Ah yes, list time again. Where i can mention a few favorites of mine and y’all can tell me what i’m missing.
I haven’t read a fairy book in some time. The first thing i did when i decided to write an album of original faerie stories was NOT TO READ ANY. I’m serious. I know there’s a slew of new and interesting books with faeries and faerie lore, and i’ll real them AFTER the album, but i don’t want to be influenced. I know my basic faerie lore, and i want to subvert it in my own manner.
However, these 5 works have been enormous influences and of course, are all awesome books which you should read right now. A few are fantasy classics which i’d be shocked if you didn’t already know.
5. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Fairies, Paul Mason
This is exactly what it says it is. You want to know ANYthing about fairies? THIS is the book. You do not NEED other books on the subject this one is so insanely comprehensive and the best part? International. You know they have fairies in Africa? Hell yeah, My friend, there is Fairy lore across cultures all over the planet. It actually makes you start to wonder, how some of the fairy memes are strangely universal. Learn about every type of fairy you can imagine and some you can’t.
4. Some Kind Of Fairy Tale, Graham Joyce
A girl disappears and reappears 20 years later having not aged. She says she was taken by faeries to a strange place.
Okay, simple enough, right? And this as well as the following book are examples of why certain basic ideas can make flat out amazing books and the same basic idea could make a completely lame book: Great writing.
This book is so well thought out, so well written and so driven by depth of character that it utterly haunts you. The central issue is how the event and her return affect all around her. This might sound pedestrian, but that’s where great writing wins the day. It’s truly engrossing. If people interest you even in the slightest, you should read this book.
3. Little, Big, John Crowley
This is an obscure one that I ADORE. No one else seems to have ever heard about it, but I loved this book. It’s subtle and wistful. It tells of ones family’s relationship to the Faeries living close by them. It NAILS the essence of faeries to me. The faeries are something truly other. Magical and strange and wonderful but not quite… not quite comprehensible and with sinister edges. There is an art to getting that essence of Faery across just right, to keeping their sense of mystery and otherness and this book nails it to the wall. I cannot recommend it highly enough. The writing alone is beautiful and you must appreciate a light and subtle touch in order to best enjoy it.
2. Jonathan Strange And Mr. Norrell
All right, you’ve all read this. I mean you have, right? I’m going to assume most of you have read this and if you haven’t GO THE **** OUT RIGHT NOW, BUY IT AND READ IT. This book is so much fun and so utterly enjoyable I don’t know what to say. It’s thrilling and immensely imaginative, with this awesome magical mythology behind it, a wonderfully Englishness to it, and the most awesome Faeries EVER. I LOVE how Ms. Does not bother with new agey fairies at all (I HATE new agey fairies) and goes straight to all that sinister faery lore in her wonderfully English fantasy epic. I’m not kidding, my favorite Faeries of all time. The song Eli Miller and the Black Rock from the upcoming album is inspired by this novel.
1. Stardust, Neil Gaiman
It’s the best modern fairy tale written. It just is. It’s fun and whimsical and strangely touching and impressively imaginative and it just plain gets everything right. Honestly, the book is flawless. It’s the perfect fairy tale. The way he ties the plot points together alone made me want to give him a standing ovation. I feel so strongly about this book that if I keep writing I am going to need to open my online thesauras and just start typing alphabetically synonyms for Awesome. I am aware this would make for very bad reading but it’s the only thing I can think of to get across my complete and shameless fanboy zeal over this book. I have so much love for it, that I cannot even write my gushing love for it in capital letters BECAUSE THAT WOULD CHEAPEN IT.
There are few perfect stories in this world. This is one. ‘Nuff said.