Get to Know the Fantasy Reader Tag

It’s been some time since we did a TAG! And there is one that caught our attention earlier this month, when it appeared on Bookforager. Get to know the Fantasy Reader – sounds like a great post to finish the Wyrd & Wonder month with. So, here it is!

What is the first fantasy novel you read?

Ola: The Lord of the Rings. I was seven when I read the whole trilogy – it was a copy borrowed from my older brother’s friend. Right after I finished it I went to the bookstore and with my saved pocket money bought my own copy, which then I instantly proceeded to reread. And here we are! ๐Ÿ˜€

That’s how my first copy looked ๐Ÿ™‚

Piotrek: I want to say Hobbit, and it’s likely the truth. My first & favourite short story collection is Joan Aiken’s Room Full of Leaves and Other Stories, but Hobbit is the novel I received as a gift from a cousin some time early during my primary school years and it was my gateway into fantasy. What can I say? This is a wonderful book, accessible to the youngest readers, sucking them into the wonderful world of wyrd & wonder! It enchanted me and I never looked back ๐Ÿ™‚

If you could be the hero/heroine in a fantasy novel, who would be the author and whatโ€™s one trope youโ€™d insist be in the story?

Piotrek: It’s not an easy question. Some of my favourite authors write stories where horrible, horrible things happen to the protagonists. Maybe Guy Gavriel Kay? He creates wonderful worlds and usually delivers a happy ending without too many casualties…

Ola: Hmmm. Pratchett, I think. Discworld is a fabulous place, and I’m sure I’d fit right in ;). As much as I love dark stories, I would not want to become a part of them, be it a hero or an onlooker or the hapless victim of friendly fire ;). Happily ever after trope is the one I insist on when my personal life is at stake ๐Ÿ˜€

Discworld as imagined by Paul Kidby

What is a fantasy youโ€™ve read this year, that turned into a huge revelation?

Ola: Revelations, huh? I’d say I’m too old to get revelations from fantasy books ๐Ÿ˜‰ but it wouldn’t be entirely true. My revelation, and one that will last much longer than just this year, is the discovery of Dragon Ball manga (I know, I’m stretching the definition a bit, but that’s my answer :P). Seriously, I never expected to love it at all, let alone as much as I do. Some of original DB volumes are among the best books I’ve read this year, and the whole series (well, maybe except the Cell arc) is an instant pick-me-up for me! ๐Ÿ˜€

Piotrek: I haven’t read that much fantasy this year, yet. But Gardens of the Moon, finally fully read, turned out to be better than I remembered from my first failed attempts. I’m a bit late to this party, but yay to Malazan Book of the Fallen!

What is your favourite fantasy subgenre? What subgenre have you not read much from?

Piotrek: Favourite? That must be either High Fantasy, or Military Fantasy, judging by what occupies all my all time favourite lists. If I had to choose one, it would be high fantasy, the source of it all.

But what subgenre is the most neglected by me as a reader? Romantic Fantasy, most likely…

Ola: Genres and subgenres… Not a fan :P. If I had to choose, I’d opt for military fantasy (Cook, Tchaikovsky) or science fantasy a la Zelazny, with lots of mythology thrown in the mix. Romance in any form gets an instant NO from me, so if there’s something like Paranormal Romance/Romance Fantasy that would be the ultimate no-read subgenre for me. Also, YA. Please, no YA, fantasy or other…

WWII with magic and insects… What’s not to love? ๐Ÿ˜€

Who is one of your auto-buy fantasy authors?

Ola: I don’t have any auto-buy authors. I rarely buy books at all – only those I really really love and I’m certain I’m going to reread one day. I don’t think I have complete works of any one author, to be honest. I prefer to borrow books – then, if the book is less than stellar, I don’t have a problem of it taking shelf space. And if it’s good enough for me to want to have it – well, welcome aboard, there’s still space on the shelves! ๐Ÿ˜€ Besides, everyone writes a weaker book from time to time, even the best of the authors, and I wouldn’t want to own these anyway. But I do buy whole series that I love (especially when I know they’re finished) – Discworld, Shadows of the Apt, Black Company, Malazan Book of the Fallen, Fitz and Fool… ๐Ÿ˜€

Ahh those pretty covers! ๐Ÿ˜€

Piotrek: Not really, no. Used to be Adrian Tchaikovsky, but he writes new stuff faster than I’m able to read it. He’s still one of my favourite contemporary writers though!

How do you typically find fantasy recommendations?

Piotrek: In my seventh year of blogging it really is mostly fellow bloggers, definitely. Thank you, guys!!

Ola: I second Piotrek’s answer! Thanks, all!!!

What is an upcoming fantasy release youโ€™re excited for?

Ola: Well, I’ll definitely be on the lookout for Abercrombie’s The Wisdom of Crowds (out in September) and Barker’s The Bone Ship’s Wake (September, too) – both the final installments in what’s shaping up to be very good trilogies. The review for Abercrombie’s The Trouble with Peace is here, and the reviews for the Barker’s earlier books are here, if you’re interested: The Bone Ships and Call of the Bone Ships.

Piotrek: Hard to say. With my TBR as long as it is, I mostly read series already finished, and books published years ago. I don’t want to insert a GRRM joke here, as these stopped being funny years ago ๐Ÿ˜‰

What is one misconception about fantasy you would like to lay to rest?

Piotrek: The one that fantasy is somehow not proper literature, that including fantastical elements somehow makes it less serious. This silly superstition still lingers among some close minded people, and I would like to see it vanished forever ๐Ÿ™‚ There was a short post about it early in blog’s history…

Ola: Again, I second that. How come Shakespeare can be rightly considered a titan of world literature, but modern authors implementing the same fantastical elements can only be “fantasy authors”?

