Tag Archives: Short Books

Book Review: Welsh Fairy Tales by William Elliot Griffis

Welsh Fairy Tales by William Elliot Griffis
Welsh Fairy Tales by William Elliot Griffis

I love reading fairy tales and reading fairy tales from different countries is really interesting as it tells you a lot about their culture and past. So I picked up Welsh Fairy Tales by William Elliot Griffis for my Kindle a few months back.

As you can expect it’s fairly short with a collection of different fairy tales within it’s covers all hailing from Wales.
Anyone familiar with fae lore especially when it comes to the English and Welsh (Scotland had a slightly different take on things) will find some familiar places, myths and even characters.

I’m not going to lie, this book starts off pretty week describing the  origins of the “Welsh Rarebit” (aka Cheese on Toast) which whilst interesting to some degree it is not… so interesting it makes you want to read the rest of the book.
However it does go on into the stories of Fae in Wales – a lot of which are tied into not-quite-proven historical events – e.g. King Arthur.

The stories are enjoyable and really interesting if your into mythical history and lore. Unfortunately the Griffis, who is retelling these fairy tales in his own words (many fairy tales are “retold” because they would have been just verbally told way back when) feels the need to get a bit patriotic about Wales. Whilst I do love Wales, he mentions far too many times how Wales did this first, or they made the best this or that and it’s just so obvious and feels unnatural in the context of a fairy tales. Not to mention Griffis wasn’t even Welsh, he was American so it’s not even like he’s singing the praises of his own country because of how dear it is to him.
There are also some inaccuracies for example London Bridge being called Tower Bridge.

That aside though this a great little collection that does capture the spirit of Wales and of a time when men and Fae lived side by side peacefully (for the most part). It’s doesn’t cover all of Welsh Fae stories and lore I’m sure but it’s a great place to start and a quick read.

Rating: 4_stars

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Author Website: N/A
Publisher: Kindle
Publication Date: 17th May 2012 (first published 1921)
Pages: 146
Genre(s): Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Short Stories
Purchased From: Amazon/Kindle UK

50 Book Challenge – Week 32

This one is just a day late because I was absolutely knackered yesterday – I think I maybe coming down with something but oh well on with the show…

Week 32! Should have finished reading my 31st book but I’m 2/3’s of the way through my 29th. So 3 books, plus finish this one I’m currently reading (Do Bats Have Bollocks?: and 101 more utterly stupid questions by Jon Butler) this week but I’ll be able to do that I think without much a problem. Nothing much is planned this week so have plenty of time to read.

Reading is for Awesome Peope My 50 Book Challenge page is now completely up-to-date if you want to check that out, see all the books I’ve read – see all the updates each week and find everything easily.

And now there’s a couple of other bookish things I want to tell you about – which do tie in with the 50 Book Challenge, I’ll tell you how as I mention them.

First of all, this weekend I was given a book from my mum called My Dad’s a Policeman by Cathy Glass, it’s pretty much a drama book about childhood neglect (not a true story though) so I’m not sure if I’ll like it or not but it will be my next read.
But what I really want to talk about is what I discovered in the back of this book – it’s part of a initiative to get people reading again – called Quick Reads. No prizes for guessing they’re purely short books, which is an excellent source if you’re struggling on your challenge. There’s a list of where you can find these books on their website – which is pretty much everywhere. There are a lot of big authors, publishers, etc on board with this project so take look.

Secondly – The Book Thieves is a Young Adult book/reader based website run by two of my lovely Dutch friends Gaby and Lotte – the website/blog is still under construction but will be coming soon. However the forum is very much alive and kicking, so please join. You don’t have to only be into YA – you don’t have to like YA at all to join, there’s a general book chat and other books sections where you can discuss other books – so all readers are welcome. It’s a great friendly, readers community. Great for encouragement on your challenge too! Definitely check it out.

Last but not least – add me on GoodReads! You can see how far I am into my current book, books I’ve read, ratings I’ve given books, etc – plus… I just became a Good Reads librarian, how cool is that?!

Happy Reading! See you all next week!

Book Haul: Mixed Batch, Some Big ‘Uns!

After falling behind and catching up, I realised that I definitely need a few more shorter books in my collection in case I should fall behind again or find myself in a week where I don’t have much time to read.

However money is sparse at the moment (I do hope this changes soon!) so I decided to hit up some of the charity/thrift stores in a near by town as I know some of them have great deals on books. Never more than £2 for a book and there’s even one charity shop – in fact I’ll name it – it’s Douglas Macmillan (who help anyone with with progressive, advanced disease and a limited life expectancy – they have a hospice, they help with legal things, money, care, family, pretty much everything) – their charity shop – I’m not sure if it’s the same for them all but it’s 50p for a paperback and £1 for a hardback book. Not only that but all books are 2 for 1. Needless to say this is one of my favourite shops to get second hand books from!

