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Reading The Sword of Shannara: Chapters 1-5

Jen Miller and her brother, Philip Ilten, grew up with their parents reading lots of science fiction and fantasy to them as bedtime stories.  With this feature, they resume this family tradition of reading fantasy together with Terry Brooks' The Sword of ShannaraThey invite you to get a copy of your own and read along, too!

Dear Phil--The Sword of Shannara

Hooray!  We’re reading The Sword of Shannara together!  I’m going to be honest--I’m more excited about the idea of reading a book with you than the actual book that we’re reading.  I’ve been putting off starting the novel because I’ve gotten this impression of it as this overdone, tired cliche.  I realize that this isn’t fair, especially since I’m thinking of the novel through the lens of everything that has been written since then instead of thinking of it as the groundbreaking work that it was (helped to make fantasy commercially successful, first paperback fantasy on the NYT bestseller list, etc.).  Things are what they are, however, and it seems that it’s a) good to be upfront about my prejudices and b) interesting to see if you’re coming from a place that is at all the same.  So, what about you?  What are your thoughts going into this book?

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Warriors

WarriorsWarriors is a treasure trove of warrior themed stories and relationship advice by authors including Robin Hobb and Naomi Novik.  Since the editor of the collection is fantasy grand pooh-bah, George R.R. Martin, I expected a heavy dose of sword and sorcery, but I was surprised at the collection's variety.  There were several historical fiction stories, a smattering of sci-fi, some fantasy, a contemporary thriller, and a super hero crime fighting story that defied description.

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Her Dress Her Sail

I think if I had read Catherynne M. Valente’s The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making as a child, a thrill would have run through me when I learned the heroine’s name was September.  I had an ordinary sort of name as a child, but I was born in September, and though September herself was born in May, I would have felt this connection between names and birthday gave us a kinship. I would have hoped that kinship ran deep enough (names are important things in Fairyland) that the Green Wind might someday come for me, too. 

 

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