I’ve read many books over the past 12 months. Some were good, some were merely decent and some were a waste of time. In this last post of 2014, I’m going to list the top five new (to me) books of 2014.
5. Thank You For Firing Me– No one is immune to the pain of loosing their job. This book is the perfect balm to the emotional and professional wounds that come with being fired.
4. Bad Feminist– No one is perfect. Even those of us who claim Feminism as our own still cling, in some small way, the double standard that still exists in the world.
3. Downtrodden Abbey– This very funny spoof of a television program that in five short years, has taken on a life of it’s own.
2. Tie- Enchanted & Ash– Fairy tales with a twist that kept me hooked to the very end.
1. Jane Austen’s First Love– What was Jane Austen like as a teenager?
Happy New Years and Happy reading into 2015 and beyond.
I have a love/hate relationship with fairy tales.
I love them because they represent hope, love and all of the good things that the future can bring. I hate them because not only do they contain stock characters that are uninteresting, but they continue to teach young girls that the only thing they should want or need in life is marriage and children.
Alethea Kontis’s 2013 novel, Enchanted is a very interesting novel.
Sunday Woodcutter is the 7th daughter of a 7th daughter. She and all of her sisters are named for the day of the week. Her only solace from her busy, noisy household is writing. While writing near a lake, a frog with human like attributes asks her to read to him. She agrees and the relationship quickly turns from friendship into something deeper.
One night, she kisses her frog goodbye. What she does not know is the frog is Prince Rumbold, who was though to be dead because of a curse linked to Sunday’s family. The king announces a series of balls. At the ball, Rumbold instantly recognizes Sunday, but she does not know the the frog and the prince are one and the same. With dark magic about and the secret of his former non humanoid experience hanging over him, will Rumbold be able to tell Sunday the truth so they can live happily ever after?
I loved this book. Combining three of the most famous fairy tales (Cinderella, Jack And The Bean Stalk, The Frog Prince) in a very readable way, the author was able to re-shape the stories without resorting to the one note and predictable “some day my prince will come” style of storytelling. In short, she is able to utilize the standard character and plot that a reader would expect in a fairy tale, but the novel is written in a way that keeps the reader hooked to the very end.
I absolutely recommend this book.
Disney is known for a certain type of fairy tale.
A young woman, usually a princess, has met her prince or is on her way to her prince. But there is usually a witch or another barrier to their happily ever after. They usually take themselves very seriously.
In 2007, Enchanted, the good people of Disney satirized themselves.
Animated Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) is on her way to her happily ever after with Prince Edward (James Marsden). But Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) will do anything to prevent Giselle’s and Edward’s union. Giselle is banished from the magical, musical world that she knows and find herself in gritty, complicated New York City where true love does not always win out in the end.
Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey) is a divorce lawyer raising his young daughter by himself. He is practical, realistic man who takes Giselle home. He also has a girlfriend, Nancy Tremaine (Idina Menzel), whom he is trying to propose to. Giselle begins to have feelings for Robert and understand that love is not as simple as she thought. But with her fairy tale prince searching for her, she has to decide what she wants: the simple, predictable happily ever after or the ever questioning, complicated real world?
I’m not a huge Disney fan. But the fact that this movie satirizes and respects Disney earns my respect. I liked the character’s journey, especially the ones that come from the animated world and have to learn that life is not so simple.
I recommend this movie.