I have been obsessing over a few retellings I’ve found in the past few weeks, especially Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey Martin. I’ve always loved these kinds of books, but recently a lot of great ones have come out that I’m really excited about. In fact, I’m so excited that I’ve decided to start a challenge devoted to reading retellings.
But first, I want to explain why I love them.
There’s a lot of classics and obscure books and myths that don’t get the attention they deserve, often because stylistically, they’re very different from what today’s readers are accustomed to. So I think it’s an amazing idea to “modernize” these stories to appeal to an entirely different audience. How many people have seen that “Romeo + Juliet” movie with Leonardo DiCaprio? How many people have seen the one from the sixties (which is my favorite btw)? A lot of people wouldn’t know about stories like Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast without Disney. We wouldn’t know about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table if it weren’t for all the films and TV shows and books written about it. The fact that we are managing to keep so much of the past alive, albeit in an often heavily altered way, is a huge achievement, and it’s introducing older, “dated” material to a new generation of readers so that they can see beyond the current literary world to what has come before it and, in many ways, created our current reading culture. I love the idea that after reading a book like Bridget Jones’s Diary or Ophelia, a teenager will be able to see the relevance of Pride and Prejudice or Macbeth in today’s world and appreciate the story more than they would have otherwise.
It really just makes me happy to know that older stories aren’t fading away for the most part. If anything, they’re becoming even more prevalent. It’s a little bit awesome.
But anyway, gushy feelings toward retellings aside, because of the huge array of retellings out there, I’m hosting a teensy little challenge here at The Nighttime Novelist to read more of them in 2014, and you are welcome to join me!
- The challenge will run from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014. I will post a wrap-up post at the end of each month with a link to my retelling review(s) for that month. Each retelling read MUST be reviewed in some way.
- Novel-length (150+ pages) fiction only
- No more than 2 re-reads
- All formats allowed
- Anyone can join at any time in the year, although books read prior to joining do not count.
- You don’t have to have a blog to join; reviewing on Goodreads or Amazon is fine as long as everybody can see it.
- Books don’t have to be stated in advance; it’s up to you!
- ARC’s are fine, but try to read some that aren’t new releases.
- Retellings can be anything from a contemporary version of a Shakespeare play to an interpretation of Sleeping Beauty. As long as there is evidence it is a retelling of some kind, it will most likely count. But you can’t just start reading a random book and go, “Oh! This sort of reminds me of blankety-blank.” There must be some sort of statement that this is based on a prior work.
- The retelling can have an oral origin. Not all legends/myths were traditionally written down, but if it’s a legitimate story, it works. For example, most Native American folklore was not written, but a retelling of some Iroquois tale is perfectly valid.
- Easy: 1-5 books
- Not So Easy: 6-12 books
- I Like A Challenge: 13-19 books
- I Eat Easy for Breakfast: 20+
I can’t wait to get started on this! I’m aiming for the I Like A Challenge level, preferably at 15 books, but we’ll see how it goes. If you’d like to join me, feel free to leave a comment. What challenges are you joining for 2014?