Harriet’s BookShop Opening!

 

I’d walked into Harriet’s bookshop on Saturday to the sound of African drums and a historic tale of Henry’s freedom box. The mixed crowd that spanned age groups 20200201_1157026340525499668199545.jpgsqueezed into the cozy space of Harriet’s to check out some books and experience a little of the culture this new bookshop is cultivating.

I enjoy a good bookstore. In fact I joke, every time a new bookstore opens a fan girl gets her wings, so my excitement was piqued when I got the Facebook event update that a new bookstore would be opening on 258 E Girard Ave.

Owned by local writer, Jeannine A. Cook, the journey from vision to Harriet’s wasn’t an easy road. She’d overcome the tragic set-back of losing her first bookstore 20200201_1151514109939006323868881.jpgto a fire.

I’m gonna be honest here guys. I’m a west Philly girl through and through so I’m not that familiar with the area. I can tell you that the bookstore offers a variety of books written by black authors and catered to people of color.

My favorite feature was the nook by the register. It’s set up with art work and flanked by gorgeous bookshelves. The children’s books also found right by the counter feature a variety of books for children. I even picked up one for baby Bleu.

I’ll absolutely be heading back to Harriet’s. I have a few books on my tbr that I spotted on her shelves. If you’re looking for a few new reads head over too, tell me what you think of the nook. 😁 Head over to the Blu Moon Fiction Facebook page to check out some of the books I’ll be adding to my #BookCollection!

 

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I caught up with one local shopper who stocked up on tons of books for his kids. His daughter is an avid reader. 🙂 

 

Have You Been Down To Harriet’s? What’d You Think? Leave A Comment Below!

 

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

 

 

Dragon Hunter: Case Files of Erin Draconis

It’d been a family heirloom, the dusty book bound in worn animal flesh. She’d always been fascinated by the stones on the cover. Both a journal and an encyclopedia of sorts, it was among the things willed to her by her late uncle.

Vincent Draconis, renowned paleontologist had been keeping a secret. Though he had built his name and his fortune on the research and study of bugs and fossils they’d only funded his true passion.

He’d spent all of his youth and most of his elderly years pursuing and recording the few lasting breeds of an ancient creature. He’d stumbled on the existence of dragons. At first he needed proof that they’d really existed, he was sure the findings would make him famous.

Vincent had bee contacted by a secret order, sworn to protect the magical beings. At the height of their existence they were beings of untold power, every piece of their bodies could be used in potent spells. The dragons were almost hunted into extinction.

As a girl Erin had remembered going on many adventures with her uncle but none to explain this revelation. She’d seen him hunched over the book often, furrowed brow scribbling frantically while mumbling into a tape recorder. These moments she wandered the corridors of his mansion.

She’d been fourteen when she’d come to stay with her father’s brother; after a house fire claimed her remaining parent. Erin had lived through several tragedies at once for such a young age. Her mother weakened from the stress of childbirth gave her life so she could survive. At thirty – five Evan Draconis would fumble through her early years. They’d survived unscathed when Vincent fresh from college came to stay the first time. He’d become infatuated with fossils and decided to travel the world to study them. Her earliest memories were of his beard and backpack.

The backpack lay abandoned in the corner of the office now. his desk was still cluttered with maps and charts. He’d been planning to go somewhere prior to his stroke. Vincent was always full of life but he was a man of terrible health. In between meals he enjoyed copious amounts of liquor and fat. He was beloved, but had grown plump and slightly senile in his later years. The imminent stroke that claimed him was of no surprise; though it was heartbreaking just the same.

A knock at the door relinquished her from her thoughts.

The attorney had brought a flash drive she was to view alone and only after agreeing to the task on the drive. She’d signed her name and received a box promised to have everything she’d need for her new life. The lawyer shook hands and departed.

Everyone else had gone home.

She decided to watch the drive.

Wallace University Red Files – Tiffany Desal a.k.a. Deaf Taylor Swift (2015)

Deaf Taylor Swift

 

Tiffany Desal a.k.a. Deaf Taylor Swift (2015)

Cause of Death: Lawnmower Accident
Decapitated in a tragic lawnmower accident while being hazed with her fellow pledges. She hadn’t noticed the vehicle coming her way at first mistaking her sister’s screams for help as song lyrics to her favorite Taylor Swift song, she managed to belt a few chords before finally seeing the the blades of the mower.

Origins – The Wicked Witch of the West

The Wicked Witch of the West, highest ranking female villain, as well as one of The Greatest Movie Characters of All Time. Wicked Witch Originally, she was merely the more well known antagonist of L. Frank Baum’s, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Despite never really being mentioned again after her death in book one. The Wicked Witch is a character that continues to evolve and challenges us all to question the true definition of Wicked.

