Goodreads Monday- The Tale of Tales

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme where we randomly select a book from our To Be Read list and show it off.  It’s hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners, so link back to her page so we can see what we’re all planning to read!


1153472The Tale of Tales, or Entertainment for Little Ones
Giambattista Basile
first published in 1634
463 pages

From Goodreads: The Tale of Tales, made up of forty-nine fairy tales within a fiftieth frame story, contains the earliest versions of celebrated stories like Rapunzel, All-Fur, Hansel and Gretel, The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella. The tales are bawdy and irreverent but also tender and whimsical, acute in psychological characterization and encyclopedic in description. They are also evocative of marvelous worlds of fairy-tale unreality as well as of the everyday rituals of life in seventeenth-century Naples. Yet because the original is written in the nonstandard Neopolitan dialect of Italian—and was last translated fully into English in 1932—this important piece of Baroque literature has long been inaccessible to both the general public and most fairy-tale scholars.

Giambattista Basile’s “The Tale of Tales, or Entertainment for Little Ones” is a modern translation that preserves the distinctive character of Basile’s original. Working directly from the original Neopolitan version, translator Nancy L. Canepa takes pains to maintain the idiosyncratic tone of The Tale of Tales as well as the work’s unpredictable structure. This edition keeps the repetition, experimental syntax, and inventive metaphors of the original version intact, bringing Basile’s words directly to twenty-first-century readers for the first time. This volume is also fully annotated, so as to elucidate any unfamiliar cultural references alongside the text. Giambattista Basile’s “The Tale of Tales, or Entertainment for Little Ones” is also lushly illustrated and includes a foreword, an introduction, an illustrator’s note, and a complete bibliography.

The publication of The Tale of Tales marked not only a culmination of the interest in the popular culture and folk traditions of the Renaissance period but also the beginning of the era of the artful and sophisticated “authored” fairy tale that inspired and influenced later writers like Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm. Giambattista Basile’s “The Tale of Tales, or Entertainment for Little Ones” offers an excellent point of departure for reflection about what constitutes Italian culture, as well as for discussion of the relevance that forms of early modern culture like fairy tales still hold for us today. This volume is vital reading for fairy-tale scholars and anyone interested in cultural history.


There is a film based upon a few stories from this book, also called Tale of Tales. It came out in 2015, stars Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, and Toby Jones among others, and is as visually striking as a film based upon fairy tales should be. I’d never heard of Giambattista Basile before I saw the movie, but the book went onto my TBR as soon as I found out that the film was based on the book.

Goodreads Monday- The Queen of the Night

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme where we randomly select a book from our Goodreads To Be Read list and tell the world about it. It’s hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners, so remember to link back to her page so that we can see what everyone wants to read.


17912498The Queen of the Night
by Alexander Chee
561 pages
Published February 2016

From Goodreads: Lilliet Berne is a sensation of the Paris Opera, a legendary soprano with every accolade except an original role, every singer’s chance at immortality. When one is finally offered to her, she realizes with alarm that the libretto is based on a hidden piece of her past. Only four could have betrayed her: one is dead, one loves her, one wants to own her. And one, she hopes, never thinks of her at all.  As she mines her memories for clues, she recalls her life as an orphan who left the American frontier for Europe and was swept up into the glitzy, gritty world of Second Empire Paris. In order to survive, she transformed herself from hippodrome rider to courtesan, from empress’s maid to debut singer, all the while weaving a complicated web of romance, obligation, and political intrigue.

Featuring a cast of characters drawn from history, The Queen of the Night follows Lilliet as she moves ever closer to the truth behind the mysterious opera and the role that could secure her reputation — or destroy her with the secrets it reveals.  


I saw this book a while back on the New Releases shelf in one bookstore or another, and it looks fascinating. At 561 pages, it’s tough to find a time of year where I’ll be able to take on longer novels like this one. Perhaps this fall, before the holiday season sucks away all my free time.

Goodreads Monday- Karen Memory

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme where we randomly select a book from our Goodreads To Be Read list and show it off. It’s hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners, so don’t forget to link back to her page so we can see what everyone’s planning to read.


22238181Karen Memory
by Elizabeth Bear
346 pages
Published February 2015

From Goodreads: “You ain’t gonna like what I have to tell you, but I’m gonna tell you anyway. See, my name is Karen Memery, like memory only spelt with an e, and I’m one of the girls what works in the Hôtel Mon Cherie on Amity Street. Hôtel has a little hat over the o like that. It’s French, so Beatrice tells me.”

Set in the late 19th century—when the city we now call Seattle Underground was the whole town (and still on the surface), when airships plied the trade routes, would-be gold miners were heading to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront, Karen is a young woman on her own, is making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable’s high-quality bordello. Through Karen’s eyes we get to know the other girls in the house—a resourceful group—and the poor and the powerful of the town. Trouble erupts one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, begging sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture, and who has a machine that can take over anyone’s mind and control their actions. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap—a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.

Bear brings alive this Jack-the-Ripper yarn of the old west with a light touch in Karen’s own memorable voice, and a mesmerizing evocation of classic steam-powered science.


I’m not sure where I first saw this book, but it looks interesting. I’ve had a longstanding love of fiction set in the Victorian era, and a slightly newer fascination with Steampunk. It looks like this book scratches both of those particular itches, so it should be a run read!

Goodreads Monday- Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme where you randomly select a book from To Be Read list and show it off. It’s hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners. To participate, just pick a book, tell us about it, and don’t forget to link back to Lauren’s page so we can share our literary finds.


24612045Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens
by Eddie Izzard
400 pages
published June 13, 2017

From Goodreads: Critically acclaimed, award-winning British comedian and actor Eddie Izzard details his childhood, his first performances on the streets of London, his ascent to worldwide success on stage and screen, and his comedy shows which have won over audiences around the world.

