Holiday reading list

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Wed Dec 13 01:52:30 EST 2000


I got to thinking about this because I just read _I Capture the Castle_
thanks to list members' mention of it.  What a great book!  Now I have to
buy it.  The first section was so incredibly evocative, I was hungry and
cold just reading it.  Read _The Amber Spyglass_ finally, and _The Truth_,
and re-read most of Glen Cook's Garrett novels, and a new book by William
Nicholson called _The Wind Singer_ which is billed as the first in a
trilogy, but it wrapped itself up so neatly I can't see why it is.  Lots of
good books.

Anyway.  My very large family doesn't even attempt to buy gifts for every
single person; we each get two names to buy gifts for at Christmas.  I got
my 14-year-old sister and 10-year-old brother.  (I really do have siblings
this young.  Very strange family dynamic.)  I thought it would be easy
because they both read, even if the brother reads mostly Star Wars tie-in
novels.  He ended up being the easy one to buy for (fill in the blank in his
favorite series).

But I hit a snag with my sister, who reads fantasy and loves Harry Potter
and things like this.  She's young enough that she hasn't read much--you
know, how it's, I don't know, an awakening of sorts when you *really* start
reading, and there's this incredible ocean of books and you haven't read ANY
of them--anyway, the problem was that I wasn't entirely sure how much of the
usual stuff she'd already read, and I wanted to get something new that was
the kind of fantasy that Harry Potter is (and yes, I already gave her DWJ
when she was here last summer).  And paperback, because despite only buying
for two of my numerous siblings I still have a ton of gifts to buy, and all
I can say is Hooray for Amazon.com wish lists.

This does connect, I promise.  In the course of scanning my shelves trying
to find something that fit my requirements, I became aware that each book I
lit on evoked a unique response in me.  It was like (using _Amber Spyglass_
imagery) a different resonance or something, on a very deep level.  Probably
this is an effect of being so utterly exhausted that I'm thinking at
unusually primitive levels; analysis tires me right now, but trivial recall
is easy.

Okay.  So I'm trying to find something that resonates with either Harry
Potter or _Charmed Life_ (both surprisingly similar in this way) and came up
with a few things:  Sherwood Smith's Duel books, the Prydain novels,
Patricia Wrede's Dragon books.  Tamora Pierce  (None of these were possible,
for different reasons, so I got her _Dragonsong_ instead; close to what I
wanted, and also one that I figure everyone ought to read when they're
young.)  All of these feel similar in this weird way, so that if I'm in a
certain mood, I tend to go circling through these books.

I have other circles of this type.  If I'm in the mood for George R.R.
Martin, Guy Gavriel Kay will work too.  If Lois McMaster Bujold doesn't have
anything new, Elizabeth Moon's SF will substitute (not very well, but it
does).  So am I just nuts?  I just saw this movie _High Fidelity_, with John
Cusack as a vintage record-store owner, and he has this HUGE record
collection and at one point he's reorganizing it autobiographically.  I have
visions of myself doing this, trying to track down the elusive connections
that make some books resonate like each other.  Fortunately I don't have
time.

Tiredly yours,
Melissa Proffitt
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