Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Awards, etc.

Expand Messages
  • Matthew R. Williams
    On the subject of the books up for award, I thought stardust was kind of formulaic, but really enjoyed High House and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer s
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 16, 1999
    • 0 Attachment
      On the subject of the books up for award, I thought "stardust" was kind of
      formulaic, but really enjoyed "High House" and "Harry Potter and the
      Sorcerer's Stone", both of which I found very imaginative. I thought the
      idea of a whole world inside a house was very well thought out and I enjoyed
      the references to Lewis, MacDonald, etc.

      Matthew R. Williams
      Library Director
      Watertown Public Library
      Watertown, WI 53094
      director@...-wi.org
    • David Lenander
      Re: the children s nominees, I had found Dalkey s _The Nightingale_ a pleasant but fairly undistinguished book when it was a finalist for the adult award a
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 16, 1999
      • 0 Attachment
        Re: the children's nominees, I had found Dalkey's _The Nightingale_ a pleasant
        but fairly undistinguished book when it was a finalist for the adult award a few
        years back, and expected to have a similar reaction to the two new Japanese
        fantasies, _Little Sister_ and _The Heavenward Path_, which I needed to read
        when the latter became a finalist for the award this year. To my surprise, I
        found the former excellent. Original, beautifully done, incidentally very
        nicely presented as a book (I loved the physical package), and mythopoeic. For
        reasons I can't explain, I had a lot of difficulty finding the sequel (_Path_),
        most of the public libraries in the twin cities haven't purchased it, and it was
        no longer in most bookstores. I finally obtained it at Uncle Hugo's SF
        bookstore last week and finished it this past weekend. It's even better than
        _Little Sister_, I think that Dalkey has been thoughtful about the structure of
        the two books together, and has stiffened the fine characterizations and plot
        with a lot of Ideas, which however are never obtrusive. I ought to have taken
        the enthusiastic recommendations of Laura Krentz and Ruth Berman in Once Upon a
        Time (the Mythopoeic Society Children's Fantasy Special Interest Group APA) more
        seriously and read these books long ago. It may be that children's books are
        Dalkey's true metier, as much as I've been enjoying the Blood of the Goddess
        books, they somehow haven't really convinced me in the way that this book does.
        Or it may be that the refined Japanese setting matches Dalkey's style better
        than the exhuberant Indian masala. I will have to reread _The Nightingale_. My
        choice for the award this year.

        But overall, the children's list was very strong. I had some reservations about
        Jones' _Dark Lord of Derkholm_, but the fascinating and very convincing
        characterization of Derk's children, some human, some griffin, amazed me, I
        can't think when I've seen this before. The usual DWJ satire and humor mixed
        with the usual extra complicated plot and a touch of the numinous raised this
        above many of her books, though not to the level of _Fire and Hemlock_ or
        _Spellcoats_ or _Howl's Moving Castle_.

        I think Gail Carson Levine's _Ella Enchanted_ is rather old news at this point,
        having been a Newbery Honor book last year. It ought to have been on our final
        list last year, though the paperback edition gave it a second chance for this
        year. Nevertheless, it's extremely well done and quite worthy of comparisons to
        Diana Wynne Jones's work. There were rough spots, and while the use of
        "Cinderella" and "Sleeping Beauty" is mythic, and it certainly creates its own
        mythopoeic framework, it seems to me less "mythopoeic" in our sense, certainly
        there is less of the numinous or sense of wonder. But it's a fine work, and
        richly deserving of any praise. Ruth Berman had some interesting analysis in
        Once Upon a Time that I don't quite recall, except that I didn't quite agree
        with her about the book's ultimate failures. It will be interesting to see what
        Levine comes up with in any future fantasy that she writes.

        Reading Gerald Morris's _The Squire's Tale_, I thought that we might be
        discovering someone who might be otherwise overlooked, but with a new sequel and
        very positive reviews of the first book, I guess not. Still, it's deserving of
        its positive reviews, I thought. I think Grace Funk wrote about it in the
        current OUaT, and agreed with my previous notes about it that it is an
        outstanding book. Another fine contender, and I look forward to reading the
        sequel.

        In this company, J.K.Rowling's _Harry Potter and the Philosopher's
        Stone_ (or "and the Sorcerer's Stone" in the U.S.--I could rant about this, but
        will spare you for the moment) is decidedly outclassed. But it's a fun story,
        with an interesting treatment of school sports in the air-soccer/tennis-like
        game which gave it something unique. Not really as well done as such similar
        books as Jane Yolen's _Wizards' Hall_ or Le Guin's _A Wizard of Earthsea_ or
        fantasies like Jones's _Witch Week_ or Roald Dahl's _Matilda_ (I'm convinced tat
        Dahl provides Rowling with something of a template) and many others in which
        school and magic are mixed, and there is little that is mythopoeic or full of
        wonder, but it's just a lot of fun with a pace that never flags. It's no wonder
        that it's selling like hotcakes to adults and children and hitting best-seller
        lists. If it doesn't really deserve such sales, given that it's really not very
        original or substantive, serious or artful, compared with (for example) the
        other finalists on this list, then again, its a much finer book than many on the
        bestseller lists, and I think it's a very respectable book. It may be that
        Rowling will eventually develop her own distinctive style and virtues, as the
        publishers have already committed to six sequels. For now, though, it's a very
        pleasant read, a pastiche of much that's fine in other writers. If it does win
        our award I wouldn't be embarrased to list it.

        Responding to the message of <199906161256.HAA17716@...>
        from mythsoc@onelist.com:
        >
        > From: "Matthew R. Williams" <director@...-wi.org>
        >
        > On the subject of the books up for award, I thought "stardust" was kind of
        > formulaic, but really enjoyed "High House" and "Harry Potter and the
        > Sorcerer's Stone", both of which I found very imaginative. I thought the
        > idea of a whole world inside a house was very well thought out and I enjoyed
        > the references to Lewis, MacDonald, etc.
        >
        > Matthew R. Williams
        > Library Director
        > Watertown Public Library
        > Watertown, WI 53094
        > director@...-wi.org
        >
        > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
        > The Literary Guild´┐Ż offers you half off publishers' edition prices on
        > the books you love to read. Get 5 books for only $2 + 1 free with
        > membership. Go to http://www.onelist.com/ad/doubleday7
        > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
        > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
        >
        > .


        David Lenander, Library Manager I
        Bio-Medical Library Access Services work: (612)626-3375
        Circulation, Core Collections & Reserve Desks home: (651)292-8887
        Diehl Hall/505 Essex SE fax: (612)626-2454
        University of Minnesota
        Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455

        e-mail: d-lena@...
        web-page: http://www.tc.umn.edu/nlhome/m391/d-lena/BreeMoot.html
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.