[DWJ] austenland and new books

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Wed Jun 25 17:29:25 EDT 2008


On Tue, 24 Jun 2008 16:43:18 -0400, Meyers, Katherine wrote:

>Hi everyone,
>I was just wondering if anyone had read Shannon Hale's _Austenland_.  What did you think of it?  I took an enormous guilty pleasure in it. 

I read _Austenland_ earlier this year and liked it, but didn't love it.
(This appears to be my theme for the day: lukewarm failure to engage
emotionally with a side order of indifference.)  I mean, on the one hand,
she's a really amazing writer and I love her characters in this story.  On
the other hand, the book felt to me as if it were trying to be two different
things at once--both a lighthearted Cabot-esque women's novel and a deeper
story about identity and relationships.  And it's not really either one,
which is what makes it flawed in my opinion.  Shannon (I can't call her by
her last name now that I've met and talked with her) seems to write morally
complex "thinking" novels almost reflexively, which amazes me, and I
honestly think if she could figure out how to blend that talent with a
lighter touch, she'd outsell Cabot in no time.  Mostly I hope she's got more
adult fiction in her.

Funny, I thought it was just today, but here at the half-year mark I've got
more unfinished (will never finish) reading on my book list than in the last
three years combined.  Either I'm off my game as far as picking good books
goes, or I'm more crotchety and less patient than I used to be.

>And does anyone have any recommendations for new-ish fantasy/sci-fi/romance for any age that engages you quickly? 

I second Katie--any good recommendations?  I'm stuck waiting for
middle-series books and need something to fill the time.  (Just started
reading Tony Hillerman, which I like, but I don't have many of those
either.)

One of the books I'm waiting for is by Shanna Swendson...she writes these
cute romance/fantasy books about a magical immune working for a company that
sells magic.  Tom Holt without the gritty aftertaste.  She'd be in trouble
if the stories weren't actually about the romance, because her plots are
rather lightweight.  The first one, _Enchanted, Inc._, reads exactly like an
enthusiastic first draft rather than a finished novel, but the others are
better.

Melissa Proffitt



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