Fantasy Reads – `Borrobil’

As we are now into May, I’ve decided to recommend an almost forgotten story which begins on May Eve, traditionally the most magical night of the year. “Borrobil” by William Croft Dickinson is a kind of `missing link’ in British Fantasy. Professor Croft Dickinson was a renowned expert on Scottish history who also wrote ghost… Continue reading

Fantasy Reads – `The Book of Dragons’

This holiday week I’m recommending some entertaining dragons. Do you have any favourite Fantasy authors who are guaranteed to cheer you up when you are in a fit of the glooms? One of mine is E.Nesbit. She is famous for classic novels such as `The Railway Children’ and `Five Children and It’ but she also… Continue reading

Fantasy Reads – `The Sleeping Army’

This week I’m recommending `The Sleeping Army’ – a children’s story which contains more interesting ideas than many Fantasy novels published for adults. In 2011 British author Francesca Simon took a well-earned break from her wildly popular Horrid Henry series to write a story inspired by a famous hoard of 12th century walrus-ivory chess pieces… Continue reading

Fantasy Reads – `Granny’s Wonderful Chair’

My Christmas curiosity is a Fairy Tale novel by a remarkable 19th century Irish-woman, Frances Browne (1816-1879).`Granny’s Wonderful Chair’ was first published in 1856 and seems to have been in print ever since. It is sometimes  known by the longer titles of `Granny’s Wonderful Chair and its Tales of Fairy Times’ or `Granny’s Wonderful Chair… Continue reading

Fantasy Reads – Gobbolino

I’m declaring December my month to recommend lesser-known Fantasy Classics written for children. In honour of a new feline in our household (blue-silver Norwegian Forest kitten, Lilith) I’m starting with Ursula Moray Williams’ stories about a cat called Gobbolino. As a Christmas bonus, I’m recommending two books – `Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat’ (1942) and `The… Continue reading

Fantasy Reads – The Foundling

This week a briefer than usual recommendation for a shorter than usual book – `The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain’ by Lloyd Alexander.  His children’s books are regarded as Classics in America but aren’t as well known in Europe as they should be. I have always loved Alexander’s five-volume `Chronicles of Prydain’ , which… Continue reading

Fantasy Reads: The Fairy Tales of Barbara Leonie Picard

I usually recommend books which are easy to get hold of but this week I’m making an exception to that rule for the sake of an unjustly neglected writer – Barbara Leonie Picard (1917-2011). She was a self-taught expert on the mythology and folklore of a wide range of cultures and her retellings of myths… Continue reading

Fantasy Reads – Elementals: Water

I have a love/hate relationship with my Kindle but there is no denying that e-readers have made a wider range of Fantasy fiction readily available. This week’s choice – `Elementals: Water’ by Peter Dickinson and Robin McKinley – is a case in point. Until recently you would have had to search hard for second-hand printed… Continue reading

Fantasy Reads – `Heap House’

This week I’m recommending Book One of `Iremonger’, a series set in a bizarre version of Victorian London. `Heap House’ by British-born author and artist, Edward Carey was published in 2013. It’s available in paperback or as an ebook but to get the full impact of Carey’s creepy monochrome illustrations you really need the hardback… Continue reading

Fantasy Reads – The Box of Delights

My festive recommendation this year is John Masefield’s `The Box of Delights’, which begins with a boy coming home for the Christmas holiday and ends in a cathedral at midnight on Christmas Eve. Or not, but I’ll come back to that later. `The Box of Delights’ dates to 1935 and has been in print ever… Continue reading

Geraldine Pinch