[DWJ] Book recommendations

Gili Bar-Hillel gbhillel at netvision.net.il
Wed Nov 8 12:27:27 EST 2006

Actually my trip was a completely spontaneous surprise planned for me by my
husband. I can't believe it's falling on the same weekend as the IBBY
conference. I've just checked the website (
http://www.ncrcl.ac.uk/IBBY/ibby_flyer2006.htm ) and they seem to be fully
booked, what a crying shame! So many people I'd like to hear: Charlie, and
Farah, and Celia Rees whose book "Witch Child" was one of my picks as editor
for Keter, and Phillipa Pearce, and... and... I didn't even think to check
the date, so certain I was that I would not be anywhere in the area. Hmm,
wonder if I can pull some strings... I know Laura Atkins remembers me from
the summer school I attended at Roehampton...

The trip is supposed to be only rest and recreation, but I've already lined
up several work related stops, I hope I don't bore my husband to death. The
big huge secret project I was obsessing about back when I wrote my insomnia
post, if anyone remembers that, is now no longer a secret: I'm writing  an
annotated edition of "Peter Pan", just as a popular book, nothing too
academic. So I've set myself an appointment to visit the archive at the
Great Ormond Street Hospital, and written down lists of sites and addresses
I want to photograph in the vicinity of Kensington Gardens, etc... and the
whole trip is only two and a half days long, during which we also hope to
fit in some theatre (we've got tickets to "Wicked", which as an Oz fan I
feel obligated to see), shopping, and a good restaraunt meal or two (no
decent dim sum in Israel!).  Maybe I should just forget about business and
concentrate on pleasure alone! (Not that I don't find my work a pleasure,
too, but it's less fun for my husband).

"Star of Kazan" was decent, but I had such high expectations that it was
bound to be dissapointing. I liked "Journey to the River Sea" so much
better, and "Star of Kazan" seemed like a bit of a rehash of the same
formula set in a different location, it was a bit too obvious to my taste.
Funny that I tend to like Ibbotson's fantasy books less than I like her
non-fantasy books, the fantasy books are just a bit too lightweight to my
taste. I did buy the rights to publish "Journey to the River Sea" in Hebrew,
it should be coming out in a couple of months. I think my favorite of all
Eva Ibbotson's books is "A Company of Swans", even though it's even more
similar to JttRS!

I did buy "Dragon Flight" on my previous visit to London, but have so far
not been able to get into it. I have a couple more of Funke's books at home,
"Inkspell" and "The Thief Lord" (the latter in Hebrew translation), and none
of them have really gripped me. But then, I had the same experience with
"The Golden Compass" when I first started reading it, and now I'm a huge
Pullman fan. So there's still hope.

And thanks, Hallie -  I've loved the Casson family books so far, so I'll
definitely look for the other books you've recommended as well.

-----Original Message-----
From: dwj-bounces at suberic.net [mailto:dwj-bounces at suberic.net]On Behalf Of
Hallie O'Donovan
Sent: Wednesday, November 08, 2006 6:48 PM
To: Diana Wynne Jones
Subject: RE: [DWJ] Book recommendations

Philip replying to Gili:

>Come to think of it, my copy of the English version (which I got simply
>to lend to people!) is somewhere out there.  Hallie, is it with you at
>the moment?  If it can be located, Gili, you're welcome to borrow it!

Yes, indeed it is!  I was awaiting sending-on instructions - and in
fact, if Gili's trip to London is bringing her to the IBBY
conference, I could pass it on in person.  (You going to be there,

>>  "Speed of the Dark" by Alex Shearer instead of the excellent "The
>>  Speed of the Dark" by Elizabeth Moon,
>Sorry to quibble, but if you are trying to get titles right, I think
>Moon's book (I agree it was good, but I found the ending weak) was
>actually called "The Speed of Dark" without the second "the".
>>  and Ibbotson's rather flat "Star of Kazan" instead
>>  of Stroud's super "Amulet of Samarkand"... that kind of thing).
>LOL!  Not read Amulet of Samarkand, but I know what you mean about Star
>of Kazan!  (I enjoyed it, though)

I don't. :)  But I enjoyed SoK in an entirely different way from
Amulet - or most other books I've enjoyed for that matter.  (And as -
almost sure - the first person to read-and-report on Amulet on the
list -

Many of the books I've been really smitten with recently have been
non-fantasy - Hilary McKay's Casson family books (maybe not *so* much
the most recent), Jaclyn Moriarty (ditto the last and to a greater
extent), and some both non-fantasy and US-only publications.  I did
very much enjoy the two Percy Jacksons (author Rick Riordan), which
are just fun.  And Helen Dunmore's Ingo was very good - haven't read
the sequel yet.  Kate Thompson's The New Policeman I'd recommend -
but *not* her newer one, The Fourth Horseman.

Oh, and Charlie's The Lurkers is in the shops now too!


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