As you might have guessed from the title, I ended up with some rather big books but a few shorter ones too. Take a look:

Books 1
Left: An Optimists Tour of the Future by Mark Stevenson
Right: A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

Here’s the descriptions of the two books:

An Optimist’s Tour of the Future by Mark Stevenson
Mark Stevenson has been to the future a few years ahead of the rest of us – and reckons it has a lot going for it. His voyage of discovery takes him to Oxford to meet Transhumanists (they intend to live forever), to Boston where he confronts a robot with mood swings, to an underwater cabinet meeting in the Indian Ocean, and Australia to question the Outback’s smartest farmer. He clambers around space planes in the Mojave desert, gets to grips with the potential of nanotechnology, delves deep into the possibilities of biotech, sees an energy renaissance on a printer, a revolution in communications, has his genome profiled, and glimpses the next stage of human evolution … and tries to make sense of what’s in store. Insightful and often very funny, An Optimist’s Tour of the Future is a book that tracks one curious man’s journey to find out ‘what’s in store?’

A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
When Adela and her elderly companion Mrs Moore arrive in the Indian town of Chandrapore, they quickly feel trapped by its insular and prejudiced British community. Determined to explore the ‘real India’, they seek the guidance of the charming and mercurial Dr Aziz, a cultivated Indian Muslim. But a mysterious incident occurs while they are exploring the Marabar caves with Aziz, and the well-respected doctor soon finds himself at the centre of a scandal that rouses violent passions among both the British and their Indian subjects. A masterly portrait of a society in the grip of imperialism, A Passage to India compellingly depicts the fate of individuals caught between the great political and cultural conflicts of the modern world.

Next up is two big books! (I told you so!) But they looked so interesting that I couldn’t pass the up!

Books 2
Left: Myths and Legends of the British Isles by Richard Barber
Right: The Years Best Fantasy and Horror Twelfth Annual Collection (Year 1998/1999)

Descriptions:

Myths and Legends of the British Isles by Richard Barber
THE BRITISH ISLES have a long tradition of tales of gods, heroes and marvels, hinting at a mythology once as relevant to the races which settled the islands as the Greek and Roman gods were to the classical world.The tales drawn together in this book, from a wide range of medieval sources, span the centuries from the dawn of Christianity to the age of the Plantagenets. The Norse gods which peopled the Anglo-Saxon past survive in Beowulf; Cuchulainn, Taliesin and the magician Merlin take shape from Celtic mythology; and saints include Helena who brought a piece of the True Cross to Britain, and Joseph of Arimathea whose staff grew into the Glastonbury thorn. Tales of the British Arthur are followed by legends of later heroes, including Harold, Hereward and Godiva. These figures and many others were part of a familiar national mythology on which Shakespeare drew for Lear, Macbeth and Hamlet, creating the famous versions that are known today. Here the original stories are presented again.

The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror: 12th Annual Collection by Ellen Datlow
For more than a decade, readers have looked to The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror to showcase the highest achievements of fantastic fiction. Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling continue their critically acclaimed and award-winning tradition with another stunning collection of stories. The fiction and poetry here is culled from an exhaustive survey of the field, nearly four dozen stories ranging from fairy tales to gothic horror, from magical realism to dark tales in the Grand Guignol style. Rounding out the volume are the editors’ invaluable overviews of the year in fantastic fiction, and a long list of Honorable Mentions, making this volume a valubale reference source as well as the best reading available in fantasy and horror.

And finally I picked up…

Books 3
Left: The Silver Wolf by Alice Borchardt
Right: The World According to Clarkson by Jeremy Clarkson

Descriptions:

The Silver Wolf by Alice Borchardt
A richly atmospheric historical fantasy about shapeshifters struggling to survive in the decadent city of Rome during the Dark Ages.
Rome is mired in crumbling grandeur. Into the Eternal City comes Regeane, a young woman distantly related to Charlemagne, and as such an unwilling pawn in the struggle for political power. But unknown to all, she is a shapeshifter: woman and wolf.
Betrothed to a barbarian lord she has never seen, she is surrounded by enemies. The most notorious, her depraved uncle and guardian, who will betray her to the Church unless she aids him in his sinister schemes. If the Church discovers her secret she will burn at the stake.
Outside the gates of Rome there is a mysterious dark wolf who seems to offer Regeane a wildly seductive new life, yet as her marriage looms plots and deadly counterplots tighten like a noose around her neck.

The World According to Clarkson
 by Jeremy Clarkson
The world is an exciting and confusing place for Jeremy Clarkson – a man who can find the overgrown schoolboy in us all.
In The World According to Clarkson, one of the country’s funniest comic writers has free reign to expose absurdity, celebrate eccentricity and entertain richly in the process.
And the net is cast wide: from the chronic unsuitablity of men to look after children for long periods or as operators of ‘white goods’, Nimbyism, cricket and PlayStations, to astronomy, David Beckham, 70’s rock, the demise of Concorde, the burden of an Eton education and the shocking failure of Tom Clancy to make it on to the Booker shortlist, The World According to Clarkson is a hilarious snapshot of the life in the 21st century that will have readers wincing with embarrassed recognition and crying with laughter.
It’s not about the cars!
Not bad for under £5 for the lot eh?

What was the last book you brought?