Best books 2002 (also horribly long)

Rebecca Ganetzky rganetzk at oberlin.edu
Sat Jan 18 11:45:21 EST 2003


I'm going to delurk (which is easier for me during January) and share 
my list.  I've been keeping a book log (not a diary, though) since 
the beginning of 2002, and have somehow managed to read a significant 
number of books (not as many as I would like, but hey...)
Using Emma's categories (and some new ones)
Best Book: This for me is very, very hard.  For all around best in 
YA, this award goes to Perilous Gard, for being fun, fast-paced and 
about one of my faborite subjects (the Fae).  Not quite as good as 
F&H, but still simply lovely.
For adult books without question this goes to American gods by Neil 
Gaiman (which I should have read earlier, but didn't.)

Worst Book: A book not actually in my log, The House of God, by 
Samuel Shem, which I read for a class, fits this category nicely. 
Although the book has a well-crafted message, theme, tone and 
purpose, that does little to excuse the gratuitous sex, blood, and 
treatment of women as sex objects.  After my teacher informed the 
class that he felt as though this book were an accurate portrayal of 
a medical internship, I had to ask one of my friends to go to orgies 
in my lieu when I become an intern.

Funniest Book: Thief of Time, Terry Pratchett.  It was also the only 
funny book I read this year, but that should not diminish the value. 
In my opinion, Pratchett just keeps getting better.

Best Series discovered this year: Sandman by Neil Gaiman.  Another 
set of books I should have read long ago and didn't, the images and 
tone of these graphic novels was, by turns, poignant, moving, deeply 
disturbing and uplifting.  This was very much the Year of Neil Gaiman 
for me, as, in addition to all of the Sandman books and American 
Gods, I also discovered Stardust

Best First book: Rhapsody, by Elizabeth Haydon.  An Epic that manages 
to depart from standard enough to be wonderfully enjoyable, but keeps 
enough that the book has a strong backbone in the Epic genre.


Book I Couldn't Put Down: Moonlight and Vines, by Charles de Lint. 
Although this is getting regular for me with de Lint books (I think 
Someplace to be Flying should have needed to be surgically removed 
from my hands, as I stayed up until 3 a.m. to finish it, when I had 
to be at work at 8:30 a.m. the same day) I found Moonlight and Vines 
to be particularly so.  the best short story collection of the year, 
each story had the right pacing to fit with the others, keep me 
absorbed, make me feel content when the story was over, but not 
satisfied enough to put the book down.

Favorite Series revisted: Not quite a revisitation, as it was my 
first read of the Amber Spyglass, but as I reread the other two this 
year, His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman.  I thought little of 
this books the first time through, and treated them as generic, if 
not slow, fantasy.  The second time through I was extremely moved. I 
found this books deep and insightful, and not as heavy handed on the 
morality as I feared.  In short, I fell completely in love with these 
books.

Most Disappointing: The Black Unicorn, by Tanith Lee, tied with The 
Bad Beginning by Lemony Snickett.  The Black Unicorn was my first 
Tanith Lee book, and perjaps I did not like it because of the company 
it was in (I read it between the aforementioned Someplace to be 
Flying, and the also aforementioned Sandman series) but I found the 
book to be not bad, but not worth the fuss that I always hear about 
the author.  The Bad Beginning was a book about which I had heard 
great things, for adults as well as YA readers.  I found the book to 
be not enjoyable to an oder audience, as the plot was short and 
self-satisfied, and lacking in detail.  The definition of words 
irritated me.

Best Buy: Lirael, by Garth Nix.  I bought a new (not used) hard book 
copy in very good condition for $2.50 at the Border's outlet store 
outside of my college town.

Books I Wanted to Read and Didn't Get a Chance To, In Spite Of Having 
Available Copies: Sabriel and Lirael by Garth Nix, and Prophecy by 
Elizabeth Haydon.  Perhaps it is the sheer size of these books that 
makes me not pick them up.  I really want to read all of them, I have 
all of them, and yet...I am assuming that, as life is wont to do to 
us, once I finally manage to read these, I will fall utterly in love 
with them.

Honorable Mentions:  Okay, I like books, and there were some that I 
read this year would (and do) recommend to anyone, but didn't get to 
mention yet here:
Best Classic Fantasy Honorable Mention: This is tied between the 
Dispossed by Ursula le Guin (my first le Guin book) and the Moon is a 
Harsh Mistress by Heinlein (my first Heinlein)
Best Book/Author That I Wanted to Read and Didn't Get a Chance To in 
Previous Years and Then Did and Was Impressed Honorable Mention: For 
book this was College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer, when I first 
stareted reading it one of the scenes terrified me, and I stopped 
reading it in middle school and didn't start again until now, when I 
loved it.  For author this was Robin McKinley.  The Blue Sword bored 
me to pieces.  I got stuck on the orange trees and never finished, 
and swore off McKinley completely.  I picked her up again this year 
with the Rose Daughter, which I adored.
Best Book Not Yet Mentioned Honorable Mention: Yarrow, by Charles de 
Lint is a strikingly well done novella, whose presentation inspired 
multiple creative endeavors of my own.  This book did the best job of 
any fantasy I read this year to have a believable "real world" 
setting and "real" characters, mingled with a completely terrifying 
and fey under layer.

Sorry that was so long everyone, and happy 2003 reading!
-RDG
-- 
Rebecca D. Ganetzky
"...and do not say that a thing is impossible to understand, for 
eventually it will be understood."-Rabbi Hillel
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