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Tag: Philip Pullman

Book Giveaway: Win Philip Pullman's Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm

UPDATE: I have changed the date to keep the contest open through today so any last minute entries are good.

I haven’t had a book giveaway here in some time but this book is special enough that I wanted to offer a chance for readers to get a copy.

Penguin Classics is bringing out a Deluxe Edition of Philip Pullman’s Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm:

Pullman GrimmFAIRY TALES FROM THE BROTHERS GRIMM is a retelling the beloved stories by Philip Pullman, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the His Dark Materials trilogy—now with three new tales exclusive to the paperback edition. In 1812, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published the first volume of Children’s and Household Tales. Now, two centuries later, fairy tales are once again all the rage with TV shows like Grimm and Once Upon a Time dominating ratings and two movie adaptations of “Snow White” out in the same year. With FAIRY TALES FROM THE BROTHERS GRIMM, Philip Pullman brings these much-loved tales back to the page.

From stories like “Cinderella” and “Hansel and Gretel” to lesser-known treasures like “The Girl With No Hands,” “The Three Snake Leaves,” and “Godfather Death,” Pullman retells fifty of Grimm’s timeless classics for the modern age in his lively, beguiling prose. He includes all the most familiar characters—Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, the Frog Prince, and Rapunzel—while also introducing readers to some they might not have met yet.

Pullman has consulted a variety of editions of the work to pull together a seamless version of each story that focuses on engaging readers and demonstrating exactly why these fairy tales have been told over and over again, remaining vibrant since their original publication in the early 19th century. With FAIRY TALES FROM THE BROTHERS GRIMM, Pullman pays homage to the tales of romance and villainy that inspired his unique creative vision—and that continue to cast their spell on the Western imagination.

I am a big fan of this book and am excited to read the new stories that have been added.  As I noted in my review:

Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm is a must read for anyone interested in folklore and fairy tales but it is also a great read for anyone interested in the art of storytelling and its impact on culture, language and the way we see the world.

So how do you get your hands on the book (and a free poster!)?  Simply leave a comment here with your favorite fairy tale and I will pick a random winner Wednesday, October 30.

 

Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm by Philip Pullman

I am not sure when it happened but somewhere along the line I became interested in fairy tales.  Myths, legends, folklore, you name it, I find it interesting.  Literary adaptions, recreations, new translations, etc.  I have even gone so far as to collect dozens of children’s and adult fairy tale collections of various sorts from library sales and used book stores (and even occasionally newly published).

One of the wise folks at Viking Publishing figured this out and sent me Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version by Philip Pullman.

#1 New York Times bestseller Philip Pullman retells the world’s best-loved fairy tales on their 200th anniversary

Two centuries ago, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published the first volume of Children’s and Household Tales. Now Philip Pullman, one of the most accomplished authors of our time, makes us fall in love all over again with the immortal tales of the Brothers Grimm.

Pullman retells his fifty favorites, from much-loved stories like “Cinderella” and “Rumpelstiltskin,” “Rapunzel” and “Hansel and Gretel” to lesser-known treasures like “The Three Snake Leaves,” “Godfather Death” and “The Girl with No Hands.” At  the end of each tale he offers a brief personal commentary, opening a window on the sources of the tales, the various forms they’ve taken over the centuries and their everlasting appeal.

Suffused with romance and villainy, danger and wit, the Grimms’ fairy tales have inspired Pullman’s unique creative vision—and his beguiling retellings will draw you back into a world that has long cast a spell on the Western imagination.

I was excited and I started reading it right away.

There was just one small problem.  I found it hard to read 50 fairy tales straight through like it was a novel.  I found myself reading a couple at night before bed, slowly making my way through the collection. So it took me some time to finish.  And of course, then I had to come up with something interesting to say about the volume … So here we find ourselves discussing the book months after it came out. How gauche, right? Sarcasm aside, the publisher probably would have preferred a quicker response but better late than never.

Nevertheless, if you are as fascinated by fairy tales as I am this is a must read. Pullman provides a wonderful collection of Grimm’s Fairy Tales with a straightforward and clean style. Plus, he adds some interesting and whimsical comments at the end of each story.

Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm by Philip Pullman

I am not sure when it happened but somewhere along the line I became interested in fairy tales.  Myths, legends, folklore, you name it, I find it interesting.  Literary adaptions, recreations, new translations, etc.  I have even gone so far as to collect dozens of children’s and adult fairy tale collections of various sorts from library sales and used book stores (and even occasionally newly published).

