October: Beauty by Robin mcKinley epub November: Beast by Donna Jo Napoli epub December: The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter online version January: Dragon Rose by Christine Pope epub February: Beast by Marian Churchland epub March: Beastly by Alex Flynn (optional companion volume Beastly: Lindy's Diary) epub/ epub April: Twice upon a Time:The Only One Who Didn't Run Away by Wendy Mass epub May: Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay epub June: Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier epub July: Belle by Cameron Dokey epub August: The Cold King by Amber Jaeger epub September:Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley epub
And then Happy Anniversary!
I've tried to space out excellent books with so-so ones, and some I haven't yet read, for a good balance.
Please feel free to submit your suggestions for upcoming book club topics!
Wow, I was not expecting to run into versions I'd never heard of this fast! Day: made. =)
There's also Mercedes Lackey's two versions, The Fire Rose and Beauty and the Werewolf (one of which I love and one of which I really don't...) I found a couple scripts of stage versions a few years back that could be interesting. I also own an appallingly classist/ racist version from the 1920s, but trust me, you don't want to read it. We could also add some of the tale analysis books to the list. Long term, you might consider adding East of the Sun, Rose Red, etc. or some of the "shared fairyland" stories that include Beauty and Beast. I also have a few on my wishlist that I haven't read yet, but this is getting a bit long, so maybe later. =)
Will there also be a forum/ discussion for various illustrated versions?
I'd love to see a forum for the illustrated picture book versions!
I've got a BatB variation by Nancy Holden called Spirited, but it's a bit facepalmish in it's characterization and skews pretty far away from anything like the Villeneuve story (to the point where I wouldn't have really recognized it as a retelling if I hadn't been told it was supposed to be).
Stitchlingbelle, when you refer to this horribly classist and racist version, are you by any chance referring to a version set in China near the Great Wall where the tale has a Mongolian Hun as the beast who forces the Chinese Beauty to live in a tent...and then he turns back into a Chinese prince when she kisses him?
I remember seeing this in the children's section of my small local library years ago. I would not be surprised however if there several other horribly classist and racist versions of the story out there.
And the idea of a Native American being the Beast and a white woman being the beauty is... fairly delicate to say the least and I don't think it really works here. There's another beauty and the beast tale from the same series (Once Upon a Time) called Belle that's more of a traditional retelling, still not amazing but a little better.
Nope, it's another appallingly racist version! It's called Beauty and the Beast by a woman named Kathleen Norris, and it actually doesn't feature any supernatural elements at all. Basically, wealthy American heiress goes to Italy, hijinks vaguely following the plot of our beloved tale ensue, except she ends up dumping the half-American half-Italian outlaw "Beast" for her old American childhood sweetheart. The whole thing is basically an excuse for the author to preach about how nasty Europeans are, and how Americans are the only truly decent people in the world. Seriously. I'm thinking about getting an etsy artist to make the cover into a purse for me, and discarding the rest...
Dear lord! Some of these versions sound awful! I know this isn't the month to talk about it, but I'm in the middle of reading 'Heart's Blood' by Juliet Marillier and I'm fining myself wanting to re-enact that one scene from 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' where the entire cast scream out: "GET ON WITH IT!!!!". I'll talk more about my thoughts on this book when the time comes - but it seems that for every good BatB retelling there's always three to four so-so or awful ones. :/
I always find it very troubling to say the least when the "beast" is actually a disfigured or gruff human being. It has been done well in the past, like in The Phantom of the Opera, or The Hunchback of Notre Dame...but in both those cases, they generally sidestep the "beast" terminology and just discuss them as unfortunate human beings. There is monster talk, of course, but it also has ugliness and deformity as something someone is born with as opposed to being literally cursed with.
...at any rate...it always just feels really...ham fisted and callous on the part of the author.
So in other words, if you go for a straight, clear Beauty and the Beast rewrite...maybe it's best to stay away from having race be the thing that makes someone a "beast". Same thing for deformities.
Yeah, that's pretty much how I feel about Spirited. I only managed to get through it once, and every time I look at my bookshelf, I'm like "why are you still here?" I had picked it up on the hope that he'd be a bear or something that would turn into a Native American guy and was sorely disappointed.
Different topic entirely ... how do you guys feel about that stream-of-consciousness short by Francesca Lia Block in The Rose and the Beast? I had a hard time reading it because I'm not a fan of stream-of-consciousness, but at least the ending was interesting.
Ugh, I hate stream of consciousness so already I was disliking this story. But I agree the ending was interesting. The narrator made it sound like it wasn't a happy ending but i felt like it was just realistic. I always feel that that time between Beauty arriving at the castle and the curse being broken is meant to be sort of an in between of worlds and at the end they're moving back into reality and reality isn't always easy but at least it's real.
I think The Bloody Chamber is worth reading, overall, but there are indeed two very different BATB stories in that collection --The Tiger's Bride and The Courtship of Mr. Lyon. Maybe FIlm club would like to simultaneously examine The Company of Wolves....?
Thanks! Apparently there are a lot of PDFs of the book around that have been annotated for classroom use, and I happened to run across one that was just "The Tiger's Bride," so I wasn't sure whether that was what I wanted.