What we've been reading...

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at indigo.ie
Wed Apr 5 05:17:32 EDT 2000

...while waiting for May/June and all the re-issues - and the new book!
Becca has to do book reports for school, so I guess I'll do them here, with
her input.

1.  "Skellig", by David Almond.  I know someone on the list mentioned this
a while ago, but can't for the life of me remember who it was.  It is an
extraordinary book.  No other word comes to mind.  Not an easy book, in
many ways, and I found it quite astonishing that the author was willing to
take so many risks on a first novel.  Becca's read his next one, "Kit's
Wilderness", and said it was just as good.

2.  "Just Ella" by Margaret Peterson Haddix.  Recommended for readers who
liked "Ella Enchanted".  Well, I finished it at least - Becca couldn't.
Very formal court setting, very medieval feel, but the language jarred
rather - "gosh" and "hey" and "dang it".  It was fun watching Becca's face
as she came to these.  A more serious objection related to the
extraordinarily heavy-handed treatment of the awfulness of the Court.
Couldn't help feeling that any Kingdom led by people quite _that_ bad would
have sunk without a trace long since.

3.  "Magic & Malice" by Patricia Wrede.  (This was the title of an edition
containing both "Mairelon the Magician" and "Magician's Ward".)  I can't
imagine anyone who liked "Sorcery & Cecelia" not loving this too.  Great
characters, wonderful "thieves' cant" (SO much fun to read aloud), and one
of the more interesting descriptions of how magic works I've read.  Plus,
in "Mairelon the Magician", there's a grand finale-type scene with every
character in the book piling in that matches the ends of both Howl and The
Grand Sophy.  For Sophy fans - there's even a visit with a pistol to a
moneylender in "Magician's Ward".  Finally, there was a discourse on the
relationship between love and exasperation which had the two of us in fits!

For Open University I had to read Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys.  We haven't
started the work on it, so I've no idea what we're supposed to appreciate
about this book, but just for me as a reading experience - YUCK!

Anyone read any of these and have comments?  Anyone not read any and have
comments?  It's awfully quiet out there.

hallieod at indigo.ie

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