Monday, November 30, 2009

Wendell's 30 Book Review:
Italian Folktales by Italo Calvino

Calvino’s Italian Folktales is now my favorite folktale collection. It is a huge paperback with hundreds of stories in it, which average about two pages each. Calvino collected Italian folktales, sometimes building on previous folktale collectors’ work, and made slight changes - which he makes note of, unlike the Grimms - for continuity or even aesthetics. I would not have noticed the changes myself, as the tales still feel “authentic” to the spirit of the story, while having an elegant simplicity to the language, even in translation! The wonder I find in the stories shares space with a matter-of-fact attitude towards the roughness of life-giving it no more or less attention than it should have - as well as just the right amount of the bizarre to please my tastes. Thanks to these folktales, my imagination is sparked, and my interest in using the phrase “seek my fortune” in daily life is growing. Now to see whether this fortune includes a castle!

This will be Wendell 'Scutopus' Edwards' last book review, as he is heading off to NYC to find fame and fortune. Good luck, Wendell. You -- and your reviews -- will be missed.