I took a break from the internet yesterday (and the computer itself, actually), and curled up on the couch with a couple of books.
First, "The Rose and the Beast" by Francesca Lia Block. Now, I am usually a huge fan of fairy tale retellings, but this collection left me flat. I guess I didn't really feel that these gritty, modern stories added anything to the existing world of classic fairy tales. I like a retelling that expands the story, messes with setting, and feels like something entirely new.
I found what I was lacking in "Toads and Diamonds" by Heather Tomlinson. This novel takes a lesser-known fairy tale where two sisters are blessed/cursed whenever they speak, one with diamonds and gems tumbling from her lips, the other with snakes. Tomlinson sets the story in a fantasy kingdom that is almost, but not quite, ancient India, and weaves a delightful story. I really enjoyed the interplay with religion and fairy tale: it is a goddess in this story who bestows the gifts, and a theme of the book is religious faith. I think I may have to buy a copy of this one for my husband's classroom!
How did you spend this steamy, sultry weekend?