Wilkins' Tooth (was Re: Introductions)

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Tue Jun 24 12:11:44 EDT 2003

On Tue, 24 Jun 2003 13:50:52 +0100, Rowland, Jennifer A B wrote:

>Minnow wrote:
>> I'd suggest one that doesn't have too many references to 
>> things she may not yet have encountered: <snip> the 
>> Homeward Bounders is improved by having some idea who 
>> Prometheus is -- for instance.  And Howl has all the
>> John Donnery...
>I agree with the basic point, but disagree about Howl- I'd never heard of
>Donne when I read it. (I went out and found his Collected Poems after I read
>Howl, in fact.) The bit that's integral to the plot, the poem/curse, is
>explained, and the others are little fun references that you catch if you
>know the poems. 

I was thinking how much fun it is later on to suddenly realize what all
those references were.  Like being in your tedious English Lit class and
meeting an old friend in the textbook.  I do agree that the books are
improved by familiarity with the inside jokes, so to speak, but that's like
saying chocolate cake is made better by fudge frosting.  (With apologies to
the diabetics and those who don't like chocolate, poor dears.  :)

Some of DWJ's books, though, really are less...accessible, I guess, than
others.  I try not to give _Hexwood_ to anyone who isn't mentally up to the
challenge, because the complaints I've heard about it are almost universally
of the "it was badly written because I couldn't understand what was going
on" variety.  With that one, understanding Arthurian myth makes a huge
difference because it gives you something to hang on to while you're putting
the puzzle together.

Anyway, I just realized I need to send another book off to my recalcitrant
nephew, and I think it should probably be one of the "beginner" DWJs.  I've
already given his mother a list, but he won't read anything she suggests (on
the grounds that she is Uncool and an Old Fogy, I gather).  She tricked him,
though.  He was expressing an interest in David Eddings and his mom was
about to say "oh yes, I liked it, you should give it a try," but then sucked
those words right back in and replaced them with, "well, I don't know...it
*is* kind of a difficult series...I don't know if you're really up to it."

Melissa Proffitt

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