Books that changed me, compiled (LONG!)
hedberg at vermontel.net
Mon Jan 10 22:32:07 EST 2000
Here's the big list of favorite books. Have at it!
SallyO: Aha! I see now who closely approximates my taste and who doesn't.
Sarah and I are almost totally opposite in everything but DWJ. In fact,
Sarah doesn't mention her favourite DWJ so I can't even judge if we're poles
apart there too!
Fascinating - literally.
DIANA WYNNE JONES:
DWJ, HEXWOOD (literally fascinated me!) -SallyO
DWJ, FIRE AND HEMLOCK (blended myth and modern fantasy.) -SallyO
DWJ, HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE(humour, romance and because I love the
DWJ, Deep Secret - Because I think it's nearly her best. -SallyO
Diana Wynne Jones, most of them (seriously!), but especially DOGSBODY, POWER
OF THREE, SUDDEN WILD MAGIC, DEEP SECRET, DARK LORD OF DERKHOLM. - Philip
DWJ, FIRE AND HEMLOCK, HOMEWARD BOUNDERS, ARCHER'S GOON - Melissa
Diana Wynne Jones, THE HOMEWARD BOUNDERS [there are probably a number of
other dwj books that should go in this catagory]--Jenwa
DWJ, FIRE AND HEMLOCK and THE HOMEWARD BOUNDERS - Nat
DWJ, EIGHT DAYS OF LUKE -Deborah
Diana Wynne Jones, CHARMED LIFE -I saw the light =). -Tarja
---Tarja: As I've mentioned before, this was my first DWJ and I've been a
fan ever since.
Diana Wynne Jones, FIRE AND HEMLOCK -Max
DWJ, THE TIME OF THE GHOST and FIRE AND HEMLOCK - Amanda
Almost everything by DWJ, but particularly her earlier work.- Vanessa
FIRE AND HEMLOCK, HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE, DEEP SECRET - Hallie
each and every DWJ - Elise
DWJ: Howl's Moving Castle, Fire + Hemlock, Deep Secret - Becca
---Sallyo: Seems to be spread pretty evenly over her books; I suppose there
are plenty of cases of someone loving what someone else thinks is her worst.
---Elise: I feel like I want to say something here, but I don't know what.
Maybe just that every dwj has showed me something I didn't know before, but
recognized - and showed me in a way that made me happy.
---Hallie: Can't believe I actually managed to narrow it down to top three.
MORE THAN ONE MENTION:
Joan Aiken, NIGHTFALL. Because it's perfect. -SallyO; DIDO AND PA - Hallie;
Dido Books, AKA James III books (Joan Aiken series) - Becca
---SallyO: Odd, I don't like the DIDO ones at all. I read the first 3 or 4,
then got bored with them.
---Sarah:I have not been able to get into any Aiken and am not sure why.
---Hallie: Great - I'd never come across Night Fall, and was delighted to
hear about it.
Jane Austen, PRIDE & PREJUDICE - Elise; PERSUASION - Hallie
---Melissa: Aside from the fact that it's a great story, it gives me a warm
feeling to know that a woman writing 200 years ago could come up with such a
bright and clever and independent heroine.
---Tarja: A wonderful book which gives something new every time I read it.
---Elise: Time has made me more appreciative of a wider variety of Austen.
When I was a kid, I would start but never finish Persuasion and Mansfield
Park - I didn't want to hear about long-suffering! But now, it's as if they
are completely different books, but it's the reader who has changed. - Elise
---Sarah:I love Austen movies (Emma, Mansfield Park, Presuasion) but have
trouble getting into the books.
---Hallie: I've read [Persuasion] about 25 times, including once to Becca,
and once to my Mum when she was in hospital recovering from heart surgery.
It never dims. [re: Pride & Prejudice:] Yes. (Well, what else is there to
Violet Bibby, MANY WATERS (another that jogged my interest in historicals.)
Steven Brust, TO REIGN IN HELL--Jenwa
Brust & Bull, FREEDOM AND NECESSITY - -Deborah
Emma Bull, WAR FOR THE OAKS--Jenwa; BONE DANCE, FALCON -Max
---Nat: As a sometime Minnesotan, both of Bull's books are fascinating, as
they play with the real geography of Minneapolis with great affection. I
found that War For the Oaks was, on rereading, a lot of fun but not a Great,
Orson Scott Card: ALVIN MAKER Series, ENDER'S GAME Series, WYRMS.- Vanessa;
ENDER'S GAME - Sarah, Jenwa; RED PROPHET - Nat; ENDER'S GAME AND SPEAKER FOR
THE DEAD - Melissa
---Nat: I was a Card megafan for years, less so now; I think it helps not to
know too much about the Church of Latter Day Saints. Red Prophet especially
ripped me right out of myself and swung me around by the hair. The
description of the weaverwoman's house and loom is one I come back to all
the time. Profound stuff, that.
---Tarja: Card is a very good author, but the latter additions to the Ender
haven't been that great in my opinion.
