Best Books 2002 (long, because I don't know when to shut up)

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Sat Jan 4 19:04:30 EST 2003

On Sat, 4 Jan 2003 22:36:26 +0000, hallieod at wrote:

>Happy New Year everyone!  [Several days later]  I was writing this on 
>New Year's Day, had to stop to go get bread for lunch, and got a call 
>a while later:  "Mom, the keyboard's all wet!"   So the computer has 
>been left off ever since to dry things out, and I've been reminding 
>myself that maternal patience is *definitely* a virtue.

Lucky you, that the keyboard worked after it dried off!  We had something
similar happen, only it was a cat that did it and it was Jacob's fault for
leaving a big cup of water on the desk where it could be brushed up against.
In our case, the keyboard died, but in our house there are always plenty of
hardware pieces waiting for their Big Chance.

>>I finally picked up Martha Wells' books after she was discussed briefly on
>>this list.  I've read three of the four, and while I liked all of them,
>>_Wheel of the Infinite_ was by far the most powerful.  I loved the
>>characters, I loved the interactions between them, I found the religion
>>compelling without being disdainful of religion, and the concepts were
>>outstanding.  The romance between the main character and her hunky bodyguard
>>was yummy, too.  :)  Great book.
>Yay!  I can't even be accused of copy-catting on this, as I said way 
>back in August that _Wheel of the Infinite_ was a definite contender 
>for my best book. :-)

That was probably the discussion which led to me finally, FINALLY reading
one of her books.  I can't tell you how many times I passed _Death of the
Necromancer_ before reading it.  Almost as many as I did _The Blue Sword_,
and I felt nearly as chagrined when I finally got around to it.

>>I almost didn't read the Sharan Newman series because I had a memory of
>>starting the first of these books, _Death Comes as Epiphany_, and hating it.

>Hmm.  I have similar (but vague) memories of reading the first one 
>and not liking it much at all (also of half-drowning my copy in the 
>bath).  I must check if that really was Sharan Newman.

My strongest memory of Sharan Newman was that Guinevere trilogy she did, and
that didn't motivate me to seek out anything else she'd written.  What I
remember of _Death Comes as Epiphany_ the first time was thinking, "This is
one of those 'historical' novels where everybody speaks in modern English
idiom.  And what's with dragging poor Heloise into it?"  It's really not
like that at all--or, at least, the characters don't speak in modern idiom
but they don't use fake archaic speech either.  What impressed me most about
the series (and I don't think I said this earlier) is that Newman manages to
capture the essence of 12th (13th? can't remember) century religious faith
without making fun of the stupid peasants who weren't as enlightened as we
are.  The series also improves over time, and I found myself *really* liking
the books after about the third one.

And you really shouldn't read in the bath.  :)  (Hah. The first thing I'd
like to see invented is a reading tray that will fit a non-freestanding tub,
complete with rubber-tipped wand for turning pages.  Failing that,
waterproofed novels.)
>>_Firesong_ also wins the special award for "Nicest Thing Anyone Did For Me
>>This Year" because Hallie went to a lot of trouble to send it to me when it
>>wasn't available here.

>Hey, I won an award!  Hopefully this wasn't *the* single nicest thing 
>anyone did for you at all - but just the one related to your book 

I'm sure there were other nice things unrelated to reading, but I don't
remember what they were.

>>   Good fiction ought not to take (overt)
>>sides.  That's why we have pamphlets and earnest young men in dark suits
>>knocking on doors.
>Heh.  Have you read _The Eyre Affair_ yet?  What you have just 
>written wouldn't otherwise have induced sniggers...

This is the award I decided not to mention--Book I Checked Out Most Often
Without Actually Reading It.  (First runner up was _Lady of the Sorrows_,
for obvious reasons.)  For some reason I just never got around to it,
despite knowing that I'd probably like it.  Once I do, I'll know why that
was funny.  (I had two earnest young *women* knock on my door the other day,
by the way.  They were a sweet young pair of Asian girls and they were very
surprised to learn that I was a Proffitt, har har har.  I'm really sick of
that pun after three years in Utah.)

>And finally, (well, finally that I can think of for now) _Northanger 
>Abbey_ gets the Most Improved by Studying It award for this year 
>(loved it already, though it was never my favourite Austen, love it 
>much more now)

I loved it because part of me is still Catherine, to my embarrassment.  I
don't know anyone else who likes it, though.

> and _Middlemarch_... I don't know what award it gets. 
>But it's definitely a favourite of some kind.  And I'm still planning 
>to inflict a F&H/Middlemarch comparison on the list some day, as the 
>idea just won't go away, no matter how much I ignore it.

That would be nice.  Maybe I'll actually finish reading _Middlemarch_ so
I'll know what you're talking about.  :)

Melissa Proffitt

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