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Do you love reading fantasy and gothic novels but wince at the crappy prose? This list attempts to locate books that deal with the fantastic but are also worthy reads.
Children's Literature Adults Will Like The Selfish Giant (A Michael Neugebauer book) A beautifully written and moving fairy tale that is based on a Christian allegory. I particularly like the illustrations by Zwerger. Wilde’s other fairy tales are also eerily enchanting. Outside Over There (Caldecott Collection) I like this much better than Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. This one is perhaps his creepiest work about the abduction of a baby by goblins. His Dark Materials (Laurel-Leaf) More complex than Good vs. Evil, Pullman based his trilogy on Milton’s Paradise Lost—not a bad start. Make sure you get all three at once, since they are really different parts of a long epic rather than discrete novels. Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone (mm) No fantasy children’s list would be complete without Harry Potter. These books are impossible to put down and tons of fun. Hogwarts is truly a special world. The Chronicles of Narnia These books remain important to me because I loved them growing up. I think they would be harder to appreciate if you were coming to them for the first time as an adult.
Classic Literature The Odyssey Memorize the Odyssey! This is a great translation, but Mandelbaum and Lattimore are also good. I also find Rieu’s prose translation (0140445560) fun to read. The Metamorphoses of Ovid Most of the Greek/Roman myths you have read come from Ovid. This is the best translation. The Arabian Nights (v. 1) This is the translation you want! Forget Burton. Le Morte D'Arthur: Complete, Unabridged, Illustrated Edition The source of the Arthurian legends. I like the illustrations in this version. Also check out the movies Excalibur and The Mists of Avalon. Beowulf: A Prose Translation (Penguin Classics)paperback It’s ok. Lightening will not strike you if you read this in prose rather than verse.
Faeries The Complete Poems of John Keats (Modern Library) Read “La Belle Dam Sans Merci” now! Tam Lin An English major encounters magic at college. Abounding in literary references—what more could you want?? Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel About magic and faeries, written in excellent prose, and 800 glorious pages long. Oh, that it had been longer! Coraline: The Graphic Novel Through a tiny door, Coraline steps into the world of faery in this graphic version of the novel.
The Literary and the Strange Macbeth (Folger Shakespeare Library) Creepy witches, prophesies, and murder? The plot of this play makes it more accessible. Idylls of the King and a New Selection of Poems (Signet Classics) A poetic take on the Arthurian legends. Tales of Hoffmann (Penguin Classics) Just weird! Blow-Up: And Other Stories Fantastic stories from an Argentine writer. Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings Philosophical insanity.
Literary Gothic Wuthering Heights (Oxford World's Classics) A romantic ghost story with true presence. Check out the film version with Laurence Olivier. Jane Eyre (Signet Classics) The classic governess novel. The House of the Seven Gables (Bantam Classics) Hawthorne was a gothic romantic writer, and this is his best gothic novel, complete with magic, witches, and other weirdness. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (Penguin Classics) A deeply weird novel from America’s premier gothic writer. The Turn of the Screw and Other Short Fiction (Bantam Classics) One of James’s more accessible work, we have all we need for an eerie ghost (?) story: lonely governesses, inaccessible masters, debauched children, and ghosts! Some of James’s other short stories also make use of fantastic conventions. Beloved A ghost (?) story that also explores the way history haunts the present. Morrison’s novel refutes all those who say fantastic literature is escapist!
Gothic-Sci-Fi These read more like gothic romances, although they have a sci-fi component. Frankenstein (Enriched Classics) Sci-Fi/Gothic romance, written in a beautiful and accessible style. A true classic. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (Signet Classics) Another Sci-Fi/Romance, this time with a rather interesting structure. Enjoy. Wieland and Memoirs of Carwin the Biloquist (Penguin Classics) Almost a forgotten work, Brown’s creepiest gothic/sci-fi novel was written back in the early days of American literature! The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Writings (Bantam Classics) A highly readable, eerie story/psychological thriller.
Magical Realism One Hundred Years of Solitude (Oprah's Book Club) The supreme novel of magical realism. Wonderful! Nights at the Circus Magical realism, myth, folklore, frame stories!Oh my! The Satanic Verses: A Novel (Bestselling Backlist) The book that almost got Rushdie killed—this book is NOT dark, as the title suggests and is highly accessible.
And to go with it all Symptom of the Universe: The Original Black Sabbath 1970-1978 Sometimes you just need a soundtrack to complete the mood. Do faeries wear boots? Can Satan fall in love? Black Sabbath says “yes.”
Products mentioned include:
Children's Literature Adults Will Like
by Pamela Dean
$9.29 Used & New from: $0.01
The Literary and the Strange
by Toni Morrison
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And to go with it all
Customer Discussions about products in this guide
Is literature in a state of decay?
Nov 14, 2014
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How did the Dursleys get off the island?
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Censored editions ?
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Pseudo-Intellectuals and "the Classics." A Rant.
Feb 6, 2014
This Book IS BAD
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Harry potter audio book
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Illustrator's error page 143?
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These books are not for children
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Literature with capital L
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Can You Skip the Footnotes?
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