Fairy Tales for Adults

I started reading Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman last night and during my search for a Neverwhere link I found this article about Neil Gaiman entitled “Adults Deserve Good Fairy Tales, Too“. I couldn’t agree more. If you check out my Suggested Reading List you will notice that I’ve been reading a lot of childrens stories in the last two years. There are two reasons behind this behaviour: (i) When I was younger I didn’t do much reading so I didn’t get to read any of the children classics (Dahl, Milne, Baum, Lewis etc) and (ii) they are fun books to read and a lot of them, such as the Harry Potter novels and the Series of Unfortunate Events books, transcend any age barriers and can be enjoyed by all.
Back to the Gaiman quote. I have to admit that Neverwhere is the first Gaiman book I’ve read and it’s highly enjoyable so far. I don’t think he is the only author that believes adults need fairy tales. I have read several Clive Barker books which are very similar. I know when most people think of Clive Barker they think of horror novels, I know I did, but he is actually more of a fantasy writer. He includes a little bit of horror into the mix at times but all good fairy tales do. My two favorite Clive Barker books to date are The Thief of Always and Weaveworld. Another adult fairy tale writer is William Kotzwinkle, who wrote the screenplay for the movie E.T. I haven’t read very many of his books but from what I can tell they are very fairytale like.
I think that that as people grow older they stop using their imagination and start to shy away from fairytales and fantasy because they are seen as being childish. I don’t think that way and I hope there are more people like me (and I know there are). If you have any other reading suggestions I am always open to them.

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  1. Firda

    The last time I went to my favourite bookstore (www.qbworld.com), which was about three months ago, I was tempted to buy a book from the Series of Unfortunate Events but changed my mind after reading the words of warning on the title page. I’m such a coward. I bought House at the Pooh Corner instead, which I enjoyed very much. Too bad they didn’t have the other Pooh books.

  2. I love reading children books. I grew up reading a lot of Enid Blyton adventure series such as The Famous Five and Secret Seven as well as her fairy tales. Wish I had more time to read because I take ages to finish reading a book these days. Why can’t we have more than 24 hours a day? 36 hours would be ideal for me. 🙂

  3. _Neverwhere_ is an awesome book! Gaiman is, IMO, one of the greatest authors alive today. _American Gods_ is another book by Gaiman which doesn’t read quite like a fairy-tale, but has a few elements of one. There are a few short sexually explicit moments though, so it is definitely not for kids.
    Also, check out _Good Omens_ which Gaiman wrote with Terry Pratchett. That one’s a lot of fun.

  4. Oh, I forgot _Stardust_ (also by Gaiman), an excellent adult fairy-tale. It’s fairly short (and inexpensive), but it’s very good.

  5. I used to read tons of fiction when i was young. TONS. So I grew up dreaming a lot, fantasising, blah blah. Fiction is dangerous cos it makes you escape from reality. From the cold, hard world everyone lives in.
    These days I shun from fiction cos the last thing I need to do is escape. Or imagine myself in some fantasy world where everything’s picture perfect.
    I love non-fiction these days – you should try it. But I think you *do*; can see you’re fairly well-read and opinionated – one doesn’t get these from fiction. Well, rarely. =P
    Fiction stimulates the creative mind but there’s a limit to what the creative mind can do. These days what matters to me is the logical, rational mind. I’m trying to improve that a lot. And improve the database of knowledge I’ve been building up over the years. The thirst to know more is unbelievable! =)

  6. Firda

    This is very off topic, but you showed up in my dream again last night. In my dream, it was weekend and I invited some friends (mostly college friends) to hang out with me in a park. I invited you too even though I knew you wouldn’t be able to make it. Not because you were all the way in Canada, mind you, but because it was weekend and I thought you must be home. But you made it to the park anyway. Silly dream 🙂