Spenser Thoughts on Troubled Blood Part 2

Now that serious Strikers have our copies in hand, we’re off with our part-by-part commentary, and I am delighted to be taking the role of Spenser Color Commentator! I’ve loved The Faerie Queene since I first joined Redcrosse on his quest in my teens, and I’ve always claimed The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenserthat the only reason it wasn’t as popular as the Lord of the Rings was because of Spenser’s use of Chaucerian language, a feature that makes him seem far more ancient than his contemporaries, like William Shakespeare. With the horrible monsters, the beautiful ladies, and the constantly battling knights (one of whom is also in the aforementioned group of beautiful ladies), it’s a recipe for blockbuster gold, so I’m thrilled to see how Galbraith/Rowling is taking  Spenser’s epic as her scaffold for Troubled Blood. Beyond the epigraphs that begin each chapter and section, she has also woven in beautiful connections to the allegorical adventures of Spenser’s knights. Join me after the jump for observations on Faerie Queene connections in part 2 of Troubled Blood. We’ll be spoiler-free up until page 153, so if you aren’t there yet, catch up, and join us for an initial look into our Spenser-flavored mystery!

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Spenserian Hopes for Troubled Blood with Sneak Preview Chapters

Amazon.com: Troubled Blood (A Cormoran Strike Novel (5)) (9781549157745): Galbraith, Robert, Glenister, Robert: BooksWe’ve only a few days to go before the arrival of the eagerly awaited fifth Cormoran Strike installment! My local independent booksellers have my copy safely in stock, ready to hand over to me on September 15, like the professionals they are (and like people who still miss the thrill of Harry Potter book release parties in the old days). In the meantime, we’re having a grand time with the tantalizing almost-10-chapter preview of Troubled Blood, which has confirmed many of our suspicions and also left us wondering what the other 63 chapters hold. From Joni Mitchell to Marilyn Manson, the range of musicians who appear to be inspiring this adventure is an impressive one, and the literary scope promises to be just as rich. If you have not kept up with Bea Groves’s beautiful insights on the Literature Game of the Strike series, catch up before Tuesday! As we’ve been hoping since the title drop, it looks like Edmund Spenser’s glorious magnum opus The Faerie Queene is a major pillar of the complex literary scaffolding we’ve come to expect from The Faerie Queene (Penguin Classics) by Edmund Spenser Paperback Book The Fast 9780140422078 | eBayRowling/Galbraith.  While we wait for Tuesday, you may or may not be in the mood to read the entire six books and a bit of The Faerie Queene’s planned twelve books that Spenser was able to complete before his untimely  death in 1611(C.S. Lewis reportedly said that he hoped he would discover, upon reaching heaven, that Spenser was there waiting with the remaining six books). Whether or not you are a Spenser fan, here are six and a bit hopeful possibilities for the way Spenser may be woven throughout Troubled Blood, based on what we have so far!

 

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: Top Ten Pointers to the Trilogy

Amazon.com: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Hunger Games ...

It’s been an exciting past week or so here for serious readers, from J.K. Rowling’s new slow-release of The Ickabog to the release of the new Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. We’ve already taken a few looks here at the new prequel, which will doubtless continue to yield further treasures upon repeated readings. If you have not yet checked out The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, I hope you will, and that you will join our conversation on its many layers. One of the most interesting features is the way in which the novel uses foreshadowing for events that we, savvy readers of the original trilogy, already know well. Although set 64 years before Katniss Everdeen’s name comes out of the Reaping bowl in the well-manicured hand of Effie Trinket, this novel should only be read by those who have already completed the trilogy. Like the Star Wars prequels, with moments like Obi-Wan Kenobi chiding his friend Anakin Skywalker, “You’re going to be the death of me,” BSS  is an experience that only works if the readers know what is coming. This is a useful technique in literature and film. After all, we cannot gasp with horror when Oedipus declares that the murderer of Laius will be exiled and live in misery, unless we are familiar with the myth, so we know he himself is the man he seeks and that he will indeed be ruined and miserable.  We cannot mentally headslap people in Titanic when they declare the ship’s invincibility if we do not know that the ship is going down, along with many of its passengers and their hubris.

