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Re: 1998 Fantasy Books

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  • Matthew Winslow
    ... Oh, not despair for the award or anything , just despair on finding more than a few for the nomination list. ... I loved this book (and Willis in
    Message 1 of 9 , Dec 10 9:44 PM
      On Fri, 11 Dec 1998, Eleanor Farrell wrote:

      > Matt,
      > I see (or make!) this comment every year.... but always find at least a
      > couple of gems on the fantasy shelves. So, don't despair! One reason for

      Oh, not despair for the award or anything <g>, just despair on finding
      more than a few for the nomination list.

      > _To Say Nothing of the Dog_ by Connie Willis

      I loved this book (and Willis in general), but it just didn't feel like a
      book "written in the spirit of the Inklings" (or whatever the phrase is).
      _Darwinia_, though, felt a lot like it to me -- even though it is
      technically science fiction.

      Has anyone read -- or even been able to find a copy of -- Joe Lansdale's
      _The Boar_? It sounds like a good book, but it's from a small publisher
      and is well over $25 -- and it's only about 130 pages or so. I'd love to
      put it on the nomination list, but I'd feel bad if it were one of those
      books no one could find.

      Matthew Winslow mwinslow@...
      "There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading
      them." - Joseph Brodsky
    • David Lenander
      Responding to the message from Eleanor Farrell ... Lynne Reid Banks has written a number of children s books, including a number of
      Message 2 of 9 , Dec 11 11:06 AM
        Responding to the message
        from Eleanor Farrell <emfarrell@...>
        > David, your comments are intriguing, how about more info here for those of
        > us who don't know who "Banks" is or know anything about her books?

        Lynne Reid Banks has written a number of children's books, including a number of
        fantasies. Far and away her most popular and commercially successful is the
        series beginning with *The Indian in the Cupboard*. The sequels include:
        *Return of the Indian* *Secret of the Indian* and *Mystery of the Cupboard* and
        the new *Key to the Indian*. She's been criticized as misusing the Native
        American material that she employed as background for the character Little Bear.
        I think that the first book was written rather thoughtlessly regarding this, so
        Little Bear speaks in a sort of "Movie Injun" broken English, but clearly she's
        been trying to improve things, since. The new book is apparently focusing much
        more directly on Little Bear, so my guess is that she's trying to "make up" for
        the first book. Rather as P.L. Travers rewrote portions of one of the Mary
        Poppins books to address a supposedly racist portrayal of an African family.
        Indian in the Cupboard was made into a major film a couple of years ago, though
        I seem to recall that it incorporated elements from the second book, too. Aside
        from the criticism that the books include insensitive portrayals of Native
        American Indians, the books are in many respects very well written, and have
        been much praised and become quite popular. Lois Kuznets discussed at least the
        first in her MSA-award book *When Toys Come Alive*.

        To be honest, I've not read the first book (But I saw the MOVIE!), but I have
        read the three sequels and have been very impressed with the increasingly
        interesting things that Banks has done in these books, especially with
        *Mystery*, where she develops the rudimentary idea of the magical key and
        cupboard in logical but previously unexpected ways, and experiments with Telling
        the Grown-ups the Truth about the magic, which seems odd in the 4th book of a
        series that hadn't previously done this. On the other hand, I think that I
        found *Mystery* easier to like partly because she was avoiding the "Little Bear"
        material, which has always made me uneasy.

        Incidentally, we do not have a dearth of books to consider on the children's
        side. Laura forwarded a list of--I don't know, more than 100, I think-- in the
        Once UPon a Time that came yesterday. Well known authors with new books include
        Banks, T.A. Barron, Nina Bawden, Francesca Lia Block, Bruce Coville, Jane Louise
        Curry (anyone heard from her in a while?), Roald Dahl, Kara Dalkey, Pamela Dean
        (Juniper, etc. as a Y.A.?), Cynthia DeFelice, Peter Dickinson (!), Martin
        Gardner, Alan Garner (!!), Brian Jacques, Diana Wynne Jones, Ellen Kindt
        McKenzie, Robin McKinley, Gregory Maguire, Margaret Mahy (!), Donna Jo Napoli,
        Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Gary Paulsen, Tamora Pierce, Daniel Pinkwater (!),
        Philip Pullman, Cynthia Rylant, Jon Scieszka, William Sleator, Sherwood Smith,
        Nancy Springer, J.R.R. Tolkien (!), Vivian Vande Velde, Jane Yolen and Paul
        Zindell. These are just the ones that ring a bell with me. A book getting a
        LOT of attention will be J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone*,
        and I've seen very positive comments about Michael Cadnum's *In a Dark Wood*,
        though Ellie doesn't seem to have thought too much of it, in the latest
        MYTHPRINT. 3 I've read from Laura's list: Elizabeth Cody Kimmel's *In the
        Stone Circle* (historical time travel/ghosts in Wales), Ellen Kindt McKenzie's
        *Golden Band of Eddris* and Eva Ibbotson's *Secret of Platform 13* probably
        won't make my final ballot, though I guess I can't rule out the McKenzie at this
        point. Laura hasn't read all of these, either. But she does focus on the
        Dalkey, Jones, Virginia Layefsky, Napoli, Rowling and Springer books as
        especially worth looking at. And her review of Rylant's book in the same issue
        made me wonder why she'd left it off this short list, it sounds very

        Laura's also promised us a second list of more picture books. I hope to post
        her list on the Once UPon a TIme web-site, but I'm not sure how soon.

        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/BirdnBab.html
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