summerseminar

The world is filled with fascinating books, and I need your help to decide which one we study next!

The late-summer StoryWonk seminar is going to run from the middle of August until October, leading right into my There And Back Again Tolkien seminar series. During the seminar, we’ll dive into the book in great detail, and analyze the ideas, themes, structure and impact of the narrative. Previously, we’ve studied Outlander and Dragonfly In Amber, Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and the entire series of Star Wars films — and now, it’s time to pick our next subject. This is going to be the last chance we get for an open public vote for a little while, so don’t miss it!

(And don’t worry if you have more than one favorite on the list — we’re going to eventually cover all of these titles, it’s just a matter of time!)

Daggerspell (Katherine Kerr)
This 1986 novel is a fusion of Celtic mythology, fairy tales, and high-concept low fantasy. To atone for past sins, an immortal sorcerer needs to track down a magically-gifted young woman in life after life, and try to lead her to her destiny.

Fairy Tales Survey (Various)
Modern fairy tales are the descendants of the oldest myths and legends of Western Europe. In this survey seminar, we’ll take a look at the history of fairy tales, as well as discussing the origins, meanings and evolution of the most famous and important stories.

Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets (JK Rowling)
Last year, we met Harry and visited Hogwarts for the first time in our Dear Mr. Potter seminar. If this option wins the vote, we’ll continue into the second book — and second year — in this magical series!

The Name Of The Rose (Umberto Eco)
Part murder mystery, part exploration of metaphor, myth and literature — in which a theological disputation in 14th century Italy is interrupted by an apparent suicide and then by murder — Umberto Eco’s first novel is unforgettable.

North And South (Elizabeth Gaskell)
Elizabeth Gaskell’s third novel is an acute and perceptive exploration of a changing world. Caught between tradition and modernity, the agrarian and the industrial, and between Austen and Dickens, North and South captures one of the most important shifts in British culture.

The Princess Bride (William Goldman)
There’s no better summary of William Goldman’s adaptation of S. Morgenstern’s classic story than the author’s own description: “Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles.” Plus, we’ll discuss the movie too!

Watchmen (Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons)
This 1986 graphic novel is one of the most thoughtful parodies and influential deconstructions of the superhero genre, and it changed the course of modern comics. In this seminar series, we’ll look at the original graphic novel, its influence, and the movie adaptation.

So, that’s the list — which are you going to pick?


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