What’s New for the 18th of August: An Alternate Cairo, Craft Cider, Angela Carter’s Writings, Live Breton Music and Other Autumn Is Coming Matters

People talk about mainstream fiction and sf as though they were two quite different kinds of writing, and fantasy as well, as though it was quite different. But I think this a false distinction, that it is a labelling that helps librarians, and people who know the kind of thing they like and don’t want their prejudices to be disturbed.” ― Angela Carter’s Shaking a Leg: Collected Journalism and Writings

We get really interesting things in for review. This past week saw Folkmanis send us what our Editor has labelled the Autumnal Puppets: a Worm in An Apple, a Chipmunk in Watermelon and a Mouse in Pumpkin. I’ve seen all three and the latter I think is my favourite. It’s adorable enough that I’ve ordered one for placement here in the Library amidst the books just because it is, well, quite folklorish I think. They’re all getting their due review in our special Autumn Edition sometime in October.

OK. I’m off to the Kitchen as I’m feeling a bit peckish and I’ve heard they’ve made sausage, tomato and cheddar cheese tarts that are being kept warm along with the first pressed cider, a favoured drink on this Estate. So here’s this Edition for your reading pleasure…

Cat has a look at another mystery set in an alternate Cairo, P. Djèlí Clark‘s A Dead Djinn in Cairo: ‘This story precedes The Haunting of Tram Car 015 and lays down some of the backstory that’s not quite explained in that book. It, like that other story, makes me hope Clark will actually write a novel set in the alternate twentieth century Cairo, as it’d be a fascinating place to explore at length.’

Speaking of folklorish matters, I’ve got a look at Angela Carter’s The Curious Room: Plays, Film Scripts and an Opera. As I said in my review, Sometimes the Reaper is just too damn unfair. Angela Olive Stalker Carter died of lung cancer in 1992 at the far too young age of 52. Writer, feminist theorist, folklorist, opera buff, playwright, poet — she was these things and much, much more.’

Not quite Autumn yet, but Triskell Press has released a digital edition of Charles de Lint’s Yarrow: An Autumn Tale, which Grey delightfully notes is ‘set in de Lint’s Ottawa, the one he first envisioned for his novel Moonheart, and expanded in its sequel, Spiritwalk. Those readers who have fallen in love with the wonderful Tamson House of these two novels will be delighted to note its brief appearance in Yarrow as well. However, the characters in Yarrow are part of different story than the residents of Tamson House and their associates, and Yarrow is a stand-alone novel.’

Some novels arise from The smallest of seeds, other have an extensive family tree. Richard looks at one of the latter from Ray Bradbury: ‘A Pleasure to Burn is best summed up as literary living history, and as a pile of paradoxes. It’s a book dedicated to the joys of reading that’s best read in bits and pieces, a collection of wonderful works that when places in close proximity threaten to crowd one another, and a collection of short stories that’s perhaps more important for what isn’t included — the actual novel of Fahrenheit 451 — than what is. None of that, however, subtracts from the magic, or the importance, of A Pleasure to Burn.’

Simon McKie’s Making Craft Cider: A Ciderist’s Guide comes with a warning from Gereg: ‘Let’s get the down side out of the way first. This is not a book you’ll pick up for light entertainment. It’s not a particularly a lively read, nor is it often witty (though the wit, where it comes out, is as dry as a good cider).’ If however you want to make hard cider as the Yanks call it, you really should read his review!

Rachel looks at a Hong Kong film: ‘2002 is the purest example of style without substance that I’ve ever come across. The title is never explained; motly, the plot makes little sense; and seekers of deep meaning will search in vain. The movie doesn’t just feature coolness, it’s about coolness: slow-motion shoot-outs and rain-slicked streets and looking chic in black leather. For sheer delirious style, 2002 is hard to beat.’

April has a treat for us: ‘Visually stunning, and a host of intriguing things to say about perception and memory, Violent Cases was definitely an impressive debut for the duo of Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean duo.’

Gary reviews the latest release from The Rails, their third, titled Cancel The Sun. He says it has a bit more rock to it than their previous album, but it’s still recognizably English folk-rock. ‘The arrangements and production have just enough sophistication to them to set them above simple folk fare, but the words always stand out as timely, thoughtful and important.’

Jack says of The White Horse Sessions by Nightnoise that ‘I spent years looking for this album after Reynard, a bandmate of mine in Mouse in the Cupboard, said it was an album that I should hear. (He heard it on some late-night Celtic radio programme, but couldn’t find a copy either! Nor could he remember who the DJ was.) But literally nowhere was there a copy to be had at any price or in any format. We both began to suspect that perhaps this was one of those fey albums that only existed across the Border, but a copy showed up in the post here a few months ago at Green Man with a scribbled unsigned note and a smudged postmark that might have said ‘Bordertown’ but I can’t be sure. It simply said that the sender had heard that I was looking for The White Horse Sessions, and here was a copy of the CD! Whoever you are, thank you!’

Lars says ‘If you want a fine piece of Scottish music I would recommend Synergy. If you like it, then get Ae Spark of Nature´s Fire as well. And, if they ever play at a place near you, do not miss Deaf Shepherd. From what they present on these CDs they must be a great live band.’

Scott notes ‘Frigg’s delightful self-titled debut album in 2004, it marked the emergence of a new generation of musicians from a pair of prominent fiddling families from Finland and Norway. Now Alina (fiddle), Esko (fiddle and keyboards), and Antti (bass and fiddle) Järvelä; Gjermund and Einar Olav Larsen (fiddle and Hardanger fiddle); Tuomas Logrén (guitar and dobro); and Petri Prauda (mandolin, cittern, Estonian bagpipes) have returned with a new CD Oasis. Happily, Frigg’s sophomore effort exceeds its predecessor by quite a bit, with tighter playing, a more diverse sound, and some ambitious arrangements and original compositions.’

Denise decided to indulge her love of all things dragon for this edition, with a review of Folkmanis’ Winged Dragon Puppet. ‘…[W]hen I saw the Folkmanis Winged Dragon Puppet, my thoughts immediately went to Pern. And okay, Toho.’ Sound discordant? Not so – read her review to find out why she thinks this puppet harks back to two such disparate genres!

Now let’s see what’s been listed  for Breton music on the Infinite Jukebox, our media server, for music. Ahhhh that’ll do. ‘An Dro’ and ‘Hunter Dro’ aka ‘The Breton Set’ is from John Skelton,  Jerry O’Sullivan, Pat O’Gorman and Tony Cuffe who might have been know as The Windbags if  they’d actually ever become a band which they did not do as Cuffe died not long after this was recorded. They had recorded this set of tunes in preparation of doing an album but that was it.

About Iain Nicholas Mackenzie

I’m the Librarian for the Kinrowan Estate. I do love fresh brewed teas, curling, English mysteries and will often be playing Scandinavian or Celtic  music here in the Library.

I’m a violinist too, so you’ll me playing in various contradance band such as Chasing Fireflies and Mouse in the Cupboard as well as backing my wife Catherine up on yearly Christmas season tours in the Nordic countries.

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