It comes around again

by Ahalya on September 26, 2010

I feel like Santa Claus! It’s the Joy of Giving Week, and this year, apart from my own giveaway, I have Campfire‘s graphic novels to give away as well!JGW-2010

So, I am giving away two books each day, through this week. All you have to do, is read this post, there are two questions in the yellow box, write in your comments for both (or one) giveaway, and for each day, I enter each participant’s name in random.org, which finds me two winners (one for each giveaway)! There you go. All winners will be announced at the end of the day!

What could you win this year? Well, I have seven books – books for kids, books for young adults, books for older readers and books for very old readers (by which I mean large print books); and Campfire has given me seven of their books to giveaway as well! So each day, you could win two books!

For those who came in late, Campfire is a publisher of really well made graphic novels. They have some really good titles in their catalogue and the books are very affordable. A few weeks ago, I had reviewed two of Campfire’s novels. Click here to read.

I hope you have as much fun participating, as I do when it comes to thinking up posts and shopping foJGW-2010-with-campfirer books πŸ™‚ So, on to my first post of this week!

Fairytales. I thought fairytales were just for children and Pixar animators. Everyone is beautiful; everyone is remarkably easy to fool; the rich are almost always despicable; orphans are always kind-hearted; and the bad guys are so bad that a blind man on a galloping horse could spot them a mile away. And, the most annoying part? The happy endings. Trite! So, I never did read the collection of Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen stories I have at home. Which 28-year-old would want to read about Snow White, or Hansel and Gretel?

I changed my mind yesterday.

A friend asked me to look for fairytales for adults. She wanted me to find the ‘morbid’ ones. I typed that into Google, expecting to read something by contemporary Japanese authors (I don’t know why I decided upon the Japanese as likely to have such an ouvre, but I did). Anyway. Brothers Grimm top the list, and so does Andersen. I ran to my bookshelf, pulled out the dusty old copies, and sure enough: cannibalism, torture, beheadings, abuse, sadism… and that was just the first story. I think fairytales were never really meant only for kids.

I am on to something I told myself, and feverishly leafed through the pages, you have heard about the Little Mermaid of course? Beautiful, lissome young lass, with cute fish friends and crabs that guide her?Β  Well, the real ‘Sea Maid’ who drank an evil draught to make her mortal, felt with every step she took that she ‘trod upon sharp knives’, and after all that trouble does she get the Prince? No. She turns into foam. That was the barter she made with the sea witch. Have you heard of a sadder fairytale?

Well, have you?

Question 1: The LA Giveaway: Tell me, which fairytales you liked, and which ones you didn’t.

Question 2: The LA Graphic Novel Giveaway * Supported by Campfire*: Tell me which graphic novel would you recommend just for the marvellous depiction of the villain/bad guy, and why?

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Shefali Martins September 27, 2010 at 12:31 am

You’re post reminds me of a quote by Chesterton, that read, “Fairy Tales are more than true, not because they tell us that dragons exist but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” Probably this romanticism or belief in magic is what we see in fairy tales as children, which is many-a-times replaced with the gory details and the realisation of how many of them mirrored their times. Yet, the mnemonic value of them I guess always stands, besides the feel-good motifs.
A fairytale which quite intrigued me beyond the goodness of the princesses and little girls was The Gingerbread Man, because firstly, it gave a delicious description of how the gingerbread man was made and then how it finally is gobbled up! This tale, if seen closely, neither has a “happy ending” nor celebrates the different motifs hidden in fairy tales β€” sacrifice (as in Cindrella), or patience (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) or even goodness (Red Riding Hood). However, with a touch of fancy it doesn’t seem to lose the magic of fairy tales!

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Ahalya September 27, 2010 at 5:33 pm

“…they tell us that dragons can be beaten”. That’s just precious. Thank you for writing Shefali! Honestly, I never did like gingerbread, but I feel really sorry for the Gingerbread Man, because to be honest, I would eat him in many different ways, isn’t that horrible!!??!! And that’s all that I can think about when I think about the story :/

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Vandana September 27, 2010 at 8:14 am

I recently leafed my way through some old Batman comics. I think Penguin really looked nasty, and the Joker looked like evil personified– the wide smile, the crazy eyes! In other superhero comics the bad guys are usually very much over the top, with just one eye that swivels about or whatever. So, the Joker it is. For using regular human expressions and making them look pure evil.

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Ahalya September 27, 2010 at 5:34 pm

I just looked online at original illustrations of the Joker and egad! you are right! Creepy!

