Sunday, October 22, 2017

Swinging through a bundalo of Tarzan Memorabilia - Kreegah!

Tarzan swung into my life, somewhere in the 70s, via comics.
From Jim, the Photographer,
Though these gave me some inkling of the highlights of the apeman’s life, it was only when I introduced my son to Edgar rice Burroughs that I, perhaps, gained more information. It was also in the days when my son was a little boy that I saw my first Tarzan film.

My main takeaway from the Tarzan stories, though, remains how Tarzan learns to read. This fact of the legend is, in fact, the theme/title and more of many erudite papers!

Here is a little boy, alone in the wilderness, surrounded by all that remains of his parent’s belongings. This ‘Mowgli’ proceeds to teach himself to read. And, later, to write! Anyway, read it for yourself in Tarzan of the Apes.

Food nourishes the body. Books feed the mind. With this in mind, I often look back at books I have read when young and what they fed in me. Books shape the outlook and, to a certain extent, I ought to admit that the Mowgli/Tarzan/Phantom tropes worked/work to form my reactions to the world. I refuse to say further because, though books might be construed as endorsing this or that, it is the worse crime to condemn books on the basis of such and such bias in the author.

Just as books take us into diverse times/spaces, ‘real’ or fantasy, in the course of a reading we also cruise through inner worlds. And this space is necessarily organic, biological, hormonal and more that is, sometimes, not hygienic or palatable to all/some of us at various points in time. It is a complex relationship and the more profitable move would be to let books be. They are like travelogues and will give us all a diversity of perspectives. Such diversity is good for survival.
That said, I endorse Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan, along with his other fantasy works,  as worthy of being read.

My latest encounter remains the latest film.

But I look forwards to catching up on more Edgar Rice Burroughs creations, in the meantime.
This winter gift someone a great read

Friday, September 01, 2017



On the western highlands of Scotland, a springtime storm pummels the coast while Kristie's brother is out fishing. When he fails to return home, Kristie turns away from her list of chores to search the loch in an effort to ease her pregnant sister-in-law's fears. Instead of finding Domnall, she discovers a naked and battered man washed up on shore and worries he could be a thieving reiver or worse--an Englishman.

When the handsome outsider wakes, he is unable to remember who he is or how he came to be there. Although the feisty and melancholy Kristie isn't keen on him remaining, her young neighbor, Jock, takes to the playful stranger and names Creag after the rocky crags where the loch meets the sea. Not long after the lad speaks of selkies, magical seals who shed their skins to live as humans, Creag dreams he is swimming deep beneath the waves.

Kristie is desperate to keep the farm running for her missing brother while Creag's sleep is filled with strange visions--glimpses that may reveal secrets to his past, but he may soon wish they were only a dream.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

Shapeshifter Sagas {Western European Myths from the Middle Ages}

Widow {13thc. | Black Shuck | England}
Scars {10thc. | Fenrir | Iceland}
Tides {10thc. | Kraken | Great Britain/Ireland}
Outsider {14thc. | Selkie | Scotland}

Available to buy from....   Paperback

Also Available
Widow (Time of Myths: Shapeshifter Sagas Book 1)
Lady Rayne has few options as a young widow. Either her father will marry her off to a wealthy nobleman--no matter how old and disagreeable he may be, or she will become a nun like her aunt at Grimsford Abbey. The choice is easy: her interest in writing is not supported in the dark halls of her father's home. Rayne eagerly anticipates becoming a scribe and learning the art of illumination and book making. But first she must travel along the treacherous roads of East Anglia.

Far from the confines of Norwich, Rayne hears fables of an enormous ghostly hound called the Black Shuck. She tries to ignore them until she finds herself staring into its expressive brown eyes. With every heartbeat, her chances of reaching Grimsford Abbey disappear. If only she could live to tell the tale.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

Scars (Time of Myths: Shapeshifter Sagas Book 2)
Along the breathtaking and unforgiving coast of Snæland, Ásta’s ancestral farm is plagued with bad luck. The kinless maiden’s turf walls continue to be found damaged, and there aren’t enough farmhands to maintain the property. Claw marks in the dirt revive old memories of the wolf attack that left her scarred, and she begins to fear the whispers are true—that Fenrir, son of Loki and king of the wolves, has come to claim her and her land.

