DWJ Survey

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at indigo.ie
Wed Dec 8 05:03:10 EST 1999

Well, it's far more complex than anything I'd originally considered, but
not necessarily any the worse for that. It is of course also infinitely
more work for you - plan A would not have necessitated any organizer, but
if you're game (and understand how you propose to organize the lists based
on commonality of appearance - I can't even think about how one would
attempt that) - more power to you!

I suppose I do have one misgiving, but my sleep-deprived brain is having
trouble pinning it down and explaining it.  Part of is that I suppose I'm
really as interested in what people dislike as in what they like, which is
partly why I'd thought of our throwing around ideas of authors we'd be
interested in learning other's opinions of, and then when we had, I don't
know, say 25-30 authors, people could then put their own opinions of as
many of the authors (or books instead, perhaps) as they chose to.  Meaning
that if somebody did not want to share with everyone the opinion that they
loathed and detested Dahl (as I OH SO RASHLY did) - or loved him of course-
no problem.  But Dahl (or Madeleine L'Engle, or lots of authors someone or
other would like to include) can be there for opinion-sharing without
having to be on anyone's favourite author list.  Also, I know my own
reaction to "name your 10-20 favourite authors" tends to be utter blankness
(well, DWJ, actually, and then blankness).  Perhaps a preliminary to Step 1
might be the group brainstorming on authors/books we'd like to
opinion-share on, and THEN we could go to Nat's list compiling.  Just an
idea, and I'm perfectly happy with the plan as proposed by Nat if others
find that easier.

One other point I have to mention.  I wouldn't want for a second to insult
anyone's intelligence by assuming that Nat's remark about poking fun at
people's poor taste wouldn't be recognizable as a joke.  However, a lot of
relative newcomers might not have seen just how great people on this list
have been about discussing and sometimes disagreeing without ever getting
insulting or down-putting.  I'm sure this isn't quite unique, but I've seen
very different behaviour on other lists, and doubtless others have also.
Those who are very confident, fluent and coherent in expressing their
literary opinions (NOT my own  catagory), have been very clear that the
education/experience/inborn genetic superiority - whatever! they have does
not make their opinion more valid than that of Those Of Us Who Don't Have
This Happy Gift.  But new people are joining all the time and it bears

hallieod at indigo.ie

>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?

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