Six impossible things

Life and some recommended reading

Spent a glorious weekend at Fourth Street Fantasycon, of which more anon, I hope. Now my car is busted AGAIN and I’m waiting for them to come and tow it to the garage to fix the ignition switch. And I think I should get my cat to the vet before I leave for Chicago, but I don’t have a driveable car. I also can’t drive back to the convention to see the folks who are staying over for a day. Wah! Cars, can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.

On another note, Mary asked for some reading recommendations for a nine-year-old. Assuming the nine-year-old is a sufficiently good reader that she is reading my books, which in this case she obviously is, here are some of my personal favorites, at least some of which haven’t gotten into the FAQ yet (we will assume, for purposes of this blog, that any of my books that you haven’t read are at the top of the list. <grin>)

Anything by Tamora Pierce. I’ve been following the Tortall books since In the Hand of the Goddess, and I love them to pieces.

Elle Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. A nice twist on the Cinderella fairy tale.

Wren to the Rescue and sequels; Crown Duel and sequel, by Sherwood Smith. I don’t know why Sherwood’s books aren’t better known; she does a great job with … well, pretty much everything I’m looking for in a fantasy.

The Princess Academy, by Sharon Hale. One of the girls from the village is going to be the bride of the prince, but no one knows who, so they all have to be trained to be proper ladies, just in case…

The Door in the Hedge and Beauty by Robin McKinley; also any of her other stuff, but these two were the first ones I read and I still love them dearly. Door is a collection of four fairy tales, two retellings of familiar ones and two original ones, and they’re all just wonderful. Beauty is her first retelling of  “Beauty and the Beast” (Rose Daughter is her second). Both are beautiful, magical books.

Howl’s Moving Castle and The Ogre Downstairs by Diana Wynne Jones; also all the rest of her stuff. Diana has a wonderfully twisted sense of humor. And the chapter heads in Howl’s Moving Castle  (“In which Howl expresses himself with green slime” “In which there is far too much washing”) gave me the courage to try the same thing in Dealing with Dragons.

The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye. Another “unusual princess” book, and one I found very charming.

All of Edward Eager’s books. I think Half Magic is my favorite (the one where the children find a token that will grant them each a wish…but only half of it), closely followed by The Seven-Day Book (in which they find a book that puts them into their favorite stories…but either before the story starts, or after it’s over).

Anyone else have suggestions?

17 Comments
  1. Edward Eager fans will want to read Laurel Snyder’s new book, Any Which Wall. It’s a tribute to Eager, just as he was a tribute to Nesbit, and it’s excellent! Also, I just finished Marie Rutkoski’s Cabinet of Wonders – great adventure/science/history/steampunk story!

  2. I totaled my car last week and have been enjoying the places I can go by foot or by bike. But, it is disappointing to miss out on the places that are not as close.

    Of all the books recommended (including yours), only two recommended authors are not among my “read” list. Those two have caused me to scramble to my online library account in order to request them. 🙂

    • I live close enough to a shopping area that I can walk over and get all the essentials, but I’m supposed to be driving to Chicago on Friday. At least it didn’t break down in the middle of the trip!

  3. Oooh, nobody mentioned Lloyed Alexander! The Prydaine Chronicles are his best, but may be a little scary in spots for a nine-year old (depending on the sensibilities of the child in question. Then again, anyone whose read Harry Potter will be okay with Lloyed’s Cauldron Born.) but `The Cat Who Wished To Be a Man’ is deliciously funny. So is `Gypsy Rizka’ and his book of short stories, `The Town Cats And Other Tales.’ Sigh… Lloyed Alexander is awesome.

  4. Thanks! I’ve read a lot of these, but I will definitely look into the ones I have not…

  5. How about “Heir Apparent” by Vivian Vande Velde? It’s about an early teens girl who is playing a virtual reality “video game” when some crazy “fantasy is terrible” protestors seriously damage the computer that is hooked to her brain. The gaming center can’t unhook her because of the computer damage, and her only option is to finish the game before the computer dies, taking her with it. Very well written.

    My 10 year old is currently re-reading “Charmed Life” by Diana Wynne Jones, and LOVED “The Thirteenth Child”. She was reluctant to start it, but after 2 chapters informed me that: “I really like this book, Mom.” And she was put out (to say the least) when I told her that it was impossible to go to the library and get the second one, as it had not yet been published. Well done, Pat.

    I would also recommend the Squire’s Tales books by Gerald Morris. I especially enjoyed “The Savage Damsel and the Dwarf.” Funny, funny stuff, and very well written.

  6. Possibly my favorite (lesser known?) Lloyd Alexander series is the Vesper Holly books. The first one, I believe, is called The Illyrian Adventure and they are all titled The [Blank]Adventure. The Philadelphia Adventure is especially exciting if you have lived in that area and know where all the places are!

  7. Do you think that Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching books–The Wee Free Men, Hat Full of Sky, and Wintersmith–would work for a nine-year-old? They are fun and funny fantasy works set on the edge of his Discworld series, about a young witch who lives in a place that sounds like the English down. His newer book, Nation, sounds like one of the South Seas adventure books with a few twists.

    • Jane-I don’t see why they wouldn’t. They work for me…oh, wait, been a while since I was nine. But they’re marketed as YA, and they’ve got that wonderful Pratchett humor.

  8. Ooh, I definitely recommend Susan Cooper, who wrote The Dark is Rising Sequence, which are rooted in welsh and arthurian mythology.

    Also, The Thief, by Megan Whalen Turner was one of my favorite books from when I was that age.

  9. I would definitely suggest reading The Runaway Princess, by Kate Coombs. East, by Edith Pattou is also a good book. 🙂

  10. Now that I think of it, East would be a little frightening at the end for a 9 year old. But for older peoples, it’s great!

  11. A great book is The Seven Towers by Patricia Wrede. Other titles that I approved greatly were The Dark is Rising,the Pandora Gets Jelous series, Dragon Slippers, Pride and Prejudice, the Dragon Keeper series by Carole Wilkonson, all the Deltora books by Emily Rodda, The Key to Rondo by Emily Rodda, The Looking Glass Wars, Seeing Red and Arch Enemy by Frank Beddor, The Novelist and The Canopy by Angela Hunt, The Hobbit and Dragon’s Egg by Sarah L.Thompson

  12. I cannot recommend Bruce Coville highly enough. He is one of my favorite authors of all time, and I frequently reread his books at age 26… He has a number of series, including the Rod Allbright books (Aliens Ate My Homework), the “My Teacher is an Alien” books, the Magic Shop books, and the Nine Tanleven books (The Ghost in the Third Row).

    Be sure and read the books in the right order, though!

  13. I know I’m late in discovering this post, but I wanted to chime in with N. D. Wilson’s “100 Cupboards” trilogy. The third book, “The Chestnut King,” just went to paperback recently. I picked up the first book expecting to put it right back down after a paragraph or two, and instead his conversational yet poetic writing drew me right in and through all three books. The last book does an exceptional job of concluding not only the book, but the trilogy as a whole; something that I find lacking in many book series.

  14. I don’t know why I’m surprised that I’ve already read and enjoyed over half the books on this list.

  15. Coraline, by Neil Gaiman? But mostly anything Dianna Wynne Jones.

Questions regarding foreign rights, film/tv subrights, and other business matters should be directed to Pat’s agent Ginger Clark, Curtis-Brown, Ltd., 10 Astor Place, 3rd Floor New York, NY 10003, gc@cbltd.com

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