other authors to compare with DWJ

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at indigo.ie
Tue Aug 31 05:33:47 EDT 1999

On the other author topic.  I couldn't agree more with Deborah about Joan
Aiken.        I think I read the first three of the Wolves Chronicles when
I was young, and found them just as good as I'd remembered when I started
reading them to the kids.  Stolen Lake is my least favourite, but Is (Is
Underground in the US) and Cold Shoulder Road are brilliant.  I agree that
you don't need to start with Wolves of Willoughby Chase, but other than
that one, it's better to read them in order.

I'd also add The Perilous Gard (big surprise there), and second Leon
Garfield, and Mahy's Changeover (though I have to admit to a few
reservations about that one).

Sherwood Smith would go on my list too.  Becca and I read Crown Duel and
Court Duel recently, and liked them a lot.  The "magic" element is quite
underplayed, but the characters are very strong and appealing.  We haven't
read the Wren series yet as the _first_ of the trilogy is out of print.

I'd add Le Guin's Earthsea Trilogy.  I'd complete the recommendation with
Tehanu, but only with a strong warning.  I find the completely human evil
in the book very, very hard to take.  This isn't a criticism of the book,
but it is a bit disappointing not to be able to finish the trilogy with
Becca.  I think the question of how someone learns to live after the loss
of a gift so strong that it defines them is fascinating.  Maybe it would
only be fascinating to older readers anyway, I'm not sure.

If you like historical books, I'd suggest Catherine, Called Birdy (Karen
Cushman?) and certainly try a Rosemary Sutcliff.  Ok, neither is in the DWJ
mould, but both do a wonderful job of allowing us to empathize with
characters of another time.

I'm not quite as whole-hearted in my endorsement of Patricia McKillip's
Winter Rose as Becca is.  It reads beautifully, but sometimes I almost feel
as if McKillip's gotten a little drunk on her own lyricism.  I think I like
her earlier stuff better.  (Still waiting to get the copy of The Changeling
Sea I ordered on the recommendation of someone from this list!).

I think anyone might enjoy looking through a book called "Reading for the
Love of It", by Michelle Landsberg.  It's a guide to books for kids and
young adults, but far superior to most similar books I've seen.  Anyway,
she loves DWJ (how else could I recommend this?), Joan Aiken, can't stand
Dahl, "bibliotherapy", and several other pet peeves, has a wonderful
chapter on fantasy, and lots of great quotes.

Thanks to Nat for that wonderful list.  I hadn't even heard of some of the
authors, and can't wait to dig in.  I have to confess to having been put
off Neil Gaiman by the "graphic" novel bit.   I've seen the error of my
ways, thanks to repeated references from list members (and Paul's signature
quote!), and now I know where to start.

Gosh, I can see why Nat closed with "all for now".  Books keep floating
into my head just as I think I'm finished!

Hallie (hallieod at indigo.ie)

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