challenging the mind

jenne at jenne at
Thu Jul 17 11:39:08 EDT 2003

I've been considering the debate lately, and wondering if there is another
way of dividing what the critics are talking about, the ability of the
book to challenge one's mind.

In other words, does this book make me conceptually _think_?

I can't think of a Diana Wynne Jones book that doesn't, though I can think
of authors that make me work more to read them (in speculative fiction).
For instance, Patricia McKillip consistently makes me work very hard to
read her, it's just that I enjoy it immensely. Charles De Lint I don't
read unless I'm in the mood to have my mind 'taken up, turned inside out,
cleaned, swept, beaten out and hung up to dry, and afterwards tacked down
in a new position with a firm hand.'

Tamora Pierce falls more into the non-working category but has moments of
making one work (especially in her more recent books) and she sometimes
makes me work a bit on a first reading when I don't need to on a second

Mercedes Lackey and Anne McCaffrey generally don't make me work too hard,
they are somewhat pre-digested.

John Crowley (_Little, Big_) makes one work, but it's worth it; I gave up
reading Sherri Tepper and Susie McKee Charnas' adult stuff because while I
didn't have to work that hard to read it, it wasn't all that interesting.

-- Pani Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, Knowledge Pika   jenne at
"Freedom is expensive, dangerous, unpredictable, and sometimes ugly
and offensive. At such a high price, no wonder it is sweet."
-- John N. Barry, _Library Journal_, January 1992

To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list