- Mary thrust many books in front of us by American Fantasy Authors, including those by Robin McKinley (link to witty blog), Tamora Pierce, and Patrick Rothfuss (who has a rather fine beard). My favourite Robin McKinley book is Spindle's End, (which even has it's own Study Guide) because unlike in Deerskin, the heroine is not beautiful (or feminine), and unlike in Beauty, she never becomes beautiful. The ending of Beauty always seemed cheap. I just happen to like Rosie better than Lissar. These books rely a lot on audience identification with the protagonist, in order to enter into the fairy tale escapism they continue the tradition of and so I suppose it's natural I I think the one with my favourite heroine is best. But also the plot is quite complex, anf the initial premise which defies the stereotyped princess is quite clever. And... you know... Narl.... (then again, though I sympathise with Rosie's unfemenine, non-pretty, socially-awkwardness, as well as the whole Narl deal, I always have to try and forget she just wants to stay at home in the village. Because, even if I didn't want to go to the palace, I would definitely be up for an adventure).
- Then Jess Nonsense poetried us, as evidenced by the many fine specimines found below. My favourite nonsense poem is the not-well-enough-known The Cheetah My Dearest, by George Barker.
- Tam told us about Magic Realism and we discussed the grey area of not-quite-fantasy. Angela Carter, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Haruki Marukami, etc. Lesser known recommendations include Margo Lanagan's Black Juice and Kelly Link's Magic For Beginners (the title is a tribute to Diana Wynne Jones).
- And I explained the Old English poem Wulf and Eadwacer, and made everyone write equally enigmatic, difficult poems using this method. (Results below, and, one hopes, above).
And then we went alcohol shopping as a corsetted team in Stratford Morrisons. Photos to follow. Post-wine.