So here are our first “top ten” moments and themes of The Ballad of Songbirds Snakes that point to and set up the trilogy we already know, some of us quite well. This is just the start to a much longer list, one that I am sure will grow with each reading. [Read more…]

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, First Thoughts on a Sad, Familiar Song

When I first started using The Hunger Games in my college English 111 courses, it was an obscure little book, and I was the only one in any of my classes who had read it before the first day. But times have changed over the past Hunger Games': All about the new 'Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes'decade. I still use the book in my classes, mainly because I have not found anything else that works so well. In that time, movies have been made(with some of my students as extras), popularity has swelled, and my students who don’t pay attention to my constant harping on the importance of the number three in the trilogy (they are confused by four films), keep saying they want a “fourth” book. Instead of spoiling the beautiful symmetry of the original trilogy, the master Gamemaker herself brings us a prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which is both its own special sort of creature and a perfect companion to the original trilogy.

If you haven’t yet read Suzanne Collins’s just-released prequel to The Hunger Games trilogy, fear not, spoilers won’t crop up until after the break, but, if you have read the novel already, or don’t mind the spoilers, join me for a quick round-up of first thoughts, using the three major elements of the title, Snakes, Songbirds, and Ballads, but in reverse order (why? There are many reasons, actually, but I may fall back on the old excuse that I am an ornery mountain woman with excessive book learning). There will be many more posts to come, but we’ll start the dance here.

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Looking for Your Next Celebrity Storytime? Try These!

While we may all get a little tired of being told that we must use these odd times for self-improvement and intense personal growth, there is no denying that many people have taken both comfort from and interest in reading. Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile: Houston, Gloria, Lamb, Susan ...Libraries are realizing that the rural Bookmobile concept is actually pretty amazing, something I knew as a child when the magical delivery service visited my aunt’s house. It was like a traveling Scholastic Book Fair. Amazon is, of course, doing a rip-roaring business, but they aren’t delivering only books, as people are shipping everything including a kitchen sink (if Amazon doesn’t have one that suits the shut-in home-improver, I’m sure Home Depot or Lowe’s will). Local bookstores, many of which are only doing online or appointment sales, are a nice choice, and a good idea if you’d like that bookstore to be there this time next year.

One of the most popular ways to enjoy a good book, though, is to hear it read aloud. There is something magical about the read-aloud. It conveys safety and connection for many of us, reminding us of our childhood and of family reading timeHarry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - Wikipedia.  I may have complained mightily about reading any chapter in which I had to do my extravagant voices for Voldemort, Bellatrix, Dobby, and/or Snape, but I wouldn’t trade those sore throats for anything, as reading the Harry Potter books aloud to my children remains one of the most precious experiences we have shared (and I do still do the voices sometimes for laughs, although my daughter has truly made Luna her own. My grandchildren will have a ball with that one).

Celebrities are, of course, taking up the task of bringing storytime comfort, and the Wizarding World has been featuring appropriate readers for Philosopher’s Stone. Daniel Radcliffe, the Boy who Lived to most filmgoers, has read us the first chapter. Noma Dumezweni of Cursed Child took on “The Vanishing Glass.” Newt Scamander himself, the delightful Eddie Redmayne, reads chapter 3, and has an Aunt Petunia voice I truly envy. Artwork from contributors adds to the reading, but Spotify also has all–auditory versions. Many other famous voices are lined up to read aloud each chapter over the coming weeks.Chapter Three: 'The Letters from No One' | Wizarding World

While we wait for the next chapters to be read by the next celebrity readers, you may be in need of another reading companion.  Thankfully, there are some wonderful choices available. Here are a few I like and which you might want to try, but also hope you’ll comment below with suggestions if you have found some that you have discovered and enjoyed. [Read more…]