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Recommend a book.

I have two books for the trip, but I'm obsessed with redundancy in books. What if I crack open the Jim Butcher and loathe it? What if Horse Heaven begins to make me depressed because I can't handle reading about anything bad happening to animals? I suppose I could re-read something I already know I love, but I just never do that. I need newness. Some or all of the following things are what I'm looking for:

- fantasy novel (magic, unicorns, blahbitty) (shut up it makes me mentally comfy)
- southern humor (think Roy Blount or John Kennedy Toole)
- characters with humility
- yet characters that are still heroes
- and are heroes without being impossibly beautiful
- wacky nonstandard gender role stuff
- surreality
- an overall positive outlook about the world, or the pretend world the book is set in
- regular people gettin' by

I have fallen away from fantasy novels in recent years with the exception of humor stuff like Pratchett. But Mo recommended Little, Big to me a few years ago and when I finally got around to reading it I found it was the perfect book for me, apart from the One True Book for me, which is as you all know Handling Sin.

There was some fantasy writer that seemed to fit all these conditions whose writing annoyed the piss out of me - I'll try to remember who it was. [edit] Aha! It was Charles de Lint. I tried to read Dreams Underfoot and found it a little too twee and perhaps obvious. If something seems obvious to me, the most oblivious reader short of a mid-sized pond pebble, that's bad. I think it also seemed a little dated, something other "drawing the fantastic into a contemporary realistic world" books somehow manage to skip around. I suppose you can add "timelessness" to that list above as an option.

I might or might not have time before I leave to hit a Border's so all this may be moot, but I'd still be interested in any recommendations anyone has.



May. 4th, 2006 03:54 am (UTC)
I tried hard to think of a book that had the foibles of Southern unicorns who are rather plain looking yet always look on the bright side of the mushroom kingdom they inhabit, but I can't.

I will however put on the broken record of "if you haven't read any Ursula LeGuin yet, why the heck not?!" Her Earthsea series is her most fantasy-oriented (wizards and dragons and whatnot), but I think you might also like The Telling. It's more SF than fantasy, but it deals a lot with spirituality and has a r3sb1an protaganist to boot.
May. 4th, 2006 04:05 am (UTC)
"As Harriet wandered down the lazy summer Georgia streets she scratched her beard in contemplation of just how she'd get her bike fixed, when suddenly she noticed out of the corner of her eye a glinting silver horn..."

Yeah, I guess "some or all" isn't necessarily what I meant there. Scratch that "or all".

*runs downstairs to see if she already has a LeGuin book*
Nope. I have Lackey and Zimmer Bradley (and Feist and Brust) but no LeGuin. I used to just buy the first book in a bunch of series for times like this to have something around.
May. 4th, 2006 06:13 am (UTC)
HEE. You crack me up.

The first book in the Earthsea series is, predictably, A Wizard of Earthsea, followed by The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, Tehanu, and The Other Wind. [checks Wiki to make sure she got it right--yup.] Read them before the Miyazaki movie comes out later this year! They are often classified as young adult, as the first three books are fairly short.

I've never read any Lackey or Zimmer Bradley. I... am fairly unforgiving when it comes to fantasy books, sad to say. I prefer space voyages to overland travel (cf. Tolkein).
May. 4th, 2006 02:17 pm (UTC)
Space voyages are right out for me.
May. 5th, 2006 02:14 am (UTC)
On a somewhat related note, I looked at both Mercedes Lackey and MZB at the library today and, uh, no. I I just re-confirmed that I'm not a fantasy fan. I wanted to give them a chance, but I'm too closed minded about telepathic horses, I guess. :P
May. 4th, 2006 01:58 pm (UTC)
LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin
OMG LeGuin LeGuin you must read LeGuin!

"The Telling" is amazing. I just reread it and it's fabulous. If I could get around better, I would be running out to buy you a copy and press it into your hands before you leave.

But I love all her books... well, OK, she started writing SF/fantasy in the 1950s. Her depictions of gender and sex roles have come a long way. But they have ARRIVED, if you ask me. And her prose, and the magic of her settings -- totally kickass.
May. 4th, 2006 01:59 pm (UTC)
Re: LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin
and if you happened to be in my neighborhood I could totally hook you up ;-)
May. 4th, 2006 02:17 pm (UTC)
Re: LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin
I won't have time to get to you today but thank you for the recommendation, maybe I can find it at a bookstore!
May. 4th, 2006 02:26 pm (UTC)
Re: LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin
I didn't really think you would :-)

...anyway some of her least space-voyagey things are the Earthsea books (I think there are 5 or 6 now... she was writing them pretty boy-centric at first and then she did some interesting feminist re-visioning of the same world in the later books -- but the initial trilogy is really good too) and later books like Gifts and The Telling (which take place on other planets but aren't at all space-hardware-y)...

May. 5th, 2006 02:18 am (UTC)
Re: LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin
Peregrin: there is a LeGuin community!
May. 5th, 2006 12:52 pm (UTC)
Re: LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin LeGuin
thanks; I am there!