---Sarah:The first two Ender books really struck me, though I have yet to
read the others. I have heard they are quite different.-
Susan Cooper: THE DARK IS RISING.- Vanessa, Nat; THE DARK IS RISING
SEQUENCE - Sarah, Amanda
---Nat: When I was 18, I started writing a new story for Will Stanton. The
book THE DARK IS RISING still rings true to me in the magic of learning and
growing up, and the cool, alienating, while-light place that knowledge alone
will take you. I don't care what they say, it's a book that says a lot about
being 11 and full of possibilities.
---Tarja: The individual book is definitively the best in the series. If I
remember correctly I had already had my 11th birthday when I first read it,
so it didn't have the same effect of waiting to turn out to be an Old One as
for those who read it before that date.
---Sarah:I really like the complexity of these books-all the mythic tie-ins
come together amazingly well. Her book SEAWARD is also wonderful.
Robert Cormier, FADE - Sarah; Nat
---Nat: I got the serious shivers from this. I love books that play around
with the nature of fiction, and this one does that in spades. I like the
rest of his work too.
Diane Duane, SO YOU WANT TO BE A WIZARD - Nat; SO YOU WANT TO BE A WIZARD?
& DEEP WIZARDRY -Deborah
---Nat: To me, Duane's seems the best discussion of large-scale altruism.
The kids in these books spend a lot of the book's energy REALLY THINKING
about laying down their lives for something that's really important.
---Sarah: I love these--Duane handles huge issues (life, death) in a new
way. I do not care for her cat books, however.
---Hallie: Liked the book from the library aspect a lot, but these weren't
astonishingly impressive for me otherwise.
Neil Gaiman, THE SANDMAN (graphic novel)- Nat; DEATH: THE HIGH COST OF
LIVING [and all of the Sandman series]--Jenwa
---Nat: I have yet to see a Gaiman graphic novel/comic I don't like. He has
an astonishing ability to pull sweetness out of bitter bitter gall, which
gives me hope everytime I see it.
---Melissa: These were so disturbing and so moving...I can't really talk
coherently about them, but I was deeply affected by reading them. And yet
there are episodes that I sincerely wish I had never read.
---Tarja: I have to agree with this. Despite its sometimes awful art work
(the visual aspect is very important to me), the graphic series is wonderful
Leon Garfield, BLACK JACK (don't particularly know why this one of his
stands out) - Hallie; -Becca
Robert Heinlein, THE DOOR INTO SUMMER. Because it got me interested in
time-travel romance. -SallyO; STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND - Philip
---SallyO: A case in point! I really disliked STRANGER.
Madeleine L'Engle's non-fiction work, especially THE CROSSWICKS JOURNALS,
WALKING ON WATER, and TWO-PART INVENTION - Hallie; A WRINKLE IN
---Sarah:The Time Quartet books were among the first fantasy books I read.
I still enjoy re-reading them.
Tanith Lee, THE WINTER PLAYERS, DRINKING SAPPHIRE WINE, THE SILVER METAL
LOVER, WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT - Philip; SILVER METAL LOVER -Max
---Hallie: Oops - I think I'm the only one who likes some Tanith Lee a lot,
but doesn't like The Silver Metal Lover. I think the mother character put
me off considerably - too similar to the Unicorn series (although I like the
similar characters in DWJ. How does she do things like that so well???)
Ursula LeGuin, LATHE OF HEAVEN - Nat; DANCING ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, and
LANGUAGE OF THE NIGHT - Vanessa; TOMBS OF ATUAN - Becca
---Nat: Lathe of Heaven crystallizes a lot of the humanity in her books,
which I've enoyed wallowing in in her more recent books and stories. She
keeps going deeper into things as she gets older, and in this one I think
she's talking about what feels to me like the right way to do that: not
hacking and rending, but noiselessly, listening.
---Melissa: I personally think this [Lathe] is a better book than _The Left
Hand of Darkness_. I think it stands the test of time better; at least some
of the appeal of_Darkness_ was the gender issues, and they're no longer as
startling as theyw ere thirty or forty years ago (I forget when it was
written). But the central question of _The Lathe of Heaven_ is still
compelling: if you could change the world, how would you do it? And should
---Hallie: No votes for the Earthsea Trilogy? Are these going to be
controversial like Susan Cooper? I'm pro them. Emphatically.
C S Lewis, A GRIEF OBSERVED - Hallie; THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA - Philip;
CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, esp. The Horse & His Boy - Elise; THE SILVER CHAIR
(I liked this one for Puddleglum.) -SallyO; NARNIA Series (though on more
recent rereadings, it lacks that something.)- Vanessa
---Elise: I particularly liked their sojourn in Harfang, but my favorite
parts are at the beginning when Scrubb and Pole escape from school through
when they are wafted down into Narnia - I wished I was them. I went on to
read some of his other things and I remember being shocked and amazed at the
Dark Tower, I think it was. It completely unnerved me and I didn't want to
know more. It was probably my first solid taste of old-fangled, in a word,
---Sarah: I wrote a term paper on him in college and he is a fascinating
person; I love the Chronicles despite their shortcomings. I read them at
such a young age that I am able to overlook the problems.
