Friday, August 29, 2014

British Isles Friday: Favorite King Arthur Books


I haven't done a British Isles Friday post in quite some time, but today I thought I'd tell you about some of my favorite Arthur books. For, as you know, I love anything to do with this wonderful British tradition. The story of a boy who pulled a sword out of a stone and became a king, a leader and a legend. I don't know what it is about this story, but it has it all and I never get tired of it.


When you look at the list of Arthur books, I've barely made a dent. Some of the ones I've read and loved are:

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley: an epic saga of a story!

The Once and Future King by T.H. White: a classic tale, what I envision the Disney version based from

The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart: the beginning of a series where Merlin plays a strong role

Quenevere, Queen of the Summer Country by Rosalind Miles: the queen's story.

Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell: told in verse, from the point of view of the Lady of the Lake

The Forever King by Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy: a modern day time travelling twist

A couple ones on the classic end that I'd love to read some day are:

Le Morte d'Arthur by Thomas Mallory
King Arthur and His Knights by Howard Pyle

And then, if I could, I'd catch up on a ton more from the massive list. What are some of your favorites? Which ones must I add to my read immediately list?

As a side note, one of the coolest places we visited when we were in England ten years ago was Arthur's supposed burial place... Glastonbury. This place is said to have once been surrounded by water, and was in fact an island, and it was called Avalon. The legends and stories told about this place are fascinating (and not just about Arthur.) I wish we would have had time to go more south and west to see where Camelot may have been along the Cornish coast, and to explore other Arthurian sites. Maybe next time!




17 comments:

  1. Jack White's series on Camelot are amazing. They start with the grandfathers of Merlin and Uther and imagine how they could have built it all and how the legends came to be.

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    1. Stupid autocorrect. It is Whyte.

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    2. Heather: That sounds awesome!

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  2. Mists of Avalon has been on my TBR for like, years. Really need to get to that one!

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  3. I loved The Crystal Cave in high school. The Mists of Avalon is perpetually on my TBR. I really should get to that one!

    Have you watched the British TV series, Merlin? I watched a couple of seasons worth on Netflix and it was fun.

    Joy's Book Blog

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    1. Joy: I'm totally in love with that series! Such a good one!

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    2. I've read the first 4 books in Mary Stewart's Merlin series. It was my first introduction to King Arthur and it was simply magical for me. I'm currently reading (very slowly) The Once and Future King and The Mists of Avalon are going to be next.

      Not sure if anything will live up to Mary Stewart's books but I think I will enjoy them enough to keep reading.

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  4. Have you read Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series, Suey? Such great Arthurian stuff in that. Particularly THE GREY KING.

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    1. Angie: I've only read the first one. I should keep going, I guess?

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  5. The Table of Less Valued Knights by Marie Phillips! It's a (very) humorous look at the time, and some knights who aspire to sit with Arthur. It's a recent release, and I need to write a review for this one, pronto! think Monty Python/Princess Bride/feminist take on the genre.

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    1. Raidergirl: That one sounds awesome!

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  6. I also loved The Mists of Avalon. I've read quite a bit of non-fiction titles about the Arthurian legends - Ilove the ones that highlight the art and cultural artefacts from the era as well as those that depict the story.
    Mark Twain's Yankee in the Court of King Arthur is menat to be good too.

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    1. Brona Joy: I think I started the Mark Twain one, but could never finish it! I should try again.

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    2. A Yankee in King Arthur's Court is hilarious. It helps to have some appreciation of the 19th century to understand the contemporary humor.

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  7. I have to read The Once and Future King, despite owning it for a little while now. I read the Mary Stewart series when I was a girl and found them mesmerizing. I have tried reading MZB long ago, but couldn't get into Mists of Avalon, though I want to try it again. Maybe not reading it right after childbirth will help!

    I know there is a couple of fantasy series out there featuring King Arthur, though middle-age is striking me tonight and I can't even picture the titles. If I remember, I will come back with them! And do continue the Susan Cooper series, it is very good especially the Grey King.

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    1. Susan: I felt the same way about the Mary Stewart books.

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