Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!
From Cinder to Thorn to the many, many, many Austen spin-offs, re-tellings and other derivative works seem to be incredibly popular lately. Personally, I adore them. Fairy tale re-tellings, classics re-tellings, re-imaginings of historical events – I love them all! And it seems many other people feel the same way, based on events like this fairy tale re-telling challenge and the Classics Re-Told event starting next week. This week I’m musing about why that’s the case…
There are many reasons people love re-tellings. You get to see more of characters you love and you know that some plot elements you like will probably make an appearance. Particularly in the case of classics, re-tellings can be the next best thing to reading more books by an author you love. It’s also a lot of fun to see how creative authors can be. I’m always impressed when an author surprises me with a story I think I already know! Sequels can answer the question “what happened next?” while re-tellings can describe crazy hypotheticals, from Sense and Sensibility retellings happening in our time to Sense and Sensibility with sea monsters.
Personally, I’ve noticed that I like re-tellings for some of the same reasons I like to read a book and then watch the movie version. It also feels similar to my enjoyment of pairing fiction with relevant non-fiction. It took some thinking for me to work this out, but I think one of the commonalities is that they allow you to engage more deeply with a story. They let you see characters or topics over and over in different guises, so you get to know them better. You can stretch out the enjoyment of a good book by reading related works. Plus you get to feel like you’re in the know when you’re reading a re-telling or a book referencing a historical figure, because you have a little extra knowledge the author didn’t explicitly give you. I’m sure there are lots of other reasons too, so I’d love to hear what you like about re-tellings, “sequels”, etc.
What do you like or dislike about re-tellings? Are there any really good ones you’d recommend?