Over the course of a thirty-year career, Eddie Izzard has proven himself to be a creative chameleon, inhabiting the stage and film and television screen with an unbelievable fervor. Born in Yemen, and raised in Ireland, Wales and post-war England, he lost his mother at the age of six. In his teens, he dropped out of university and took to the streets of London as part of a two-man escape act; when his partner went on vacation, Izzard kept busy by inventing a one-man act, and thus a career was ignited. As a stand-up comedian, Izzard has captivated audiences with his surreal, stream-of-consciousness comedy–lines such as “Cake or Death?” “Death Star Canteen,” and “Do You Have a Flag?” have the status of great rock lyrics. As a self-proclaimed “Executive Transvestite,” Izzard broke the mold performing in full make-up and heels, and has become as famous for his advocacy for LGBT rights as he has for his art. In Believe Me, he recounts the dizzying rise he made from street busking to London’s West End, to Wembley Stadium and New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Still performing more than 100 shows a year–thus far in a record-breaking twenty-eight countries worldwide–Izzard is arguably one of today’s top Kings of Comedy. With his brand of keenly intelligent humor, that ranges from world history to pop culture, politics and philosophy, he has built an extraordinary fan base that transcends age, gender, and race. Writing with the same candor and razor-sharp insight evident in his comedy, he reflects on a childhood marked by unutterable loss, sexuality and coming out, as well as a life in show business, politics, and philanthropy. Honest and generous, Izzard’s Believe Me is an inspired account of a very singular life thus far.


I’ve loved Eddie Izzard’s brand of comedy for years now and can think of a quote for almost every occasion. When I’m having a lousy day, I’ll pop in one of my old DVDs from one of his tours (Dressed to Kill is my favorite), and the day is suddenly better. I was happy to see his memoir show up in bookstores, as he has led an extraordinary life with so many ups and downs it’s hard to keep track of them. I decided I’d try out the audiobook version, so I’m on the waiting list at my local library. I can’t wait to listen to it!

Goodreads Monday- My Father’s Ghost is Climbing in the Rain

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme where we randomly select and then showcase a book from our To Be Read list. I got the idea from Danielle over at Books, Vertigo and Tea, and it is hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners. Feel free to share what’s on your TBR!


15849464My Father’s Ghost is Climbing in the Rain
by Patricio Pron
224 pages
Published 2011

From Goodreads: A young writer, living abroad, returns home to his native Argentina to say good-bye to his dying father. In his parents’ house, he finds a cache of documents-articles, maps, photographs-and unwittingly begins to unearth his father’s obsession with the disappearance of a local man. Suddenly he comes face-to-face with the ghosts of Argentina’s dark political past and with the long-hidden memories of his family’s underground resistance against an oppressive military regime. As the fragments of the narrator’s investigation fall into place-revealing not only a part of his father’s life he had tried to forget but also the legacy of an entire generation- My Fathers’ Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain tells a completely original story of family and remembrance. It is an audacious accomplishment by an internationally acclaimed voice poised to garner equal acclaim in America.


I came across this book while searching for authors from South America as part of my ongoing project to read more books by international authors. I’m developing an interest in Argentina and its history and hope to go there one day, so it will be helpful to read books about it, whether they’re dark or happy.

Goodreads Monday- My Name is Red

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme where we randomly select a book from our Good Reads To Be Read list and show it off. I got the idea from Danielle over at Books, Vertigo and Tea, who tags back to the host, Lauren’s Page Turners 


2517My Name is Red
by Orhan Pamuk
417 pages
Published 2002

From Goodreads: At once a fiendishly devious mystery, a beguiling love story, and a brilliant symposium on the power of art, My Name Is Red is a transporting tale set amid the splendor and religious intrigue of sixteenth-century Istanbul, from one of the most prominent contemporary Turkish writers.

The Sultan has commissioned a cadre of the most acclaimed artists in the land to create a great book celebrating the glories of his realm. Their task: to illuminate the work in the European style. But because figurative art can be deemed an affront to Islam, this commission is a dangerous proposition indeed. The ruling elite therefore mustn’t know the full scope or nature of the project, and panic erupts when one of the chosen miniaturists disappears. The only clue to the mystery–or crime? –lies in the half-finished illuminations themselves. Part fantasy and part philosophical puzzle, My Name is Red is a kaleidoscopic journey to the intersection of art, religion, love, sex and power.


I first saw this book on one of Chip Kidd’s TED Talks about book cover design. He designed the cover to tell a story of mystery, romance, and danger- essentially, the story of the book as told by the art on the cover, which wraps around the full book (so you’re missing out on a lot of that story when you can only see the front cover). If you’re a fan of cover art, that dimensionality is something that eBooks lack.

The story is intriguing, too. It’s a period piece set in the 1500s (one of my favorite time periods) and involves art, as well as political and religious intrigues. What’s not to be intrigued about?

I’m looking forward to reading this one, and if I love it, I will definitely adding this beautiful book to my collection.

Goodreads Monday: Practical Magic

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme where you randomly choose a book from your To Be Read list and share it with everyone.

This week’s selection:

22896Practical Magic
by Alice Hoffman
286 pages
First Published in 1995

From Goodreads: “[A] delicious fantasy of witchcraft and love in a world where gardens smell of lemon verbena and happy endings are possible.”—Cosmopolitan

The Owens sisters confront the challenges of life and love in this bewitching novel from New York Times bestselling author Alice Hoffman.

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape.

One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them back—almost as if by magic…


I watched the movie based on this book for the first time last winter, on the recommendation of one of my best friends. Practical Magic is one of her favorite movies, and I quite liked it, too. I was happy to find that the movie was based on a book, and I’m looking forward to reading the book. It might be something to read during one of my upcoming flights.