one-hit wonder? Huffington Post has compiled some arguments, but I would say a one-hit wonder is that song that, for a time, is always on on every radio station at playing at every shop, every restaurant (Gotye, anybody?) and then just sort of keeps hanging around years after the name of the artist has become a trivia question that nobody can answer. (You can bet one-hit wonders will be a category on Jeopardy tonight.) From Aha's "Take on Me" (the best karaoke song there is) to Los Del Rio's "Macarena" (the reason I don't go to weddings), there's a vast spectrum of songs whose artists now occasionally appear on episodes of Where Are They Now.

Anyway, my personal favorite (though it may not qualify as there was a sort of popular single right after and the band might have gone on to create even more hits had Shannon Hoon, the lead singer, not died when he was far, far too young) is Blind Melon's "No Rain."

Share your favorite in the comments? Pretty please?


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Future 50


Do you have something to say about the future? Can you say it briefly yet artfully? Then you simply must (darling) enter the Future 50 Writing Contest. I'm accepting submissions now until October 10. Stop by the library for a submission form, or find one here.

Remember, your story must be no more than 50 words, including the title. Like so:

Emissary from the Last Frontier
Without fuel, space is not an option. The oceans are too toxic. The mountains have all been mapped, inside and out. Only one place left for explorers, the pit in my backyard. Now accepting applications. Must have experience in geographic triangulation. No boys need apply.

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