Book IDs (a longish delurk)

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Mon Jan 31 19:19:23 EST 2000

On Sun, 30 Jan 2000 23:49:46 -0000, Abigail Gawith wrote:

>OK, a plea for identification has finally dragged me out of the shadows.
>Usually I reply to these off-list, because I'm shy, but the book in

Shy?  We'll soon cure you of that.  Quick, somebody think of something
outrageously offensive and wrong to say about Abigail's favorite book. :)

> I've enjoyed "A Game of Thrones" and its sequel so much.  Just to tie in
>with another thread.  And the books that I associate with those, probably
>because of the wolves, are Robin Hobb's "Assassin" trilogy; and if you like
>strong female characters, her latest trilogy, of which the first is "Ship of
>Magic" and the third is not yet published, would certainly qualify.

I like both these series (well, haven't read the _Ship of Magic_ thing yet),
which also have in common the fact that they're highly realistic in the
sense of being very straightforward about how awful life can be for the good
guys when the bad guys are in power.  I'm going to go back to the Martin
series when I'm more in the mood for that.  Also the changing point of view
drove me absolutely nuts--though no, that wasn't it, it was in _A Clash of
Kings_ where one of the POV characters is that horrible little brat who was
Ned Stark's fosterling or ward or something.

>My taste in books doesn't seem to tally too well with most of yours.  In the
>realms of fantasy and science fiction, my favourite contemporary authors
>(other than DWJ) are Barbara Hambly, Connie Willis, Robin Hobb, Sheri
>Tepper, Tim Powers, Barry Hughart, Rosemary Kirstein, Laurell K. Hamilton,
>Simon R. Green, Paula Volsky, David Feintuch (although I didn't care for his
>foray into fantasy) and Lois McMaster Bujold. 

That is an EXTREMELY interesting mix.  Did you know Robin Hobb is a
pseudonym for Megan Lindholm?  She wrote a number of books under that name,
including _Gypsy_ (a collaboration with Steven Brust) and _Wizard of the
Pigeons_, which is my favorite.  Right now I'm reading Tim Powers' _The
Drawing of the Dark_.  My favorite by him is either _The Anubis Gate_ or
_Expiration Date_, I never can decide.  But I have to admit that I was
seriously annoyed by the women in Feintuch's "Hope" series, and it was one
of those issues that tainted my enjoyment of the rest of the books.  (What I
particularly liked was the whole religious side of that civilization, which
I thought was clever.)

> I haven't read most of the
>books that have been discussed recently - I've never read any McKinley, took
>against McCaffrey early on and I'm not sure I'd even heard of Garth Nix -
>and wonder if in some cases it's because they just didn't get published over
>here (Britain), or were published as adult while I was still limited to a
>children's ticket at the library.  

Wait, wait, please explain this for the uncouth Americans present.  You get
a children's ticket?  As in, you can only check out books from one section
of the library?

>Then there are authors by whom I like *some* work:
>"Children of the Dust" by Louise Lawrence, although maybe "like" isn't the

What did you like about it?  Post-apocalyptic fiction is a hobby of mine,
and I didn't think this one compared very favorably to others in the genre.
I keep meaning to read others by this author to see if it's just a matter of
her writing style.

> and "This Time of Darkness" and "Children of Morrow" by H.M. Hoover.
>(I've heard that there was a sequel to the latter, but I've never been able
>to find it.  Is she really still writing?  In which country?)

Her most recent book (and I could be wrong about this) is _The Winds of
Mars_, which was published in 1995.  She's not writing nearly as much as she
used to, and I for one thought she had died (how's that for cheerful?) but
she's definitely still around.  Alexlit (, just go look at it
if you don't know what I'm talking about) tells me that _Treasures of
Morrow_ was published in 1975; the library catalog says it's about the two
kids returning to their primitive society after living in Morrow for a
while.  I used to pick up Hoover's books when I could find them, just as
curiosities, but they're pretty hard to find.  And _This Time of Darkness_
really is one of my favorite books ever.

>Like Philip, I've never done any
>literary criticism, and I'm rather disconcerted that nearly all the rest of
>you have studied it.  Is it on the curriculum from an early age in the rest
>of the world?

We could just all be weird.  Let's see.  In America, high school is four
years of education from roughly age 14-18.  (There are ways around this, but
generally this is what kids do.)  In most high schools, the issue is making
sure everyone is at least presented with the same information (if they
absorb it, this is an unexpected bonus) and therefore many schools divide up
courses of study by what year you are in.  So in my high school, the first
year (freshmen) studied general lit, earth science, American history, and
geometry.  No exceptions.  Oh, sure, you can technically take anything you
want, in any order, but the bureaucracy frowns on it.  Also, there's a
division between university-track students and vocational students (though
not to the extent that it happens in Germany, according to Jacob).  So if
you're planning to attend a university, you are supposed to take one English
course, one math course, and one science course each year of high school.

But I know that the reason I *absorbed* the literary criticism I was taught
is that a) I enjoyed it and b) I was better at it than math, so chemistry
was right out.  And it's what I studied in college, because I figured (like
Elise) that I'd be wasting my spare time reading anyway, so I might as well
get a grade for it.  Occasionally I worry that I should have pressed onward
with the math thing, because I really loved organic chemistry.  But I'm also
hopelessly lazy.  Ask anyone.

>Anyone who liked "The Princess Bride" should read "One for the Morning
>Glory" by John Barnes, published in the US about four years ago.

I've been trying to find this one for a couple of months now, as it's been
on my recommended reading list for way too long.

>Finally, did anyone else read the January issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction
>magazine?  Charles de Lint winds up his review of the Harry Potter books as
>follows: "... In fact the only thing that surprises me about the Harry
>Potter books is why they've been so readily embraced by such a wide spectrum
>of readers, while Diana Wynne Jones, who's been doing this also, and with as
>much warmth and skill, for so many years, is still best known only within
>the fantasy and young adult fields.  No disrespect to Rowling; she deserves
>all the kudos the books are receiving.  But I'm hoping the door she's opened
>might also allow some of Jones's wonderful books to slip through into wider
>acceptance as well."

How wonderful!  I always knew he was a great guy.  (I have some theories
about this.  Someday I will put them in writing.  Maybe.)

And welcome to the ranks of the vocal, Abigail.  :)

Melissa Proffitt
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