Friday, March 20, 2009

goodbye winter, hello Once Upon a Time

If I had to choose just one reading challenge a year (sheesh, I hope it never comes to that!), I would undoubtedly choose Carl's Once Upon a Time Challenge. This challenge holds a special place in my heart for so many reasons...

I'd never really even read fantasy before I ran across Carl's first Once Upon a Time Challenge. And I joined it as a way of sharing my daughter's love of fantasy. And yes, Annie joined, too, of course. Well, I fell in love. And it was really the beginning of my ever-expanding reading horizons. What a be given the keys to open whole new worlds.

But apart from the reading itself, Once Upon a Time is directly responsible for introducing me to some of the people I now cherish as some of my very best friends. Any idea how huge that is to someone who tends to be a bit of a recluse? Trust me, it's HUGE.

And Carl, well, I don't need to tell any of you who know him what an incredible guy he is. But aside from being a wonderful, wonderful friend and seriously one of the nicest people on the planet (no hyperbole there, I promise you), he is the King of Challenge Hosts! He builds a community of sharing and learning and just plain fun.

So, yes, after checking his blog multiple times a day for the past week, as I'm willing to bet many of us have been doing, this morning I was rewarded with the official announcement that will have me happy dancing through the weekend. I've decided to try Quest the Second this year. This will be my first try at this one, and frankly, I'm quite excited about it. My only concern is that I may screw up in putting books into the appropriate categories. But Carl will forgive me, I'm sure. And feel free to tell me if you think a book would better fit in somewhere else.

Okay, so here's a potential pool of each of the categories:

*A Taste of Earth and Other Legends of Vietnam by Thich Nhat Hanh
*Native American Myths by Diana Ferguson
*Warriors Gods & Spirits from Central & South American Mythology by Douglas Gifford
*The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell
*The Shadow Thieves by Anne Ursa
*The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

*The Book of Ballads by Charles Vess and others
*Outfoxing Fear: Folktales from Around the World edited by Kathleen Ragan
*Best-Loved Folktales of the World selected by Joanna Cole (though I won't read all of this during the challenge)
*Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Fairy Tale:
*The Illustrated Treasury of Fairy Tales designed by Rita Marshall
*Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales (though I won't read all of this during the challenge)
*The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales (though I won't read all of this during the challenge)
*The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett
*Pay the Piper: A Rock 'N' Roll Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple
*The Sisters Grimm: The Unusual Suspects by Michael Buckley
*Fables: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham
*Fables: Storybook Love by Bill Willingham
*Fables: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham
*Fables: The Mean Seasons by Bill Willingham

*The Princess Bride by William Goldman
*The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar
*Green Angel by Alice Hoffman
*The Blue Girl by Charles de Lint
*Solstice Wood by Patricia A. McKillip
*What-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy by Gregory Maguire
*The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
*The Book Without Words by Avi
*Strange Roads by Peter S. Beagle
*River Secrets by Shannon Hale
*Attica by Garry Kilworth
*Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest by Matt Haig

And possible books to mine stories for Short Story Weekends:
*The Golden Apples of the Sun by Ray Bradbury
*M Is for Magic by Neil Gaiman
*Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
*Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint
*The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
*Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy edited by Ekaterina Sedia

No, it does not escape my notice that these are ridiculously long lists. I've already weeded them down a great deal, but then I got stuck. Besides, a gal needs options.

Annie, of course, will be joining the fun again. Like I could stop her if I wanted to. :) And I'm really, really excited because I think I have Rich convinced to do The Journey again...and to read American Gods! This alone leaves me giddy to the core!

The only concern: the exponential growth of the old wish list!

(Title of post is a bit misleading, or maybe just wishful thinking...we woke up to more snow this morning. Once Upon a Time more than makes up for it though.)


Carl V. said...

Thank you so much for all the sweet words. You and your family mean the world to me as well and I am in the same boat as you are, I have met so many great online friends through these challenges. It has been the greatest reward for hosting them.

Great..and loooong...list of potential reads there.

I'm excited that Rich is participating and even more so because he is planning on reading American Gods. Such a great book!!!

Stephanie said...

All the Gaiman's are a MUST read!! Anansi Boys is awesome!! And Fragile Things has some of my favorite short stories!!

libritouches said...

Oooooooooooooooooh! Some very interesting books on that list, so I'll be looking forward to reading your thoughts on them!

(Long lists of books are good, though. Variety and choice is a good thing. Or that could be just me.)

Robin said...

What a wonderful list! I'm sorry about the snow, but Carl has brought Spring to us all.

DesLily said...

wow.. well you have lots to choose from!
we had snow here this moring too!.. it was gorgeous! huge flakes!!! I keep forgetting you are only one state away.. (but a big state!)

Becky said...

It looks like you've got a great list. Some of my favorites are on the list--I love The Lightning Thief and Sisters Grimm. And who could resist Princess Bride?!

Kailana said...

Man, Debi, I have to say... I don't think I could imagine not reading fantasy! I know lots of people that can say it, though. Lots of my friends ask me what I am reading and if fantasy is the equation they do not care one bit passed that! It's so limiting! I am happy to be able to say that I have pretty much read every genre at least once... with the exception of probably a western. :) There's a point... Anyway, I just wanted to applaud you for taking the plunge and stepping out of your comfort zone. I wish more people would try the same because there really is something for everyone in fantasy. You just have to be willing to drop your misconceptions.

