November 9th, 2010

One of the most outstanding fantasies to surface this year is Kersten Hamilton's Tyger Tyger . This dynamic re-imagining of the Irish mythos in modern-day Chicago is loaded with convincing romantic tension, intelligent, three-dimensional characters, and atmospheric dark power. We're excited that Kersten has stepped up to do a hard hitting Weekly Top 2 interview today.

Kenny: The idea of voice as a conduit of power is a deep current in Tyger Tyger, whether through Aiden, Fear Doirich, or Mr. Wylltson. Are there any passages of the book, which if read aloud with the right cadence, will cause mysterious things to happen?
Kersten:Several. A certain passage, when read aloud, envelops you instantly in the feel of old magic and smell of new books. Another produces an irresistible urge to kiss an Irishman. Awkward if you are reading aloud in a manly Irish pub.

A few darker passages are not so benign. Read them aloud only in daylight, because they will loose the shadows from the walls. If you have been so foolish as to read them aloud at night, and feel a chill hand press through your skin and bone into your mind—sing Padraig’s Shield in Old Irish at once, and cry out to the Creator of creation. It is your only hope.

Oh, and I should mention that one passage, if read with passion, conviction, and pitch–perfect diction, actually opens a door into Mag Mell.

I’m not telling which one.

Kenny: Oh so you're throwing the gauntlet down to our readers! All right then, the first reader to submit the correct passage to us (don't read it aloud yourself, our own Margaux Depue has gallantly volunteered to test the passages for us!) will win a $15.00 gift certificate. Now then, speaking of the power of voice, will other bards from the western tradition, such as Orpheus or Taliesin, play a role in future books?

Kersten: It’s not possible to spin a Celtic tale without a respectful nod to Taliesin and at least a wink and nudge to Thomas the Rhymer. Orpheus does not figure into the books, but Homer, the blind poet whose name might mean "hostage," or "he who accompanies" does figure into the story.
Kenny: In book one of The Goblin Wars, Tyger Tyger, there is a pretty interesting truck, Raynor's Brynhilda. I'm wondering if the hero of your fabulous picture book, Red Truck, will make a cameo in book two of The Goblin Wars?
Kersten: Well…Red Truck’s driver is Italian, as you can tell by the curl of his mustache and the fact that Valeria Petrone, the illustrator, lives in Italy. Abby, Teagan’s best friend in Tyger Tyger, is Italian as well. Abby’s family is connected; you know what I’m saying? I’m sure she has at least one mustachioed, tow truck–driving cousin who could make a vehicle disappear. As a night job, of course. After he’d spent a difficult day rescuing school buses.
Kenny: Tyger Tyger is filled with a wonderfully in depth reworking of the Celtic mythos. Are there any books or versions of the mythos that you would recommend lovers of Tyger Tyger pursue? Did Lady Gregory and Yeats get it right, for example?
Kersten: For people who love wandering through folklore, I would suggest James Macpherson’s The Poems of Ossian and Related Works and Alexander Carmichael’s Carmina Gadelica: Hymns & Incantations.

As for Lady Gregory, she understood the nature of the creatures we are dealing with very well. "The Sidhe," she wrote, "have been like the Angels, from before the making of the earth." She knew that they were not one race but a chimera of peoples, cobbled together by the Dark Man’s will. Goblin kind. Lady Gregory saw ample evidence that "those who have received their touch waste away from this world," but avoided this fate by collecting her information only second–hand, from "many who have seen them and some who have known their power."

Yeats, however, was not so lucky. His life was sidhe–haunted. He wrote: "Most of the Gaelic poets, down to quite recent times, have had a Leanhaun Shee (Sidhe), for she gives inspiration to her slaves and is indeed the Gaelic muse -- this malignant fairy. Her lovers, the Gaelic poets, died young. She grew restless and carried them away to other worlds, for death does not destroy her power."

Yeats was wrong only in the impression that all Leanhaun Sidhe are female. Some-the most powerful, intriguing, and enchanting—are definitely male.

Kenny: Thanks Kersten!
Kersten: You bet. And let me know if Margaux disappears. You'll probably want to develop a plan of action there.
Kenny: I will!

Here they are! Our weekly picks for the two best: two hardcover, two paperback, and two children's books. The very best new arrivals to leap out of the box and onto our shelves this week. Call or email us if you want more information on any of these titles, or to have us hold you a copy. Or stop in and check them out in person. We'd love to see you. Thanks as always for sharing your reading with us!

 

 

George Washington's America: A Biography Through His Maps

George Washington's America: A Biography Through His Maps
By Schecter, Barnet
2010-11 - Walker & Company
9780802717481 - Hardcover
List Price $67.50 - Your Price: $54.00


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This amazing coffee table book uses facsimiles of actual maps Washington drew himself or personally collected as a backdrop for a unique biography! ...More

Lord of Misrule

Lord of Misrule
By Gordon, Jaimy
2010-11 - McPherson
9780929701837 - Hardcover
List Price $25.00 - Your Price: $20.00


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This exceptional novel from one of America's finest independent small presses has been nominated for the National Book Award. Lord of Misrule is set amidst the dark fascination of horse racing at its most marginal. ...More

Full Dark, No Stars

Full Dark, No Stars
By King, Stephen
2010-11 - Scribner Book Company
9781439192566 - Hardcover   See Other Formats
List Price $27.99 - Your Price: $22.39


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Those who feel that King's strongest work is to be found in his short story collections will be excited to encounter this new collection. Disquieting first person narratives, odd discoveries which end good marriages, and deals with the devil are all to be found within its pages. ...More

House Rules

House Rules
By Picoult, Jodi
2010-11 - Washington Square Press
9780743296441 - Paperback   See Other Formats
List Price $16.00 - Your Price: $12.80


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House Rules easily earns The Weekly Top 2 DBBTONIP (Deserving Big Book That's Out Now In Paperback) rating. I'm not sure what the "cover to be unveiled" thing is about. It's the same as the hardcover to the right. ...More

Mr. Toppit



Mr. Toppit
By Elton, Charles
2010-11 - Other Press
9781590513903 - Paperback   See Other Formats
List Price $15.95 - Your Price: $12.76


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This British novel, which appears to be a clever revisiting of Evelyn Waugh's classic novel, The Loved One, follows the seedy fate of a failed British screenwriter who strikes gold in Childrens books. It is making its U.S. debut here as a paperback original. ...More

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 5

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 5
By Kinney, Jeff
2010-11 - Amulet Books
9780810984912 - Hardcover
List Price $13.95 - Your Price: $11.16


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The 5th Diary of a Wimpy Kid is out today. Click the more button to read an interesting Bookpage review by Alice Carey. ...More

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