Old Stories, New Books

Every year at my high school we had an awards assembly, at which students would be recognized for particular talents. The awards were usually based off academic departments or sports teams. When I was a senior, I won the Art award. I’m actually not that great an artist (would you like your stick figure drawing?) but I made a lot of projects that involved found objects. I made a purse out of my dad’s old neckties; a sculpture out of old lipstick tubes; a recycled paper book. So it’s probably not surprising that I really enjoy novels that are reworked versions of other stories.

Flavorwire has a great roundup of ten contemporary novels based on classic books. Two of these–His Dark Materials and The Hours–are favorites.

Another reason I like YA is that it’s a genre that tends to have a lot of fun with established material. Obviously fairy tale retellings are huge, but so are takes on other classics. A few years ago I read The Dead Fathers Club by Matt Haig. When I was in high school, I hated Hamlet (why couldn’t he just kill people like Macbeth?!), but The Dead Father’s Club opened me up to a much greater sympathy for the character.

What are you favorite contemporary retellings of classic stories?

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