Best Books 2002

hallieod at indigo.ie hallieod at indigo.ie
Sun Jan 5 12:05:53 EST 2003


Melissa:

>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.

Then I'll definitely keep an eye out - everything you said sounds as 
if I would like them.

>
>And you really shouldn't read in the bath.  :)

[Loud pantomime chorus]  Ohhhh yes you should!!  Reading in the bath 
is one of life's great pleasures.  (I never do it with other people's 
books, in case anyone is starting to worry.)

>  (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.)

I *just* saw a bath tray that included a good-sized reading stand. 
(Probably one of those cursed companies that don't ship from the UK 
to Ireland.)  Course the only problem is that you'd have to turn the 
pages far too often, unless it was  a very slow read, in which case, 
why bother?

>  >>   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.

Yup.  Unless of course you don't find it funny...

>  >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.

I only know Ven who *doesn't* like it. ;-)

>
>>  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.  :)

Ha!  I managed to participate - wait - I *started* the Tess & Hexwood 
discussion, based on Philip's idea - without either of our having 
read Tess. It should be no bother for you to know what I'm talking 
about.  Assuming I can collect my wits enough to write it up (and 
know myself what I'm talking about!).


Hallie.


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