Third Monkey, Hear Evil
Saturday, October 16, 2004
  Favourite Book
The ABC are running a favourite book campaign, and I'm having difficulties. I've considered Lord of the Rings, or other Tolkien, I've considered the Menolly books (Anne McCaffrey). I'd go wandering along my shelves to think about it, if the books weren't all either in boxes or at someone elses house. Somewhat frustrating. I've thought about my favourite authors (Dianna Wynne Jones, Sheri Tepper, Connie Willis, Lois McMaster Bujold, Terry Pratchett, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, ... too many others), and tried to pick their best books, and then work out which of those is the best. But I'm not having that much luck.

At present, I'm picking Family Tree by Tepper as my favourite. But I'm not sure if that is just because I've reread it recently. I mean, how does one pick ones favourite book? Is it the one you've read most often (Lord of the Rings), or recommended to most people (probably Gumshoe Gorilla or The gumshoe, the witch and the Virtual corpse, whichever is first out of those two, name of author escapes me at present), or bought most copies of (Tom O'Bedlam, Robert Silverberg)? Is there some other appropriate criteria? After all, if I was going to say 'most pleasure', I'd have to pick the Kama Sutra, or my Women's Weekly Best Cakes and Slices cookbook, or possibly Diet for a Small Planet which I've had longer, and thus used more of the recipes...

Or I could go for 'kept me up latest' - but that would be more a measure of how long the book was, or maybe how late in the evening I started reading it. How about 'made most comment on' - Starship Troopers, because it was the only book I could remember having read recently when doing the TEE English exam, and I've talked about this with many many people.
Aside: Where do the people who write exam questions get off - I had to pick something I had read recently (which wasn't much, given that I was doing my final high school exams), that had changed my thinking on a topic (other than say, a textbook that had shown me that I was going to have to understand some physics to pass my math exam), and that fit several other criteria to boot! I just hope that the answer gave someone some enjoyment. That exam got me into the course I wanted to, so I guess I shouldn't complain....

Anyway, comments on The Family Tree. This is probably Tepper's best writing since the Mavin Manyshaped trilogy, although given that those were the first of her books that I read, I'm likely to be somewhat biased. This book includes her obsession with the environment, but in a much more subtle form than many of her other recent books. It also doesn't seem to have the same level of man hating that has occurred in some of her stuff. I'm not going to make any other comments - I'm just not sure what to say that wouldn't be spoilers, as I've discovered that just grumping about the plot while I was reading it recently has provided spoilers for my partner, who is now reading it.

Rating: wonnnnerful. A+
  For Love of Mother-Not
Although the title here sounds like this could be a rant about kids, it is in fact the title of the book that I've just finished reading. It's by Alan Dean Foster, but I must admit, I keep wanting to say that it's written by Piers Anthony. Not for any reason that I can think of, either.

And it's awful. Road crash awful. Good premise, okay plot. But it suffered from have the denoumont (sp?) about halfway through. The rest of the story, even though necessary to finish the plot and get some resolution, was a downhill struggle.
It also gave me a perspective on why some of the stories that we get submitted forBorderlands are so ... unreadable. After all, if this rather famous author can write something with this style of halting sentences, it must be good writing - right? If I'd seen something of this limping descriptive quality, I'd have considered reading it to the end to see if the plot was worth suggesting that it be rewritten.

Rating: for a cold winter night when there aren't other options. Better to read the Spellsinger series, or the novelisation of some silly western I can't remember the name of . D- 
Life and times of someone who should know better....

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