Once Upon A Time IV

Once upon a time, the door to reading challenges was opened to me by a terrific guy. I’d heard about Rest In Peace, which at that time was in its first edition, but being just a beginner at blogging, I had not time to join in the RIP The First. Fortunately, I was able to climb aboard for the first Once Upon a Time, and now, here we are at the fourth. It is always a harbinger of spring to me when this challenge rolls around.

I’m drawn to animal stories of fantasy. Charlotte’s Web first spoke to my heart in 1969, and it has not been quiet since. Many people think it is a book about friendship, which of course it is, but to me it is also a book about loss. It is a lesson which I learned at a very young age, but it has  helped me throughout my life: from loss, often comes something good.

Or, how about the adventures of Rat and Mole in Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in The Willows? I’ve begun it a thousand times, but, as with many children’s books, I doubt it’s really a children’s book. Who but adults can fully appreciate the whimsy of animals throwing down their whitewash brushes with a loud, “Bother!” and cavorting down the river in a blue boat?

On a less whimsical note, how about the terror the rabbits of Watership Down feel? Richard Adams created a magical world of talking rabbits, which so many times reminds me of Mrs. Frisby and The Rats of NIMH (even though they, of course, are rats not rabbits). I read this with my mother in 1974 when we took a drive up to a cabin in Ontario, and I have such lovely memories of us sharing this book together.

But, I could also walk through the door which Italian author Italo Calvino holds open for me. What first caught my eye is his book of short stories, Cosmicomics, in which the very first story has people walking to the moon.

 

The best known story is probably the first, The Distance of the Moon, which takes the fact that the moon used to be much closer to the earth, and builds it into a romantic story about two men and one woman in a tribe of people who used to jump up onto the moon when it passed overhead. (Wikipedia.com)

The possibilities are endless, and the challenge gives us time to explore so many as it begins March 21 and ends June 20. Won’t you walk through the door, or the forest, or the kingdom with us?

Addendum: Was just reminded, while reading Chasing Bawa, about how much I loved George R. R. Martin’s Songs of Fire and Ice series. I’m farily certain that after Cosmicomics, which just arrived from amazon.com today, I’ll be diving into Clash of Kings. Ooh, the thrill of anticipation…

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20 thoughts on “Once Upon A Time IV”

  1. Italo Calvino! What a brilliant choice! Which also for some reason makes me think of Jose Saramago! Both would be perfect for this challenge, both are favorites of mine and both have books that I have not read yet! Thanks for the inspiration!

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  2. In Chinese folktales, people believe there are rabbits on the moon (I can't remember the exact story now), but since I was small the adults around me (especially my dad) always say "See, can you see the rabbits?" pointing to the big moon. I think Japanese have very similar tale. ps: I'll be joining this challenge too 🙂

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  3. I know, Saramago and Calvino are somehow connected to me as well. (Could it be the Mediterranean influence?) I'm looking forward to Calvino, though, he's got so many fascinating works I'd like to read.

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  4. I haven't heard of that Calvino title. The challenge sounds interesting but I never do well in challengers because I feel restricted. I have to say though, that talking animals never really quite appealed to me. Fairy tales and folklore I love but talking rabbits and spiders seemed strange, even as a child. I think my ideas are conflicted – I'm ok with talking wolves and pigs in fairy tales but not in other stories. Hmm. Good luck with the challenge! I'll be interested to hear what titles you've picked.

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  5. Carl's Once Upon a Time III was the very first challenge I attempted as a baby blogger (the second was yours!) and it was such fun, I had to sign up again. Love your choices! Charlotte is Charlotte (and Wilbur), Toad will always be Toad, and Watership Down was a huge hit in this house. But Italo Calvino? Inspired!!!

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  6. I had watched and sympathized with Charlotte's Web but that was long long time ago and I wish to see it now with a clear eye and understanding. Filipinos have folklores as innumerable as the grains of sand in a sea shore. Parables, fables, epics, etc. It's just in a language you won't understand. Hehe!

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  7. I think I am going to reread Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior. I read it so long ago all I remember is an element of fantasy. Have either of you read that? And do you think it would count? I am rapidly moving from The Journey up to The Quest level because I have so much I want to read.

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  8. This sounds very appealing and that button is gorgeous but I have sworn off challenges for the time being except for poetry challenge. I simply never follow through on them! But you have some great choices here. Best with that spring reading!

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  9. I know what you mean about feeling restricted. On one hand, there's the wonderful opportunity of meeting other bloggers and sharing wonderful books; on the other, there's a list rather like an assignment hanging over one's head.I suspect the part of me that enjoys talking animals is the part that is the elementary school teacher; somehow, that's never quite grown up. I've never left my affinity for Charlotte, or C.S. Lewis' Narnia.

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  10. I had no idea your second challenge was mine! Wow, I feel honored! I'm inspired by Calvino, too. I hope it doesn't lead to an Italian Literature Challenge. 😉

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  11. I'm so compulsive, Frances, that I must finish what I start. I try to only join a select few, though, because I cannot read as quickly as so many book bloggers out there, and there's always my own pile of books I want to attend to. This is a great challenge, though, because of the enthusiasm of its host and participants, and because it opens my eyes to fantasy which is not normally a genre I choose.

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  12. What a lovely post, Bellezza! I love that you included Calvino among those you highlighted. I love him, and I'm far too used to seeing the literary set saying that he's too good to be classified as "mere" fantasy :PI still haven't decided what to read, but I look forward to making my list of potentials this weekend.

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  13. I was hoping to find your list for the OUAT Challenge when I came over Nymeth, instead finding other lovely reviews, but I am looking forward to what you'll choose. You always choose something original and exciting, whereas I tend to revert to my childhood as evidenced in this post. With the exception of branching out into Calvino. Have you read Cosmicomics? There were so many of his I want to pick up, and reading the reviews, I'm reminded a bit of Murakami. Not that any one could touch him, of course. 🙂

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