Best of 2001

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at indigo.ie
Tue Jan 15 14:42:53 EST 2002


Ros:

>
>For years now, I've been recording every book I read in a journal; sometimes
>I add a comment or two about the book, sometimes I just record the title and
>author. I even write down the names of books I couldn't finish. Apart from
>the year at the beginning of each section, I record them by month, which
>seems to be the most practical unit to use.

I think the books you couldn't finish might be the most useful to 
write down.  Maybe it's just my bad memory, but while I'll never 
forget reading _Passage_ this year, there are a few I tossed into 
Oxfam a couple of years ago which I really, really wish I'd written 
down.  That way I wouldn't keep avoiding authors I think just might 
be the one who wrote "that awful book I didn't finish".

>[rest snipped to save space!] [ditto from me]
>
>So, using my own categories, here's my (highly messy and illogical) list for
>2000:
>
>Book that affected me most in 2000: _Passage_ by Connie Willis. I loved the
>way Willis refused to give easy answers in this book--not even the easy
>scientific answer which I think may be closest to her heart--or am I wrong
>here?

Can I give my opinion *without* answering the "am I wrong here" Ros? 
:)  By this time, I'm not at all sure what I actually got from the 
book, what I got from things CW said about her (religious and other) 
beliefs other places, and what I put together from the previous two 
and my own beliefs.  But FWIW, as you asked.  I think CW explains the 
NDE's pretty much completely by the scientific answer.  But I think 
she offers a possible vision of life after death which is completely 
*different* from the easy answers offered by the pap-peddlers.

[Unnecessary digression for those who might conceivably still be 
interested:  My mum read extracts of an article in The Lancet 
(respectable medical journal) in which doctors and scientists seemed 
to say that there actually were some differences between "real" NDEs 
and the laboratory-induced ones.  She's getting the original article, 
which I'll be interested to have a look at.]

>
>Somewhat Disappointing Book: I'm going to have to disagree with what seems
>like half the list here


:)  Glad to see someone else doing this.

>and say that I found _One for the Money_ by
>Evanovich somewhat disappointing. I was told it was hysterically funny; it
>made me smile but I didn't find it *that* funny. I enjoyed the romance
>aspect of it--I often enjoy romances.

At least I can't be accused of having called any of them 
"hysterically" funny - wasn't me.  I think the quirky family humour 
grows a bit through the series.  But it's a long time since I read 
the first, and I lent it to someone ages ago and never got it back, 
so can't see how that one held up to rereading.  The "romance" is 
kept very involving (well, I find it so) - through the introduction 
of a rival to Joe.  (For those who have read the later ones, I'm 
rooting for the rival.)

>Most Disappointing Book: _Eccentric Circles_ by Rebecca Lickiss. It *looked*
>like my kind of book, and the theme was interesting. But the characters
>failed to come alive for me, and I think it didn't work well for me because,
>basically, the writing was pretty pedestrian.

Yup.  I need to do the list-keeping thing.  I remember now that when 
I said on the list that I'd found EC disappointing, you'd replied 
that it was on your books to read pile, and I was interested to hear 
what your reaction was.  But I'd forgotten about it enough not to 
consider it for the MDB category.  I still think _Sing the Four 
Quarters_ wins hands-down, as I expected more from a rec. by DWJ than 
from Charles de Lint.

>
>Book I'm Sure I Will Love When I Read It This Year: _The Tower at Stony
>Wood_ by Patricia McKillip--which didn't get read during 2001 by sheer luck.
>Next to be read, I think.

I really expected to love this to pieces, but didn't (nor did Becca, 
to whom I read part of it).  It doesn't qualify for disappointing 
book as it was a mood/reaction thing, not any kind of reflection on 
the book itself, and I'll try it again.

I'll propose a new category, which I hope some others will at least understand:
Book I Most Enjoyed While Thinking It Was Awful.  Mine is _Evelina_ 
by Fanny Burney.  I read it because of Jane Austen's wonderful 
defense of the Novel scene in _Northanger Abbey_.  I think it's 
actually another book by FB mentioned there, but I found this one 
first.  It was really enjoyable, in a very painful way.  Swoonings on 
virtually every other page, fits of weeping galore, and the most 
pitiful, silliest heroine one could wish for. :)  I kept thinking how 
far JA brought the novel on...


Hallie.

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