In illustrations by  W. W. Denslow for Baum’s book, she is depicted as an elderly rotund hag with three pigtails, Baum in the book stated that she only had one eye, but that it “was as powerful as a telescope”, enabling the witch to see what was happening in her kingdom from her castle windows. Illustrator Paul Granger, placed her eye in the center of her forehead, as a cyclops. Usually, she is shown wearing an eye patch, however some illustrations and in all but one film adaptations, she is incorrectly shown with two eyes.

In all versions the Wicked Witch is a force to be reckoned with containing immense power, however, in the character’s infancy before cinematic license took over, most of her power resided in the creatures she controls.  It is commonly accepted that she had a pack of wolves, a swarm of bees, a flock of crows and an army of Winkies. Of her magical tools she owned an umbrella; instead of a broom, which she uses on one occasion to strike Dorothy’s dog Toto. She also wields the enchanted Golden Cap, which gave her control over the flying monkeys.

1939  wizard of oz wicked witchIn most variations of the story The Wicked Witch of the West is defeated after Dorothy, throws a bucket of water on her.  L. Frank Baum never explained why that’s what destroyed her but it is a belief that water has purifying properties against evil, commonly accepted in most religions.

In Baum’s creation she is merely referred to as the Wicked Witch, however in adaptations and recreations the character has been known by many other names. She was known as Bastinda in the 1939 novel The Wizard of the Emerald City, a name that was borrowed for March Laumer’s Oz books and in the 2005 novel The Emerald Wand of Oz.  She is identified as Elphaba in Gregory Maguire’s best-seller Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and in it’s musical adaptation as well. halloween-costume-wicked-1024x681The name Elphaba is tribute to author of the original Witch L. Frank Baum. Unlike its theatrical predecessor and any of Baum’s writings,  Maguire’s novel is not intended for children, and contains profanity, sexual content and violent imagery.

In film, popularity for the Wicked Witch ebbed and flowed, she was featured in the 1910 silent film The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, known as “Momba the Witch”. In, His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz (1914)  she is depicted correctly as a one -eyed villain. Margaret Hamilton, made sure everyone remembered the witch in the 1939 adaptation of The Wizard of Oz. With her famous line “I’ll get you my pretty, and that little dog too.”  In this version she is sister to the Wicked Witch of the East and sees Dorothy’s accidental homicide as a reason for revenge.

Hamilton reprised the role for Sesame Street, in 1976 but was poorly received by parents of frightened young children. She also appeared in The Paul Lynde Halloween Special (1976), and reprised her role several times on stage, most notably at the St. Louis Municipal Opera. Hamilton’s final appearance was on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood where she explained to the children how she was able to be turned into the witch and that it was all make believe.

Evillene-Wicked-Witch-West popsugarIn the 70’s the 1939 version of The Wizard of Oz was given a groovy revamp and released as the hit musical The Wiz, the all – star cast featured, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Mabel King, as Evillene, the new Wicked Witch of the West both on screen and on Broadway. In the Wiz, King’s Wicked Witch is the sister of Addaperle (Miss One in the film version), Glinda, and Evermean, the other three witches of Oz.

She runs a sweatshop under Yankee Stadium with the slogan “Manufacturers and Exporters of Sweat” and extracts it from the Winkies, the Crows, the Poppy Girls, and the Subway Peddler. Her magic creates evil growing dolls sent by the Subway Peddler, Fighting Trees, and the wolves who in this version are actually sentient carnivorous trash cans, her lair is the Subway system. Her flying monkeys are a biker gang and she is defeated when Dorothy, played by Diana Ross, sets off the sprinklers.

Elphaba was reprised and played by actress Idina Menzel, for the 2003 musical loosely based on Maguire’s adaptation of the story. The Wicked Witch underwent one more  transformation in the 2013 Disney film Oz the Great and Powerful, played this time by Mila Kunis.

Character Profile – Once Upon A Time – Rumpelstiltskin/ Mr. Gold – Robert Carlyle

Name: Robert Carlyle

Character on Once Upon A Time: Rumpelstiltskin/ Mr. Gold

Debut Season: Season 1 Episode 1

A Scottish actor, born in Maryhill, Glasgow, he is known for a variety of roles in films such as Trainspotting, The Full Monty, The World Is Not Enough, Angela’s Ashes, The 51st State, and 28 Weeks Later. In addition to his film work, he is also known for his roles in the television shows Hamish Macbeth, Stargate Universe and Once Upon A Time.  Robert Carlyle has repeatedly amazed audiences with his chameleon-like ability to inhabit a range of characters. Before playing a homeless man, he went to live in the Waterloo area of London where the film was set. For a role as a bus driver, he passed the test for a PCV license in a Glasgow Leyland Atlantean bus.

