Thursday, July 14, 2011

Among Others by Jo Walton

This book was making the book blog rounds a few months ago.  After reading Jenny's review, Nymeth's thoughts, and saw that Kerry at  Entomology of a Bookworm actually tossed aside her reading goals for the year to race through this one, I knew I had to pick it up.

So glad I did.  Even though the bulk of the action takes place off-stage (something I wasn't too sure I liked at first), this book has stuck with  me for the past three weeks, even after I've gone on to read other things.

We find out that Mori has lost her twin sister in their battle against their mother (a witch) and now must keep on living. Alone. In a boarding school. With a family she's never known.  Basically, it's about what happens after Armageddon. How do you go back to a sense of normalcy?  Can you ever?

More than anything, this novel is a love letter to books. My favorite part is when Mori has the opportunity to do something that is the equivalent of suicide. It would be so easy. . .and yet she doesn't because she hasn't finished the book she is reading yet.  How many times have books saved you?

Go see what everyone else is saying about it. I think you'll end up giving it a try.  Just for kicks here is a bibliography of all the books that Mori is reading and discussing throughout the course of the novel. (This is as complete as I could get by flipping through the text and writing titles down. I probably missed a few, so apologies in advance.)

(Authors mentioned w/o book titles)
Anton Chekov
G. K. Chesterton
Philip K. Dick
Harlan Ellison
Randall Garrett (Lord Darcy series)
Thomas Hardy
John Keats
Vonda McIntyre
Arthur Ransome
Noel Streatfield
Anthony Trollope

Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction

(Short Stories and Poems)
“And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill's Side”
     by James Tiptree, Jr.
“The Forgotten Enemy” by Arthur C. Clarke
“The Girl Who was Plugged In” by James Tiptree, Jr.
“If All Men Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister”
     by Theodore Sturgeon
“Love is the Plan the Plan is Death” by James Tiptree, Jr.
“The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe
“Weyr Search” by Anne McCaffrey

(Novels and a few Shakespeare plays)
2001: A Space Odyssey
by Arthur C. Clarke

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Aeneid
by Virgil

Babel-17 by Samuel Delany
The Best from Galaxy, Vol. IV ed. by James Baen
Beyond the Tomorrow Mountains by Sylvia Engdahl
Born with the Dead by Robert Silverberg
Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey
A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Breakfast of Champions
by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Bring the Jubilee by Ward Moore
The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson
The Bull from the Sea by Mary Renault

Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon by Spider Robinson
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller
Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Chaining the Lady by Piers Anthony
The Charioteer by Mary Renault
Charisma by Steven Barnes
Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke
The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
Citizens of the Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
City by Clifford Simak
City of Illusions by Ursula LeGuin
The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
Creatures of Light and Darkness by Roger Zelazny
Crow by Ted Hughes
The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
The Dispossessed by Ursula LeGuin
Doorways in the Sand by Roger Zelazny
Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
Dragonquest by Anne McCaffrey
Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey
Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey
The Dream Master by Roger Zelazny
A Dream of Wessex by Christopher Priest
Dune by Frank Herbert
Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg

The Einstein Intersection by Samuel Delany
Elsie Dinsmore by Martha Finley
Empire Star by Samuel Delany
The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov
Eric, or Little by Little by Frederic W. Farrar
Empire Star by Roger Zelazny
The Eye of the Heron by Ursula LeGuin

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
The Farthest Shore by Ursula LeGuin
The Flight of the Horse by Larry Niven
Four Quartets by T. S. Eliot

Gate of Ivrel by C. J. Cherryh
A Gift from Earth by Larry Niven
Glory Road by Robert Heinlein
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
The Greeks by H. D. F. Kitto
The Grey King by Susan Cooper
Guardians of Time by Poul Anderson
The Guns of Avalon by Roger Zelazny

Have Spacesuit, Will Travel by Robert Heinlein
Heritage of the Star by Sylvia Engdahl
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples by Winston Churchill
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
I, Claudius by Robert Graves
Imperial Earth by Arthur C. Clarke
Inverted World by Christopher Priest
Isle of the Dead by Roger Zelazny

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jane of Lantern Hill by L. M. Montgomery

The Kissing Gate by Joyce Dingwell

The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis
The Last Starship from Earth by John Boyd
The Last of the Wine by Robert Silverberg
Lathe of Heaven  by Ursula LeGuin
The Laws by Plato
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin
The Left Hand of the Electron by Isaac Asimov
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Lord Foul’s Bane by Stephen Donaldson
Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen by H. Beam Piper
Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Magus by John Fowles
Make Room, Make Room by Harry Harrison
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
 A Midsummer’s Night Dream by William Shakespeare
Mission of Gravity by Hal Clement
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny
The Number of the Beast by Robert Heinlein

An Old Captivity by Nevil Shute
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis

Pavane by Keith Roberts
The Persian Boy by Mary Renault
Phaedrus by Plato
Pilgrimage by Zenna Henderson
Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis
Purposes of Love by Mary Renault

Red Shift by Alan Garner
The Republic by Plato
Return to Night by Mary Renault
Richard II by William Shakespeare
Ringworld by Larry Niven
Roadmarks by Roger Zelazny

Selected Poems by W. H. Auden
The Shockwave Rider by John Brunner
The Sign of the Unicorn by Roger Zelazny
The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien
Silver on the Tree by Susan Cooper
The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Space Hostages by Nicholas Fisk
A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony
The Spell Sword by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
The Starlight Barking by Dodie Smith
Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein
Stepsons of Terra by Robert Silverberg
The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks
The Symposium by Plato

Telempath by Spider Robinson
The Tempest by William Shakespeare
This Immortal by Roger Zelazny
Time Enough for Love by Robert Heinlein
Times Without Number by John Brunner
Too Many Magicians by Randall Garrett
A Touch of Strange by Theodore Sturgeon
Triton by Samuel Delany

Up the Line by Robert Silverberg

Vicinity Cluster by Piers Anthony

Waldo and Magic, Inc. by Robert Heinlein
Warm Worlds and Otherwise by James Tiptree, Jr.
The Wasteland by T. S. Eliot
Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr
The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey
The Wind’s Twelve Quarters, Vol. 2 by Ursula LeGuin
The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin
The Word for the World is Forest by Ursula LeGuin
The World Inside by Robert Silverberg
The World of Ptavvs by Larry Niven


  1. A love letter to books really is the best way to summarise this book. Also, I'm very happy to see a list of all the authors/stories/books mentioned! I'm bookmarking it for future reference.

  2. Oh I am still so delighted that Jo Walton mentioned The Charioteer. People never read that one, they only ever read Mary Renault's historical novels if anything, and I think The Charioteer is just marvelous.

    Glad you liked this book too!

  3. A huge thank you to both of you for the recommendation. I really enjoyed this book!

    @Nymeth, glad I could help. I know that my TBR list grew more over the course of the three days I was reading this book than it had in months!

    @Jenny, I'm embarrassed to say I've never read any Mary Renault. I will definitely give The Charioteer a try.

  4. This sounds good. Going to put it on my list. Thanks!

  5. It wasn't at all what I was expecting, but I really enjoyed it. Hope you do, too.

  6. I had not heard about this one, but a book that is a love letter to books, is one I want to look out for :)