16 January 2011


Reading Challenge the Fifth

Challenge Objective:
To read stories that have taken classic fairy tales that we all know and love,
and have woven them into a new alternative tale that mirrors the original.

And here we have another mix of the old and the new, which I'm pleasantly surprised to find has become a "life theme" in my 2011 reading. More on that next time.

For now, here are the four books I'm planning to read to qualify for the challenge's "Magical" level:

You just can't go wrong with Neal Shusterman!

I haven't read Dark Fusion #1 and #3, which are based on the fairy tales Goldilocks and The Ugly Duckling respectively; and which both, as far as I can tell, bear a bit of the myth of Medusa as well! (Ooooh!) But #2 will be a reread--one I'm very excited about, since I believe I read it too quickly several years ago and would like to give it another spin.

Red Rider's Hood is inspired by rather than based on Little Red Riding Hood. In this novel, the "Little Red" figure isn't a naive girl in danger from a wolfish seducer, but a reasonably clever boy targeted by an inner city gang that he suspects turns its members into werewolves. (Shusterman is nothing if not original.)

And could you resist a storyteller named Vivian Vande Velde???

Rumplestiltskin has always been one of my favourites. When I heard about Vivian Vande Velde's six short retellings of the same, each one solving specific problems--loopholes, really--in the original, I knew I would have to give her a try. (Veni, vidi, vinciam!)

Image Sources: a) Dread Locks by Neal Shusterman, b) Red Rider's Hood by Neal Shusterman, c) Duckling Ugly by Neal Shusterman, d) The Rumplestiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde


Missie said...

Well, I fail. I have never heard of Neal Shusterman before. Interesting picks for the challenge. I think I may check a few out.

Thanks for putting these books on my radar.

Aleksandra said...

I'm a big fan of Neal Shusterman, but still haven't gotten these :) Happy reading!

Enbrethiliel said...


Missie: Neal Shusterman is one of the "buried treasures" of the world. I don't know anyone who has read one of his books who doesn't love him--but he's not as well known as you think a writer like that would be! I'm glad I put him on your radar. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. =)

Aleksandra: Thanks! =) Happy reading to you, too!

Lesa said...

Wow-- a fifth challenge! A very deep curtsy to you, Oh Great Queen of Reading Challenges!

I've always been a reader of fairytales and retellings-- this sounds like a fun challenge! I'm tempted to add it to my 2 measly little challenges that I have yet to formally announce-- two readalongs fell through.. so.. maybe.. I'll think on it.

I haven't read Shusterman but I really liked the VVV book titled Stolen that I read last summer. Check it out-- You'll love the cover! http://baja-greenawalts-cozybooknook.blogspot.com/2010/06/stolen-by-vivian-vande-velde-young.html

It was more folktale than fairytale but might work for your challenge. I have another VVV book that I have yet to read-- it is a collection of ghost stores-- a bloggy friend mailed it to me-- after I read it, I will be happy to mail it to you if you are interested.

I gave Izzy a gift of that Rumplestiltskin book about 3 yrs ago-- I didn't read it first, darn!!

Lesa said...

ghost stories-- I refuse to mail you a ghost store! ;o)

Enbrethiliel said...


Four 2011 Reading Challenges and I'm a queen?! LOL!

But, oh, all right, if you insist! =P

(Seriously, there are some very ambitious people who are doing eleven challenges in honour of 2011--and not all challenges which let you choose some "wimpy" level with only a couple of books, but those which demand up to 26 books at a time or nothing!)

Velde isn't familiar to me at all, so I didn't know about those other retellings she wrote! If I like The Rumplestiltskin Problem, I'll definitely take you up on your offer! =D

PS--And I totally understand that the offer is for ghost stories, although it has always been a secret dream of mine to get a ghost store in the mail. Wouldn't the pesky post office people get a real kick out of that? LOL!!!

Sullivan McPig said...

Vivian Vande Velde sounds too dutch to me to think it will be a good story (most dutch authors are too busy to try to write 'LITERATURE' to actually write something that's fun to read.)
But as the Vande is one word instead of two as is usually the case in dutch names, i'm guessing she's not dutch at all, so it might be a good story after all.

useless fact about dutch:
van de = of the
'van de Velde' would mean 'of the field'

Enbrethiliel said...


Sully, I did some research and learned that Vivian Vande Velde is an American writer who married a man with a Dutch name. It is pronounced as the three words you've mentioned: "van de Velde"! And apparently it's such an unusual name in America that she has a recording on the Author Name Pronunciation Guide to teach her readers how to say it! LOL!

And thanks for your "useless fact" about Dutch. Until you pointed it out, I thought that "Vande" was her maiden name and "Velde" her married name! *facepalm*

Anyway, I'll write about the book one of these days, and then you can decide whether it's for you or not. =)

Dauvit Balfour said...

Have you ever read "Tigerskin"? At least, I think that's what it's called. It's a curious reversal of Beauty and the Beast. If I remember correctly, the author wrote several feminist reversals of traditional, "chauvinist", tales. Anyhow, we read several such tales, whether it was the same author or not I don't know. The retelling of Bluebeard pissed me off, but Tigerskin wasn't so bad.

Aaaand that was completely devoid of helpful details like titles and authors' names, wasn't it.

Enbrethiliel said...


No, I haven't even heard of it! "Feminist" retellings aren't my thing, though. Too much of an agenda; I'm sure you take my meaning.

But now you're reminding me of the decidedly non-feminist Johnny Tinoso and the Proud Beauty, which is a Filipino retelling of Beauty and the Beast by Nick Joaquin. It's part of a set of fantasy stories that is very hard to find these days. I have no idea what happened to my family's old copy, but I have always been sorry that we no longer have it.

Lesa said...

Oh, just four-- well, in that case, the curtsy is only moderately deep!

I can't believe anyone would do eleven challenges-- that is like turning the pleasure of reading into a chore! Or an extreme sport!

I thought that was her maiden name to-- or just a cool alliterative pseudonym.

Enbrethiliel said...


You never know . . . the admiration may go to my head and I might find a fifth reading challenge for this year! ;-)

But even if I do, I'll definitely stick to one of the lower levels. You're right that there's a thin line between a challenge and a chore. At the start of the month, I committed myself to reading six books (for challenges, Locus Focus, and other stuff); right now, four are done with six to go, and half the fun has already been knocked out of it! There's something to be said about not being sure what your next book will be (or at least the book after that). I'll have to rethink my plans for February . . .

PS--"Vivian Vande Velde" definitely sounds like a cool pseudonym for someone who does fairytale retellings. =) But I guess what's even cooler is that it's a lucky real name!