Margaret Mahy, THE CHANGEOVER(a fascination with blended genres again -
fantasy and romance.) -SallyO; Nat
--- Nat: This feels to me like the truest expression of the spirit behind
Wicca that I know of. I'm not a wiccan, but in things like this I have a lot
of respect for what it can be.
Patricia McKillip, THE RIDDLEMASTER TRILOGY - Melissa; THE CHANGELING SEA
- Hallie; THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD -Max; WINTER ROSE, THE CHANGELING
SEA - Becca
--- Sarah: I am a big Tam Lin fan, but McKillip's writing style put me off
---Tarja: All of these are just beautiful, and as I have commented on the
first part of the survey, The Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy is one of the best
fantasy series ever.
---Hallie: Love them all - isn't it grand The Riddlemaster has finally been
Robin McKinley, THE BLUE SWORD - Elise; BEAUTY. (Perfection for me - it's
such a charming story and she avoided the "cheap thrill" of making the elder
sisters unpleasant.) -SallyO; ROSE DAUGHTER,THE BLUE SWORD,THE OUTLAWS OF
SHERWOOD - Sarah
---Melissa: I agree. It [Beauty] just felt perfect.
---sallyO: ROSEDAUGHTER? I haven't heard of that one... is it another Beauty
and the Beast retelling? [Nat: yes, new in 1999]
---Sarah:I cannot recommend her books enough! SIGH
AA Milne, THE WORLD OF POOH [an omnibus edition containing "WINNIE THE POOH"
and "THE HOUSE AT POOH CORNER"] - Philip; THE HOUSE AT POOH CORNER -Max
---Hallie: Shoot - how could I have left these out?
L.M. Montgomery, THE BLUE CASTLE. The first "ugly duckling" romance I ever
read and I still love it. -SallyO; -- Becca; EMILY OF NEW MOON [and its
---Hallie: Love The Blue Castle - it's so funny along with its sweetness.
Emily - humm. I know they were Montgomery's own favourites, but I got a bit
fed up with "The Murray Pride" after a bit. Loved the bits with her teacher
critiquing her writing though.
Marge Piercy--Dierdre; BRAIDED LIVES - Amanda
Elizabeth Marie Pope, THE PERILOUS GARD (Nearly perfect. A blend of history
and fantasy and folklore - struck fire with my interest in cross-genre
books.)-SallyO; - Elise; - Hallie, Becca
---Elise: I remember painstakingly figuring out the ending when Kate thinks
you-know-who likes her sister and the Lady offers her something to "help." I
was a lot slower than Kate at figuring out such sneakiness and it was a
revelation to me that there could *be* such sneakiness - and it was the best
demonstration for me about dubious gifts from the fair folk - I don't think
I'd read F&H yet (when did that come out?). I think this is still my
favorite depiction of the fair folk and I love how, what with the Thing in
the Well, they weren't exactly demystified by being people.
---Sarah:I always finish this book with a smile--gawking like a mooncalf, I
Philip Pullman: THE GOLDEN COMPASS - Nat ; HIS DARK MATERIALS (series) -
---Nat: I'm fascinated with the series. Pullman and Neil Gaiman have between
them done something that maybe was impossible to pull off until the last
decade or two: taking the "mythology" of Judeo-Christianity and using it as
the basis for a MODERN fantasy, with the simultaneous respect and distance
that that implies. I'm waiting with bated breath to see where he takes us in
---Elise: I really love how obnoxious Lyra is, and how Pullman draws on such
a wild melange of ideas from dark matter to multiverses to conspiracy
theories to classic Greek conceptions of the daimon, to that old fashioned
genre of High Adventure from whence sprung the inspiration for Indiana Jones
- it's all in there for anyone who has forgotten or never knew that Learning
is Fun. I also dig extremely the alethiometer. It inspired us to look up
trepanning (did you know there's a whole website? www.trepanning.com) and
may have kicked off the incredibly fun, if somewhat shamefaced, reading I've
done since in Childress's Lost Cities series (think of it as a collection of
source material for Pullman and go have some fun).
---Sarah:These two books GOLDEN COMPASS & SUBTLE KNIFE (soon to be joined by
the conclusion, THE AMBER SPYGLASS, in 2000) are amazing works.
---Hallie: Liked The Golden Compass a lot on the first read, but found the
second one frighteningly - manipulative? Probably a bit strong word (but you
Dorothy Sayers, GAUDY NIGHT - Karen, Hallie
---Melissa: I just finished rereading this for the second time. The first
time, I didn't like it--no, not the book, but the experience of reading it.
I read the entire Peter Wimsey series over the course of two weeks,
immediately after having my third child (and that is a serendipitous story
in itself) and by the time I got this far, I was so keyed up over Peter and
Harriet I almost couldn't read fast enough to get to the end. The second
time was a much better reading. Actually, it touches on what Paul said
about the difference between Ellis Peters' Cadfael mysteries and Agatha
Christie's; the dependence on character to move the story along, rather than
the mystery, is what makes a book more of a keeper. If you're reading just
to find out whodunit, once you've found out, the excitement is gone. _Gaudy
Night_ just got better. I'm waiting for Jacob to finish _Busman's
Honeymoon_ so I can reread that.
