January 31, 2014

The Monthly Digest: January 2014

I realize that monthly recaps aren't necessarily the most interesting types of posts, but I've been toying with starting one myself for a while now. I always find similar posts written by others to be interesting, even though I normally don't comment on them. First and foremost, however, these posts are for me. As a way to analyze everything reading and blogging related for the past month. If you're interested in reading this sort of stuff yourself, please do continue. 

The Books

Favorite Reads from January:
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner  
Love Letters from the Dead by Ava Dellaira   
And a re-read: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

The Blog
January Reviews:
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

January Discussions:
A Year for Writing

The Writing
Because I'm forcing myself to have some public accountability here.

January Progress:
As explained in my post A Year for Writing, I'm returning to a novella/story idea I started back in 2012. It's a retelling of the "Maid Maleen" tale as popularized by the Grimm brothers (it's also a variant of sorts of the "Rapunzel" tale). This month I focused more on going through what I had written and doing some fairy-tale research. 

After reading Zipes' Don't Bet on the Prince: Contemporary Feminist Fairy Tales in North America and England, I started writing my own feminist fairy tale (just a brief short story).

I'm also am spending some time doing lots of pre-writing and planning in my new writing journal.

No new words written for my WIP yet, though, as I'm still very much in an exploratory phase. Too often I start writing only to get stuck fairy early on because I'm not sure just where I want my story to go.

January Research:
Don't Bet on the Prince: Contemporary Feminist Fairy Tales in North America and England edited by Jack Zipes The critical essays were interesting, especially the discussion of typical heroine passivity in Marcia K. Lieberman's “‘Some Day My Prince Will Come’: Female Acculturation through the Fairy Tale.” What I really enjoyed, however, were the feminist fairy tales included in this volume, written in the style of older tales but featuring strong, empowered heroines.

The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold by Francesca Lia Block I bought this back for thesis research in 2011, but the only story I read then was "Beast," her retelling of "Beauty and the Beast." Of all her short stories, I think I enjoyed "Ice" ("The Snow Queen") and "Tiny" ("Thumbelina") the most. No "Rapunzel" retelling, unfortunately. Block has a very vivid, evocative, fluid writing style which I greatly enjoyed.

I'm currently working through Philip Pullman's Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm and Heidi Anne Heiner's (better known as the creator of SurLaLune Fairy Tales) Rapunzel and Other Maiden in the Tower Tales from Around the World.

And that's it for January. It's been a busy month, and my class started up again last week, which means it's only getting busier from here. How was your January?
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Amanda loves few things better than sitting down with a cup of tea and a book. She frequently stays up far too late, telling herself she just needs to finish one more page. When she's not wrapped up in the stories of others, Amanda works as a children's librarian in a public library.


  1. I'm so glad you loved These Broken Stars and finally got around to The Chocolate Thief too - I hope you enjoyed it! Wonderful re-cap, Amanda, and I'm due for a re-read of Finnikin myself. I actually re-read The Chocolate Thief this week since I was in the mood for Sylvain. ;) I'm looking forward to more of these - I enjoy them and don't think they're boring at all.

    1. I did enjoy The Chocolate Thief, but I definitely wasn't enamored as I know you and Rachel and others were. Oh well. :( I'll have my thoughts posted in a few weeks.
      And yay for Finnikin re-reads! I can't wait to move on to Froi and Quintana very soon.
      And thank you, Keertana! You're sweet and I'm glad to know you'll enjoy reading more of these. :)


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