What Stories Do You Love?

Stories are where memories go
Artist credit: Amanda Dawe | Quote credit: the 12th Doctor

Long before I started making stuff, long before I started considering myself pagan, I spoke–and devoured, and was passionately in love with–the language of story. I grew up wanting to write stories of my own–and I did, for a while, although I haven’t dabbled in fiction for years now. I got my college degree in English literature. (My original career plan was to teach it.) I even married a writer, FFS.

But I’m not unusual in this; I think most of us speak the language of story quite fluently. It’s how we communicate with one another, and how our dreams are framed at night. Even what we love about our gods is largely inspired by Their stories, if you think about it–either the old stories that have come to us as “lore,” or the new stories They tell us Themselves.

So, I thought we’d get a little bit of a conversation going here: what stories do you love? What fandoms do you follow? What TV shows are you addicted to, what are your favorite books? If you have older children or teenagers, what are their favorites?  (I love young adult fiction; it always seems to embrace a much more imaginative world, full of possibilities unspoiled by the jaded adult mind.)

While I genuinely want to know your answers (and I might even be looking for viewing/reading suggestions, as I suspect I’m in a bit of a pop culture rut), I’ll also admit there’s possibly some product research hidden here.

And since I asked, I’ll go first! If you’ve followed this blog for longer than a few months, you probably know I love Doctor Who. I’m also a big fan of Supernatural, Game of Thrones, and Stranger Things, and Buffy when it was around, and…there may be more, as far as TV is concerned, but right now I can’t think of any. (You see what I mean about being in a pop culture rut? I watch a lot of documentaries currently–which are stories in their own way, tales of the past–but I’d like to update my 21st century pop culture creds, too.)

Movies and books…The Wizard of Oz is probably my all-time favorite, though I’ll confess to not having read the books. Not many people know it, but this blog and my business were named after Glinda the Good Witch, not the Northern gods.

I love the Harry Potter books and movies, though I’m probably not quite as big a fan as many are. I enjoyed the first Percy Jackson book, but didn’t read any of the others in the series. And I LOVE the Chronicles of Narnia books, but the movies were kind of meh, in my opinion.

In the realm of mythology, I love all of the stories of Odin’s adventures and sacrifices, I love the story of how Isis tricked Her father Ra into giving Her supreme power over everything (by revealing His name), and I love Milton’s version of the Fall from Heaven, with all its doomed grandeur.

What about you? What are some of your own favorites? What are your kids reading?

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21 Comments

  1. There’s a few offerings in YA books that are pretty interesting right now. I quite enjoy the Throne of Glass series (which is only barely YA, especially later on) , The Lunar Chronicles, and Ash by Malinda Lo.

  2. I’m rereading S.M. Stirling’s Emberverse series—all 14 books of it, eventually! Also, I recommend Naomi Novik’s Uprooted; her new book, Spinning Silver, comes out this year (it’s a retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin story). And any of the fairy tale anthologies edited by Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow; they came out in the 90s, but they’re fairly easy to find used.

  3. I’ve been a lover of Tolkien since 1985-86, however it’s not Lord of the Rings so much, although I have read that about 300 times, but the Silmarillion, where everything began. One of the comments on the back of the first edition I owned said, ‘Stern, sweeping myth.’ And it is, tragic, dark, beautiful.

    I also write fanfic for it (almost 2 million words now in the same ‘Alternate Universe’ although I have my own ‘headcanon’ and write canon divergent stories. The Powers (The Valar) are to my mind at worse cruel, at the least ignorant of ‘life’, of Elves and Mortals.

    I love the dark richness of the Silmarillion, the impossible war against impossible odds, the glimpses of love and beauty, courage and strength, and the immensity of the scope of it, from the creation of the world to glimpses of the Dagor Dagorath, the Last Battle.

    I actually find the ‘dark’ Lord, Morgoth Bauglir and Sauron his Lieutenant more interesting, complex, and more comprehensible than the Valar, who are supposed to be ‘good’ but are too vanilla for my taste, unjust and blind.
    And of course my OC Vanimórë is Sauron’s son, so that put me right slap bang in the middle of the ‘dark’ rather than the ‘light’. With varying shades of grey 😀

    I don’t think I’ll ever be into anything else, not passionately, it’s been decades now, and the spell is as powerful as ever 🙂

      1. It’s…the language makes me think of the King James Bible, my Nan used to quote it often when I was young, and there is a lot of beautiful writing whatever one thinks of the Bible. I think she used to quote it for the cadence and beauty of the words really, as she was an amazing orator. So when I read it, it was like reading a stupendous rediscovered and familiar mythology rather than a novel. I felt as if I had known it once but forgotten it.

