[book cover blacklight redesign by QuingChing]
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino — For the exploring Rangers among us, the setup is Kubla Khan, a conqueror who wept at having no world left to conquer, dialoguing with merchant Marco Polo, who proceeds to describe in 55 chapters 55 cities that the Khan has never seen. This conceit allows Calvino to wax poetic, comment on utopias, critique cultural extremes, and most importantly take the reader & Khan to places beyond imagin8ing. The book is so beautiful, you’ll soak its pages with your tears of wonder.
Norse Gods & Giants by Ingri & Edgar Parin d’Aulaire — For children of all ages, this loving adaptation of the Norse Lore was made by a Norwegian & German couple who wrote and illustrated many award-winning selections. Their vibrant pastels take subjects normally reserved for classical interpretations or traditional staid carvings and imbue them with a lively accessibility that better compliments the ancient oral traditions the original stories came from. Herein you’ll encounter giants who just want to spend some quality time with the Goddess of Love (hey, who wouldn’t?), and bogart the sun & moon for their cold homeland. Of course sometimes gigantic desires raise issues with others and that’s when you get these many good tales that ring true across the millennia.
The Troll Book by Mike Berenstain — If any of us are going to believe, study, and protect the trolls, then this book from 1980 is required reading. Mike Berenstain starts small and as it goes forward we’re taken from the idea of the troll as a simple deep forest & underbridge misanthrope to a chthonic kingdom and culture we never knew existed. Such books help us Rangers bridge the gaps between men and monster. That, and some of those Huldra troll daughters are actually pretty hot.
Elric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock — Conjure Guards will revel in the saga of an unwilling emperor who commands elemental & Chaos magicks, and wields a soul-eating black runesword! Court conflicts between his would-be emperor cousin Yyrkoon, and love triangle issues with his cousin’s sister Cymoril form the core of this fantasy series complete with sleeping dragons and other monsters both preternatural, supernatural, and otherdimensional. Moorcock is a clear sword & sorcery inheritor to father Tolkien’s legacy, with some serious Black Metal flavour thrown into the cauldron. Turned into an RPG and a highly stylized comic series drawn by P Craig Russell, Elric’s pale hand casts its fatalistic spell over decades.
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