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sonia September 27, 2010 at 10:54 am

In my experience, Fairy Tales more often than not have a tragic end. This understanding may come of being a lover of fairy tales and a mother of two girls who also wanted to hear fairy tales. When I got my very first scholarship while pursuing my graduation, the first big book I bought was The Complete Illustrated Stories of Hans Christian Andersen! And though I find that The Brothers Grimm’s tales were grimmer :), I think “The Little Match Girl” by Andersen is the saddest tale. A little girl who is selling matches on the road on a cold cold Christmas eve fearing that if she goes home, her father will beat her, already brings tears to one’s eyes. With no one ready to buy her matches and she freezing with cold, when she starts striking the matches one after the other, seeing visions of all things nice and warm that every other child has that night; makes it impossible to stop your tears. The only moment that stays the tears for a moment and brings a smile to your lips is when she envisions her dead grandmother calling her. And then, predictably she dies and the next morning people find her frozen to death. It chokes your throat, and the tears will no longer come. Can there be a sadder tale?

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Ahalya September 27, 2010 at 5:36 pm

I have an illustrated version of the Little Match Girl too. The girl was frail, with big brown eyes, wearing a tattered white dress, and the cold night, yes, that was horrible. There now, I am sad :/

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Shravani Karve September 27, 2010 at 11:09 am

Actually I think as a kid I grew up thinking all fairy tales are as seen in the Disney cartoons- happy animals and birds, hyper heroine who can do and get away with anything and then of course the dashing and dapper hero! Somehow when I did read the originals, they never were in the same vein and hence I stopped reading them preferring the animated versions to the books. I can still remember the grim endings of the Grimm and Andersen duo’s tales. For e.g. the red shoes by Andersen. If you remember reading about it, it is the story of the girl in the red shoes who could not stop dancing and had to have her feet cut off and repent for her sins before she died in peace- what a strange story to chose for a kid!! That one was the saddest I have ever read. On a happier note – if there was anything happy as far as fairy tales are concerned, I think ‘The little prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupery is the most heartwarming and delightful story for any grown up of any age…

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Ahalya September 27, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Oh dear, that is one nasty story. I wonder if The Shoemaker’s Elves had a nasty ending too? I loved my Ladybird book of that tale and remember drawing all sorts of fancy shoes in all my notebooks for god knows how many years after that!

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Vishal September 27, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Grimm’s Fairy Tales from an old British library was may introduction to the world of fairies and beasts and wolves and pricesses.
“Hansel and Gretel” is the story i still remember (its longggg since i read it) and it has always made me sad and melancholy.
There isn’t any story i particularly remember as being my favourite , but i’ve loved the fairy tales then and I hope maybe still now they will have the same magical effect of transporting me to my fairy land.

Thanks for touching the subject.

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Ahalya September 27, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Fairy land… I wonder if anyone wants to go there now. But yes, I do remember thinking that the garden must be a wonderful place with all sorts of magical creatures there and all it would take would be a happy song and they would all emerge from their hiding places and then we would have a great time. Well, nothing happened, I sang till I croaked, but the fairies stayed put :/

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Vishal September 27, 2010 at 12:21 pm

heyy and yes a big thanks for bringing on the Give away.
πŸ™‚ hope lady luck would see me smiling all the way. and is still random.org at play?? pretty nasty – the feeling of randomness.
πŸ™‚

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Ahalya September 27, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Random. org πŸ˜€

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Vishal September 27, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Though I haven’t read any of the English Graphic novels except for the kids comics in hindi and the big ones too with a big story of a king and a villain and a magicians and some evil characters. And then came the age of novels for the grown ups and somewhere the fantasy world of comics got lost in between.
But reading one would be fun for sure. Hoping to get a Good one here if at all randomness picks me πŸ™‚

Thanks Ahalya
This is the giveaway i really look forward to. Coz i knw theres some gud stuff coming and wonderful recommendations from fellow readers too.

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Meethil September 27, 2010 at 2:34 pm

I think the one bad guy who I have never been able to forget is Captain Hook. Several years ago I read a graphic novel version of Treasure Island, it was a very dark book, and it put me off running away from home for a very long time. I recently saw Edgar Allan Poe’s works transformed into graphic novels and I think they really did a good job in bringing out the terror in his stories…

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Ahalya September 27, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Oh yes, most cartoons don’t make him menacing enough.

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Priyanka Borpujari September 27, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Reminds me to scout through the old cartons in the loft and go back to my childhood — I had these big sized fairytale books which I most received as gifts. The stories took me to a dreamland; the dresses worn by the princesses were what I aspired to wear for my birthday the subsequent year; the artwork was amazing — when I had read and re-read and re-re-read the books, I would just sit and copy the artwork in my red-and-blue lined notebooks πŸ™‚

Sadly, the only fairytale that has stuck on my mind is one that was called ‘Seven In One Blow’. The hero is a cute mawaali, but he manages to kill seven flies with one blow. Seven flies! He becomes the talk of the town, and I think then he went on to marry a beautiful and nice princess. The moral of the story, as I remember my father telling me through other instances (he thought reading fairlytales was a waste of time; he’d rather tell me about banking processes and how he evaded winters in Lucknow as a man deep in poverty but rich in pride): work hard your way up, and the world is yours. Today, those words are so true! πŸ™‚

