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Among Others by Jo Walton
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Among Others (edition 2012)

by Jo Walton

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1,8751783,682 (3.96)2 / 400
Member:michelle_bcf
Title:Among Others
Authors:Jo Walton
Info:Corsair (2012), Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Read 2013
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Among Others by Jo Walton

Recently added bypinax, jadestarr, private library, hobo.ingenue, JBP11, paruline, cemagoc, Aya86
  1. 70
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English (177)  French (1)  All languages (178)
Showing 1-5 of 177 (next | show all)
The inherent nature of story-telling is the ability to share and have it mean different things to different people. Among Others will always be about fairies for me. It could have sat comfortably on my sunny yellow bookcase, sharing secrets with my other treasured childhood memories.
For the complete review visit:
http://girlsguidetoscifi.blogspot.ca/2014/01/sunny-yellow-bookcase-review-of-amo...

( )
  HollyBest | Jun 9, 2016 |
This book cannot be objectively rated. ?By anyone, least of all by me. ?áHow much one likes it is a reflection of one's core identity, *and* one's current situation in life, *and* how close one is in age to Mor, *and* how much one feels one has in common with Mor. ?á*I* liked it, and admired it, but didn't love it... but probably would have loved it when I was closer to Mor's age, over three decades ago.

It's important that the potential reader understand that it's told in 'diary' format. ?áMor writes a lot, but she explains very little, because, of course, she doesn't need to tell herself stuff she already knows. ?áShe also only writes about what's important and interesting to her. ?áSo, in a way, it's easy to dismiss this book as too quiet and subtle, even boring. ?áI'm glad I kept reading even though I was feeling that way for about the first third, but I gotta say, it wasn't easy, and I'm not convinced it was worth it... for me.

I will not look for more by the author. ?áNor am I convinced to read LotR or Piers Anthony or many of the other books Mor raves about. ?áDespite the fact that we have many things in common, we are not on the same wavelength. ?áI reiterate - appreciation of this is highly personal to each individual reader.

ps - I do confess that Mor and I agree that Aslan is himself" and that to learn, after reading Narnia and not seeing the connection herself, a reader like Mor, or like me, feels "tricked" to learn he's allegorical for Jesus.

pps - another book dart reminds me that there's reference in the book to a debate as to whether style or ideas matter more in stories... as if stories or characters don't matter at all... well, I'd argue that this book has ideas, and I've been told by writers that the style is impressive, and the characters are engaging... but I'd like more story. ?áHm." ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Although I read until the end to find out what happens (spoiler: not much really), I was very disappointed with this book. The teenage Welsh boarding school narrator is infuriatingly ambiguous, diffident, and her “voice” becomes really monotonous. It is more of a love letter to 70s science fiction and the joys of the inter-library loan system. I thrilled at the mention of books I had also read and loved and breathed as a young girl…. but found myself wishing I knew more about *this* young girl. ( )
1 vote memccauley6 | May 3, 2016 |
I should have followed my gut (and the result of the 80-page test) on this one. Absolutely boring. Why this got nominated for a Hugo award is beyond me, and leads me to doubt the credibility of the Hugos all together. Well written but so what? It's literary -- and BORING. ( )
1 vote ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
Startling, unusual, and yet irresistably readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood. Combining elements of autobiography with flights of imagination in the manner of novels like Jonathan Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude, this is potentially a breakout book for an author whose genius has already been hailed by peers like Kelly Link, Sarah Weinman, and Ursula K. Le Guin.
  BurnFundLib | Mar 20, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 177 (next | show all)
As [Mori] tries to come to terms with her sister’s death through both books and fairy magic, the novel assumes true emotional resonance.
 
There are really two points where the success of the novel as what it is make it fail to connect with me. The first has to do with the books. It's written in the form of a diary, and the form and voice are spot-on. But part of getting the diary form right is that it doesn't provide much in the way of information about the many books that Mori reads in the course of the novel-- you wouldn't expect a teenager with a lot on her mind to do a detailed plot summary of everything she read, after all.

