She who invented words, and yet does not speak; she who brings dreams and visions, yet does not sleep; she who swallows the storm, yet knows nothing of rain or wind. I speak for her; I am her own. ― Catherynne M. Valente‘s The Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Garden
Ahhh, there you are. Did you find something interesting to read in our Library? Ahhh, excellent … I first read that novel at least forty or so years ago… I was very happy I did so as it was a cracking good story! Quite a few of our staff join the book groups we do here each Winter with the most popular being The Hobbit and the book you choose is a perennial favourite as well.
MacKenzie, like all of our Head Librarians down the centuries, is justifiably quite proud of the rather impressive fiction collection here, but the best stories oft times are not contained within the pages of a novel or a story, but are those told where folks gather late in the evening when the fire grows low.
So enjoy the fire and have a drink of whatever your favourite libation though I’m recommend that you try the Teeling single pot Irish as it’s fantastic while I finish off this Edition for you to read.
There’s a lovely Charles de Lint novel called The. Cats Of Tanglewood Forest that had its origin in a much shorter woak which Mia looks at here:’Prequel or stand alone fairy story, A Circle of Cats is a bewitching little book, much bigger inside than out, and a wonderful collaboration between two enormous talents. There’s a place of honor on my bookshelves for this one … when I can finally stop going back to it every little bit and actually bring myself to put it away.’ Oh and both are illustrated by Charles Vess!
There’s a bar in Medicine Road where the sisters play called A Hole in The Wall which de Lint borrowed from Terri Windling’s The Wood Wife (with permission). It’s possible that The Wood Wife is the first modern fantasy to take full advantage of the myths of this region. Grey says of the latter novel that it is ‘not only an expertly-crafted tale of suspense. It also stands squarely within the realm of modern fantasy. Windling’s Arizona desert comes alive with fey beings, shapeshifters small and great that are as mysterious and amoral as any European Fair Folk, yet practical and earthy and distinctively Native American in their coloration.’
Robert brings us two reviews of works that also occupy places outside of what we’ve come to expect in fantasy and science fiction. The first is Octavia E. Butler’s Parables series: ‘The late Octavia E. Butler is one of those science fiction writers whose work can — and does — stand easily in the company of the very best “mainstream” literature being produced today. She is, I regret to say, another one whose novels I am only just discovering, and at this point I can’t think why I waited so long to investigate her writing: she wrote with power and authority and was one of those writers who brought the formal and stylistic tools of literary fiction into the service of some of the best genre writing available.’
He follows that with Butler’s Lilith’s Brood: ‘Octavia E. Butler, at the time of her emergence as a major voice in science fiction, was a rarity because she was a woman and she was African-American. In neither area was she unique, but the combination was. Lilith’s Brood, also known as Xenogenesis, has been called Butler at her best and for that reason alone would deserve a close look. There are, however, many reasons to look at these books closely, because they raise so many issues and operate on so many levels.’
Long time staffer Barb is back with us and she reviews one of her favourite bands: ‘Väsen, from Sweden, has been creating new tunes and re-imagining old ones for 28 years now. As Rob Simonds (founder/producer at Northside Records) states in the liner notes of this latest release, Brewed, “… they have done so continuously at the highest level, maintained their friendships, and kept their senses of humor and humility…”. This is the stuff you hear in their music whether it is a collection of their own creations, as in Brewed, or whether there are traditional tunes along with tunes written by others in the mix.’
Don’t ask us where Gary comes up with these things. This time it’s an album called Polygondwanaland, the fourth of five 2017 releases by an Australian band called King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard. He says, ‘…if you ever liked anything by Jethro Tull or Pink Floyd or Deep Purple or ELO or King Crimson, you really should go to their website and download the files.’ That’s right, it’s a free download.
Gary reviews Sunny War’s With the Sun. ‘A young African-American woman who grew up in Nashville and Los Angeles and is now based in the lively Venice Beach, Calif., street scene, she’s a powerful and innovative guitar player and has a unique style of songcraft, too.’
Kim says of the debut album by Chris Thile which is Not All Who Wander Are Lost that ‘This one is a cut above, folks, from a fine young player that has all the stuff it takes to become one of the greats as he matures.’ Chris is the host of Live from Here, the re-named and greatly changed show that was A Prairie Home Companion before Garrison Kellior’s self-inflicted fall from grace. If you like great Americana music, the show is well worth listening to.
Some recordings seem to me to be more in tune with the colder time of year and so it is with the Old Hag You Have Killed Me recording, which pleases Peter: ‘The Bothy Band’s second release was hailed by many as a ground breaking album. Irish music was to move forward in a different direction. It is hard to believe it was 33 years ago when listening to this album, as it sounds just as crisp as anything that might have been recorded today.’
Vonnie finishes off with a rather choice album by June Tabor: ‘An Echo of Hooves has Tabor returning to what, in my mind, she does best, delivering ballads or songs that tell a tale. For this she has chosen eleven Medieval ballads. Some of them are very well-known, like “The Cruel Mother,” “Hughie Graeme,” “Sir Patrick Spens” and “Bonnie James Campbell”. Others are new to me.’
‘Hora Moldovenesca’ is a splendid piece by the Taraf De Haïdouks to end on this Edition. it’s from the Førde Traditional and World Music Festival 25th Anniversary Sampler. Taraf De Haïdouks is one of tHe favourite bands around here, so I’ll recommend you look at our reviews of Lovers, Gamblers and Parachute Skirts which Donna reviewed here and Maskarada which she also reviewed.