Once Upon a Time... the Second!

Hurrah! Carl has revived the Once Upon a Time Challenge for a second go. I love a good annual challenge; it lends such a sense of stability to my reading life. This is why I am thinking of reviving the Unread Authors Challenge for a second go round later in the summer. At any rate, last year I had a rare challenge success with the Once Upon a Time Challenge, combining the fun with the virtuous to read Grendel, The Golden Ass, Something Rotten, Morphology of the Folktale, and A Wizard of Earthsea. All were delightful and rich with new knowledge, and I am now eager to plunge back in to my mountain of fantasy-tinged unread books.

To see the rules, or join the challenge, go to Carl's site. Here they are in brief:

There are three quests you can follow in your journey through the four relevant genres of fantasy, folklore, fairy tales, and mythology.
  • Quest 1: Read at least 5 books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time II criteria. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology…or your five books might be a combination from the four genres.
  • Quest 2: Read at least one book from each of the four categories. In this quest you will be reading 4 books total: one fantasy, one folklore, one fairy tale, and one mythology.
  • Quest 3: Fulfill the requirements for Quest the First or Quest the Second AND top it off with a June reading of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The challenge runs from March 21, 2008 to June 20, 2008.

This year I am again going for Quest 1. Here is a short list of five, with a few alternates thrown in:
  1. Ovid Metamorphoses
  2. Octavia Butler Parable of the Talents
  3. Ursula K. Le Guin The Left Hand of Darkness
  4. Joseph Campbell The Hero with a Thousand Faces
  5. Susanna Clarke The Ladies of Grace Adieu
Alternates/Extra Credit:
  • Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake
  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
  • A Sudden, Wild Magic by Diana Wynn Jones
  • Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
  • The Complete Greek Tragedies: Sophocles II (Ajax, The Women of Trachis, Electra & Philoctetes)
I like to combine a little bit of classic(al) literature, a little bit of academic study, a little bit of self-defined genre fiction, and a little bit of mainstream borrowing of fantasy's trappings. I can barely wait till it begins!