Neal Stephenson, THE DIAMOND AGE - Elise; SNOW CRASH--Jenwa
---Melissa: I should have put this [Diamond Age] on my own list. It's an
extraordinary story of the future, but the people--I wept a lot of
much-earned tears over this one. But it's a story about mommies, so I think
I can be excused.
---Tarja: The Diamond Age was very interesting up to a certain point. I
didn't like the book's ending which I thought somewhat anticlimactic.
Frances Temple, THE RAMSEY SCALLOP - Hallie, Becca
---Sarah: I couldn't stand this book. Disliked the girl in it.
---Hallie: Wonderful historical book, with really strong characters (almost
made me want to go on a pilgrimage).
Cynthia Voigt: A SOLITARY BLUE. - Vanessa, Hallie; DICEY'S SONG - Hallie
---Hallie: Yes!! Another fan. What a book!
Connie Willis, DOOMSDAY BOOK - Melissa, Jenwa; BELLWETHER
---Tarja: A very good depiction of the time of the Black Death.
---Sarah:This was a very sad but realistic view into the past.
---Hallie: Haven't found this yet. Melissa choosing it makes me nervous
(all those tragedies you love!). Is it devastating?
MENTIONED BY ONE:
ELLA ENCHANHTED - Becca
To Say Nothing of the Dog - Becca
Sorcery and Cecilia - Becca
THE STORY OF ENGLISH. (because I learned so much) -SallyO
WHAT'S IN A NAME? (because it explained a lot.) -SallyO
Readers' Digest, STRANGE STORIES AND AMAZING FACTS and THE STORY OF THE
MIND - both fascinating over the years because of my interest in odd spot
PERSUASION - Hallie
SOUNDINGS (the Leaving Cert. Poetry Anthology we studied (11th and
12thgrades). Sorry, but I really loved studying poetry in school.) - Hallie
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS - Elise
---Tarja: This is a classic. I love fairy tales in all kinds of forms, and I
classify this collection among my favourites. I use the term fairy tale
loosely to refer to all kinds folktales (including Grimm etc).
RAMAYANA & MAHABHARATA (William Buck translations - wonderful!) - Elise
---Elise: I'm in favor of any fantasy fan giving these a whirl - especially
the Buck translations because he did them with his eye ever on telling the
stories. Thus he ruthlessly eliminated a lot of recursive narrative
conventions and digressions which accumulated over time and which are of
scholarly interest but put a big drag on the motion of the tales. The story
of how Buck came across these tales and was inspired into making these
translations, as what turned out to be his life's work, is excellent in
THE DHAMMAPADA, (collected sayings of Buddha, various editions) - Elise
--- Elise: Buddha, not unlike dwj, was extremely practical and able to see
things as they are - and then do helpful thinking about it. His good sense
works with any background or belief system, methinks.- Elise
A book of English fairy tales (sorry, I've forgotten info!) - Elise
---Hallie: Oh, Elise, try to remember. Always love more good collections of
Lloyd Alexander - THE ARKADIANS
D.S. Allan and J.B. Delair , WHEN THE EARTH NEARLY DIED - Elise
--- Elise: If you like Pullman, you may enjoy this. - Elise
Piers Anthony, ON A PALE HORSE. I don't know - this one just hit it for me.
Piers Anthony, OUT OF PHAZE- it got me re-started on my fantasy kick.
James Bailey, SAILING TO PARADISE (kooky at the time, but daily growing more
plausible) - Elise
--- Elise: Again, if you like Pullman or archaeology, or if the tone which
prevailed in anthro and archaeology annoyed you and you wondered if humans
could have been always such rude and grunting savages as they are so often
made out to be, then you may well enjoy this. Also, recent discoveries
pushing back the date of attainments such as sailing, esp. long voyages, for
humankind make this speculative work even more interesting. non-fic, but
spec. - Elise
Beryl Bainbridge, BIRTHDAY BOYS - Karen
Margaret J. Baker (I think), THE CATS OF HONEYTOWN. Another of those first
animal fantasy books. -SallyO
Iain Banks, WALKING ON GLASS - Amanda
Beagle, FOLK OF THE AIR -Deborah
---SallyO: Ah yes - I really liked this one on first reading, but I haven't
re-read it enough to make it a proper favourite yet. Did anyone else dislike
the better-known LAST UNICORN? FINE AND PRIVATE PLACE is fun, too.
Samuel Beckett, WAITING FOR GODOT--Jenwa
Wilanne Schneider Belden, MIND-CALL - Melissa
Violet Bibby, MANY WATERS (another that jogged my interest in historicals.)
