Susan Cooper

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Tue Dec 7 18:13:02 EST 1999

On Tue, 7 Dec 1999 22:19:44 +0100, Hallie O'Donovan wrote:

>Several months ago Becca was on
>another list, and they sent around a "survey" type thing.  It involved all
>sorts of questions such as favourite author, film, drink, do you believe in
>extraterrestrial life etc.  I was kind of wondering though, if anyone on
>this list would be interested in something similar with the "questions"
>being our opinions of other authors.  We could limit it to other authors
>who have (somewhere or other) been recommended as being good for those who
>like DWJ, or basically touch on all the authors who have been
>mentioned/discussed on the list.  (I, for one, was fascinated to see how
>many other people loved Dorothy Sayers - not an immediately obvious shared

I think this might lead to an interesting discussion.  How shall we go about
it?  Any ideas for a format?

On this subject....I had a long discussion on the Alexlit newsgroup with
Jessie Shelton, with whom I share a number of favorite books.  The
discussion hinged on the fact that she absolutely adored Steven Brust and
Emma Bull's novel _Freedom & Necessity_ and I thought it was okay, but it
didn't make the earth move for me.  The reason for this discussion was not
the difference in opinion, but in the fact that neither of us could
understand how it was possible.  We both cited the same elements that made a
book great--elegant prose, interesting characters, etc.--and it just seemed
impossible that disagreement was possible in this case.  As it turned out,
when we said we liked interesting characters, we meant completely different
things!  So there we were looking for some mysterious X factor, and it
turned out to be a matter of definition.  Sometimes it LOOKS like you have
something in common with a fellow reader, but the truth goes deeper than

> But the topic of overlap in
>our tastes is really fascinating.  And it's all too easy to understand
>readily when someone on the list says he or she loves Jane Austen,  as I do
>also, but be enormously surprised when tastes don't match.  All right, I'll
>start the ball rolling (and possibly the flames a-flaming!) by giving an
>example: I find it almost impossible to believe that anyone could love DWJ
>AND Dahl.  Now I know I'm morally certain to be proved wrong about this,
>but I'd be interested to see who loves them both, and what other books we
>might disagree about.

I'm actually more interested in your reasons for thinking no one could love
both DWJ and Roald Dahl.  Or--more generally--I would rather see those
making the assertions explain why THEY feel the way they do before those who
think differently have to explain themselves.  I think that will keep the
discussion more even than if one person makes a statement and leaves the
rest to fight it out. :)  

Now, I like both Dahl and DWJ, but I don't even think of them in the same
category.  What I like about each author is completely different--though,
now that I think about it, there are elements of _The Witches_ that sort of
remind me of DWJ, but more of Harry Potter really....Anyway.  I'm curious
because your statement is on a different level than just saying "I don't
like Dahl" and it's intrigued me.

Melissa Proffitt
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