One of the wise folks at Viking Publishing figured this out and sent me Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version by Philip Pullman.

#1 New York Times bestseller Philip Pullman retells the world’s best-loved fairy tales on their 200th anniversary

Two centuries ago, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published the first volume of Children’s and Household Tales. Now Philip Pullman, one of the most accomplished authors of our time, makes us fall in love all over again with the immortal tales of the Brothers Grimm.

Pullman retells his fifty favorites, from much-loved stories like “Cinderella” and “Rumpelstiltskin,” “Rapunzel” and “Hansel and Gretel” to lesser-known treasures like “The Three Snake Leaves,” “Godfather Death” and “The Girl with No Hands.” At  the end of each tale he offers a brief personal commentary, opening a window on the sources of the tales, the various forms they’ve taken over the centuries and their everlasting appeal.

Suffused with romance and villainy, danger and wit, the Grimms’ fairy tales have inspired Pullman’s unique creative vision—and his beguiling retellings will draw you back into a world that has long cast a spell on the Western imagination.

I was excited and I started reading it right away.

There was just one small problem.  I found it hard to read 50 fairy tales straight through like it was a novel.  I found myself reading a couple at night before bed, slowly making my way through the collection. So it took me some time to finish.  And of course, then I had to come up with something interesting to say about the volume … So here we find ourselves discussing the book months after it came out. How gauche, right? Sarcasm aside, the publisher probably would have preferred a quicker response but better late than never.

Nevertheless, if you are as fascinated by fairy tales as I am this is a must read. Pullman provides a wonderful collection of Grimm’s Fairy Tales with a straightforward and clean style. Plus, he adds some interesting and whimsical comments at the end of each story.

Ten Questions with Author Richard Lewis

Cover of "The Killing Sea"

Cover of The Killing Sea

I am a big fan of Richard Lewis. I Loved his first book and have been enjoying his writing ever since. Maybe it is his unique background, or just his personality, but he brings a different sensibility and viewpoint than most authors – and I enjoy it.

His latest work was self-published as an e-book for reasons discussed below. It might not be economically viable in today’s publishing world but – like all of his books – it is an engaging and entertaining read that I hope you will check out.

BTW, in light of recent events you might want to check out Lewis’s The Killing Sea.  A novel Booklist called “a powerful fictional tale of survival and cooperation in the wake of the 2004 tsunami.”

Richard graciously agreed to answer some questions via email about his books, writing and career.  My questions in bold and his below.

 

Remind us how you ended up writing young adult fiction in the first place.

I wrote a book for adults called THE FLAME TREE, set in Java, against the backdrop of 9/11, about the friendship of the son of American missionary doctors and a Muslim village boy.  It went on submission after 9/11, adult houses passed, but an editor at Simon and Schuster YA read it and loved it.  I had to cut out some sub-plots, but I still think it’s adult.

 

And what led to your self-publishing The Last Witch as an e-book?

Essentially, my four YA novels that S&S published didn’t make them money.  My career as Richard Lewis, YA author, was pretty much done–at least in the traditional publishing sense.  One of the brutal (and impersonal) facts of the business.  I had this novel on my hard drive, and I liked it enough to think it should at least have a chance for an audience.

How do you think the ability of authors to sell directly to readers via e-books changes the self-publishing and standard publishing worlds?
Gosh, so much has ink has been spilled, and pixels aglow on blogs and industry websites, about this topic.  As Yogi Berra said, prediction is hard, especially if it’s about the future, so I’m not sure what is going to happen, but I do think some measure of equilibrium between the two will be reached (by standard publishing I mean standard publishing houses publishing both print and electronic editions).  I’ve been honored to be a part of the traditional world.  There is a sense of self-validation in being print published by a major publisher.

What’s happening in the self-publishing world (whether a printed book or an e-edition) is a growing cacophony of noise, and so it seems to me that clever, dedicated, sly, and at times very loud self promotion is key to standing out. People aren’t going to read you if they don’t know you aren’t there.  Unfortunately, I don’t have that personality. I’m a writer–I love writing stories–well, I hate writing stories because it’s a process of continuous, frustrating, hair-pulling dissonance resulting in many nights of insomnia and grouchy mornings, but I do love it too. I’ve always loved putting together puzzles, and there’s nothing like making a story fit together from out of nowhere. But the process is like having ants crawl around in your brain.

The Last Witch has elements of science, higher math, faith/religion, mysticism, etc. All of these elements have appeared in your previous books. Do you use things that might not have been used directly in previous projects or that you “collected” along the way?

