Thursday, December 15, 2011

Storytelling Thursday - Chime by Billingsley

Many storytellers become authors - and sometimes authors become storytellers.  It sort of follows - spoken words, written down; written words, spoken out loud.  Here are the websites of two  storyteller/authors:

Aaron Shepard:  I don't know which came first for Aaron - out loud storytelling or paper telling  - but Aaron has enriched folktale collections for quite a while.  I linked to his storytelling page where he offers some of his own stories to other tellers.  Please read any copyright requirements before taking these stories to the public.   But wait, there's more - more, more, more! - on Aaron's pages, including tips for storytellers, resources for teachers and parents and even Reader's Theater scripts! Thanks so much, Aaron.
This face is made for storytelling

Carmen Agra Deedy!  Her latest book, The Cheshire Cheese Cat, written with Randall Wright and illustrated by Barry Moser, was one of my favorite books of the year.  Carmen started doing commentaries for All Things Considered.  I remember listening to her tell a story about trying to recreate one of her grandmother's dishes - rice pudding - as I drove home from work.  She is a featured teller and speaker at storytelling conferences and literacy related events.  She is a HUGE supporter of libraries, too.

Book Review:!
Chime by Franny Billingsley.  Since I just finished reading this last night, this book did not make my list of favorites..but it certainly IS one of my favorite books of the year.  It was also a hard book to read, because the narrator and main character, has trouble separating her feelings from her story.  Briony's ramblings make the story so diffused that the reader spends a lot of time shoving aside pieces of emotional lint.  But these incomplete memories and moods create an atmosphere of dread.  Don't go back into the Swamp, Briony!  Listen to your dead Stepmother's words, Briony.  DON'T listen to your dead Stepmother's words, Briony.  Watch out for Rose - in more than one way.  Can you trust Rose? Can you trust Eldric?  Can you trust yourself?

In an imagined early 20th century English town, on the edge of the Swamp, 17-year-old Briony lives in the Parsonage with her distant father and her twin sister, Rose.  Rose is "different".  We'd likely say she had high-functioning autism, today.  And Briony knows that Rose's differences are Briony's fault - because her dead Stepmother told her so.  Her dead Stepmother told Briony many things, many awful, sad, confusing things - and promised to protect Briony by never sharing those things with Briony's father.

The Swamp is full of magical creatures, some malevolent, some not, all capable of creating chaos.  Briony can see them all.  She knows why.  Her Stepmother told her.  And the people of her village hang witches.   Then, handsome, kind, funny Eldric comes to stay at the Parsonage to help his father drain the Swamp to build a railroad.   All those questions!  So much confusion!  Such a good, good tale!

Oh, and stories, told and written down, are very important to this book.  Briony finally tells a great story - so , of course, does Billingsley.

1 comment:

  1. That guy looks like one of those robbers on the movie Home Alone.