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Posts Tagged ‘magic’

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Many of us know the famous fantasy/ sci-fi author Ursula Le Guin. Not only has she written several books, both for adults and for children, but her most widely known work, A Wizard of Earthsea, has become a staple on many high school reading lists. Her fantasy and science fiction books are wonderful, but rather than these I would like to discuss one of her non-fiction pieces. She is not as well-known for her non-fiction work, but it is just as good, if not better than her fiction. Language of the Night is a collection of her essays and one in particular, Why Are Americans Afraid of Dragons?, sums up what every lover of anything fantastical or imaginative has had to deal with in others because of that love.

The essay basically states that people are hesitant to accept fantasy or science fiction or anything that cannot be found in real life because, among other things, they are afraid to confront a reality other than the one they have forced themselves to endure. I won’t spoil it for you because I really think you should read the essay for yourself… and I trust that Le Guin can say it much better than I can. A part of the fun of reading something is discovering it as you go through it, to attempt to have the spark of the idea as organically as the author might have had it. I also find that when I do this I’m more honest about my opinion of the piece afterwards, so I generally don’t like going into too much detail when I’m telling people to read something.

But on the topic of adults scorning fantasy, I work in a book store at the moment and I often have to give recommendations to people who are looking for a new book to read. It is very seldom that when your average Joe, or more often Jane, is looking for a new book or a light read, they will have fantasy in mind. If I bring up the subject they’ll often scrunch their nose and say, no I’d just like a regular book. When I was going through my awkward teenage years, sometimes I would feel embarrassed to be seen in the fantasy section, like I was in the children’s section or the romance/ erotica section (also genres adults get scorned for enjoying and also worth discussion). And sometimes when family members ask to borrow one of my books to read they’ll ask me to give them ‘a real book. None of that weird science fiction stuff’. Living this made me love this essay. And by all means, if you have thoughts or stories on the subject do share them. We fantasy fanatics must every now and again come together in celebration of the genre.

Below is a link to an excerpt of the essay.

http://www.theatredirect.ca/season/Resources/Why%20Are%20Americans%20Afraid%20of%20Dragons.pdf

This is a cover of the book

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Plant your own fairy garden!

http://www.thefairysgarden.com/

there are several stores and sites that allow you to buy the products, which are basically miniature furniture, little figurines, and certain flowers.

Here’s a website that will help a lot http://www.gardenfairy.com/

It will help you find figurines and tells you which flowers to get to best attract fairies under the Plant a Fairy Garden tab.

And this is a good site to buy all of the paraphernalia to put in and around your garden http://www.miniature-gardens.com/

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I believe I was in the 8th grade when I first read the Chronicles of Faerie, and I loved the entire series, and still do to this day. Melling is known for these books and they have been translated into many different languages, you can see which ones and the corresponding cover art on her website. The series written for young adults.

The books are not one single story cut up into four books, rather, each of the books feature different characters (minus the last two) and though the characters from previous books make a cameo here and there, each book can be a stand- alone novel. What ties the books together is the world that they share. The books take place chronologically, so by reading them in order the reader will get a better sense of the world they’re stepping into. The first two books, The Hunter’s Moon and The Summer King, are similar in plot. there are two girls (in Hunter’s Moon they were cousins, in Summer King, sisters) and one of the two girls gets taken away from the other and brought to the faerie realm. The reader is left with the girl who is left behind and that girl undergoes a journey to attempt to get her friend back. The last two books in the series, The Light-Bearer’s Daughter and The Book of Dreams, focus on only one girl named Dana and her unique bond with the faerie realm.

The series has always had a special place in my heart and I always remember it fondly. It was an exciting read full of magic and traditional celtic folklore and belief and just a tiny bit of romance, enough for a tomboyish fourteen year old not to get too squeamish when reading it. The faeries in this book aren’t all sugar and cream either. These was some of the first books I read that had vicious faeries in it, where the faeries weren’t good or bad necessarily, but could ‘shed blood without blinking an eye’ i think it says somewhere. It was a gateway into discovering that not all faeries are going to be flower fairies or friendly forest spirits, and that even the good faeries could be vicious. I like to think of it as true faerie nature, but that’s just me.

anyway, it’s a light yet memorable read and I recommend it if you haven’t read it yet. the ordering is The Hunter’s Moon, The Summer King, The Light-Bearer’s Daughter, and The Book of Dreams. The book beneath called The Chronicles of Faerie has the first three books, as the fourth one hadn’t been released yet, and then the fourth was released alone in the same format. there is one book with all four called The Golden Book of Faerie, but I think it’s out of print.

here’s her website, http://www.ormelling.com/index.html

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Ever dream of having a faerie to come visit your backyard? well, faerie houses are the way to go. a faerie house is essentially a little house you can make, either out of natural materials like twigs or tree stumps or from old milk cartons or bird houses. after  you get your house, you can decorate it with different thing you find outside, like twigs, leaves, walnut halves, etc. and put a little something special inside to entice faeries to come visit, like sugar or dried cranberries or the like.

wikihow has a pretty straight forward 8 step guide to building your own faerie house. great for beginners. http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Fairy-House

there’s also a series of children’s books by Tracy Kane about fairy houses, great to get the kids involved.. or more involved than they already are.

this site is another good faq for beginners http://www.fairywoodland.com/page.php?Fairy___Fairy_House_FAQs&page=4 I’m not crazy about the majority of the examples of houses they have on the website, but the furniture and other accessories are cute.

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urban fairy doors!

apparently these little doors keep popping up in a michigan town.

http://www.urban-fairies.com/index.html#mce_temp_url#

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flitter fairies!!!

http://www.thinkgeek.com/geek-kids/7-13-years/b993/

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