Tag Archives: books

Conversations with My Husband: Magicians are Not Wizards

Me: I am reading this really good book. I think you would like it. It’s called The Night Circus (by Erin Morgenstern, Doubleday 2011). It starts out with these two guys who each take an apprentice to train and eventually compete in some vague competition. Instead of a stage, their platform will be the Night Circus.

Husband: Like Barnum & Bailey’s? I always liked the motorcycle Cage of Death!

Me: Not exactly. It is a special circus only open from dusk til dawn & everything is black & white… the tents, the costumes, everything. They have normal circus acts like acrobatics, but they have all kinds of other things you can’t even imagine!

Husband: From Dusk til Dawn was an awesome movie. Are there vampires trying to eat everyone at the circus? Is Cheech there?! I bet Cheech loves the circus.

Me: I say all of that & all you get out of it is Cheech? There are no vampires in this book. It is about magicians competing against each other to the death in a circus. They design these insane tents like one with a cloud maze and another is an ice garden and one is filled with jars & when you open one you are transported into a dream! They keep trying to one up each other, but at the same time keep the circus from imploding in on itself, possibly killing everyone in the process.

Husband: Why do you read so many books with wizards in them?

Me: Magicians are not wizards. They exist within completely different genres. Wizards typically have a staff or wand. These are magicians altering the physical world with their minds. Impressive, right?

Husband: It is all magic, so it is the same thing. Circus wizards could be pretty interesting though.

Me: If you would just read Harry Potter there wouldn’t be this much confusion.

Husband: You knew I hadn’t read Harry Potter before we got married. I gave you an out. I’ll read them when we have kids.

Me: And do voices.

Husband: Yes. And do voices.

Me: Deal.

Husband: So about this wizard book you are reading…

Me: They are MAGICIANS not wizards. You’re doing it to annoy me now. Do you want to read about a fantastical circus that has kittens jumping through hoops of fire, an epic battle of wits to the death, & a not too mushy love story or not?

Husband: No thanks. You know how I feel about wizard books.

Me: <<Facepalm>>


Books Are Taking Over the Interwebs!

Ok, so maybe not, but I thought it would be fun to share with you the epic and fabulous book related stuff I come across while on the internet… Enjoy!

  1. Grow House Grow: A Story for Every Storey- Grow House Grow makes hand silk screened wallpapers inspired by stories and narratives. Can’t afford to cover your house in designer wallpaper? No problem. GHG sells individual sheets for $48 which look incredible framed.
  2. The Completed Harry Potter Series in Comic Form by artist Lucy Knisley– We are clearly huge HP fans here at Rampant Reads & this cracked me up and made me go “damn! Why didn’t I think of that?!” On top of how awesome this is, the artist is currently allowing FREE downloads of large-format printable versions of her comics and asks only for donations. Help an artist out and support her work.
  3. Wookie the Chew! – I know this one has been around for a while, but it is one of my favorites. Artist James Hance takes famous children’s book illustrations and puts them into the Star Wars universe. For Geeks like me, this is possibly the best thing to happen since Stephenie Meyer said she wouldn’t publish Midnight Sun. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better… Hance sells his prints for just $10. Still not satisfied? You can buy his book Wookie the Chew: The House at Chew Corner for just $5.
  4. The History of the English Language in 10-minutes- The Open University put together this 10 part series on the history of our language. Bibliophiles, lexicographers, and the rest of us lay people can all enjoy, get a laugh, and even learn from it.
  5. The Closet Book Nook – Now I don’t actually have the follow through (or closet space) in my house to make this happen, but you might! The Thrifty Decor Chick gives you simple step by step instructions on how to turn your average closet into a reading haven. What I would have done for this as a kid!
  6. The Periodic Table of Storytelling – Now storytelling is different than writing, but I think this more applies to the structure of stories, which is very similar in both genres.
  7. The Awesome Book of Thanks – This is a self published book by Dallas Clayton with the most fabulous illustrations. I LOVE it (You can view the whole book on the website, but also order it from them. Don’t miss Clayon’s other book An Awesome Book)
  8. Out of Print Clothing- This fabulous web site sells t-shirts with out of print covers of classic books on them. I want them ALL! On top of them just being great shirts, for every shirt sold, they donate a book to a community in need through Books for Africa.
  9. A Jane Austin Afternoon – This website is simply a soundtrack to listen to while reading Jane Austin, so put on your headphones and dust off your copy of Pride and Prejudice. 
  10. Minimalist Children’s Story Posters – These posters are gorgeous and for sale! I very much enjoyed guessing what story each poster was for. Some are pretty straight forward and others I had to give a second glance at. Designers and book lovers alike will appreciate these.