Okay, that was long, but anyway... You have a great list of books there! I should probably read American Gods just like Rich. I am just not a Gaiman fan to the same capacity as some of you others... Every time I read him I feel like I am missing something!

Chris said...

Score! You got Rich to read American Gods! Watch him hate it, lol. Your list is so much fun Debi! All kinds of stuff that I hadn't heard of before that I can add to the TBR list. I think I'm going to suck it up and post a potential list later today or tomorrow. It's going to be REALLY long though, lol. I'll try to weed it down some.

Stephanie said...

Ha, and I thought I was the only one constantly refreshing Carl's site waiting for the announcement! :)

I too don't generally read much fantasy, but had such a great reading experience with OUAT last year that I couldn't pass it up!

Nymeth said...

I know it's huge. Wanna hear a funny coincidence? I also met some of my very favourite people through OuaT :P

I hope you read Maaaurice! You know, I think the very first comment I ever left you was recommending that book. You could also use it for the fairy tales category, btw, since it's a loose retelling of the Piper Piper of Hamelin.

(Also, not to put pressure on you or anything, but if after two years I still haven't made you read Terry Pratchett, I will have to begin to feel like a total failure :P )

Hmm...I might put Anansi Boys under folklore, but the line between myths and folktales can be blurry sometimes.

I love ridiculously long lists, and yours is a great one :D

Kerry said...

What fantastic lists of books. You certainly won't be stuck for choice. Happy reading.

Debi said...

Well, every word is true! And I'm sooooo excited that I finally convinced Rich to read American Gods!

You wouldn't like Neil Gaiman a little bit or anything, would you? ;)

Oh no, definitely not just you...I agree with you wholeheartedly!

Oh, don't mind my whining...I actually don't mind the snow at all. And Carl has a way of making it feel like spring, snow or not!

I've often wondered where in NJ you are. Rich's mom lives across the river, outside of Philly, and some of our best friends live near Barnegut, NJ.

I read the first of the Sisters Grimm books last year for OUaT and completely fell in love! I'm so eager to read the next one. And I've been dying to read The Lightning Thief for ages, too. Oh, if I could get a tenth of what you read in!!!

Well, I'm certainly glad I gave fantasy a try! And it was never that I really thought negatively about it just never really entered my radar zone, and I hadn't given it much thought one way or the other. Until Annie fell in love with it, that is. I was just stuck in a horrendous rut reading practically nothing but thrillers for years. Not that I dislike thrillers now, but I'm sooooo grateful that I broke out of my confining little reading world! :) Oh, and I really hope you like American Gods...I LOVE that book!

Good...peer pressure worked! :)
And Rich better not hate American Gods if he knows what's good for him...LOL.

It really is just one incredibly fun time, isn't it?

Guess what, guess what, guess what...I already started Maurice!!! Yep, right after I finally got myself off the computer. In fact, I'd still be reading, except that it popped into my head that I forgot to put Fables in my reading pool.
And thanks for the suggestions...I think I will move Maurice to fairy tales. And Anansi Boys was one of the ones I was having the hardest time placing, so I appreciate the advice!

Thanks. No, choice should not be a problem...well, unless too much to choose from becomes the issue anyway.

Scrap girl said...

I am going to join this too. I am so excited - I keep hearing about it and I need to join!

Chelle said...

Those are pretty amazing lists! Aside from the Gaiman books, the only one I'm familiar with is The Princess Bride, and I loved the entire experience of reading that book. I look forward to reading your reviews!

Maree said...

Oh ... those are great lists.
I second, or third, Neil Gaiman.
I've joined to, but don't have a list yet.

kreed said...

Bryn and I are reading Grimm's Complete Fairy tales at bedtime and some of the stories are just downright bizarre! Looks like you have a great list - it is always fun to see how excited you get about these challenges! You are a book lover for sure!

BTW, did I ever thank you for Bryn's bday gifts? She is writing thank yous, but we are behind of course! You were overly generous and sweet as usual and Bryn thinks it is great that she reaps the benefits of that!

Jean said...

I just read American Gods and loved it. I'm betting Rich will have the same reaction, so tell him he better do it!

Trish said...

Oh goodness gracious. I don't think I'll be able to resist this one and I definitely know where to come back when I'm choosing my books--you've given a wealth of choices!

Marg said...

Darn, I probably should have added some Pratchett to my list!

gail@more than a song said...

As much as my kids have loved/watched Princess Bride, I should have read the book by now!

Susan said...

Yaay, we share two books: The Blue Girl, and Good Fairies of New York! I think you have excellent choices there, to fit every kind of mood and feeling throughout the challenge. I was like you, checking every day for over a week, sometimes more than once, and I swear, I gave a little yelp of glee when I saw it was finally up!!! Hurray for Carl too! :-D and YES, a girl needs lots of options - my list is long and I forgot to add some books! I might have to start a secondary list....

Shelley said...

I wish I had checked your list as a guide before I made my choices! Those all sound great! I can't wait to hear what you end up choosing!