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Monday, April 18, 2011

Books For Thought: What do you think about retellings of classic stories?

Previously known as Monday's Question of the Day, Books For Thought is a feature where I post a book-related question up for discussion. I am open to all opinions and enjoy reading diverse comments from my lovely followers. I look forward to picking your minds!

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What do you think about retellings of classic stories?
(Question credit goes to: Khadija from Black Fingernailed Reviews)

My Response: What a fantastic question Khadija! I actually don't mind when authors put a new spin on classic stories. The original label will always be there, no matter how many times it is retold. So, in order to keep it fresh and relatable for the current generation, a new approach is sometimes needed. I especially enjoy when authors give fairytales a makeover. It's interesting to see the creativity behind blending an old story with a striking concept. I look forward to experiencing more of these classic retellings. However, I wouldn't mind seeing more literature books being made over. For example, the book Middlemarch back in my college days bored me to tears. If an author decided to spice it up, maybe I wouldn't have been so sleepy reading it. Just saying. :)

What are your bookish thoughts?

8 comments:

Khadija said...

I've seen them popping up a bit recently and just started reading a few not to long ago. I read Prom & Prejudice and didn't think i'd like it but it was actually really great. I think when I read retellings I like it when their a lighter spin on the original tale. ^-^

Can't wait to see what other people have to say!

h.m.resch said...

I love retellings of classic tales. Classics are classics for a reason--they're good stories. But sometimes they can go for a bit of an update. A retelling needs to keep the spirit of the original story intact, while also telling it in a current, relevant voice that today's audience can relate to. Unfortunately the best examples I can think of are movies: "10 Things I Hate About You" and "Clueless", reinterpretations of "The Taming of the Shrew" and "Emma" respectively.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I love modern spins :)

BrittLit said...

I just finished Cloaked in Red by Vivian Vande Velde. She wrote 8 short re-tellings of Little Red Riding Hood. I loved them. I too adore re imagining of older tales especially fairy tales.

Melissa @ Mel's Books and Info said...

I love retellings especially when they are done well. Some of my favorites include Beauty by McKinley, Ella Enchanted by Levine, and I love what Janette Rallison has mixed up in her two books My Fair Godmother and My Unfair Godmother. It is always good to see classic tales take on a new life.

sesana said...

The problem with a retelling is that, often, there's a LOT to live up to. Here's an example: April Lindner's Jane. Now, I love Jane Eyre, which is why I haven't been able to motivate myself to read it yet. There's no way the hero could live up to Mr. Rochester (swoon!) so I'm actually a little scared of it. But then there are Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's fairy tale anthologies, short stories updating classic fairy tales, and I love most of those. Maybe the simpler the story, the easier it is to put your own spin on it without it becoming a carbon copy in blue jeans or going so far afield from the original (hell, Looking Glass Wars!) to make it unrecognizable to people who did love the story the way it was originally written.

Little Miss Becky : ) said...

I love retellings...LOVE them. A few recent ones have become some of my favorite books: Ash by Malinda Lo (Cinderella), Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce (Little Red Riding Hood), and definitely Jane by April Lindner (Jane Eyre). I love when they are really well done so you're reading them and you get a vaguely familiar feeling, but the story has enough of a unique spin that it feels all fresh and new. :)

@Sesana, definitely give Jane a try!

Ashley said...

I am NOT a fan of the classic stories being changed, added too, or made over. It always feels like glorified FanFic to me. And while FanFic can have it's place, to me, that place is most definitely not published.

However, I DO absolutely 100% completely and totally love fairy tale retellings. I love them so much a friend and I have devoted our blogs this week and last, to talking about nothing BUT fairy tales and their retellings.

I think the difference for me, is that with fairy tales, they are the stories everyone has grown up with, stories that have been passed through generation after generation over the centuries and some fairy tales can be found in nearly every single culture. That's a powerful connection and something that people are hugely able to relate to.

But, when an author reworks a classic book, it is something that someone specific created and it's already a full length book. *shrugs*

I read every fairy tale retelling I can get my hands on, but I avoid any stories that retell a classic.

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