Everything that I’ve ever experienced in my life, or heard about, or read about (and I read a TON of non-fiction, love it) is fodder for my imagination, plus my imagination can come up with things on its own.  Being the son of missionaries, who grew up on Bali where the mystical world is just real as the world you see, add in my education in science and math (only to a first year PhD level before I bailed to go surfing), and that’s just the start of what I have to draw on in making up my stories.

As for the LAST WITCH, I’d been doing a lot of reading in science & religion, and the “new atheism” of Dawkins, Hitchens and the other High Prophets of There is No God, plus I’d read Philip Pullman‘s GOLDEN COMPASS trilogy with its atheistic world view, and so I decided to try my hand on the other side of the ledger, so to speak.  Not that I can write like Pullman, but it was a certain aesthetic & world view I wanted to express for myself in a YA story.   (And I’m doing the same again right now, but in an adult novel).  I was not entirely satisfied with the result, but satisfied enough to let it go out into the world, alone with bag slung over the shoulder, to make its way as best it could.

 

Do you find it a challenge to write from the perspective of a young girl? What helps you capture that voice?

Having a daughter helps an awful lot.

 

What drew you to Central Park as a setting? So famous and yet probably full of little known secrets and facts.

A huge sprawling park full of nooks and crannies (Eden both pure and corrupted) in a huge sprawling city (Gotham and Babylon)?  What a set-up for a fantasy, for all kinds of what-ifs.  I devoured books and websites on the park, scoured it with Google Earth.  And I might add, I’m not the only writer attracted to that place. A colleague of mine, Lesley Livingston, used Central Park as a principal setting in her terrific faerie novel WONDROUS STRANGE

 

Do you write with a particular audience in mind (Americans of a certain age, etc.)?
Nope.  The story shapes itself.  Who reads it, reads it.

 

You like to surf. What comes first writing or surfing?  Do you have a set schedule?

Surf depends on swell, which comes and goes. So if the surf is good, yeah, I probably go surfing before I sit down to write.  I also do a lot of boat trips to outer islands to go surfing.  I don’t write, but I catch up on my reading.  (I can’t wait to get a Kindle and travel with one device with a thousand books on it–but Kindle, and other e-devices, aren’t  available in Indonesia, not just the physical platform, but the downloading service.

 

What is one thing that surprised you about writing YA and something you find frustrating?

Nothing particularly surprising.  Or frustrating for that matter, except for maybe the increasing PR writers are expected to do.

 

What’s next? On to “adult” fiction? Can you give us some insight into what you are working on now?

Oh, adult fiction for sure. Last year I wrote a very adult novel on the 1965 massacres in Bali (over 50000 Balinese massacred by other Balinese as a consequence of a Communist-inspired coup attempt in Jakarta, although it’s more complicated than that).  Impossible to get this book traditionally print published at this moment of upheaval, but there is definitely a niche audience, so I will probably get it e-published later this year.

Right now I’m working on a more commercial project, a kind of post-apocalypse set in the States, from New York to Chicago to Vegas to LA. More info later!

 

Ten Questions with Author Richard Lewis

Cover of "The Killing Sea"

Cover of The Killing Sea

I am a big fan of Richard Lewis. I Loved his first book and have been enjoying his writing ever since. Maybe it is his unique background, or just his personality, but he brings a different sensibility and viewpoint than most authors – and I enjoy it.

His latest work was self-published as an e-book for reasons discussed below. It might not be economically viable in today’s publishing world but – like all of his books – it is an engaging and entertaining read that I hope you will check out.

BTW, in light of recent events you might want to check out Lewis’s The Killing Sea.  A novel Booklist called “a powerful fictional tale of survival and cooperation in the wake of the 2004 tsunami.”

Richard graciously agreed to answer some questions via email about his books, writing and career.  My questions in bold and his below.

 

Remind us how you ended up writing young adult fiction in the first place.

I wrote a book for adults called THE FLAME TREE, set in Java, against the backdrop of 9/11, about the friendship of the son of American missionary doctors and a Muslim village boy.  It went on submission after 9/11, adult houses passed, but an editor at Simon and Schuster YA read it and loved it.  I had to cut out some sub-plots, but I still think it’s adult.

 

And what led to your self-publishing The Last Witch as an e-book?

Essentially, my four YA novels that S&S published didn’t make them money.  My career as Richard Lewis, YA author, was pretty much done–at least in the traditional publishing sense.  One of the brutal (and impersonal) facts of the business.  I had this novel on my hard drive, and I liked it enough to think it should at least have a chance for an audience.

