Midsummer Reading Suggestions

I too like old jokes; I like all sorts of old things — old friends, old books, old poems, old plays. An old favorite had started our evening: Midsummer Night’s Dream presented by Halifax Ballet Theater with Luanna Pauline as Titania. Low gravity ballet, live actors, and magical holograms had created a fairyland Will Shakespeare would have loved. Newness is no virtue.

Richard Colin Ames in Robert Heinlein’s The Cat Who Walks Through Walls

MacKenzie at your service. Well, not really. I serve no one very well including myself at times. As we Scots said once upon a time before getting our fucking arses kicked at bloody Culloden, ‘Bona na Croin’ (‘Neither Collar nor Crown’). Mind you, we ended up with both for far too many centuries but that will end soon now that the SNP will be taking over! A proper toast with thirty-two year-old Dumbarton is in order I think!

It’s now Midsummer’s Day so I’d like to suggest some reading appropriate to that most holy of days. You should start off with the ‘Solstice’ tale by Jennifer Stevenson followed by a reading of Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks, where the apparently ordinary streets of Minneapolis are actually home to the Seelie and Unseelie courts and the final battle in the form of a concert between mortals and the Fey which takes place on Midsummer’s Eve.

(Yes, I bloody well know the Stevenson story is set at the other Solstice. So? It’s my list, not yours. Just drink your Belhaven Scottish Ale and I’ll get on with my list.)

Orla Melling’s The Chronicles Of Faerie is set in the period leading up to Midsummer’s Day and many other writers have been inspired by Midsummer’s Eve, and first among them must always be the Bard himself. My favourite retelling is Terri Windling and Wendy Froud’s beautiful A Midsummer Night’s Faery Tale, which pays homage to Oberon, Titania and even the very least of their court. And don’t miss Neil Gaiman’s Absolute Sandman: Volume One, which has the Charles Vess illustrated tale, plus the original script for his World Fantasy Award winning Sandman #19 — ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and reproductions of that storys’ original pencils by Charles Vess!

Cross-posted to Sleeping Hedgehog.

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