Torin often leaves his uncle’s farm in the southern hills to track and ensnare valuable gyrfalcons. His secret ability to turn into the birds he trains means his falconry skills are unparalleled, earning him precious silver and gold. If the ghosts of his past didn’t haunt him daily, pushing him to numb his senses with drink, Torin might have married by now—as his uncle often reminds him. He knows the time has finally come to find a wife and settle down.

During the Althing, the gathering of the year, Ásta’s ability to maintain her property comes into question while Torin wonders if a woman in jeopardy of losing her farm is really worth the trouble.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

Available to buy from....   Paperback

Tides (Time of Myths: Shapeshifter Sagas Book 3)
It’s Leif’s eighth summer going viking with his father on their ship the Kraken—and he’s had enough. For as long as Leif can remember, his father has claimed to be a descendant of Ægir, god of the sea, and has exploited their shape changing ability—all this to amass enough gold to gain entrance into the ocean god’s halls. Leif hopes that time’s drawing near so he can free himself from Ragna’s domineering shadow.

On the green hills of Éire, Eilish is content learning traditional folk cures from her father until a Finn-Gall raid disturbs the peace. Desperate to protect Eilish from harm, her father cuts her hair and disguises her in his old clothing before she’s ripped from the only home she’s ever known. Sold as a thrall in Duiblinn, she must hide out as a young man on a ship full of barbarians.

Now Eilish, who fears she’ll become Ægir’s next sacrifice, and Leif, who isn’t prepared to stand up against his father’s powerful wrath, must face the tides of change—no matter how ominous they may seem.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

Available to buy from....    Paperback

About the author
Natasha was born in Nevada City, California. Being an only child, she resorted to using her imagination while exploring the forest surrounding her home (a nasty habit she hasn’t been able to break). Her natural interest in fantasy ignited when her parents read The Hobbit to her as a youth, and from then on anything seemed possible. Once awarded with a Hershey’s bar ‘the size of a Buick’ in her high school English class for creative writing, her passion and interest in literature has never dimmed.

She now lives in Littleton, Colorado, with her husband, two children, and two dogs.

Find the author on the following sites...

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Russian Fairy Tales - Good Reads at Any Age

When I was a little girl, Soviet books were freely available, cheap and very popular in India. I had some too but my favourite was Vasilisa The Beautiful: Russian Fairy Tales.

But this was not the book I had. Mine was this:

Vasilisa The Beautiful: Russian Fairy Tales

Now, in a great many of these fairy tales, the heroine, Vasilisa, in this case, is a stepdaughter and her stepmother and stepsisters ill treat her. In this particular story, they send her to get some tinder or some such thing as they've run out. She has to go ask some from Baba Yaga, the witch with the switch.

This is among the many tales that formed my own private set of values. On her way into the house of the witch, Vasilisa first meets resistance from the gate. She oils it. And then there is one thing after another and when she has to flee the witch all the things that she helped help her back. 

Emelya and the Pike was also my favourite. This was about a lazy boy who agrees to throw a pike back into the water. The grateful fish then grants him a boon. He can summon its magic power at any time, saying: 
  By the Will of the Pike, Do as I like!
I also like The Silver Saucer and the Rosy-Cheeked Apple for the girl in this story gets these things from her father and has a whale of a time with them. Obviously, that then draws the jealousy of her sisters upon her and things transpire. Of course, things work out in the end as it's a fairy tale!

Sister Alyonushka and Brother Ivanushka has, again, a wicked stepmother! I think that, had these tellers of tall fairy tales been alive today, they'd have had a great many slander lawsuits flung at them. 
By Matorin Nikolay Vasilyevich [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The Frog Tsarevna, I now find, is actually Vasilisa the Beautiful - at least that's what I'm forced to believe given what the latter throws up there:

Wee Little Havroshechka was not among my well loved tales but quite a delicious one. 

 Marya Morevna the Lovely Tsarevna , I know I loved it but the story I've quite forgotten! Rereading it now, I find it absolutely spot on - dark and delicious with Koshchei the Deathless who's not quite as cool as Baba Yaga. But he's got my respect, nevertheless:

Ivan Bilibin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ivan - Young of Years, Old of Wisdom has always charmed me but, like Maria, he has not held sway over my memory. Here too it is the villain who's caught my fancy: Zmei Gorinich. And it has The Self-Playing Psaltery, the Dancing Goose and the Glee-Maker Cat. 

I would dearly love to reread them all down to the last one, The Seven Simeons - Seven Brave Workingmen.  

I hope I have stirred your appetite for these lovely stories. In parting, I leave you with "Twelve Months" which I read in another book.