Is it February already? This week, we finished Telling to Live, the collection by the Latina Feminist Group that we began earlier in January. The stories in Telling to Live are moving, living testimonies, and show diverse Latina experiences that are often underrepresented, both within literature in particular, and American society in general. The book’s introduction talks about how that lack of representation—stories by, for, and about Latina women—in some ways served as a catalyst for gathering the collection.
We have a big announcement from Cornelia and filmmaker Guillermo del Toro: the novelization of Pan’s Labyrinth that they’ve collaborated on, will be published in the US and UK on July 2nd, 2019! Cornelia worked with del Toro on The Labyrinth of the Faun for several years, exchanging drafts and notes. Alongside the novelization of his story, Cornelia also wrote nearly a dozen short stories, offshoots of the original tale often about characters on the periphery, which expand upon motifs from the original.
There will be dragons in 2019! If you’ve visited the Writing Barn lately, you may have noticed that Cornelia’s January to-do list includes “Dragon Rider book 3”, so it seems like Ben and Firedrake may be flying into a new adventure! And, While it’s too early to say when the third Dragon Rider book will be published, there will be new Dragon Rider stories in fall 2019—an animated film called Dragon Rider, based on the first book in the series!
Our reading list this month features two uniquely framed collections of poetry—Nikita Gill’s Fierce Fairytales: Poems & Stories to Stir Your Soul and Diane Ackerman’s Origami Bridges—and a collection of Latina feminist testimonios called Telling to Live. Each collection has a perspective, tone, and language distinctly its own but, picking each up in turn, I was struck by the threads connecting each of them.
As the beginning of the new year approaches, it’s a time of year when many of us think about our goals, intentions, and plans for the next twelve months. While we’re not super into the resolution-making spirit (make changes & plan for growth whenever and however it works for you), there is one resolution we’d like to bring into the new year: reading more intentionally, more widely, and more inclusively.
Many folklore traditions around the world reference snow queens, winter witches, and other powerful female figures who appear when the nights grow long and the weather cold. These winter witches buck tradition by relying on their own choices and magical powers, asserting agency, meting out good & bad, punishments & mercy:
Picture this: gathering with loved ones on Christmas Eve, exchanging a small gift (spoiler alert: it’s a book), then each cozying up somewhere to read with a hot beverage, maybe a fireplace crackling, a furry friend if you’re so lucky...doesn’t that sound lovely?
In Iceland, that’s the yearly Christmas Eve tradition!
It’s no surprise that we might have a penchant for folklore here at Breathing Books…after all, the Reckless series, and so many of Cornelia’s magical stories, draw from folk and fairytales! While many of us are most familiar with Anglo-centric and European folklore, all around the world there are rich oral traditions, magical stories, and centuries of lore told by firesides. Through the Water Curtain (Pushkin Press), an anthology of global folktales curated by Cornelia Funke, explores folklore from oral traditions in Japan, Siberia, Germany, and beyond.
Here are just a few folktales from around the world that we’ve grown to love:
With the holidays coming up, it’s a busy time of year…which means it’s the perfect time to re-read some old (and newer) favorites! Returning to books we’ve loved before is an easy way to indulge the urge to read as much as we can, while also being able to leave off and pick up between holiday activities and spending time with family. Check out a few of our favorite holiday stories:
Thousands of people across both Southern and Northern California have been affected by the recent wildfires and, as firefighters continue to fight some fires, elsewhere people have begun to return to their homes.
As we think about the Thanskgiving holiday this week, we’ve been overwhelmed with gratitude for the basics: safety, shelter, the health of our friends, coworkers, and chosen family. In light of all those for whom these basics are now uncertain, we wanted to provide a few resources and ways to support the ongoing efforts across our state to provide food, shelter, and clothing to those who have been displaced.