Plowing through Dunes, and Jones

This week’s reading has had some odd contrasts.  On the one side Frank Herbert’s Dune.  On the other, more Diana Wynne Jones.

A reminder… The Friday Fragments feature lists of what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include either short fiction or magazine articles.

Double for Arrakas, aka New Mexico

Double for Dune, aka New Mexico

And I always enjoy hearing what you’re reading.  Sometimes, I then go read it myself!

The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a few opinions tossed in.

Recently Completed:

Eight Days of Luke by Diana Wynne Jones.  Amorality rather than immorality is brilliantly illustrated in the character of Luke.  Although technically “middle grade,” such themes – and DWJ’s usually brilliant look at the contradictions of family dynamics – makes this a book for all ages.

Earwig and the Witch by Diana Wynne Jones.  Audiobook.  This one was fun but it also seemed like the first part of a novel.  Does anyone know if there is a Part Two?

Dune by Frank Herbert.  Fifty years after its original publication, this book holds up, largely because of its brilliant world-building and sensitive characterization.  At the time it was written, the desire for “strong female characters” was hardly being discussed, but the presence of Jessica and Chani – as well as the Bene Gesserit – gives the book a modern feel.

Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto, volume 68.  Manga.  Sometimes words are the most powerful weapons.

Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert.  Set twelve years after Dune this book fails to have the same fire.  Unlike Dune, which is about beginnings, Dune Messiah focuses on endings.  Although only about half the length of the original, this one seemed much longer to me.

In Progress:

The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones.  Audiobook.  Here we get the childhood of the man who will become the powerful Chrestomanci.  Once again, Diana Wynne Jones shows she hasn’t forgotten the peculiar logic of childhood.

The Hunt for the Big Bad Wolf by E.M. Tippets.  The third book of Tippets’ series which began with Someone Else’s Fairytale finds Chloe dealing with a tough case in which someone in her office may be leaking information to Hollywood cop show.  And is being married boring by definition?

Also:

When stuck at a doctor’s office, I read several articles in Sport’s Illustrated.  Not bad writing.

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9 Responses to “Plowing through Dunes, and Jones”

  1. Jay M. Says:

    Recently completed:
    Fer-de-Lance, by Rex Stout (the first Nero Wolfe novel). I had not realized how much of an s.o.b. Wolfe really was, based on the few TV movies I’d seen.

    In progress:
    Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. This is the second Austen novel I’m reading. I plan to read all 6 because I have seen movies based on all 6 and all sorts of related movies, and I’m curious to see just why the books are so popular. (I’d read Sense and Sensibility just before the Nero Wolfe novel.)

    • janelindskold Says:

      I adore Nero Wolfe. I think I’ve read all the books. If you keep going, you’ll learn a bit about why he’s the way he is, but if you expect him to get warm and fuzzy, you’ll be disappointed.

      Sense and Sensibility is a first novel with a first novel’s flaws: too many characters, too many side plots. The movie script combined many of these to the greater advantage.

      I rather adore PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. So does my husband, so I don’t think it’s a “girl thing.” My favorite adaptation is the mini-series, rather than any of the movies.

      • Jay M. Says:

        Two-thirds through “Pride and Prejudice” now. I’m realizing that watching the movies without reading the books is like watching the “Harry Potter” movies without reading the books. There is a lot of assumed knowledge which is confusing if you haven’t read the original. The main thing: I *finally* understand Darcy’s feelings toward Elizabeth. It’s really hard to portray the man’s unspoken thoughts on screen, at least in the three movie versions I’ve seen.

        SPOILER FOR FER-DE-LANCE:

        I don’t expect Wolfe to be warm and fuzzy. Arranging another man’s death just to avoid going outside seemed a bit extreme, though.

      • Jane Lindskold Says:

        It’s not uncommon for mysteries of that time to end with something that results in the death of the suspect. This permitted closure, without the need for the realities of the case going to court and actual rules of evidence coming into play.

    • Chad Merkley Says:

      My opinion is that P&P is Austen’s best novel. Northanger Abbey was written before S&S, but published later. Just keep in mind that it was written by a teenager when you read it. Mansfield Park is full of characters that make you want to punch them. Emma is fun. I can’t remember much about my reaction to Persuasion.

  2. Louis Robinson Says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that for Herbert, sequels were a mistake. Dosadi Experiment also disappoints compared to Whipping Star.

    Have to admit to not reading much other that on-line discussions & arxiv.org lately. Been getting my idea fix from lecturs from the Learning Company. Just finished sequences on Foundations of Western Civilisation and Rome and the Barbarians. That last term is one that should be tossed around with care, remembering that the Romans numbered Carthage and Persia among the ‘barbarian’ at the gates. And, as far as the Greeks were concerned Rome was right at the top of the list 😉

  3. Paul Dellinger Says:

    I think I got “Pride and Prejudice” free on Kindle. Had never read it, and felt I should, especially as a library book club I’m in had chosen “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” one month. I would have hated to read that without reading the source material – which, no surprise, was tons better.

  4. Chad Merkley Says:

    I’ve been reading more by Charles de Lint: Widdershins and The Blue Girl were both very good, but very different. I also read The Wood Wife by Terri Windling. It made me want to write more poetry.

    I’ve pretty much gone through all the Diana Wynne Jones books available at the local library, but I know there are some still out there. I need to plan on a used bookstore prowl, soon.

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