Recommending books

Kathryn Andersen kat_lists at katspace.com
Fri Jun 21 19:41:44 EDT 2002


On Fri, Jun 21, 2002 at 08:59:40AM -0500, Kyla Tornheim wrote:
> On Fri, 21 Jun 2002, Kathryn Andersen wrote:
> 
> > - Monica Hughes (especially the "Isis" trilogy)
> The Isis trilogy never grabbed me so much, but one of my favorite books is
> "Invitation to the Game." Futuristic; a bunch of nifty characters; and
> they're all really intelligent with different useful skills. Plus, I
> really like the bits about creative scrounging.

True enough.  I think the reason why the Isis trilogy -- or really, the
first book -- stands higher in my consciousness is because of the
surprise at the end, and the real lesson about surface appearances... (I
shall say no more).  While we're talking Monic Hughes, "The Devil on My
Back" is another one to remember, and the sequel "The Dream Catcher" is
another one of those different-is-good books.

Now, now, there is another author niggling at my brain, who was very
close to Monica Hughes on the shelf, but wasn't her... it was a novel
about a time-travel experiment... protagonist was a youth, and it was
one of those paradoxical ones, but with emphasis on character...
(Kathryn goes and looks at her bookshelf in the hope that she actually
does have this book...)  Aha!  "Time Piper" by Delia Huddy.  I think she
wrote a sequel to it, but I'm not sure.
 
> "Charlotte Sometimes" is by Penelope Farmer.
Ah, thank you.
> It gave me chills when I read
> it the first time (um. maybe I was about 12?), and still makes me a bit
> sad/wistful, but it's in a good way. Really. It's not, like, horror. Sorry
> about the use of the word "chills."

Melancholy, perhaps?
 
> And, crud, I seem to have deleted the other message I was going to reply
> to. Someone asked about "Ella Enchanted."
> 
> I will definitely *not* tell you about the fairy tale basis for the story,
> because it annoyed me when I heard which one it was before I read the book
> (don't read those little blurbs on the copyright page), but I will say
> that it's both charming and populated with interesting, strong characters
> and nifty details. So, yes. Highly recommended.

Oh, I totally agree, don't spoil the book.  Considering that I didn't
realize what particular fairy tale was being referenced until at least
half way through the book, I'm very glad that it came as a surprise.
The real point of the book isn't which fairy tale it most resembles,
because it draws on multiple aspects of the fairy-tale tradition,
putting its own twist on them.  It is set in a fairy-tale kingdom, where
there are fairies, gnomes, ogres, centaurs with the intelligence of
horses, rich merchants -- who send their daughters to boarding school...
The author does have her own style, but the closest comparison I would
make would be to something like DWJ's own "Howl's Moving Castle" or --
aha, I've remembered another author -- Elizabeth Scarborough's earlier
books about Princess Bronwyn.

Oh, I've remembered another long favourite (oh, this discussion is fun!)
"The Ordinary Princess" (I forget the author) about a princess who is
cursed with a fairy "gift" of being Ordinary.  Which is of course is
hardly a normal thing for Royalty to be, so she's Different...
A very appealing book.  I've just spent the last ten minutes trying to
find it on my shelves, and I have to conclude with great sadness that
it's Gone. 8-(  8-(  8-(

Kathryn Andersen
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