H.C. Selous’s illustration to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

If someone had never read a fantasy before and asked you to recommend the first 3 books that come to mind as places to start, what would those recommendations be?

Piotrek: I’d ask some questions first. My answer would depend on person’s age, interests, favourite non-fantasy books… it might be Hobbit, Harry Potter or one of the Discworld books, or something dark and bloody, like the Black Company series.

Ola: Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea for all! Well, mostly maybe for mythology/anthropology lovers ;). Tolkien’s Hobbit for those adventurous at heart. And for those young and delighting in creepy, maybe Meggitt-Phillips’s The Beast and the Bethany would be a good place to start, or Roald Dahl’s books, even before Harry Potter.

The version illustrated by Charles Vess is on my wish list! ๐Ÿ˜€

Whatโ€™s the site that you like to visit for reviews, author interviews and all things fantasy?

Piotrek: Apart from blogs? Tor is the last one I regularly visit…

Ola: Blogs, and sometimes Tor. I do visit magazines websites, but I mostly read SF short stories, rarely fantasy.

Well, this was fun! We’re not tagging anyone but if you’d like to give it a go, be our guest! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Birthdays, spicy reveals and even a tag, oh my!

As today, in the last day of Middle Earth’s Old Year, we both celebrate our Birthday, we decided to celebrate it with a post that will reveal some hard truths and clear some popular misconceptions about the two individuals running Re-E since 2015, OlaG and piotrek!

OlaG’s name is Aleksandra (like the Cohen’s song), so she’s female and Polish, not a male Russian lumberjack named Oleg as I believe someone used to think ๐Ÿ˜‰ Below – a proof ๐Ÿ˜‰

Piotrek is a local version of Peter, he answers to both (and Pio, too) ๐Ÿ˜‰ A very popular name, there were four of us in my high school class.

Continue reading “Birthdays, spicy reveals and even a tag, oh my!”

The Guilty Reader Tag

Piotrek: Back in October we’ve been nominated for this tag by the illustrious Orangutan Librarian herself! A set of dangerous, exhibitionist questions designed to reveal our bookish sins. Lets see how sinful we are, then, within the limits of our honesty ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ola: Mea culpa, mea culpa… I’m getting in the mood ๐Ÿ˜€

Have you ever re-gifted a book youโ€™ve been given?

Piotrek: I wanted to start this survey with a resolute “NO”, but I think I actually did commit this sin, years ago. There was a book I had two copies of, as I first bought it myself and then received as a gift. I got invited to a birthday party on a very short notice, and did not arrange to buy a joint gift together with other friends, as we used to usually do those days. I gave this book, which was actually much more suited to my taste than the giftee… not a very proud moment. After that, I always either sold such books on Polish equivalent of eBay, or gave them away to strangers.

Ola: I remember I entertained that thought but ultimately didn’t. Said book, which I hate with a passion and know it would’ve been better received by someone else (Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Shadow of the Wind, for those interested) still burdens my shelves.

Have you ever said youโ€™ve read a book when you havenโ€™t?

Piotrek: Do high school lit classes count ;)? Because I’ve been an avid reader since the age of seven, but some of the stuff we’ve been told to read just failed to resonate with me. In one case I admit I was probably wrong and should go back to the book. In a few others – I’m unrepentant.

I don’t remember doing so in recent years. What would be the point?

Ola: Yes, you should revisit this book!!! It’s great, and shame on you! ๐Ÿ˜€

I don’t think I did… though I might’ve mixed up a comic or two and said I read one meaning the other, and realize that only after the fact.

Continue reading “The Guilty Reader Tag”

Real Neat Blog Award

We’ve been doing many TAGs recently, but we found it’s a nice way to collaboratively write something fun quickly ๐Ÿ˜‰ We still have a few we wanna do, this time – it’s the Real Neat Blog Award – many thanks to Lashaan of Bookidote for the nomination! We will be using his set of questions, so remember – there are no stupid questions, and answers are our sole responsibility ๐Ÿ™‚

1. If you could do something better than youโ€™re already doing right now, what would it be?

Piotrek: Organizing my time. I don’t have too much to do, just a bit more than I used to – and there goes good bit of my reading time, and, sadly, most of my blogging time. Less politics, less FB, better concentration – should help, if I find the willpower ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ola: Surfing. Achieving zen-like peacefulness in the middle of the week. Watercolor painting. I could go on and on, but that’s enough work for now ๐Ÿ˜€

surfing

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What My Favourite Characters Would Be Doing in Quarantine Book Tag

We’ve been recently tagged by the unparalleled Orangutan Librarian to “take 5 or more of the favorite book characters and imagine what they would be doing if they were quarantined with us in the real world”. The tag, created by Kal at Reader Voracious, looks so much fun that we jumped on the opportunity right away! ๐Ÿ˜‰ We are in a very hyperactive mood lately, I guess it’s a giddiness born from being in lockdown for far too long ๐Ÿ˜€ So, thank you for this little tag, Orangutan Librarian – it was fun!

Characters in Quarantine

FitzChivalry Farseer from Robin Hobb’s Realm of Elderlings series

Farseer-Trilogy

He’d be secretly happy to have another opportunity to whine and feel sorry for himself. I can totally see him using the quarantine as an excuse to lock himself down in a remote, desolate place and once again write the story of his life :D.

Fraa Jad from Neal Stephenson’s Anathem

Anathem

He’d have already explored all possible universes and options, and chosen the one course of action that would have prevented the coronavirus from jumping from bats/pangolins to humans in the first place. So, long story short, he wouldn’t be in quarantine now, because there wouldn’t have been a pandemic! Unless what we have now is the best possible option already…. (shudders).

Continue reading “What My Favourite Characters Would Be Doing in Quarantine Book Tag”