Saturday, November 28, 2015

Story Saturday: What makes you pick up a folktale collection?

A while ago I announced that I want to turn my 2016 A to Z Challenge into a promotion for reading more folktales. I read a lot of amazing collections with amazing stories in them, but for me, it comes with the job - I really wish more people would pick the up for fun, and to learn about other cultures.

(You can read my full reasoning and announcement here)

I have been asking people to suggest some recently published (post-2010) folktale collections that I could review. In addition, I also created a poll on Goodreads, asking questions about what is most likely to make people pick up a collection of folktales.
The poll just concluded, and the results are in.

41 people answered the poll.
Out of these, almost half (18) said that the theme of the collection is most likely to make them pick up the book.
The second most popular feature (9) was the culture the stories came from.
Cover art and illustrations got 8 votes (who doesn't love a gorgeously illustrated book of fairy tales?)
Supernatural creatures got 2 votes.
The rest of the categories (number of stories included, name of the collector/author, titles of the tales included, having read tales from the same culture before) all got 1 vote each.

What this tells me:
I am going to be focusing on folktale collections with themes, as much as I can.
I will be selecting books from various cultures around the world, to make my A to Z as diverse as possible. I will be making a special effort to include collections from less well known traditions.
In my posts, I will be noting whether or not the book is illustrated (and if it is, I will try to post samples)

I am still looking for suggestions - if you have any books in mind that would fit (collection of folktales, published after 2010), let me know!

Also, since so many people were interested in themes and different cultures, I am also curious - what are some cultures that you have never read stories from before, but you would like to?

Here are some that I am considering so far:
Isle of Man
Siberian indigenous

I'll add to the list as I go along. I appreciate all input!


  1. I’m looking forward to reading your reviews. I’m relatively new to this ‘reading folktales and fairy tales’ business, and was lucky enough to stumble across some really great, well-told stories early on that whetted my appetite. But since then, I’ve come across quite a few mediocre tale collections, and I’m getting a bit wary of picking up just any collection. I’m starting to wonder if I should just stick to ‘classic’ tales which already have a lot of versions and academic and/or pop culture attention in my language (English, obviously); not because English-language tales are necessarily superior, but because with more variants to choose from, I’m more likely to find really good versions of those ones. Maybe finding the fiftieth good version of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is better than tracking down the single, bald and uninvolving, English translation of a more obscure tale. Or maybe I should focus on ‘literary’ tales rather than traditional ones. I’m glad to find a site like this to provide some honest guidance on the good and the bad of tale collections. The lists at and will be particularly helpful.

  2. I'm looking forward to following your reviews. Have I missed a link to your working list of titles, or have you not posted that yet?

    1. I have not posted it yet. I am still collecting suggestions :)