This is no big deal as long as you recognize the references to authors and titles. But if you don't-- and there are a lot of books mentioned that I know about but either haven't read or do not recall fondly-- a lot of significance is lost. The titles sort of flash by as blank spots in the narrative, a kind of "This Cultural Reference Intentionally Left Blank" effect that ends up being a little off-putting.
 
This isn't a traditional fantasy, by any means. But it's a smart, heartfelt novel, with a strong, likable narrator, and many touchstones in terms of other books that will resonate for us, depending on how we felt/feel about those books.

It has also jumped right into my short list of favorite books ever, and it's one that I plan to reread more than once.
 
But, just as the magic, it's a peculiar, unique book. I've read most of Walton's fiction. I like this best, but in some ways it's the least structurally certain of her works; I think the magic that's so subtle it's deniable at the start of the book fails to maintain that quirky quality at its end—and I understand why, but still found it jarring.

Regardless, there's a deep beauty to this book that feels so entirely real I'm grateful for its existence, for the fact that I could read it, and for the way it now graces my own internal library.
 
Among Others is many things – a fully realized boarding-school tale, a literary memoir, a touching yet unsentimental portrait of a troubled family – but there’s something particularly appealing about a fantasy which not only celebrates the joy of reading, but in which the heroine must face the forces of doom not in order to return yet another ring to some mountain, but to plan a trip to the 1980 Glasgow Eastercon. That’s the sort of book you can love.
added by Passer_Invenit | editLocus, Gary Wolfe (Jan 24, 2011)
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jo Waltonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kellgren, KatherineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nielsen Hayden, PatrickEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vojnar, KamilCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Er'perrhene.

—Ursula Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven

What one piece of advice would you give to yourself at what younger age?

Any time between 10 and 25:

It's going to improve. Honest. There really are people out there that you will like and who will like you.

—Farah Mendelsohn, LiveJournal, 23rd May 2008
Dedication
This is for all the libraries in the world, and all the librarians who sit there day after day lending books to people.
First words
The Phurnacite factory in Abercwmboi killed all the trees for two miles around. We'd measured it on the mileometer.
Quotations
It doesn't matter. I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books.
[On Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd]: He makes things happen neatly, and sometimes they're horrible things, but they're always very pat. I hate that. He could have learned a lot from Silverberg and Delany.
She was looking at a record called 'Anarchy in the U.K.' by a group called the Sex Pistols. It was a very ugly cover, but I am quite interested in anarchism because of 'The Dispossessed'.
Interlibrary loans are a wonder of the world and a glory of civilization.
Libraries really are wonderful. They're better than bookshops, even. I mean bookshops make a profit on selling you books, but libraries just sit there lending you books quietly out of the goodness of their hearts.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Startling, unusual, and irresistibly readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and science fiction, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.

Raised by a half-mad mother who dabbled in magic, Morwenna Phelps found refuge in two worlds. As a child growing up in Wales, she played among the spirits who made their homes in the science fiction novels that were her closest companions. When her mother tried to bend the spirits to dark ends, Mori was forced to confront her in a magical battle that left her crippled — and her twin sister dead.

Fleeing to a father whom she barely knew, Mori was sent to boarding school in England — a place all but devoid of true magic. There, she is tempted fate by doing magic herself, in an attempt to find a circle of like-minded friends. But her magic also drew the attention of her mother, bringing about a reckoning that could no longer be put off...

Combining elements of autobiography with flights of imagination in the manner of novels like Jonatham Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude, this is a stunning new novel by an author whose genius has already been hailed by peers such as Kelly Link, Sarah Weinman, and Ursula K. LeGuin.

See http://papersky.livejournal.com/37282... for the moment of the book's genesis.
Haiku summary
The battle's over
Books keep you sane living in
Ruins with fairies.

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Raised by a half-mad mother who dabbled in magic, Morwenna Phelps found refuge in two worlds. As a child growing up in Wales, she played among the spirits who made their homes in industrial ruins. But her mind found freedom and promise in the science fiction novels that were her closests companions. Then her mother tried to bend the spirits to dark ends, and Mori was forced to confront her in a magical battle that left her crippled -- and her twin sister dead.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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