December 28, 2002
43. Alanna: The First Adventure, Tamora Pierce
I've been spending my vacation the best way possible so far... The only thing I'm wondering is: where was all this great young adult fantasy when I was a young adult! The one thing all four of these books have in common is a strong female character who avoids stereotypes. I'm both pleased and impressed. And envious of girls who get to read this stuff at the "appropriate" age.
Mer's Christmas present to me were the first two books in this young adult fantasy series. I blazed through the first one on Christmas Eve. Lots of fun: girl dresses as boy to become a knight. The plot isn't tremendously shocking at all, but the characters are fantastic and very likeable. I'm looking forward to reading the second half of this extremely enjoyable quartet.
44. In the Hand of the Goddess, Tamora Pierce
The second book in the "Song of the Lioness" quartet, I blazed through this one in the wee small hours of Christmas morning when I was having trouble sleeping at my parents' house. "Squire Alan's" secret gets discovered with some interesting (if marginally predictable) results. The biggest surprise to me here was how frank the subject of sex came up. There's nothing explicit, obviously, but characters do sleep together and there's nothing oblique about how it's presented. I guess young adult fiction has changed a little. ;)
45. The Hero and the Crown, Robin McKinley
It took me a while to get through this one, mostly because I didn't enjoy it quite as much as The Blue Sword. On the one hand, it was nice to see the legendary figure of Aerin detailed as real, normal person, but on the other hand, not so much. I think I liked Aerin better when she was the mysterious legend who visited Harry and gave her strength.
46. The Perilous Gard, Elizabeth Marie Pope
This one I read mostly today. It's an interesting take on the "fairy folk under the hill" mythos. I liked the historical setting, very much, as well as the characters. Also, the references to Tam Lin win bonus points from me. All in all, not a bad way to spend a winter afternoon.
December 05, 2002
Thanks to Mer, it occurred to me that this might belong here too.
Which books are you reading right now?
Mansfield Park, Jane Austen
The Hero and the Crown, Robin McKinley
Women Who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.
When is your favourite time to read?
Whenever there's something else I ought to be doing. Also, lying in bed before going to sleep.
Where is your favourite place to read?
Curled up under the covers in bed, or while stuck on the bus to school.
What is the first book you remember reading?
The first honest-to-god chapter books I read were the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. If memory serves, the very first one I read was Farmer Boy, when I was about five years old, maybe six.
What is your favourite quotation?
From Wizard and Glass by Stephen King (spoiler-ish):
At the end of her life she was aware of heat but not pain. She had time to consider his eyes, eyes of that blue which is the color of the sky at first light of morning. She had time to think of him on the Drop, riding Rusher flat-out with his black hair flying back from his temples and his neckerchief rippling; to see him laughing with an ease and freedom he would never find again in the long life which stretched out for him beyond hers, and it was his laughter she took with her as she went out, fleeing the light and heat into the silky, consoling dark, calling to him over and over as she went, calling bird and bear and hare and fish.
Who is your favourite novelist?
Jane Austen is starting to move up on the list. Also there: Stephen King, Tad Williams, Jeanette Winterson, Sharon Kay Penman, Laurell K. Hamilton, Toni Morrison.
Which school text did you most enjoy?
Not counting textbooks, since they've been pretty dry. I read Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison for African American literature last year and was completely blown away.
What is the most difficult book you have ever read?
Again, not counting school work, probably One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It was fascinating, and I'd like to read it again someday, but it was very slow going with lots of backtracking to reread bits and keep characters straight.
What is the most erotic book you have read?
I've only read it once, but it's stuck in my mind for years: Vox by Nicholson Baker, a novel that is essentially one long phone sex conversation, but not of the "oh baby oh baby" variety. The Story of O was also an eye opener.
What is your funniest book?
I dunno about funniest, but there were a couple of times during American Gods by Neil Gaiman when I laughed out loud.
It's three, actually: The Fionavar Tapestry trilogy by Guy Gavriel Kay. There were several occasions during those books when I had to put the book down and just sob. Beautiful, glorious, sad stuff.
What is your favourite children's book?
Little kids book: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. I used to have it completely memorized by virtue of reading it aloud every single day when I was teaching preschool. "The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another..."
Young adult books: Bridge to Terebithia and Jacob Have I Loved, both by Katherine Paterson.
What is your most overrated book?
I think Mercedes Lackey in general is vastly overrated. She does some interesting things with characterization, but her settings and plots and writing are all pretty bleh. Also, Robert Jordan. Pul-eeze!
Name your most underrated book.
I don't think Stephen King gets enough credit for being a "serious" author. Of course he's put out some absolute dreck. However, I think his Dark Tower books are true works of art.
Who is your favourite character?
Probably Jack Sawyer in The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub. He stayed with me for years after I first read that book.
Which characters do you hate most?
Not remembering any serious character hatred right at the moment.
With which character do you most identify?
I remember relating a great deal with the main character in Jacob Have I Loved.
With which character would you most like to have an affair?
*blush* Well... probably just about any of the male characters in Laurell K. Hamilton's books, aside from the gross villains, of course.
Who would be your ideal literary dining companions?
Stephen King, Toni Morrison, Neil Gaiman
What is the worst screen adaptation?
The cinematic Dune. The recent Sci-Fi Channel miniseries wasn't horrid, but the mid-80s version sure was. Putrescent.
Name three desert island choices?
Heh. I read so many series and trilogies that this is tough. Aw hell. I'll count the series as one item. ;)
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
- Dark Tower series, Stephen King (only, all of them please--even the ones not written yet)
- Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series, Tad Williams
What is your favourite poem?
Oh this changes based on mood. "The Stolen Child" by W.B. Yeats, "The Hollow Men" by T.S. Eliot, or sometimes, yes, "The Wasteland" by T.S. Eliot. Jumping in and reading sections of "The Wasteland" is almost like a meditative process at times, trying to puzzle meaning out.
Which book changed your life?
I don't think any one single book has changed my life in an "Aha!" sort of sense, but rather all the books I've read have worked together to help form who I am. Yeah, looking over my favorite author list, it scares me too.
Which book would you make compulsory reading?
You can't really force reading tastes, so I don't think there's anything I'd force everybody to read.