Michael Bishop: PHILIP K. DICK IS DEAD, ALAS.- Vanessa
Beatrice Brandon, THE CLIFFS OF NIGHT. Ireland, thriller, archeology,
romance, folk-lore, music - what more could I want at 17?) -SallyO
Poppy Z. Brite, DRAWING BLOOD--Jenwa
Vera Brittain, TESTAMENT OF YOUTH - Hallie
---Hallie: Maybe it was watching Upstairs, Downstairs in youth, but I've
always found the changes in attitudes after WWI fascinating. This is an
amazing story(true story, that is), well-written.
Charlotte Bronte, JANE EYRE - Becca
A.S. Byatt, POSSESSION - Karen
---Tarja: This is a wonderful books with many levels in it. A friend of
mine did her Master's thesis on this and analysed the use of different
schools of literary criticism in it.
--- Elise: This was a really well done, clever book, and it's been too long
for me to say more. Except, if you like this you may like Charles Palliser
(try The Quincunx), Ian Pears (Instance of the Fingerpost) and may enjoy
Moby Dick which, I never realized until a prof revealed it to us, is a very
subversive sort of book. And I had thougt it just boring and inexplicable -
---Sarah:I have been meaning to read this for years.
---Hallie: Loved this too.
---Nat: reminded me in a way of Tam Lin, in that it¹s very much an English
Major¹s book. I loved the construction, but knew I was missing 90% of the
references. Now, have Byatt do a Neil Bantock take on the Northern
Renaissance, and you¹d have me...
Roberto Calasso, THE MARRIAGE OF CADMUS AND HARMONY - Karen
Joseph Campbell , THE POWER OF MYTH (blew my adolescent mind) - Elise
---Nat: Campbell is a mixed bag for me. I spent summers for 9 years at
Princeton U Press, a fair amount of that time working with Campbell's
papers. He was a spoiled brat of a scholar, is all I have to say. And I have
a real problem with looking for monomyths. I love the variety and texture,
the differences between stories. I suppose his scholarship was a thing that
needed doing, but now it's done and I'm glad to see us move along...
D.H. Childress, The LOST CITIES Series (true? false? who cares! made me
feel Wonder again). - Elise
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER - Nat
---Nat: A poem I keep coming back to. My favorite example of use of symmetry
to communicate a sort of "holy center" to things. I've been working on the
back burner to do a theater piece based on it. Some day...
--- Elise: Kubla Khan was always my fave :), also Ozymandias by Shelley.
With this survey laying my predilections out before me, it's become soo
clear to me how predictable I am!
Joseph Conrad, HEART OF DARKNESS--Jenwa
Wendy Cope, SERIOUS CONCERNS -I didn't like poetry that much, but this
humorous collection changed my mind. -Tarja
---Tarja: These combine serious matters with great humour.
Gillian Cross: CHARTBREAKER.- Vanessa
---SallyO: Also known as CHARTBREAK! And it reminds me of THE HALLERSAGE
SOUND and HELLS EDGE by John Rowe Townsend.
Primrose Cumming, SILVER SNAFFLES - (This is one of the three books that
introduced me to animal fantasy.) -SallyO
Annie Dalton, THE WITCH ROSE. . (because it's so nearly perfect and for a
young audience too.) -SallyO
Pamela Dean: TAM LIN.- Vanessa
---Nat: As with Emma Bull and Minneapolis, being an Alumnus of Carleton
(Blackstock) gives me an eerie sort of bias. This book put me under the
nearest thing to a spell I've ever experienced. And the question I'm left
with is a pretty sad one: how long can they last, and what really do they
---SallyO: I've ordered this one to read.
---Hallie: Humm. We're side-by-side in A Solitary Blue - not with Tam Lin
(I'm not a hater, just not a fan). Interesting. Well, I find it
Samuel R Delany--Dierdre
Dickens, BLEAK HOUSE - Karen
---Nat: Started it twice, finally gave up. I found it unrelievedly grim.
Peter Dickinson, THE CHANGES - Amanda
---Sarah:I liked the third one best-THE WEATHERMONGER.-Sarah
Dostoevesky, THE BROTHERS KARAMOZOV - Karen
Dumas, THE THREE MUSKETEERS - Sarah
--- Elise: Say, have you seen the movie version of Queen Margo? Really
Gerald Durrell, MY FAMILY AND OTHER ANIMALS -Max
---Hallie: I loved all his books - and we've been to his "zoo" in Jersey.
Such a cool place (sorry, irrelevant).
Monica Edwards' two series - my all time favourite series and probably
instrumental in turning me into a writer. -SallyO
Eliot, MIDDLEMARCH - -Deborah
Ende, MOMO - Sarah
---Tarja: Ah, yes, I'd almost forgotten this book. It's message against a
time and money driven society is great.
Walter Farley, BLACK STALLION - Nat
---Nat: I loved the book in 4th grade, and later found it unreadable. But I
remember it as absolutely full of magic. The movie is great; the first 20
minutes on the island are, to my mind, perfect.
---Tarja: Another childhood favourite -among other horse books.
