Sunday, 22 March 2009

Once Upon a Time...

... there was a girl who read books, blogged about them and completed challenges. With one thing and another (ahem, moving flat unexpectedly) I wasn't able to uphold my end of the R.I.P, challenge last year, despite fulfilling the reading part, so I am excited to approach Carl's Once Upon a Time (III) challenge this year.

I plan to embark on the Quest the Second challenge: read at least one book from each of the four categories (fantasy, fairy tale, folklore and mythology). In this quest you will be reading 4 books total: one fantasy, one folklore, one fairy tale, and one mythology. This proves to be one of the more difficult quests each year merely because of the need to classify each read and determine which books fit into which category. I ALSO plan to complete Quest the Fourth: read two non-fiction books, essay collections, etc. that treat any one or more of the four genres covered in this challenge, as well as participating in the Short Story Weekends! A heavy undertaking but one I look forward to with anticipation.

The challenge takes place between March 21st (yesterday) and June 20th so that is three months to immerse myself in some heavy fairy tale/fantasy/mythology/folklore reading. I have always had a strong interest in this genre, especially fairy tales and feminist reworkings. I studied Angela Carter for my Master's thesis and took an elective course in the Brothers Grimm and the History of the European Fairy Tale so I relish revisiting some of this work and building upon what I have already learned; I hope above all to learn more about Jungian analysis and its roots in the fairy tale tradition.

This challenge has come around on the first weekend of Spring, albeit not by mere serendipity, it IS apt: this umbrella genre of everything wispy, beautiful, enchanting with wings is very Spring-like... I see myself reading magical stories under a tree in one of London's many parks on several occasions this Spring. I am happy the sun is out and my reading is likely to reflect that anyway.

I am reluctant to tie myself down to any lists as I am inclined to revolt against any strict guidelines I set myself and change my mind over and over so I am going to choose books at random and see where they fit in the categories of the challenge. I imagine that Angela Carter, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman will feature, although they would mostly be re-reads, and perhaps a grown-up fairy tale from Persephone Books (I think I am correct in thinking that one of their Springtime books to be published, Making Conversation by Christine Longford is described as a modern-day fairy tale in the vein of Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day). Other than that, my inspiration for primary texts is non-existent just now ... my mind is blank so any suggestions based on my likes would be appreciated! As for the secondary material: I have numerous books on the genres in question, all of which look incredibly interesting so it will be difficult to restrain myself to two so I probably won't! I would like to read a lot of secondary material for this challenge as I already have a basis for study although I can never keep myself away from fiction, especially that containing fairy tale elements for long...

1 comment:

Carl V. said...

I am so glad you are joining in. What a wonderful post. If I wasn't already hosting the darn thing I would be tempted to join just because of what you had to say!

I'd like to get some Angela Carter in myself during this challenge. I haven't read enough of her work. And I'd like to read, or at least listen to, some Gaiman as well. It would all be re-reads for me too, but Gaiman is just so perfect for this time of year that it is hard to resist the urge to revisit all the wonderful friends he has introduced me to over the years.