Monday, November 5, 2012

Orphan's Tales, Prestor John, & Fairyland: Reading Catherynne Valente

“Stories have a way of changing faces. They are unruly things, undisciplined, given to delinquency and the throwing of erasers. This is why we must close them up into thick, solid books, so they cannot get out and cause trouble.” 
~Catherynne Valente
Catherynne Valente is a New York Times bestselling author of fantasy and science fiction novels, short stories, and poetry. Her first book was published in 2004.  She has been nominated for the Hugo (2010), Locus (2010 & 2011) and World Fantasy Awards (2007 & 2009), and in 2010 her crowdfunded novel became first self-published work to win a major literary award, winning the Andre Norton Award for YA literature. She lives on an island off the coast of Maine with her partner, two dogs, and enormous cat.
Here are some of works that you can find in the ABC Library catalog
Orphan's Tales
The Orphan's Tales is a fantasy series by Catherynne Valente with illustrations by Michael Kaluta.  There are two books in the series, In the Night Garden and In the Cities of Coin and Spice; each of these books are split into two volumes.  In these stories, a tattooed young woman lives alone in the Sultan's garden.  When a young prince visits her, she tells him the stories that have been inked upon her skin.  Each volume of the books is a story: Book of the Steppe, Book of the Sea, Book of the Storm, Book of the Scald.
A Dirge for Prestor John
 In 1165, a letter ostensibly written by the distant Christian king Prester John describing a kingdom of wonders rocked medieval Europe. Catherynne Valente retells this legend, imagining what might have been discovered by Rome's ambassadors if the letter had not been a hoax. The Habitation of the Blessed is the first book in this series.
Catherynne Valente's books for younger readers now number two: The girl who circumnavigated Fairyland in a ship of her own making and The girl who fell beneath Fairyland and led the revels there. They tell the story of 12-year-old September from Omaha and, as you might imagine, her adventures in Fairyland, which includes characters such as a Green Wind, a fickle Marquess, and a book-loving Wyvern.  Full of magic and shadows, these books will appeal to readers of The Golden Compass and Alice in Wonderland.

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