Book Diva Time: Books about the Fae

 

Since I’ve rededicated myself to spreading joy where I can, what better place to start than sharing books? I read book lists and recommendations the way others follow their favorite websites, blogs, or book club picks. The challenge for people who are like me — neither exclusively high-brow, nor low-brow, nor middle-brow, but rather some capricious version of uni-brow I guess – we like All The Books. We don’t care if a book is for teens, or for kids, or for people with advanced degrees in physics. Bring it. If it’s well-written, I will read it. If not, I will give it to someone else to read. This is what I like to call a win/win scenario.

I’ve been rotating the books on my shelves for ease of access and reconfigured one to include books about the Fae. I love the struggle between the Seelie and the Unseelie Courts and who’s good and bad — and actually why good and bad don’t really matter in the land of the Fae. The books lend their own rhythm to the mythology of alternate-universe type characters whose morals are inhuman. A couple of my favorites:

Holly Black, the Tithe series. Written as young adult novels, these books are anything but youthful and exuberant. There’s no joie de vivre amongst these pages. In fact, Black captures ambivalence brilliantly. Her characters are compelled toward each other even as they try to tear each other apart. Of course there’s love, but it’s the kind that demolishes universes. For those who like their stories badass and complicated, check these out.

Karen Marie Moning, the Fever series. This is a series of stories in which the main character, MacKayla, finds out she has Fae powers as she’s trying to discover who murdered her sister. The pages are loaded with charisma, cheating, double-crossing, and conniving. If you’re looking for an easy-breezy novel set, this isn’t it. Sure, there’s love and betrayal and reconciliation and more betrayal (because, remember, Fae), but it’s rendered with Seelie and Unseelie flesh. Sounds gross; believe me, it isn’t.

A frothy bit of floof you can read while waiting for an appointment:

Skylar Dorset, The Girl Who Never Was. Our main character, Selkie, discovers why no one wants her to know her birthday: she’s half faerie and there’s a bit of a problem with that. She is also in high school and likes a guy who may or may not be human. In other words, this is like the Fever series because our gal discovers she’s part Fae, and like the Tithe series because the main character is in high school. That’s where the similarities end. Where Tithe and Fever are both immersive and loaded with innuendo, out-uendo, and all the endos, this is simple. Kind of sweet. Probably boring to people who want their literature ponderous and complicated. However, don’t hate: some books exist to entertain and pass time. It did for me: I really did finish it while I was waiting at the doctor’s office.

This is not a list of read these books during 2017 or your life will lose meaning. Nope, I’m quite sure your life has meaning already. These are just some fun books you might like to read if you like stories about the Fae, or if you have some bit of free time while you wait in line and/or don’t really need to concentrate. Next week: Legends, myths, and why Neil Gaiman is amazing.

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A short story in 200 words*

I’m at ground zero warming up before I roll the rock up the hill yet again. Many of you have heard of my curse, facing an eternity of hopeless labor. The Gods may have been mistaken, it turns out, in meting out this particular punishment. Far from being pointless, my perpetual chore keeps me focused on the moment, the breath. My daily burden, if you want to call it that, allows me to eavesdrop on the tourists, something else the Gods didn’t plan for.

Maybe the Gods couldn’t have predicted the vastness of reproducing humans, but people of all sizes are littered about, the hum of their prattle a gentle cadence while I toil. They’ve built a gift shop and hotel nearby; the Sisyphus Springs they call it. As they watch me, I watch them. I heave the boulder yet again as I begin to wonder what the Gods were thinking. The tourists take their selfies to prove they were here. Some even thank me before leaving. I am as immutable as stone, but my heart still beats and I still remember. If they wanted to punish me, they should have taken that.

 

*I got this idea from a coffee cup at a fast food chain. I thought it sounded like fun

 

Carrie Fisher is My Superhero

 

There are no spoilers here, so no worries to anyone who hasn’t seen Star Wars yet. I grew up watching the original trilogy and as an adolescent me-in-training, I loved Princess Leia’s kick-ass qualities. Now as a full-grown version of me, I still love the Princess Leia archetype. She still kicks ass, she’s the founder of the Resistance and she still has a soft spot for Han Solo. I’m in. Her character has also suffered, which mirrors actual life for those of us not blessed with long hair that we can wind round our ears in cinnamon-bun fashion.

