I never fully recovered from my childhood addiction to fairy tales. When I was a teenager suffering from insomnia, I’d read fairy tales for hours in an attempt to lull myself to sleep. It didn’t usually work but it gave me a very grown-up appreciation of those precious, old stories we often take for granted. Even now, I love sitting up half the night re-reading old favourites.
Recently, I borrowed two collections from my daughter, Ruby, and they’ve been keeping me company into the small hours. I actually gave her both these collections on two separate Christmases but I think I’ll have to go out and buy my own copies ’cause I’m not looking forward to having to part with these. They’re beautiful editions and much nicer to hold than my battered old ‘Complete Grimms’ or my much-loved but badly foxed copies of Andrew Lang’s coloured fairy books.
I’m not always a fan of annotated editions of books. Sometimes the notes can interrupt the flow of the stories but I like the way these books are laid out. You can ignore the annotations and go back to them or you can skim through the annotations and chew over the ideas. And there is so much to think about with a really good story, especially these ones that have survived the test of time.