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Ahalya September 27, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Seven flies?! And he marries princesses? I wonder what that story meant really. And why it became your favourite πŸ˜›

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Deepika Mital September 27, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Fairytales….well – The best would HAVE to be Puss in Boots – how much more ‘fairytale’ can it be. That cat was smart and savvy, and parlayed his ‘master(?) into the best position in the land!! Truly the stuff of fairytales – and then the whimsy of the boots ! Why boots?? πŸ™‚
The worst is the Steadfast Little Tin Soldier…or whatever the name is- yuck, it is just so sad – the guy gets beaten, drowned, swept away and then burned along with his lady love – why, why, why would you want to tell a child that steadfastness has that kinda reward? Also the Hansel and Gretel / Sleeping Beauty type – terribly politically incorrect – and how do you explain why the father in both cases just goes along with the new Mum’s cruelty? I got stuck with that one with my son – he just could not wrap his mind around it, and I definitely didn’t want him to!!

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Ahalya September 27, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Puss in Boots! Definitely a catchy title! I agree with you about the political incorrectness of some stories, I think these were stories you told people who did not argue back! I would have asked a hundred questions to whoever tried telling me Cinderella.

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Deepika Mital September 27, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Graphic novels. Ummm – just the Batman/ Chandamama/ Amar Chitra Katha / Archie / and Commando Comics (that’s what they were called when we read them!)
The last named were a craze with us – we would have whole enactments from them, with Jerry (German villains shouting ‘Schnell / Achtung and suchlike) and the Brit hero being strong and silent – but getting on with killing his man! πŸ™‚
Amar Chitra Katha was another favourite with the faithful rendering of the Gods and goddesses, dancers and rajas, beauty in every line, the villains like Raavan and Vetaal oozing badness in every stroke – even today I visualise all of the mythological characters in somewhat the same form and dress!! far reaching effects!

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Ahalya September 27, 2010 at 5:47 pm

Really? Hm. For many years Raavan looked like the Raavan I had seen on the cover of a telugu comic book my Mother had. Honestly, I don’t like the ACK illustrations that much any more. They all look the same, all the women and the men :/

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Ahalya September 27, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Thank you everyone for participating!!! There are 14 books to win!!!
I am so glad that the people at Campfire have sent me 7 books to give away! Yayy. I have decided to keep this post on all through today and will be extending the contest till October 3!
Do spread the word!

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krishna September 27, 2010 at 11:29 pm

after reading everyone on this page- i don’t know of JoG but joy of reading is certainly ensured! It’s a mystery how these stories have managed to be around us all through out…
With my fragmented memory, i now recollect only the characters ( i guess, coz, i ‘ve evolved to be like some of them) to name few: the heartless scare crow & the coward tiger in Wizard of Oz. So often i refer to these characters that i’ve now shifted this book from my bed-time reading shelf to my management books’ shelf!
Panchtantra still remains my all time fav. though i simply hate the moralistic endings but i love the graphics & the big font!

& i hope this category falls in here: as i cannot forget any of the characters from my grand-mom’s impromptu stories- they seemed quite ‘graphical’ then & ‘ve continued being so.

also, i’m not sure what does my 3 months old Rayne gets out of my readings to her, but i’m sure she ‘ll forgive me when she ‘ll find out it was meant more for me than for her!

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admin September 28, 2010 at 2:14 am

Hey Krishna, thank you for stopping by πŸ™‚
I think you did the right thing by shifting the wizard of oz to your management bookshelf πŸ™‚ I wonder which other books have traded places!
I am pretty sure your niece will enjoy every moment you spend with her πŸ™‚

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admin September 28, 2010 at 1:54 am

And the winners are:
Giveaway #1: Priyanka Borpujari
Graphic Novel giveaway #1: Deepika Mital
Yayyyy πŸ™‚ I will get in touch with you via email.

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Swapna September 28, 2010 at 12:41 pm

I like the Russian fairytales a lot, with their Baba Yagas and snow and so on. It’s been a while since I read any, of course. Ones I didn’t like…hm. Fairytales are stories and I like most stories. Unless of course the hero returns after eight years and widowhood to find the heroine he once rejected is now wearing sarees and make-up instead of jeans and short hair and therefore can no longer beat him at basketball, but despite his original rejection she still dumps her nice kind loving fiancΓ© to take off with him because he needs a mother for his daughter…oops. Wrong fairy story.

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Vandana September 28, 2010 at 1:07 pm

The earliest graphic novels I remember reading are the Phantom and Mandrake series. I once stumbled upon a huge set of tattered pages of such a book which was a part of my dad’s collection. It was so much fun reading through them. The simple and uncomplicated adventures of Phantom really kept me going for a long time. I loved Diana and wanted so badly to be kidnapped by some dapper hero like the Phantom – The Ghost who walks! sigh!!!
Kids nowadays might scorn upon those simplistic story lines and lack of special effects etc., but the happy times I spent reading them will not be forgotten in a jiffy.

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