16 June 2011

A Book of Fables by an Eclectic Friend

One of my friends (and former student), Brandon Pyle, has recently published a collection of three fables and four poems called Still Magic. The book is available in ebook format through Amazon, and everyone should head over and purchase it for 99 cents! If, like me, you don't have a Kindle, you can download a free Kindle app for your PC (a process that was completely painless) and read the book directly on your computer (another process which was completely painless). Half of you are probably going "well, duh" right now, but hey, not all of us are that tech savvy....

Moving on to the good stuff...  Conforming to the standard elements of fables, the three tales in this collection are minimalist and didactic, using few characters and a simple plot line to teach an important and universal moral. These are old school fables, stripped of the contemporary focus on romance and centered on lessons of power, humility, consequence, exploration, and personal growth.

My favorite of the three is "The Man Who Followed the Sun", the tale of a man from the Land of Dawn. When he finds out there are lands beyond his borders, he sets out to explore, encountering cultures much different from his own. Each land corresponds to a time of day - the Lands of Noon, Evening, and Night - and the entire fable is an extended, multi-layered metaphor- errrrr, at least in my mind. The combination of times of day and travel always brings to my mind things like life and death, exploration and homecoming, growth and constancy, the journey, etc.

Writing this reminds me of another reason I enjoy well-written fables: depth of interpretation. A good fable artfully straddles the line between childhood and maturity. Brandon's tales are simple enough for children to enjoy and understand but complex enough for adults to appreciate and contemplate.

The collection also includes four poems. Each poem deals with a theme associated with traditional fables, and as such, the poems do not feel separate from the beginning tales. The last, "Birdsong," is my favorite, but I have absolutely no way to tell you why without spoiling it, so I'll let you read it for yourself.

I definitely recommend heading over to Amazon and getting your own copy!


  1. Thanks for the rec! Sounds right up my alley. :)

  2. Definitely taking you up on this!

  3. Hoe very cool that one of your former students has gotten a book published! I just so happen to be going books hopping today, and I will have to remember to pick this one up as well. Thanks for the great review and the heads up!

  4. I ditto Zibilee -- how cool that your former student was published! Congrats to him!


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