Sunday, September 12, 2010

Touch Magic - Jane Yolen


Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 128
Format : Fairy Tale Non Fiction Novel
Reason for Reading : 10 10 10 Challenge

I first came across this book on the recommendation of Nymeth at Things Mean a Lot a couple of years ago. It’s a collection of essays by fairy tale and fantasy author Jane Yolen. It looks at the place of folklore, mythology and fairy tale in the development of children as well as adults. There were a few quotes that really stood out :

“Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.”

Which continues “While an occasional reader manages to get through those early years without contact with a book, most of us who are afflicted by literitis (that’s the medical term) get it early. Its symptoms are an inability to go by a bookstore without stopping in, a passion for late night reading, wrinkled skin from bathtub books, tendonitis from typing, large bottoms from all that sitting, and squinty eyes.”

Yolen also eludes to the beautiful view from the Manhattan apartment she grew up in, but that she never enjoyed it as she was always curled up with a book in her own fantasy world rather than the one outside. Another part of the book I liked was where Yolen compared the different versions of the same story (for example Snow White and Cinderella) in synopsis with the different variations. You get to see the older, more violent versions and see how they have changed over the years, the readership has changed and the effect of Disney. Shame Yolen doesn’t seem to like Disney at all, I like his versions as well as the blood and guys tales. I think it’s ok for both to exist, as long as people don’t just go down the Disney route.

There were a few great recommendations for novels to read which I am looking forward to seeking out. I also really enjoyed Yolen’s style of writing as I haven’t read any of her non fiction before. It felt at times like a conversation with lots of personal anecdotes and stories. I didn’t agree with everything she said, but it made me think and question my beliefs and why I have them which is always good.

4 comments:

Susan said...

I have got to find this book. It seems to have been on my to-buy list for many years now. Your review makes me determined to find it, and soon! I really want so hear how and why she finds fairy tales so important. I know reading them to my own children that they love and are afraid of them, and how they always come back for more. What didn't you agree with it?

Marg said...

I have only read one book by Yolen, and I really loved that one. I really must make an effort to read more of her writing, whether fiction or non-fiction.

Ladytink_534 said...

Sounds like my kind of book :)

Kailana said...

I read this earlier this year. I much prefer her novels, but it was good...