King Arthur

Plenty of folklore and mythology has seeped into popular culture and our daily lives, but few legends have spurred as much fascination as the story of King Arthur. Ever since his name made its first appearances in early Welsh poetry, the story has grown in increasing complexity and detail. In the late 12th century Chretien de Troyes combined scraps of knowledge from oral history as well as the encyclopedias of the time (such as Geoffrey of Monmouth's The History of the Kings of Britain) to form a firm collection of stories based on Arthur's rise and fall, including the introduction of Lancelot, Gawain and Perceval as knights of the round table. King Arthur reached a height of celebrity in 1470 after the publication of Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. From that point forward the story has been reinterpreted and retold throughout each generation through literature, films, and plays, but regardless of shifts in representation, the framework for King Arthur's life remains true to the basics of the early legend.

Fabulous Fiction First #161

The Chathrand Voyages Trilogy opens with The Red Wolf Conspiracy* and marks the debut of fantasy author Robert V.S. Redick.

The I.M.S. Chathrand, a floating city carrying a reluctant princess bride sets sail on a peacemaking mission. Among the passengers and crew is a young sailor bearing a family curse, a tribe of miniature warriors, a magic rat, assassins, treacherous mermaids and monstrous slavers, all desparate to unlock the mystery and conspiracy of the Red Wolf, a powerful ancient artifact.

This epic fantasy of maritime adventures, bloody diplomacy is vibrant, fresh and exciting. It won over this reluctant fantasy fan from the very first page. Trust me on this one.

* = Starred reviews

A Tale for All Ages

Cinderella is a story for all ages. For the adults, we have The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey. In this story, Ella of Cinder attempts to rewrite Tradition in the land of Five Hundred Kingdoms. Teens may enjoy Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. Here Ella is under a spell and must do whatever she's asked to do. Lastly for the kids, we have the traditional Cinderella story as told by Jacob Grimm of the Brothers Grimm. Enjoy a good fairy tale adventure as we prepare for summer reading.

DVD Genre Spotlight: Silent Films

The AADL owns over 100 silent film DVDs, and now this high-quality collection has a DVD genre shelf for easier browsing. To the novice silent film viewer, some tropes of these films can seem stilted, but become rather seamless as you grow familiar with them. For example, the musical score is an omnipresent and integral component as it must perform several functions. The music must reflect a character's emotions, advance the action in a sequence, and set the tone for a scene. Also, intertitles appear frequently as brief frames of textual narrative or dialogue that help deliver the story.

Filmmakers during the silent film era (1888-1927) embraced several types of feature films, including comedy, drama, and fantasy. Some primers for silent film fandom that the AADL owns are the surreal Cabinet of Dr. Caligari for those interested in the darkly psychological, The Birth of a Nation, a perennially controversial drama, and almost any film from comedic geniuses Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin.

Mace Windu's purple lightsaber

If you're turning 13 and love Star Wars, it makes sense that you would want a purple lightsaber for your birthday. My son got one--over my initial objection that he already had way too many lightsabers of other colors. Now I know what's behind Mace Windu's purple light saber, and also that this hue of magic weapon may actually have been a personal request from actor Samuel Jackson, when he agreed to play Mace Windu in the films. (I got that from Wikipedia, which quoted an interview on The Late Show with David Letterman.) Yes, of course: who wants to wage galactic battle, and not have your lightsaber clearly identifiable among other Jedi?

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince: Audiobook

Want to brush up on Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince before the long awaited movie comes out in July? Why not try the audiobook? Jim Dale gives his usual stellar performance of the Harry Potter cast. I will admit I feel the music at the beginning did not feel dark enough for the story. They used the same music up to the Deathly Hallows audiobook where they finally changed it to something darker. And I've never liked Dale's voices for Narcissa and Bellatrix. He makes them both sound vaguely French, and both of them are just supposed to be British. Otherwise, though, this audiobook is just as excellent as the rest of the series.

Nebula Award Winner

SFWASFWA

The Nebula Award is an annual award given by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America for the best U.S. book of those genres. The winner for best scifi/fantasy novel this year is Powers by Ursula K. Le Guin. It is the 3rd in the Annals of the Western Shore series. If you have never read Le Guin, this and her Earthsea series may be a good starting point. Located in the Teen collection, these series are some of the best written & exciting fantasy adventure books. Adults will want to read them too! Le Guin is an extremely prolific writer. She writes for adults, teens, and children as well as writing non-fiction, poetry, & short stories. Other book awards she has received include a Hugo and Nebula for the Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed: an ambiguous Utopia; & the Locus SF Award for the Telling. She is also one of the finalists for the 2009 Locus SF Award for Lavinia.

Tale of Two Worlds

It starts like so many other fantasy stories. A poor orphan learns about himself and grows in power. With that power comes mammoth collection of stories know as the The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist. It all begins with Pug, an orphaned kitchen boy. He becomes the apprentice to the magician Kulgan and eventually gains some prominence. When the rift between the worlds of Midkemia and Tsurani is opened, the Tsurani send invaders to conquer Midkemia. Pug finds himself taken from Midkemia to Tsurani where he eventually becomes a magician. Pug's storey is found in Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master. You can find more of the series in our catalog using an author search, Raymond Feist.

An Epic Tale of Swords & Sorcery

How does one describe an epic? Author Steven Erikson takes us on a tour of the Malazan Empire in his 10 book series, Malazan Book of the Fallen. Your adventure begins in Gardens of the Moon. The Empire is at war, both against its external enemies and within its borders. The story continues in the next two books, Deadhouse Gates and Memories of Ice. Events in the two books take place simultaneously.

Enchanted Spring, Fairies, Cicely Mary Barker & The Matthei Conservatory!

May FairyMay Fairy

We're all ready to get outside, but it's still a little too cold - so take your coat off and visit the Matthei Conservatory for the lovely, fun and springy Enchanted Spring Display celebrating Cicely Mary Barker's Flower Fairies. Find fairies hidden in the conservatory, smell the hyacinth, dapple amongst the daffodils and other gorgeous spring bulbs all over the conservatory, and make a fairy sachet! Or make your own fairy container garden, and start some seeds for your own garden. This special display runs through March 31, for complete information on the display click here. And for complete details about the Matthei Conservatory including hours/location click here. On Wednesdays the Conservatory is open until 8:00 PM and admission is FREE! And don't forget that AADL has many of Cicely Mary Barker's Books Finally, make sure you visit the downtown library fairy door too!

Syndicate content