DWJ Survey

Nat Case hedberg at vermontel.net
Tue Dec 7 19:22:37 EST 1999

I'd be happy to act as compositor/assembler for this. Sounds like a lot of

Here's what I propose: 

PART ONE: In which we see just exactly of whom we are speaking: 

You all send me (at hedberg at vermontel.net ) a list of 10-20 each of:
1. your favorite authors (of any kind).
2. specific books that you found deeply affecting (I call this my "books
that changed me" list). Again, books may come from any category
3. books you'd recommend to a reader who likes DWJ and has never read
anything else (i.e. if you are so inclined also include obvious authors you
might assume EVERYONE has read like Lewis, Tolkien, LeGuin, etc)

PART TWO: In which we gently offer our opinions on other peoples poor taste:
I will assemble the lists, and will publish combined lists in order of
commonality of appearance. I will send out three separate lists, and ask
people to respond to the lists, by quoting the lists and interpolating their
own (brief) remarks. 

PART THREE: In which fisticuffs break out across the globe:
Finally, I will send out a reorganized and sorted combined comments list (or
lists), so we can see where the disagreements are intense, and open the
discussion up generally.

How does that sound?

Nat Case
Hedberg Maps, Inc.

>From: Melissa Proffitt <Melissa at Proffitt.com>
>To: dwj at suberic.net
>Subject: Re: Susan Cooper
>Date: Tue, Dec 7, 1999, 6:13 PM

>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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