Penelope Farmer, SUMMER BIRDS - Nat
---Nat: Beautiful, magical and in the end melancholy. A view for children of
the bittersweet tradeoffs of growing up. There are scenes in this that still
leave me moist in the eye. In many ways a perfect evocation of summer.
Antonia Forest's series - can't pick a single title, but it taught me a lot
about character. -SallyO
---Melissa: Can I just mention that I'm greenly jealous because these books
are COMPLETELY unavailable here?
Karen Joy Fowler: ARTIFICAL THINGS, BLACK GLASS.- Vanessa
Fynn, MISTER GOD, THIS IS ANNA - Philip
Leon Garfield, BLACK JACK (don't particularly know why this one of his
stands out) - Hallie
Catherine George, TOUCH ME IN THE MORNING and Claire Harrison, ONE LAST
DANCE because they showed me some category romance can be a-typical and well
worth re-reading. -SallyO
Jean Gimpel, THE MEDIAEVAL MACHINE [non-fiction] - Philip
Rumer Godden, IN THIS HOUSE OF BREDE - Melissa
Goldman, THE PRINCESS BRIDE - Sarah
--- Elise: Very funny. You know I threw it down at exactly the same places
where the boy in the movie stops his grandfather? Picked it up again though
---Nat: The movie has a disproportionate number of my favorite exchanges:
Billy Crystal as Miracle Max, Peter Cook as the Impressive clergyman (³wove,
wovewy wove, fat dweam wiffin a dweam...²)...And I recall the book was at
least as good.
---Sarah: Better than the movie!-Sarah
---Hallie: Only book I have EVER not finished reading because I knew the
movie too well (blush).
Joan Grant , WINGED PHARAOH (wow! Go read about the first dynasty after and
boggle at the difference in perspective and the suggestive evidence) - Elise
Elizabeth Janet Gray, PENN - Nat
---Hallie: I've seen this author recommended elsewhere, but haven't yet been
able to get hold of a book by her. This is a children's bio. of William
Graham Greene, BRIGHTON ROCK -Max
Lee Harding, DISPLACED PERSON- The first Aussie sci fi to get respectable.
It meant a lot to me because after this one came out, the publishers stopped
trying to tell me Aussie sci fi wouldn't sell! -SallyO
Thomas Hardy, TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES - Melissa
---Melissa: Call me weird, but this novel leaves me feeling happy and
uplifted. I don't know why. Jacob says it's because I identify with Tess.
---Hallie: (See what I mean about the tragedies? :-)
Hermann Hesse, SIDDHARTHA - Nat
--- Elise: Hesse has that way of writing which is like, I dunno, pure cold
water on a hot day. Magister Ludi gave me a Lot to think about and his
short tales are gems. I confess I haven't read Siddhartha yet-
Georgette Heyer, THE UNKNOWN AJAX- (because of the clever plot) -SallyO
Georgette Heyer, THE TOLL GATE - (I loved the characters). -SallyO
Homer, THE ODYSSEY--Jenwa
--- Elise: I'd like to read what Penelope Really Thought about her husband's
hijinx. Also, I thought that Circe was a spirited lass. I'd like to know
more about her. -
Barry Hughart, BRIDGE OF BIRDS - Melissa
--- Elise: Yay! I just finally read this one, having read the sequels a
long time ago. I'm inspired to try to track down some classic Chinese
literature in translation now. You may like Jeanne Larsen a lot if you like
this. Also, the poetry of Li Po which I've just gotten started on -
Keri Hulme, THE BONE PEOPLE - Nat
---Nat: An amazing book of fierce people. Vivid and frequently surreal. Only
read it once, 13 years ago, and I can still see scenes from it in my head.
Tove Jansson, MOOMINLAND MIDWINTER -Max
---Hallie: Loved these (proper old Penguin editions) - why can't I get my
kids into them?
Catherine Jinks, WITCHBANK (A really wonderful Aussie fantasy with psych
overtones. very clever.) -SallyO
Guy Gavriel Kay, TIGANA -showed me that 'epic fantasy' can be more than just
mindless Tolkien clones. -Tarja
---Sarah: I just finished this--magnificent.-Sarah
Kingston, WOMAN WARRIOR -Deborah
--- Elise: I'd like to hear more about this. Title sounds very inviting -
E L Konigsburg, THE VIEW FROM SATURDAY - Hallie
---Nat: I liked it all right, but found it a bit precious. Bruce Brooks'
best books do a lot more for me.
Michele Landsberg, READING FOR THE LOVE OF IT - Hallie
Jane Langton, THE DIAMOND IN THE WINDOW and THE SWING IN THE SUMMERHOUSE -
---Melissa: Oh, _Diamond_ is one of my favorites! How could I forget?
Langton's writing adult mystery-type novels now and according to a friend of
mine (who has the nerve to call authors to compliment them on their books)
sort of looks down on her children's books now. So disappointing.
Harper Lee, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD - Sarah
--- Elise: This one, like Sula by Toni Morrison, I loved very much but feel
so heartbroken by that I have never been able to bring myself to re-read.