Carlyle broke into the international eye in Danny Boyle’s 1996 film, Trainspotting. However it was his role in The Full Monty that brought him fully into the spotlight. The film won both box-office millions and Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture. Carlyle himself won the BAFTA Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for his performance.  Other notable works include Antonia Bird’s Priest, with Tom Wilkinson, and the Emmy-nominated television movie Hitler: The Rise of Evil, in the title role of Hitler. In 2005 Carlyle was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for Human Trafficking, and he starred as Dr. Nicholas Rush on the SyFy series SGU Stargate Universe, a performance for which he won the 2010 Gemini Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role. Carlyle recently completed production on the independent film California Solo.

Grimm Origins: TheThree Snake Leaves

By: Neenia O.

“Whilst he thus gazed before him, he saw a snake creep out of a corner of the vault and approach the dead body.”

This week’s  quote comes from the tale of the Three Snake Leaves.

The story starts off with poor man who is dealing with the harsh reality of the fact that he was no longer able to provide for his young son. The man son soon comes to him and says, “Dear father, things go so badly with us that I am a burden to you. I would rather go away and see how I can earn my bread.” The young man’s father gives him his blessing and even though full of sorrow the young man leaves. During the time of his departure there was a war going on, so the young man “took service” with the king of his land, and joined the fight. There came a point during the war where comrades lay dead on both sides, and even the leader of the young man’s troops had been killed. Many have prepared to flee, but the young man stepped up and spoke to them, “We will not let our fatherland be ruined!” The other men heard his words and followed and the war was won in their favor.

When his king learned the victory was thanks to the young man, he became favored in his eyes and “he raised him above all the others, gave him great treasures, and made him the first in the kingdom.” The king had a daughter that many desired, but because of her strange request none had taken her hand. See the princess “had made a vow to take no one as her lord and husband who did not promise to let himself be buried alive with her if she died first. ‘ If he loves me with all his heart,’ said she, ‘of what use will life be to him afterwards?’ On her side she would do the same, and if he died first, would go down to the grave with him.” However even after hearing this, the young man who led the kingdom to victory still wished to wed her and he asked the king for her hand. The king asked the young man, “But dost thou know what thou must promise?” said the King. ‘I must be buried with her,’ he replied, ‘if I outlive her, but my love is so great that I do not mind the danger.’ Then the King consented, and the wedding was solemnized with great splendor.”

For years they lived happily in the kingdom, but as time passed the young Queen became severely ill and soon died. “The young King remembered what he had been obliged to promise, and was horrified at having to lie down alive in the grave, but there was no escape. The King had placed sentries at all the gates, and it was not possible to avoid his fate. When the day came when the corpse was to be buried, he was taken down into the royal vault with it and then the door was shut and bolted.”

By the young Queen’s coffin there was a table, and on it were four candles, four loaves of bread, and four bottles of wine. Once the young man/king’s provisions came to an end, he would die of hunger. He ate and drank only the minimum each day, but he knew that death was still approaching. “Whilst he thus gazed before him, he saw a snake creep out of a corner of the vault and approach the dead body. And as he thought it came to gnaw at it, he drew his sword and said, ‘As long as I live, thou shalt not touch her,’ and hewed the snake in three pieces.” After some more time had passed a second snake slithered out of the hole, baring three leaves in its mouth. The second snake took the three chopped up pieces of the first snake and laid them together (in their right order), and placed a leaf on each of the three pieces of the first snake. “Immediately the severed parts joined themselves together, the snake moved, and became alive again, and both of them hastened away together.” After witnessing this, the young king began to wonder if this would also work on a human being. He quickly picked up the discarded leaves and placed them on his queen, one on each eye, and the third on her mouth. “And hardly had he done this than the blood stirred in her veins, rose into her pale face, and coloured it again. Then she drew breath, opened her eyes, and said, ‘Ah, God, where am I?’ ‘Thou art with me, dear wife,’ he answered, and told her how everything had happened, and how he had brought her back again to life.”

After allowing her to regain some of her strength, the young king and his queen went to the gates and alerted the guards to her recovery. This stirred so much commotion that the king came down to see for himself. The king was so happy to find both alive and well. “The young King, however, took the three snake-leaves with him, gave them to a servant and said, ‘Keep them for me carefully, and carry them constantly about thee; who knows in what trouble they may yet be of service to us!’ ”

Sadly a change had taken place in the young Queen’s heart, “after she had been restored to life, it seemed as if all love for her husband had gone out of her heart.” After some time, the young king planned a voyage for him and his queen, to visit his father. While at sea, she conceived a wicked plan with the skipper, and one night after the young King was asleep, “she called in the skipper and seized the sleeper by the head, and the skipper took him by the feet, and thus they threw him down into the sea. When the shameful deed was done, she said, ‘Now let us return home, and say that he died on the way. I will extol and praise thee so to my father that he will marry me to thee, and make thee the heir to his crown.’ But the faithful servant who had seen all that they did, unseen by them, unfastened a little boat from the ship, got into it, sailed after his master, and let the traitors go on their way. He fished up the dead body, and by the help of the three snake-leaves, which he carried about with him, and laid on the eyes and mouth, he fortunately brought the young King back to life.”