The Sisters Grimm (Sort of) Fairy-tale Detectives

I just have to say that I LOVE The Sisters Grimm series (from Amulet, which is an imprint of ABRAMS, who I apparently am obsessed with as every book I’ve picked up recently is theirs). I grabbed the first two in this series on a whim and was absolutely smitten. In book one (there are eight in print with #9 coming next spring! eek!), we are introduce to Sabrina and Daphne Grimm whose parents have inexplicably gone missing, forcing them to go into foster care in New York City. After bouncing from home to home, they learn that they have a grandmother named Granny Relda who will take them in. This is quite the shock seeing as they had both been told she was dead. That is when things start to get really interesting…

Sabrina and Daphne are taken to Granny Relda’s home in a little town called Ferryport Landing only to learn that not only are Fairy-tales real, but that Granny Relda (and thus Sabrina & Daphne) are decedents of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm and that the children are expected to go into the family business of being fairy-tale detectives. Talk about sensory overload for a kid!

Basically, the Brothers Grimm were not writing stories, but recording histories to educate humans about fairy people (or Everafters as they prefer to be called). They then helped the Everafters escape persecution in Europe and resettle in America. This went pretty well for a while, until some of the Everyafters started getting uppity and thought that the neighboring towns would be pretty nice to have as well. Before they had time to assemble and take over the other towns, Wilhelm Grimm went to the most powerful Everafter, Baba Yaga, and made a deal that would keep all of the Everafters within Ferryport Landing. The catch (because there is always a catch when you make a deal with a witch) was that a Grimm always had to be within Ferryport Landing, otherwise the spell would be broken and the Everafters could run willy-nilly wherever they please.

Fast forward to present day where the Everafters have been stuck in Ferryport landing for what feels like a zillion years to them. The Three Little Pigs comprise the local police force, Prince Charming is the Mayor, and Sleeping Beauty runs the local coffee shop. Things are relatively peaceful, if somewhat awkward at times (Prince Charming has been married to Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White at different times, which makes parties pretty tense), but hostility is building against the Grimms. You see, not only are they keeping everyone within Ferryport Landing, but they also are the keepers of magical items, with the help of the Magic Mirror. When you enter the Magic Mirror, you walk into the Hall of Wonders with hundreds of doors labeled with things like, “Magic Wands,” “Pegasus,” and “Magic Beans.” The only thing between the Grimms and certain death at the hands of an angry mob is Mr. Canis, a.k.a. The Big Bad Wolf, who is their loyal companion and protector. (He’s trying to repent after being a murderous, bloodthirsty, Grandma-Eating beast for so long.)

Needless to say, this does not sit well with some of the Everafters. Throw in that there is a secret society of angry, vengeful Everafters called The Red Hand hell bent on war and who (probably) kidnapped Sabrina & Daphne’s parents and you have a whole lot of magical insanity that you can’t put down. It is a perfect book for kids or adults, and I definitely recommend it for those reluctant readers out there. Puck’s antics alone will keep them entertained.

My only criticism of these books is that the Grimms are supposed to be fairy-tale detectives… but the characters aren’t all from fairy-tales. I understand wanting to have characters easily recognizable to kids, but there were a lot of folktales and literary characters that pop up that didn’t always make sense to me when there are so many amazing fairy-tales out there to pull from. Being the child of a storyteller, I am well acquainted with the 398 section of the library, which includes folktales, fairy-tales, myths & legends, and when Miss Muffet and her Spider friend popped up in Ferryport Landing, I couldn’t help but go, “Hey now! That is not a fairy-tale!” Honestly, it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the books. You get sucked into what is happening and you are willing to believe whatever happens within the pages, even if I am bit-picky about where the characters come from.

We are giving away a copy of the first book in the series… but you have to earn it! Check out the list of characters below and answer in the comments section if they come from a folktale, fairy-tale, or other. Whoever gets it right wins!

1. Rumpelstiltskin

2. Little Red Riding Hood

3. Baba Yaga

4. Little Miss Muffet

5. The Queen of Hearts

6. Snow White

7. Puck

8. Oscar Diggs, aka The Wizard of Oz or The Great and Powerful Oz

9. The Little Mermaid

10. The Blue Fairy