24 June 2004

More Than 50 Books

I think I may very soon divide this list into fiction and non. Just not right this minute.

  1. The Neptune File by Tom Standage. I think one of the cover blurbs called this "science writing at its best." It is, too. Standage manages to evoke the character of each of the people involved, explain things astronomical in a way that non-astronomers can understand without being overly simplistic, and make science seem really cool, all at the same time. Fascinating book, fascinating historical personages, fascinating science.
  2. I Was a Rat by Philip Pullman. What if the rat who became Cinderella's page boy got lost in the castle and didn't make it back in time to be turned back into a rat? The wonderful Philip Pullman takes that as the starting point of a story about humanity, love, and silly politics. My favourite of his is still Clockwork, but this one is very good, too. Oh yeah, it's YA/kid's fiction.
  3. The Mermaid's Three Wisdoms by Jane Yolen. Jane Yolen always writes lovely books. I don't think I've ever read anything of hers that was both beautiful and written in a deceptively simple style. This one isn't one of her best, but it's still better than a whole lot of other fiction, YA or adult (this one's YA).
  4. Hob and the Goblins by William Mayne. I like books about fairies (you may have noticed). This one was very true to its folkloric origins, written in lovely prose, and full of engaging characters. The final scene where everyone is rescued by an errant double-decker bus (actually a gremlin driving an errant double-decker bus) didn't seem to really fit--perhaps because it was too random, and didn't give the heroes a chance to save themselves. It did make sense given the book's opening, though. (Yes, more YA.)
  5. Elfsong by Ann Turner. You may have noticed a theme running through these last books. I was browsing the YA/kid's shelves at the library and kept finding intriguing books with fairies in. So I signed a bunch out. They're all wonderful, Elfsong included. The elf society was convincing. Lovely book. (Do I use that word too much?)

Phew. I may need to divide my fiction list (once I separate it from the non-fiction list) into adult and YA/children's lists. I read a lot of kid's books. They're fun, and a lot of them are very well written. For example, while I still adore Anne McCaffrey's books written for a YA audience (I'm think specifically about the Pern Harper Hall trilogy and Black Horses for the King, but there are others), but her books for adults don't seem nearly as good as I thought they were when I first read them (to be fair, though, I haven't finished re-reading them all yet). Her writing is much more focussed and elegant in her kid's books.

No comments: