Book lists, recent reading, heresy etc (longer than I thought it would be)

Anita Graham a.graham at griffincoal.com.au
Tue Jan 11 04:11:18 EST 2000


Thanks Nat for those lists.

I found them absolutely fascinating reading - an exciting mixture of books I
know and love and reread all the time (The Riddlemaster being just one
example) and books and authors I've never read (Thomas Hardy being notable
here). I hope I can remember a few names next time I'm flicking through
bookshelves....

Spunoff from this list - I have recently read some books recommended here.

Now for the heresy... I bought Neil Gaiman/Terry Pratchett's "Good Omens"
and found it very pedestrian. Maybe I need to be twenty years younger. Maybe
if I'd never read/listened to Hitchhikers Guide - I just found that it tried
too, too hard to be funny. I appreciated the jokes and humour without
actually laughing at them. (I find the same with Ben Elton). It seemed like
the sort of stuff that would be funny in a standup comedy or over the radio,
but reading was tough. I did enjoy the parody (or wholesale copy) of William
and The Gang, even if "Ginger" had become female, but by the end of the book
that faded into repetition.

Sorry...(don't ban me from the list yet).

I've also become a Lois McMaster Bujold fan, thanks to recommendations here.
I read and loved Cordelia's Honour (Shards of  Honor and Barrayar published
together, and so far that is still my favourite. I've lent it to my brother,
but I will have to demand it back for a third read, soon.)
(After the strength of Cordelia's Honor I read "Downhill all the way" by K.
M. Peyton, as some sort of light antidote, and I was laughing spontaneously
at little parts of the ending. I hadn't expected that, so it was a bonus
from an otherwise pleasant, but unremarkable little book.)

Then I read Warrior's Apprentice (pretty good), The Vor Game (again good),
then as I didn't have the intervening titles on hand I skipped ahead and
read Memory and Komarr in a single night's session. (Husband and three
children all away for two nights! First time in over nine years that I've
been without a child in the house. And I read till 5 a.m.)

Reading like that brings all a book's faults to the fore, not to mention
highlighting the "series" problem. That's where, to handle continuity,
several characters from previous books are mentioned or sighted briefly.
Having skipped several books in the series the single mentions of this one
or that from a previous book really stood out. As a whodunnit Memory was too
obvious - somehow I was suspicious of the final villain from my first
"sight" of him, and it was no surprise at all when he was finally revealed.

Komarr was much better...but perhaps it would have been better if I'd gone
to sleep earlier and read it the next night!

I find that I am reluctant to reread Warrior's Apprentice and The Vor Game
again - yet Cordelia's  Honour and Komarr are high on the reread list. (I
need to read WA and CH a little to see if the Mayhew mentioned in CH is the
same Mayhew who plays a significant role in WA and others on from there.)

And now, to drag this post kicking and screaming back on topic...the series
factor. It seems to me that DWJ hasn't really written a series
(nothwithstanding the position put on this list last year that all her books
are really part of the same universe). Although people talk about
Chrestomanci books as a series (Oh darn, I forgot the Dalemark
Quartet...I'll deal with that in a moment), they don't have a series "feel"
to them. Apart from Chrestomanci himself there aren't a lot of common
characters and there's no continuity of action. And Chrestomanci occupies a
different position in each of the books in which he appears, and he's only a
central figure in one of them. Major, but to stage left in two others and
minor in one. (Well, that's my reading, anyway...but I'm not a real DWJ
expert.)

Dalemark *is* a series, but loosely connected (in so far as I have read only
two of them...).

How do you think DWJ would fare writing a "real" series with tightly
connected characters and lots of continuity? Is the Griffin book that's just
been mentioned likely to function as the second of a series?

I wish, wish, wish she'd tell us more about Deep Secret. My mouth just
waters at the thought of another book like that. Maybe I'll read that one
till two in the morning tonight! (But I have a Mary K. Harris and a Joanna
Lloyd unread so maybe not...)

(OH dear...time to go...)

Anita

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