The young king and his servant rowed with all their strength, “and their little boat flew so swiftly that they reached the old King before the others did.” The older king was shocked see them return alone. “When he learnt the wickedness of his daughter he said, ‘I cannot believe that she has behaved so ill, but the truth will soon come to light,’ and bade both go into a secret chamber and keep themselves hidden from every one. Soon afterwards the great ship came sailing in, and the godless woman appeared before her father with a troubled countenance. He said, ‘Why dost thou come back alone? Where is thy husband?’” The young queen told her farther a tale of how the younger king became ill and died, and if weren’t for the skipper’s assistance “it would have gone ill with me. He was present at his death, and can tell you all.” Her father replied, “I will make the dead alive again,” and he opened the chamber, and allowed the two to come out. When the young queen saw her husband, she was taken aback, and fell to her knees and begged for leniency. “The King said, ‘There is no mercy. He was ready to die with thee and restored thee to life again, but thou hast murdered him in his sleep, and shalt receive the reward that thou deservest.’ Then she was placed with her accomplice in a ship which had been pierced with holes, and sent out to sea, where they soon sank amid the waves.”

Sources: http://www.grimmstories.com/en/grimm_fairy-tales/the_three_snake-leaves

Origins — Prince Charming

  

By: Noel Bleu 

For years we have read and heard stories of the princess damsel in distress and the brave and heroic “Prince Charming” that rescues them from their dreadful situations. Though stories like “The Swan Princess” and “Sleeping Beauty” had maidens wed to princes with names; stories like “Cinderella” and “Snow White” portray the women wed to unnamed royalty.

The concept of the prince as in most fairytales depicts the general idea of the hero rescuing the damsel in distress. This takes place by him voyaging on a quest, and either saving her from an evil spell or slaying some beast that holds her captive. The description fits most fairytale heroes, however, when these stories first started circulation these heroes were named after real royalty or not given a name at all.

The Prince has no distinguishing characters to separate him from other princes or men who marry the lead heroin in other stories. He is often viewed as the prize of the good-hearted maiden. In a fairytale written by Madame d’Aulnoy, a 17th century French Writer, she refers to him as Avenant  (meaning “fine” or “beautiful” in French) in “The Story of Pretty Goldilocks” and he is called  Le roi Charmant  (The Charming King in French) in the story “The Blue Bird”. Andrew Lang retold the first story in 1889, in “The Blue Fairy Book” he simply referred to the hero as Charming

Most times when speaking of Prince Charming we think of the Walt Disney depiction of traditional fairytales. It is commonly believed that the name of Snow White’s spouse was Prince Charming though the name hadn’t been attributed to the character until Cinderella. The creators of the film actually named him “Prince Charming”.

In the Charles Perrault’s version of Sleeping Beauty, published in 1697 a passage telling of Sleeping Beauty being awoken by the Prince suggests that Charming was not a name but merely a characteristic.

“‘Est-ce vous, mon prince?’ lui dit-elle, ‘vous vous êtes bien fait attendre’. Le Prince charmé de ces paroles… ne savait comment lui témoigner sa joie”.

The passage which in English means, “’Are you my prince… you’ve kept me waiting a long time’. The prince charmed by her words… did not know how to express his joy.” A possible interpretation of the passage is that the term, “Prince Charming” had been inspired  by this passage despite the fact that the prince had been charmed (charmé) as opposed to being the one who was charming (charmant).

In other languages, like Spanish and Italian, he is called the “Blue Prince” and in Portuguese, a translation mistake occurred and he is called “Prince Carmed” (Príncipe Encantado; the correct term for “Carming” should be Encantador or Charmoso), coincidentally closer to the sense in Perrault’s story. The Prince had really been called Prince Carming in the book but in the film they changed it to Prince Charming.

In the more modern telling of fairytales such as “Mirror Mirror” and “Shrek” Prince Charming is not portrayed as the hero. This may be due to the disillusionment of today’s society and the idea of a hero who saves damsels.

In “Mirror Mirror”, the prince is not the hero but an accessory to the heroin. He at one point in the movie is in need of being rescued from a wicked enchantment which coincidentally is broken by a kiss. In the Shrek series Prince Charming is actually the villain, arriving too late to save Fiona, he is villainous, self-centered, spoiled and less than charming.

Over the course of history the character of the Prince has evolved in many ways, one thing is for certain he has come a long way from the French depiction of his inception and only has room to improve. It is commonly believed that the prince in “Sleeping Beauty” was named Prince Charming, but his name is actually Phillip.

 

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Charming

http://www.wisegeek.com/who-is-prince-charming.htm