Best of 2001

Gross Family argross at
Thu Jan 17 10:02:33 EST 2002

Hallie wrote:

[stuff snipped again!]

> Our Rector read us a quote once which I haven't *quite* managed to
> remember correctly, but loved nonetheless.  It was something along
> the lines of our fearing horizons because we couldn't see beyond
> them, and what was death but the ultimate horizon?  (Only it was in
> better prose.)

I really like that quote.

Maybe that's why people keep writing these books and films that give every
detail about what they are certain happens after death--they just don't want
it to be a horizon at all.

> >I'm not sure, but I think what I've just said is that basically I agree
> >you. :-))
> Lol.  I realised on reading your answer, that I'd forgotten to
> mention that I also incorporated all kinds of discussions of the
> book.  And I agree with what you said about CW avoiding the easy
> answers - in each discussion, the other person said or questioned
> something which I had thought I had all sorted out.  Amazing book.

Yes, I agree. There's something that I still wonder at that I will ask your
opinion of at the end of this email, under SPOILER.

> >  > >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.
> >
> >Well, someone's got to do the dirty work. :-))
> :)  And you do it so *well*, Ros, I'll be happy to leave it to you!



> >So you think it might be worth my while to continue reading the second
> >third?
> Sigh.  I don't give flat-out recommendations like this all that
> easily (though I'm happy enough to go out on a limb for the Megan
> Whalen Turner ones, and already did).  As I said, I haven't reread
> the first one for some time, so I don't even know what I feel about
> it compared to others.  But some of the fun comes in the repetitions
> of incidents (Tough Guide in New Jersey?  Guns in handbags instead of
> swords - sorry, Swords.  And Incidents.  Silly of me.) through the
> series, imo.  And quitting after the first one, you wouldn't have
> seen enough mayhem in the funeral parlour, enough times when
> Stephanie's car was destroyed - wouldn't have met Lula, or Ranger, or
> The Mooner, or Bob the dog.  Oh dear, I think I need to go reread.
> Let me put it this way, this series I find perfect as a non-chemical
> mood enhancer, and the feeling has grown with each book I've read,
> which is not the same as thinking the books get "better".  So I guess
> I'd say with lower expectations, what have you got to lose? :)

Very true! You do make it sound as though it gets more quirky (which is a
plus in my book).

> >>  I still think _Sing the Four
> >>  Quarters_ wins hands-down, as I expected more from a rec. by DWJ than
> >>  from Charles de Lint.
> >
> >I'm going to have to be a renegade again and say that, contrary to quite
> >few people on the list, I really, really liked _Sing the Four Quarters_
> >completely forgot to say this in my list!). What did I like about it? The
> >characters, the way they are *naturally* bisexual, without any
> >or fuss; the world it's set in with its magical system--I found the whole
> >thing quite charming. I enjoyed the others in the series, too, though I
> >found numbers two and three in the series a bit less enjoyable than the
> >third and last. But the second and third contained that delicious idea of
> >two souls inhabiting the same body (or something along those lines--my
> >memory is a bit unclear about it).
> Ok, since you're going against the herd *twice*, I won't bore on
> about what I disliked, but just say that I did like the music/magic
> system also. :)

Yes, that was good, I thought. Actually, you won't bore me if you tell me
what you disliked--I'm interested to know. But if you mean that you don't
feel like it/don't want to or whatever, that's fine, too.

> >>  >Book I'm Sure I Will Love When I Read It This Year: _The Tower at
> >>  >Wood_ by Patricia McKillip--which didn't get read during 2001 by
> >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 let you know what I thought when I've read it. You might have to
> >me, as obviously my memory is not entirely reliable!
> Ok!  But how will I remember to remind you?

Well, you're younger than me, so maybe you've got a better chance of
remembering! :-)


> Glad you understood it, but I think I could have come up with a
> catchier category title.  Most Enjoyed Loathing?  That sounds
> disturbed, but at least it's shorter.

I like that. It's not really disturbed so much as ironic, no? Anyway, some
people already consider *me* disturbed just for taking a book with me

OK, here's the question I want to ask you. Important spoilers coming.


Did you think that the implication was that Joanne's consciousness only
continued until she managed to get the message across to Richard--that her
experience after death followed the same timeline of what was happening to
her friends in the living world--or do you think the implication is that her
consciousness goes on after that, too? I was discussing this with a friend,
and we both felt confused by the fact that time seems to flow at a different
rate for Joanna after her death and the living world, so that the reader
can't be sure that her message gets across at the same time as Richard
'gets' it. Also, we both felt that it was unclear whether Joanna's
consciousness continues after she gets the message across, but we also both
felt that Willis was leaving that possibility open--refusing to give a
definitive answer, but sort of saying 'maybe', and also at the same time
saying, 'yes, but it's totally different from anything you--or Joanna
herself--could imagine." Do you (or Melissa, or anyone else who's read the
book) agree?

The other thing we were confused by is the fact that Willis has that
wonderful, poignant, heartbreaking description of Joanna's memories
disappearing one by one, but the next thing you know, she still has those
memories! What did you make of that?


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