What we've been reading...
Melissa at Proffitt.com
Wed Apr 5 19:49:08 EDT 2000
On Wed, 5 Apr 2000 10:17:32 +0100, Hallie O'Donovan wrote:
>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.
I keep hearing about this one all over the place. I guess it's time to find
I've had family here for the past five days, which is fun but exhausting,
and I'm beginning to think I'm permanently losing brain cells--but here's
what I've been reading:
Thanks to the list discussion on Sherwood Smith, I finally got _Crown Duel_
and _Court Duel_ from the library. VERY enjoyable. Enough so that I
ordered my own hardcover copies (not out in PB yet). After I read them, I
tried to track down some of the earlier discussion to compare my own
reactions. Sarah said they were predictable--totally true; I think there
was maybe one thing that surprised me. Just another example of how much our
own preferences affect our reading enjoyment. They were predictable, but I
liked seeing the story unfold anyway. If I'd read these when I was younger
(not physically possible, but still) I would have been totally blown away.
There's a feel to the world that I very much enjoyed. I think my only
complaint was that there was so much worldbuilding that never really got
used, like the passing references to a person or a culture that came from
another world. It didn't seem out of place in the world, but it wasn't
relevant to the story, so I was never sure how much attention to pay to
those side comments. Another thing that intrigued me was how similar the
two main characters were to Elizabeth and Darcy in _Pride and Prejudice_; on
the surface, they were completely different, but their underlying motives
and impulses were practically identical.
I also went out and got one of Tamora Pierce's Magic Circle books, _Sandry's
Tale_. This was definitely a series that I've--outgrown? I hate to use
that word, because there's always the suggestion that anyone who *does* like
it is immature. In any case, I can't enjoy her books any more. Too bad,
because her worlds and her magic are usually very interesting. The main
trouble I had was with her writing style--the way she puts words together,
as opposed to her characters or her world. It drove me crazy in a way I
would be more specific about if this were a Tamora Pierce email list.
Then I read a couple of books by Tim Powers just to go to the extreme
opposite end of the spectrum. His stuff is so intense and bloody that I
can't just pick it up any old time. But _Last Call_ was very good.
Now I'm working my way through P.C. Hodgell's Kencyrath books. Nyah nyah
nyah, all of you who don't own _Seeker's Mask_. :) (Seriously, if it were
a cheaper book, I'd let everyone borrow it. But it's still nearly
impossible to find, it weighs a TON and it's signed. Someday Meisha Merlin
will get their act together and everyone can get it.) Every time I read
_God Stalk_ I wonder what I was thinking the first time. I sincerely did
not understand this book at first.
And this leads me back to DWJ: I mentioned earlier how personal preferences
affect reading enjoyment a lot. (This is naturally my own opinion which is
in one sense Right and in another sense is open to debate.) One thing that
pushes a book out of the realm of the merely enjoyable into something I love
is when it has a certain feel to it...something indefinable, but a
combination of the writer's style and the kind of world it is and how the
characters react to one another. Among other things. :) P.C. Hodgell has
it; Garth Nix has it (oh, thanks SO much for the _Sabriel_ recommendation!);
Susan Cooper has it. And DWJ has it in spades. I can think of five of her
books, just off the top of my head, that I adore for this reason. And
THEY'RE ALL DIFFERENT. All Susan Cooper's books, for example, have the same
ambience as one another. But _Power of Three_ and _Fire and Hemlock_ and
_Hexwood_ and _Archer's Goon_ and _Howl's Moving Castle_ are all totally
different. I can't think of any other writer who does this, especially
since her fundamental writing *style* is always the same.
Enough blathering for now, it's time to feed the beasts.
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