16 in ’16: Read a Retelling Feedback

by Lindsey

I hope by now you have found a retelling that appeals to you, whether it’s one of our suggestions or a discovery of your own.

Ariana offered a lot of great suggestions for our last theme, Read a YA Book, and she also has some recommendations for this theme.

My Mother She Killed MeMy Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me is another collection of retellings. Currently only available as an OverDrive eBook, this anthology features 40 short stories by the likes of Neil Gaiman, Kelly Link, Aimee Bender, Joyce Carol Oates, and Francine Prose.  Ariana plans to read this one, and here is a great quote about it: “Fairy tales are our oldest literary tradition, and yet they chart the imaginative frontiers of the twenty-first century as powerfully as they evoke our earliest encounters with literature. This exhilarating collection restores their place in the literary canon.”

Lost Books of the OdysseyThe Lost Books of the Odyssey by Zachary Mason is another title Ariana hopes to read, and it is new to me! It is a reimagining of Homer’s classic epic poem The Odyssey, which chronicles the story of Odysseus and his long journey home after the fall of Troy. “School Library Journal” says Mason “destroys and rebuilds Odysseus from the outside in, forcing readers to think about this mythic character in a modern and often-psychological way,” and “Publishers Weekly” says that he “consistently surprises and delights.”

DeathlessAriana also recommends Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente, an award-winning author well known for fantasy. Set in an alternate St. Petersburg during the early 20th century, Deathless “uses Russian fairytales to talk about Communist Russia’s destruction of the country’s cultural heritage,” Ariana explains. “Library Journal” says “this complex and invigorating reimagined piece of Russian folklore will cast a spell and not let go.” It is also currently available as an OverDrive eBook. How have I not read this book yet?! I will definitely make it a priority this year.

Wild SwanJulie seconds my recommendation of A Wild Swan by Michael Cunningham, which she also read as an audiobook. Narrated by Lili Taylor (a fabulous actress) and Billy Hough, Julie says the “occasional music enhances the mood and atmosphere in the stories. You’ll want to pair this with the book, so that you can enjoy the beautiful illustrations.” I agree with Julie that the audiobook is well worth checking out.

EligibleHeather recommends Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld. Once she got used to the modern setting, she really enjoyed it. It is a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice set in contemporary New York, with Elizabeth Bennett now working as a writer for a magazine and Fitzwilliam Darcy as a neurosurgeon. “Booklist” calls it a “delightful romp for not only Austen devotees but lovers of romantic comedies and sly satire.” We also have this book as an OverDrive eBook and an OverDrive eAudio.

Vinegar GirlHeather also recommends Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler, the latest installment in the Hogarth Shakespeare series (a project starting in 2015 that sees William Shakespeare’s works retold by acclaimed novelists). A retelling of his comedy The Taming of the Shrew, Library Journal calls it a “delightful reinvention that owes as much to Tyler’s quirky sensibilities as it does to its literary forebear. Come for the Shakespeare, stay for the wonderful Tyler.” This title is also available as an OverDrive eBook and OverDrive eAudio.

These are some great suggestions! If you’d like more, remember that you can still take our quiz or check out the booklist I made for adult retellings. Enjoy your books!

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4 responses to “16 in ’16: Read a Retelling Feedback”

  1. Susan v says:

    Reading A wild swan now. Laughing out loud funny. Was confused at first and read a Fairytail, so recorded it in YA after the deadline.

  2. Liz K. says:

    I recently finished Ana of California by Andi Teran, a novel inspired by Anne of Green Gables. No competition for the classic and the place it holds in my heart, but definitely worth a read. Now I’m on to Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi. I’m only a few chapters in, but I’m hooked!

  3. Lindsey Anderson says:

    I loved A Wild Swan, Susan! It’s such a quirky collection of stories.

    And Liz, I still need to read Ana of California. I can imagine it’d be very hard to match the Anne series! Boy, Snow, Bird is on my list, too. You both have great taste!

  4. What. There is a Anne retelling. HOW ON EARTH DO I NOT KNOW THIS.

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