Definitely life changing though - it's like I think Alice Walker said - your
heart can break open or down, and it's better for it to break open. Speaking
of awesome writers, I'd like to add Alice Walker - her essays I especially
---Sarah:This was one of the few books they made us read in high school that
I ended up liking. Love the characters; I even had a dream with Scout and
Jem in it.-Sarah
---Hallie: Becca's doing this in school - I found her reading way ahead, and
she said she wanted to read it all BEFORE they analyzed it so much she hated
it. A glowing endorsement for English in school!
Fritz Leiber, THE WANDERER - Philip
Astrid Lindgren, BROTHERS LIONHEART - Nat
---Nat: The first fantasy I ever read. It was serialized in CRICKET. I got
the book for Christmas that year, and wept at the end of it. On a recent
reread it feels like an odd sort of allegorical echo of WWII in Sweden. A
beautiful, stylized, cool book.
Lowry, THE GIVER - Sarah
Anne-Marie MacDonald, FALL ON YOUR KNEES - Karen
--- Elise: I didn't really get along with this book and I was puzzled about
why not. I think it might be that Doom and Despair thing -
Michelle Magorian, GOODNIGHT, MR. TOM -Max
---Sarah: This always makes me cry!-Sarah
Jan Mark, AT THE SIGN OF THE DOG AND ROCKET. Yet another blended book.
Anne McCaffrey, RESTOREE. A very clever book and her best, I think. -SallyO
---Sarah:I used to read a LOT of McCaffrey--her Pern stuff, but I overloaded
and haven't touched it for a long time. I kind of get the impression she is
in it for the money now, as mean as it seems for me to say so.-Sarah
Scott McCloud, UNDERSTANDING COMICS - Gili
Ian McEwan, THE COMFORT OF STRANGERS - Amanda
Several Barbara Michaels books - because the blended genres prove it can be
done - and successfully, too! Now I only have to convince the local
Alan Moore, WATCHMEN (graphic novel)- Amanda
Terry Moore, STRANGERS IN PARADISE--Jenwa
Christian Morgenstern, with English translations by Max Knight et al,
GALGENLIEDER / GALLOWS SONGS AND OTHER POEMS [in German, but I read the
English more] - Philip
E. Nesbit, THE ENCHANTED CASTLE - Melissa
Charlton Ogburn, THE MAN WHO WAS SHAKESPEARE (oh, such fun! My Shakespeare
profs would freak!) - Elise
George Orwell, 1984--Jenwa
K.M. Peyton, A PATTERN OF ROSES. Another blended genre book that helped set
my taste. -SallyO
---Hallie: Never saw this one - loved the Flambards books. She's wonderful
at sympathetic but very imperfect characters, isn't she?
Meredith Ann Pierce, DARKANGEL TRILOGY (such a vision) - Elise
Sylvia Plath, THE BELL JAR - Amanda
--- Elise: The first thing I came across that raised dissenting ideas for
me, mired as I was in Teen and Seventeen magazines etc. - a harbinger of
adolescence - and one of the harshest, hardest things I've ever read. -
---Sarah: Plath is fascinating. Her poetry gets me too.-Sarah
Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, GOOD OMENS--Jenwa
---Nat: Yes! I won't say it changed me (not like some of Gaiman's graphic
work has), but I love what they do with the apocalypse. Could this have been
written 30 years ago?
---Tarja: Just hilarious! This was one of those 'makes you laugh out loud
at awkward moments in public transports' -books =).
---Hallie: So funny! Everyone starts sniggering when we hear Queen played
on the car radio.
Kristen Randle, THE ONLY ALIEN ON THE PLANET - Melissa
Rawlings, THE YEARLING - Sarah
Renault, THE LAST OF THE WINE - Karen
The poetry of Pierre Reverdy (esp. Couloir and L'auberge) - Elise
Marilynne Robinson: HOUSEKEEPING.- Vanessa
Sally Rogers-Davidson, POLYMER. The first great Aussie space opera! You go,
Sally R-D! -SallyO
Anne Sexton, THE AWFUL ROWING TOWARD GOD (also blew my adolescent mind) -
Wallace Shawn, AUNT DAN AND LEMON (Play) - Nat
---Nat: In the end (I'm not giving anything away), you realize your hero is
a cold-blooded Nazi sympathizer, and what a thin line we all walk. Harrowing
Sleator, ODDBALLS - Sarah
Barbara Sleigh, THE KINGDOM OF CARBONEL. the third animal fantasy. -SallyO
Sherwood Smith, COURT DUEL and CROWN DUEL
Elizabeth George Speare, THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND - because it got me
interested in historicals and still re-reads well.-SallyO
---Hallie: A long-time favourite of mine too - again, not really shared by
John Steinbeck, EAST OF EDEN -Max
Mary Stewart, TOUCH NOT THE CAT. more guts and romance than some of her
stuff, and it has a fantasy-type strand in it. -SallyO
---Tarja: I second that.
