The Rites of May and Free Dreamer’s Answers Your Questions!
The first of May, which, yes we’ve left behind, has meaning for many rites and celebrations. This includes one I remember from my childhood, dancing around the Maypole. No I wasn’t in England, believe it or not, it was in a small town in New Jersey. Why did we do this? To celebrate May Day! May Day is an ancient Northern Hemisphere festival which traditionally marked the return of spring. It is believed that the celebrations originated in agricultural rituals intended to ensure fertility for crops, held by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans.
Other seasonal celebrations of this time included the Celtic festival of Beltane and the Germanic festival of Walpurgis Night. Today, many customs still celebrate this ancient festival, including the gathering of wildflowers and the setting up of a decorated May tree or Maypole, around which people dance, although I’m not sure how many school children in the US are skipping around a pole. Somehow I just don’t think this would get through these days.
Maypole dancing continues to be one of the most popular May Day customs in Europe. Participants dance around a wooden Maypole, holding colourful ribbons that become decoratively intertwined. The dancers then change direction and repeat the steps in reverse, causing the ribbons to unwind. This is said to symbolize the lengthening of the days as summer begins. That’s the organized version. I wish you could have seen the chaos that ensued when us children were unleashed to run madly with our ribbons around each other and that pole. Fun yes, but we were the very opposite of anything that could be described as “decoratively intertwined.”
May Day celebrations these days include singers, dancers including Morris Dancing, May King and Queens, but almost never in the US, where such goings on were frowned upon by the Puritans and May Day celebrations never really took hold. Makes me wonder now about that small town in NJ where I grew up. Did you celebrate any Rites of May in your town? Let us know! How about books that include celebrations? Write us and let us know.
One of my favorite stories revolve around a Morris Dancer. That would be Alex Beecroft’s Blue Eyed Stranger from her Trowchester Blues series, an excellent story in an outstanding series. Can you think of others?
While we are waiting as promised, here is Free Dreamer with her answers to your questions and the winners of her Book Adventures contest!
Hey there! It’s Free Dreamer! Here are my answers to the readers’ questions:
From Jen: Which books did you take photos of and end up getting free copies when you got home?
There were only two books that really caught my attention. I picked up an excerpt for “The Blackthorn Key” by Kevin Sands, a Fantasy YA novel. I have yet to read the excerpt, though. And then I discovered the German version of “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” by Mackenzie Lee. Also YA, but historical with a gay protagonist this time. I successfully begged for a free copy of that and already read it. Or should I say devoured it? It was utterly brilliant and I’ve already lent it to a co-worker! You can look forward to a review of it sometime in the near future. 😉
From Purple Reader: For your fair, as a dreamer, what did you anticipate or expect the most from going, and how did that go? Were your expectations met or exceeded? (I hope they were). I know what you’re saying about Sanderson. I read his concluding 3 vols. in the Wheel of Time series, and thought they picked the quality back up to what I saw in the first 3 vols. But I’ve since gravitated to gay fiction, so haven’t read anything of his since. Do any of his stories involve a gay protagonist?
The thing I anticipated the most was easily the meeting with Brandon Sanderson. I’m so glad he turned out to be a nice guy. He was really patient with the signing and everything. In hindsight, I could’ve been a bit braver. I’ve always been wondering how he feels about religion. In every one of his books I’ve read so far religion is an important topic and the religions he comes up with are really fascinating. But I was too cowardly to ask that. It seemed too personal, somehow. And since he promised to come to my Vienna one day, my expectations were definitely exceeded. Can’t wait for that!!
I have to admit I haven’t yet managed to read the Wheel of Time series. There are just soooo many books in that series. Sadly, none of his book feature a gay protagonist. If it helps, there’s little to no romance in his books.
From Didi: I always want to go and see an int’l book fair! How much plan did you do prior to going (you’re not take “we’ll just see what’s interesting there” tactic and go with it, surely? What’s your most favorite “souvenir” from the event (books purchased incl.)?
I didn’t really plan all that much, tbh. I took a look at the program online a couple of weeks before the fair. And I really only did that because our teacher wanted us to give her a list of at least three events we were planning to visit. I’m not much of a planner at the best of times. 😉
Since I’m a bookseller, I get a discount on books I buy at work, so I didn’t actually buy any books at the fair itself. So I only bought postcards (I’ve taken up writing postcards to people all over the world as a hobby – the site’s called Postcrossing). My favourite souvenir though is a free bookmark from the Swiss publisher Diogenes. It shows an owl in a bird’s house made of books. The house is covered in snow and it’s snowing. The heading says “Diogenes reading weather”. It’s so cute. ❤
From H.B.: Did you get to attend many discussions and if you did which ones were your favorite(s)? It’s great you got to meet Brandon Sanderson. I haven’t read one of his books yet although I have my eye on a few of his stories. In general what book of his would you suggest I start with?
