While I’m out of town attending what I’m fondly referring to as the “Wedding of DOOM!” I leave my blog in the incredibly capable hands of Megan. She’s super smart and needs no introduction, really, since tons more people know who she is than they know who I am. Am I making sense? It’s the wee AM hours again and I’m still sick. Also – one of my favorite cousins is getting married, so the wedding isn’t so much doom-like other than I’ll be stuck with relatives. Like, a lot of relatives.
Of course, I’ll introduce her anyway 😉 Or at least, lead you to places where you can find more information about her, which would be her website, twitter profile, and Heroes and Heartbreakers (you know, that site I mentioned previously?)
**So anyway, you guys should pull up a chair, because this is going to be the best, most thoughtful post you see here in a while. At least, you know, until the next guest post. 😉
Thanks to Lime (I hope she doesn’t mind I call her ‘Lime’) for inviting me to come over for a visit today. [*Of course I don’t mind – everyone calls me Lime. In fact I jokingly said to a friend a few days ago, “If you wanna play in romance-land, you have to call me Lime. Cuz I noticed someone basically refused to in all emails.]
Like all of you, I’m presuming, I am a voracious reader. My husband calls me the Woodchipper because of the way I go through books. I lived in a remote town in New Hampshire for many of my formative years without a TV, and then when we did have a TV, it only got one station: CBS. So I spent a lot of time reading my parents’ books in the library.
I’m lucky that my parents did have a library; both were also big readers, my dad majored in English, actually (mom in archaeology; WTH, Mom?), and they spent the little money they had on pop culture: Books and music.
So at some point, I wandered into the room euphemistically called The Library, which was another way of saying a spare room where books were scattered across the floor as well as on bookshelves (cleaning not my parents’ forte), and found Agatha Christie. And the Bronte sisters. And Jane Austen. And John D. MacDonald. Not to mention Georgette Heyer. And I read them all, numerous times.
But what really shaped me, what defined who I am now is the series of Andrew Lang’s Coloured Fairy Books. The first one, given to me by a friend of my mom’s, was The Green Fairy Book. Not only did it include fairy tales collected by Andrew Lang, it had the most incredible illustrations done by H.J. Ford.
The way Ford drew women—slender, elegant, with incredibly long hair and delicate features—has remained with me to this day, and I picture heroines often carrying this kind of elegance even if they’re not described precisely that way. But they are heroines, and all heroines are elegant, to my way of thinking.
And the way the tales depict right and wrong, honorable and despicable, has likewise remained with me. I know, intellectually, that my view of the world is far too literal, but I wasn’t given very much moral guidance growing up (my parents were equally adept at raising a child as they were at cleaning), so I gathered my own morality. Eventually, when I came to study Freud, I discovered that my superego had basically been allowed to run untrammeled. Not always a good thing. Causes some heartache.
Anyway. Back to the Fairy Books. These books introduced me to foreign lands, ideas, people, culture, and language. They were what helped me through grades 2-6, and those were tough years. At any time, I could grab one of the twelve books and fall into the pages, certain to discover a delightful, delicious but also substantive tale.
I think the Fairy Books is how I came to treasure romance, also—not too hard to figure out, after all, since the whole concept of Happy Ever After originated from here. I still need a Happy Ever After, or at least a Happy Ever Pending, and I can recall almost every single one of the stories in those books to this day, even though I haven’t read them in likely 30 years.
Thanks for letting me share, Lime.
I’m pretty much still processing, and stunned at the gorgeous picture. Thank you for guesting, Megan! I absolutely love Fairy Tales – and let me just drag down the level of this post – after all, I grew up on Disney! The actual Grimm tales are a bit much, but Hans Christian Anderson is grouped all in that for me too in childhood happiness and love. Hey – I warned you! Vacuous! Anyway, I’ll stop now, and let you talk with Megan 😀
Great post! I haven’t read Andrew Lang’s Fairy books but I belong to a book club that sells leather-bound editions and they do offer that series. I was tempted to buy the series because of the gorgeous illustrations and the fact that each book is bound in leather the same color as each fairy. It really is a beautiful 12 volume set. I may have to seriously consider buying after reading your post.
Hey Megan! (And Lime!)
I would so LOVE to spend hours coloring pictures like that. Were you ever tempted to do that?
I loved reading fairy tales, too. Still do, actually. Thanks for the great post!
StacieDM, The Andrew Lang books are really special, and for romance fans, provide so much inspiration!
Carolyn, I never was tempted to color in. Wonder why that is? I prefer, in fact, the b&w to the color illustrations included in some of the books.
Okay I have never heard of this series. Makes me wish I had. Something for me to check into now.
I’d never heard of this series either, Brandy :X Thanks for introducing us to the set, Megan! The illustrations look awesome. I’ve been considering re-visiting childhood stories/classics… I saw the kindle versions were free, but you know 😛 No pictures, which totally defeats the purpose.