--- Elise: Haven't read this in a Really Long Time - you may have started me
off on another round of Stewart reading. Think it is where I learned the
phrase - noli me tangere, which has a nice ring to it -
Sean Stewart, PASSION PLAY -introduced me to this author's work. An
excellent book in which the main protagonist faces serious ethical
Patrick Susskind, PERFUME - Amanda
--- Elise: Oh yeah, this was an eye-sproinging read and for a long time I
was looking for something else from him - what happened? Anyway, I think
Byatt fans might also really like this. Also anyone who has done litcrit.-
Michael Swanwick, THE IRON DRAGON'S DAUGHTER [a recent discovery] - Philip
---Tarja: This was a very weird book which I guess needs a reread on my
Amy Tan, THE JOY LUCK CLUB--Jenwa
---Melissa: The one I liked even better (surprisingly, didn't think I'd ever
like any of her books better than this one) is _The Hundred Secret Senses_.
I read it as a fantasy, but her usual audience is more mainstream...I wonder
what they thought of it? I just took everything at face value, ghosts and
--- Elise: Like rain in the desert - like I said elsewhere, maybe the first
place I came across a real kind of authoritative, woman's voice telling
woman kind of tales - still can't articulate - argh. -
Josephine Tey, DAUGHTER OF TIME - Elise
---Melissa: Another one I forgot--and it's ALL TRUE!!!!
---SallyO: Oh yes, this is a great one too
---Hallie: Yes!! This was on my list too, but I think it got too long.
Don't you want *everyone* to know the real story after reading this?.
Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, A GRAIN OF WHEAT -Max
Thucydides, THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR--Jenwa
Tolkien, THE LORD OF THE RINGS - Karen
---Nat: Tried to get through this for a second time earlier this year, and
got stuck in Mordor. "Mordor was bad. It smelled bad, tasted bad, looked
bad...it was your basic Bad Incarnate. Frodo and Sam felt bad, because
Mordor was so bad..." I gave up and put it back on the shelf.
---Tarja: I have to say I am anxiously waiting for the movies to
materialize. Can't wait to see what they have made of the book.
---Sarah: Does anyone DISLIKE Tolkien?-Sarah
Geoffrey Trease, THE SECRET FIORD. Scandinavia, history, twins, mystery,
adventure - bliss! -SallyO
---Hallie: Cue for Treason is another wonderful one by Trease, set in
Frederick Turner, THE NEW WORLD (an epic poem) - Nat
---Nat: How did I end up with so many bits on Being a Hero on my list? Oh
well, go figure. Not all that well known, this one, but lovely. An SF epic
poem published by Princeton U Press.
Barry Unsworth, SACRED HUNGER - Karen
Jack Vance, LYONESSE - Elise
---Tarja: One of the better fantasies.
Jhonen Vasquez, JOHNNY THE HOMICIDAL MANIAC--Jenwa
Dr. B. Weiss, MANY LIVES, MANY MASTERS (more wild suggestive ideas) - Elise
Rebecca West, BLACK LAMB AND GREY FALCON - Karen
Keith Whilley, OUR AUSTRALIAN HERITAGE. Got it cheap at a market and will
never lose it. The most wonderful research book for historical writing.
Robert Anton Wilson, HISTORICAL ILLUMINATUS trilogy - Nat
---Nat: Plays with your mind. I love it. Great writing it isn't, but Wilson
keeps you guessing in more different ways than I've seen any author sustain
ed. Terri Windling, SNOW WHITE, ROSE RED Series - Nat
---Tarja: I just love these collections and Terri Windling (with or without
Ellen Datlow) has edited several other wonderful anthologies as well. I
especially like their Year's Best Fantasy and Horror collections.
---Hallie: Is this the one by P. Wrede? or is the series something
Jeanette Winterson, ORANGES ARE NOT THE ONLY FRUIT -Tarja
---Tarja: I gather some parts of this book are very loosely based on Jeanett
Winterson's own life.
Gene Wolfe, THE SHADOW OF THE TORTURER (another amazing vision) - Elise
Denis Wood, THE POWER OF MAPS - Nat
---Nat: I hate his writing, but he opens up possibilities that as a
cartographer I cling to and refer back to all the time.
Liz Young, NO GENTLEMAN. Very funny! I laughed all through a long bus
Gary Zukav, THE SEAT OF THE SOUL - Elise
And 4 short stories
Faithful Jenny Dove by Eleanor Farjeon
Crusader's Toby and Humblepuppy by Joan Aiken
The Girl Who Couldn't say No by Robert Westall - perfection again.
---Hallie: What collections are these in?
And some of my own titles, because I write to my own taste... and in some
cases I feel I've changed when I finish writing them. These titles include
Anna's Own, Trinity Street, Shadowdancers, Translations in Celadon,
O'Connor's Last Stand.
--- Elise: You know, I probably have no right to add this because I haven't
finished it yet, but Confederacy of Dunces is soooo sooo indescribable - and
I have to stop and laugh at almost every line. It's painful and slow-going
and such a thick book - it's like being tickled relentlessly. Highly
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