I only got to attend two discussions, sadly. One about queer literature and one about all age books. I didn’t really like either of those.
I’d recommend you start with the “Mistborn” series, “The Final Empire” being part one. There are currently 7 books in the series, but the first three work as an individual series. The other parts are set in the same universe, but hundreds of years later. So it’s actually his only completed series so far, even though there are more books on their way. “The Final Empire” was also how I got hooked on his works.
Thanks, everyone for following Free Dreamer on her Leipzig Book Adventures! The contest winners of the Gift Certificates are Didi and Purple Reader! Congratulations to you both! Stella will be in contact with you about your gift certs!
Announcement – New Reviewer at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
We have another reviewer starting at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. In just a few weeks start to look for the reviews of Alessandro, our newest reviewer. I’ll let Alessandro tell you all about himself. Please give him a warm welcome.
Hello there. My name is Alessandro and I’m currently 25 years old and I live in Germany. When I’m not working as a hairdresser, one can always find me reading, literally everywhere I go. My kindle is my best friend and it’s always safely tucked into my rucksack. And my smartphone with my audible app isn’t far away either.
I really got into reading almost a year ago, around May 2016. Of course I’ve read before, but not as excessively as I do nowadays. My current schedule is one book each day. If its a book over 200 pages, maybe ill take about 2 days. I don’t even watch TV or Netflix anymore. When I started reading again, I started with fantasy books mostly. But recently, about 75 books ago I started reading M/M books and now I’m totally obsessed with it and I can’t really get into anything else. Of course there are some releases I just have to read in M/F, but I will return to M/M definitely. I’m reading English literature because it is just more fun to read in another language than your own mother language, at least that’s the case for me. I’ve got like 2 books in German on my TBR list, if ill read them though I don’t really know. I can’t really remember what my first M/M books was, I think it was years ago, because every now and then when I had my reading phase, there would be at least one M/M book in there somewhere.
My favourite sub-genre in the M/M genre would be fantasy and contemporary.
Other hobbies would be, meeting with friends and maybe some shopping? 😃
This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
Sunday, May 7:
- The Rites of May and Free Dreamer’s Answers Your Questions!
This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
Monday, May 8:
- BLOG TOUR Addict by Matt Doyle
- RIPTIDE TOUR Faking It by Christine d’Abo
- A Jeri Release Day Review: Beach Balls by Tara Lain
- A VVivacious Review: Hijacked Love by Ethan Stone
- An Alisa Review: Wake up Call by Becky Black
Tuesday, May 9:
- BLOG TOUR The Simplicity of Being Normal by James Stryker
- Spotlight Tour: Beach Balls by Tara Lain
- Blog Tour Every Breath You Take by Robert Winter
- An Ali Audio Review: Everyday History by Alice Archer and Daan Stone (Narrator)
- A Julia Review: Addict by Matt Doyle
- An Alisa Review: Turn Up the Heat by Jane Davitt & Alexa Snow
- A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Practice Makes Perfect (Housemates #3) by Jay Northcote
Wednesday, May 10:
- Cover Reveal for By the Book By Maria Vickers
- A Melanie Release Day Review:Hearts in Ireland (World of Love) by J.C. Long
- A Caryn Review: Urgent Care (Book #3) by DJ Jamison
- A Caryn Review: Heart Trouble (Book #1) by DJ Jamison
- A Kai Release Day Review: Runaway Rock Star (States of Love) by C.J. Anthony
Thursday, May 11:
- BLOG TOUR Believe in the Wish by Christi Snow
- DSP PUBLICATIONS GUEST POST Amy Rae Durreson
- Release Blitz & Giveaway: Garrett Leigh’s Bones (Blue Boy Studio #2)
- RIPTIDE TOUR Bend by Nancy J. Hedin
- A Stella Review The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember
- A VVivacious Review: Positive Reinforcement by Tamryn Eradani
- An Alisa Review: Louder Than Words by Siryn Sueng
- An Ali Audiobook Review: Wedding Favors (Bluewater Bay #7) by Anne Tenino and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)
Friday, May 12:
- Blog Tour Every Breath You Take by Robert Winter
- DSP GUEST POST C. J. Anthony on Runaway Rock Star
- DSP GUEST POST Lucie Archer on Past the Breakers
- A Julia Review: The Rest is Illusion by Eric Arvin
- A Kai Review: Nate And The New Yorker (Nate and Cameron #1) by Kevin Klehr
- An Ali Review: Bones (Blue Boy #2) by Garrett Leigh
- An Alisa Release Day Review: Liar, Liar by TA Moore
Saturday, May 13:
- A MelanieM Review:Nine 10 ths of the Law by LA Witt
- Review Tour – LA Witt – Nine 10ths of the Law
- Release Blitz for The Hot Floor by Josephine Myles (giveaway)