Warner Gardner

The Power of Fairy Tales: Marina Warner & Sally Gardner

Once Upon a Time by Marina Warner Subtitled ‘A short history of fairy tale’, Warner’s compact volume belies its small size. It’s a tiny hardback, but within its 200 or so pages, the author recounts the rich history behind the beloved fairy tales we all know from their most common (often arguably via Disney film Read More

6 degrees wild swans

The Six Degrees of Separation Meme: Wild Swans

Hosted each month by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, the Six Degrees of Separation meme picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. This month’s starting point is Jung Chang’s wonderful memoir of three generations of women in her family, Wild Swans. I remember loving this when it first Read More

Throw Away Unopened

A charming adventure inside fairy tales …

Most of you will know Ian Beck’s work without even realising it. He is an illustrator of renown and amongst many other things designed the cover of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John. In the early 1980s, he started to write and illustrate picture books for young children, and later moved into writing children’s novels. Read More

Throw Away Unopened

What the new Hoffmann addict read on Christmas Day …

The Nutcracker & The Strange Child by E.T.A. Hoffmann, translated by Anthea Bell My mum was a huge ballet fan, and it was a much-anticipated Christmas treat to be taken to London to the ballet to see The Nutcracker, preferably at the Royal Opera House for a grander experience and better tree (see below). It Read More

Throw Away Unopened

A Russian fairytale

The Year of Miracle and Grief by Leonid Borodin, translated by Jennifer Bradshaw Leonid Borodin was a writer, Soviet dissident and Christian. He was born in Irkutsk – one of those areas of Russia only familiar to me through the board-game Risk! He was imprisoned twice, the second time after the English publication of his Read More

Throw Away Unopened

Once upon a time, there was a girl who didn’t read proper fairy tales …

When I was little, the books I enjoyed reading the most were fairy tales. My childhood favourite was the Puffin A Book of Princesses selected by Sally Patrick Johnson published in 1965. It’s a great collection combining old tales like The Twelve Dancing Princesses with ones by E E Nesbit and Oscar Wilde. I still Read More

Throw Away Unopened

Short Takes on Two Short Stories…

I don’t read many short stories, but this week, I’ve happened to read two … The Small Miracleby Paul Gallico Published in  1951, Gallico’s story is a charming fable of faith and love about an orphan boy Pepino, and his donkey Violette. Pepino and Violette live in Assisi. They make ends meet by doing donkey Read More

Throw Away Unopened

Press rewind and edit … Two novellas by Robert Coover

Briar Rose & Spanking the Maid by Robert Coover Earlier this year, I discovered American author Robert Coover when I was sent his volume in the Pengiun Mini Modern Classics series to read and review (click here).  One of the three stories in that collection, a novella called The Babysitter, was a mini masterpiece; the other two Read More