How do you think the ability of authors to sell directly to readers via e-books changes the self-publishing and standard publishing worlds?
Gosh, so much has ink has been spilled, and pixels aglow on blogs and industry websites, about this topic.  As Yogi Berra said, prediction is hard, especially if it’s about the future, so I’m not sure what is going to happen, but I do think some measure of equilibrium between the two will be reached (by standard publishing I mean standard publishing houses publishing both print and electronic editions).  I’ve been honored to be a part of the traditional world.  There is a sense of self-validation in being print published by a major publisher.

What’s happening in the self-publishing world (whether a printed book or an e-edition) is a growing cacophony of noise, and so it seems to me that clever, dedicated, sly, and at times very loud self promotion is key to standing out. People aren’t going to read you if they don’t know you aren’t there.  Unfortunately, I don’t have that personality. I’m a writer–I love writing stories–well, I hate writing stories because it’s a process of continuous, frustrating, hair-pulling dissonance resulting in many nights of insomnia and grouchy mornings, but I do love it too. I’ve always loved putting together puzzles, and there’s nothing like making a story fit together from out of nowhere. But the process is like having ants crawl around in your brain.

The Last Witch has elements of science, higher math, faith/religion, mysticism, etc. All of these elements have appeared in your previous books. Do you use things that might not have been used directly in previous projects or that you “collected” along the way?

Everything that I’ve ever experienced in my life, or heard about, or read about (and I read a TON of non-fiction, love it) is fodder for my imagination, plus my imagination can come up with things on its own.  Being the son of missionaries, who grew up on Bali where the mystical world is just real as the world you see, add in my education in science and math (only to a first year PhD level before I bailed to go surfing), and that’s just the start of what I have to draw on in making up my stories.

As for the LAST WITCH, I’d been doing a lot of reading in science & religion, and the “new atheism” of Dawkins, Hitchens and the other High Prophets of There is No God, plus I’d read Philip Pullman‘s GOLDEN COMPASS trilogy with its atheistic world view, and so I decided to try my hand on the other side of the ledger, so to speak.  Not that I can write like Pullman, but it was a certain aesthetic & world view I wanted to express for myself in a YA story.   (And I’m doing the same again right now, but in an adult novel).  I was not entirely satisfied with the result, but satisfied enough to let it go out into the world, alone with bag slung over the shoulder, to make its way as best it could.

 

Do you find it a challenge to write from the perspective of a young girl? What helps you capture that voice?

Having a daughter helps an awful lot.

 

What drew you to Central Park as a setting? So famous and yet probably full of little known secrets and facts.

A huge sprawling park full of nooks and crannies (Eden both pure and corrupted) in a huge sprawling city (Gotham and Babylon)?  What a set-up for a fantasy, for all kinds of what-ifs.  I devoured books and websites on the park, scoured it with Google Earth.  And I might add, I’m not the only writer attracted to that place. A colleague of mine, Lesley Livingston, used Central Park as a principal setting in her terrific faerie novel WONDROUS STRANGE

 

Do you write with a particular audience in mind (Americans of a certain age, etc.)?
Nope.  The story shapes itself.  Who reads it, reads it.

 

You like to surf. What comes first writing or surfing?  Do you have a set schedule?

Surf depends on swell, which comes and goes. So if the surf is good, yeah, I probably go surfing before I sit down to write.  I also do a lot of boat trips to outer islands to go surfing.  I don’t write, but I catch up on my reading.  (I can’t wait to get a Kindle and travel with one device with a thousand books on it–but Kindle, and other e-devices, aren’t  available in Indonesia, not just the physical platform, but the downloading service.

 

What is one thing that surprised you about writing YA and something you find frustrating?

Nothing particularly surprising.  Or frustrating for that matter, except for maybe the increasing PR writers are expected to do.

 

What’s next? On to “adult” fiction? Can you give us some insight into what you are working on now?

Oh, adult fiction for sure. Last year I wrote a very adult novel on the 1965 massacres in Bali (over 50000 Balinese massacred by other Balinese as a consequence of a Communist-inspired coup attempt in Jakarta, although it’s more complicated than that).  Impossible to get this book traditionally print published at this moment of upheaval, but there is definitely a niche audience, so I will probably get it e-published later this year.

Right now I’m working on a more commercial project, a kind of post-apocalypse set in the States, from New York to Chicago to Vegas to LA. More info later!

 

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