        But the characters, oh, the characters…we’re told what they do, but they’re line-drawings really and yet they blaze out, they’re so larger-than-life and brilliant and often very flawed. I sometimes think they should make a Silmarillion series (like Game of Thrones) then I think, no, nothing and no-one could play those characters except them, lol. (And currently the Tolkien Estate are dead against it, anyway).

        And of course, if you find good Silmarillion fanfic, (and there’s a lot and growing) it opens up all the stories and the characters. I spend more time reading Silmarillion fanfic than reading books. And I read a *lot* of books. 🙂

        1. I think a Silmarillion series would be an amazing idea, if someone could get permission to do it. I think that would open up the stories and the characters for so many more people! I think I am going to have to try to read it at some point–or perhaps listen, as Varian suggested.

          1. There is a big split between and who want a series and fans who think it would be terrible. But Christopher Tolkien, J.R.R.’s son has retired from the Tolkien estate now, and there are signs that the ones left are more open to it. The estate is heavily involved in the upcoming LOTR series (Amazon) so you never know.

      2. I’ve personally found the Silmarillion easier to *listen* to, than to *read*. I’ve only read parts of it, since it’s written in a very formal style. What I have read is very beautiful, though.

  4. I work near a Little Free Library that occasionally gets advance-reading copies of YA novels, and I am so grateful to whoever puts them there! So far I’ve discovered:

    *Maria Turtschaninoff’s Maresi and Naondel – part of the “Red Abbey Chronicles,” which tell stories about an island of Goddess-worshipping nuns,
    *Neal Shusterman’s Scythe and Thunderhead – from a world run by a benevolent computer/web called the Thunderhead, in which one of the few jobs still done by humans is the act of taking life, or “gleaning,” and
    *A.C. Gaughen’s Reign the Earth – a young woman chooses a marriage for the sake of peace and then must rely on her own strength when the union is not what she anticipated.

    In adult literature, I highly recommend N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy and Brandon Sanderson’s The Emperor’s Soul and the Stormlight Archives, all of which create wholly new, inventive, exciting worlds.

  5. I *love* the Harry Potter books, though rereading them as an adult has been an eye-opening experience. I’m noticing a lot more within the world and school of the books that actually *isn’t* as great as I thought it was when I was a kid.

    I’m currently reading the Discworld series, it’s both an easy read and really funny. I started with the first one, but they can be read in any order.

    I’ve been reading through Christine Feehan’s books lately. She writes paranormal romances, and her Dark Carpathian series has become my comfort reads–even though they are *incredibly* cheesy and ridiculous.

    1. Yeah, I’d agreed with you on the HP books, a lot of the stuff in there us a lot darker than a child or teenager might pick up on. (I read them for the first time as as adult, and there were definitely some things–won’t give spoilers, just in case–that struck me as very odd.)

      I think Jo is planning a re-read of Discworld. I know she has read and enjoyed Christine Feehan’s books.

  6. In a bit of a Agatha Christie space right now, but one that I am really enjoying that isn’t a mystery novel is How to Stop Time by Matt Haig. It’s a very interesting story about people who live a very long time and how they cope. There is another of his that I want to read that’s from the point of view of the family dog. I believe it’s called the Last Family in England.

  7. Yes, it’s quite formal (Tolkien was heavily influenced by Beowulf, of course). In fact some of the nicest comments I have had for my fic is that the reader understood the Silmarillion after reading it, I suppose because I was writing within a story I knew so well after so many years. But yes, an audiobook might very well work.

  8. Usually stories involving magic and otherworlds or places where Thisworld and Otherworld intersect – William Blake’s ‘The Four Zoas’, Ursula Le Guin’s ‘Earthsea Quartet’, Weis and Hickman’s ‘Dragonlance Legends’ and ‘Deathgate Cycle’, Robin Hobb’s ‘Farseer’ and ‘Liveships’ series.

    Ironically I hate the Welsh myths my god, Gwyn ap Nudd, and others such as Orddu appear in because they’re depicted as the bad guys, the enemies of Arthur, and Annwn, the Otherworld where they dwell is identified with Hell… I’ve been inspired to deconstruct and reimagine these stories as an act of service to them.

    1. I’ve been following this process on your blog; I’m especially interested because a couple of the deities I interact with have required me to go through similar deconstruction efforts to understand Them. (Lucifer is definitely always a bad guy, for example.) And I those those kinds of liminal stories too, I’ll have to take a look at some of your suggestions! 🙂

      1. Yes, I’ve noted the work you have been doing for Lucifer and what a lot of baggage there is to unpick there!!! Sometimes it feels so hard being amongst the first people trying to alter these perceptions and knowing they might not be altered for many, many years, paradigm shifts taking such a long time… yet there’s also deep joy to be found in doing this work for our deities and the many discoveries we make along the way as we peel back the misconceptions and meet them in all their depth and wonder.

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