Carrie Fisher has come under scrutiny for the fact that she is older. Really? Because anyone thought that she’d stay exactly the same? She has aged, my friends, and maybe I should have warned you to sit down before I started typing, but this is the quintessential difference between celluloid (movies) and cellulite (real people’s bodies): actors age. People age. We’re all getting older. I didn’t think this was particularly newsworthy, but evidently it is.

Since when did superheroes have to be young? I’m sorry to the people in their 20s out there, but you’re going to age too. My favorite superheroes have a bit of time, gravity, and life under their polymer-enhanced costumes. Wonder Woman probably wears a Wonder Bra now so that “the girls” don’t sag all the way to her starry briefs. Iron Man has weathered and Tony Starke is still sexy as all get out.

I remind us that we’re talking about works of fiction here. The reason for the archetypes is so that we can identify with a particular character trait and then, through suspension of disbelief, ride their adventure as if we were the ones holding the reigns. It’s called “let’s pretend,” not reality.

In reality, Carrie Fisher, brilliantly reprising the role that made her famous, is older. She’s gained a bit of squish around the middle, and a couple lines around the eyes. All the better to quip with, my dearies. If we haven’t already cross-stitched this into our psyches, it’s time: we are all getting older.

In response to critics mentioning her aging person, Fisher recently texted, “Please stop debating about whether or not I’ve aged well. Unfortunately it hurts all 3 [sic] of my feelings. My body hasn’t aged as well as I have. Blow us.” Of course, this was done with emojiis that I haven’t included here. I don’t know her personally, and probably won’t have occasion to meet her. My life’s goal isn’t to meet the people I see in movies anyway, though I’m grateful for their talent.

Nope, she just became my superhero because she is a kick-ass person. Lots of ass-kicking in a few short paragraphs, but I’m not inclined to edit them out. Fisher’s older, with a little more life to her eyes and a little more wisdom in her noggin. Do I care whether she can still rock the cinnamon-bun hair and flowsy warrior princess costume? No, I decidedly do not. She has a Resistance to lead, after all.

A Healthy Dose of Fear

Avid fans of the scary movie genre, I salute you. I have watched two scary movies in my entire life: Chucky and The Blair Witch Project. While I’m told that these aren’t the best examples of heart-rate elevating frightful goodness, somehow I feel like my life is worth living anyway. I admit, I thought parts of Chucky were funny. But parts weren’t. I figure that the Chucky series tapped into that part of my childhood psyche that imagines dolls and playthings are real. Or possessed. Kind of like Raggedy Ann and Andy, or Toy Story run amok.

It took me a couple weeks to get over the Blair Witch Project. I am not cinematographically awesome enough to engage in some debate over whether the movie was as horrible as some people claimed or as inspired as others thought. All I do know is that, in the aftermath of the movie, I was a little jittery, a little on-edge. I suppose it’s because I have often been startled while out camping by strange sounds and unknown critters that go bump in the night. Or maybe I’m overthinking this whole scary movie thing and I just need to pop some popcorn and hunker down for a spookily good time.

I get it that suspension of disbelief is essential in bonding with our imaginary-onscreen or in-book characters. We identify with a character or situation and, through them, rise above whatever the antagonist tosses at us, and emerge victorious, or die trying. Or undie trying, if what we’re identifying with is outliving zombie critters. It’s complicated.

I understand that people who like scary movies also like the adrenaline rush that extreme sports like mountain climbing or skydiving provide. There’s a psychological intensification that movies, scary movies in particular, create. I guess that this is just another example of brain wiring being different in people. Some people crave the rush; others don’t like it.

I’m not averse to the ideas that scary movies project all in my face, I just deal with them in other ways. I’ve read most of the Stephen King and Dean Koontz oeuvre, and I’m a mom, so the notion of being afraid doesn’t bother me. I understand that facing fears is essential to psychosocial development. Doing the thing that scares me, facing my fears so that I can overcome them, blahblahblah. I guess I’d rather my fear be real, or imagined in my own way so that I can control it. I can’t control how a movie is presented to me, therefor I stay away from the scary ones. I guess I like to choose the things that make my heart thump.

While I’ve been typing this, a slew of trick-or-treaters has been ringing the doorbell. Princesses and Swamp Things, zombies and silver plated droids have all been stopping by to say hello and get a couple goodies from me. We play with the idea that our imaginations aren’t imaginary every so often, and then we get to put them away for another year. Me, I’m dressed up as Jack Skelton because I love a tight, form fitting jacket and pipestem pants. I’ll let other people tap into their inner Freddie whatnot.