Genric Holiday Post (a Bit of Best of, a bit of Christmas Books)

meparks at meparks at
Thu Jan 1 00:35:55 EST 2004

well, I'm very happy because I got DWJ: An Exciting and Exacting Wisdom 
(FINALLY) for Christmas!  I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I have 
scanned the chapter titles lustfully several times.

so here's just a short (not as well planned as Melissa's) list of what I liked 
best in 2003:

Best Surprise: Bujold's Curse of Chalion/ Paladin of Souls.  Hallie: I agree 
with you about dy Chabon being wasted as a character in _Paladin_ (which I 
think was based on my least favorite bit of _Curse_, when he Got the Girl), but 
I still think it was the better book overall.  I was very surprised that I 
liked this book, because I grew tired of the Miles series several books ago, 
and had forgotten how good Bujold can be.  I'm really glad that she's doing 
something new; I've also been really interested in sf with theological 
overtones lately (any reccomendations?)

One of the authors I associate with this is one of my Discoveries: Sharon 
Shinn.  I picked up one of her Angel books because I was curious, and moved on 
to _Summers at Castle Auburn_, which I quite loved.  _Wrapt in Crystal_ is her 
most overtly theological; I prefer her indepentdent books to her Angel series.

Another Discovery was Catherine Asaro--I liked her last name, so I read a book 
and became Very Addicted, and read through her Skolian Imperialite series in a 
week.  I'm not sure exactly how to categorize it--space opera?--but whatever it 
is, I think it's great (though I still think that Connie Willis deserved the 
Nebula for Passage more than Catherine Asaro did for The Quantum Rose).

My favorite New to Me author has got to be Soren Kierkegaard, which is a 
totally random choice, but I really love his stuff.  You know how sometimes you 
read something and it's something you've always been trying to say?  You know 
how sometimes you can see right through an author's tricks as though you know 
them as well as your own sibling?  I feel this odd kinship to Kierkegaard, 
despite not being a Christian.

Series that I thought Petered Out Midway Through: Juliet Marillier's 
Sevenwaters Trilogy.  I devoured Daughter of the Forest, read Son of the 
Shadows, and never finished Child of the Prophecy.

Best Rediscovery: the Dalemark Quartet.

Books I am most surprised that I liked: Sandra Gulland's Josephine trilogy, a 
fictionalized account of the life of Josephine Bonaparte.  Very readable.

Classic I was most surprised to like: Shirley, by Charlotte Bronte (though I 
think I started this in 2002 ;).  I did a thesis on Shirley, Jane Eyre, and 
Villette, and before I read Shirley I read a lot of criticism which led me to 
believe that it was worthy only because it happened to be written by Bronte.  
After reading it for the first time, I was quite surprised.  It's different 
from Jane Eyre and Villette--panoramic as opposed to personal.  It seemed to 
me, though, to have more of Charlotte Bronte's voice than anything else she 
wrote--it has what she thinks about almost everything.

To diversify a bit:

Best Album: Blur's Think Tank.  I'm a Blur fan from way back, and I was 
expecting this album to basically be one last wheeze, but it's gorgeous.  I 
spent all summer driving around, floating, listening to it.  I saw them live, 
too, which only intensified the gorgeousness.  It's a brilliant album--David 
Bowie, Rolling Stone, and Mojo, among others, agree with me.

Best Movie (discovery): Fritz Lang's Metropolis.  I've just gotten the restored 
edition DVD for Christmas, and it's fabulous. . . a little slow, but so 
amazing, and so appropriate for today despite having been made in 1927.

Happy New Year, everyone!


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