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Among Others by

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The Phurnacite factory in Abercwmboi killed all the trees for two miles around.
–Jo Walton - Among Others - c.2011

Read for the Once Upon a Time VI challenge

Many, many moons ago Carl posted his review of this book. And then and there I thought, that sounds interesting. But I never got around to buying it at the time. I think it hadn’t been published by a UK/Ire publisher at the time. And the kindle version was likewise off-limits. But for some reason it popped back into my head a few weeks ago. And seeing as it was about the influence of books and reading on a person I figured that it would be a perfect book for a library. So I cheated, I bought it for work so I could read it for free.

Among others by Jo Walton

Among others by Jo Walton

And Carl was right. It is a wonderful book.

Told in diary form, it is the story of Mori who has through some accident lost her twin sister. She also has an injured leg that means she cannot run as she once loved to. She ran away from her mother and ended up with her father. She wanted to live with her grandmother, but social services dictated that her father was the best person to look after her. Despite the fact that she had never seen him, he left her mother a long time ago. She is sent off to boarding school, with English girls! English!

Away from her Welsh home, and the fairies that were such a part of her life.

But she still has her books and her reading. And slowly she introduces herself to the English fairies. Now, when I say fairies, that is what Mori calls them because when she was a young child that word seemed to fit. They don’t call themselves that. They certainly don’t call themselves elves, although Mori and her sister did name a few of them after Tolkien’s elves. As a matter of fact these fairies don’t call anything anything, they don’t use nouns at all.

But enough recapping.

Did I mention that this is a wonderful book? Because it really really is. And it would make for a brilliant book list too. Anyone interested in an Among Others book group to discuss the books that Mori mentions reading? It’d be great.

I loved the way Walton writes about books. About how they really can be so important to a person growing up. I always read as a teenager, even if I didn’t discover the wonders of Inter Library loans at such a such an age, and I would have loved to have a book group like the one Mori stumbles across. My reading was always a more solitary thing. Well, until the Wheel of time series came along and generated hours and hours of conversations.

I don’t know if I was entirely happy with the ending though. Which is why I haven’t given it ten stars, although I think that it may grow on me.

Other reviews: Stainless Steel Droppings ; Things mean a lot ; Jenny’s Books ; Entomology of a bookworm

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12 Comments

  • 4 May 2012 - 9:34 pm | Permalink

    So glad you got around to this, and even more so seeing as how you enjoyed it. Mori's story is an enviable one in that she was such an avid reader and found a karass to share her passions with. It is fun that some of the story is autobiographical in that it mirrors Walton's own youthful reading passions. Her book reviews on Tor dot com are a thrill, and if you haven't checked them out I highly recommend them.

    I think it would be a great idea to have a group to discuss these books. For my own part I have unfortunately read far too few of them to have a decent discussion, but still, I'm always game to talk about books.
    Carl V.´s last blog post ..Mistborn Group Read Part 4
    Carl V.´s last blog post ..Mistborn Group Read Part 4

    • 5 May 2012 - 1:01 pm | Permalink

      I haven't read enough of them either, but a group might just be the prompting needed :)

  • 5 May 2012 - 5:23 am | Permalink

    I had trouble with this book… It became TOO MUCH a book list for me, and while the books she was reading were interesting to see, when that began to feel like the main event, well–it just didn't seem like enough.

    And strange though it might sound, considering I was fully willing to accept all the magic, this lost a lot of realism for me when her book club met weekly and apparently read three books for every meeting. Um, really? Mori might read that fast, but most of the population doesn't!
    Cheryl @ Tales of th´s last blog post ..Fairy Tale Round-Up: The Twelve Dancing Princesses
    Cheryl @ Tales of th´s last blog post ..Fairy Tale Round-Up: The Twelve Dancing Princesses

    • 5 May 2012 - 1:04 pm | Permalink

      I can see how that might have happened, but the book list-y part of it never really took over for me. It was more that books were such a part of her life that obviously she was going to mention them, I found that even if I hadn't read the books she had I was still able to appreciate why they were so important to her.

      As for the book group, I got the impression that they picked an author and discussed their work, but that it didn't necessarily mean they did all the reading the week before, they could have read it months ago and just get around to discussing it at the group.

  • 8 May 2012 - 4:03 am | Permalink

    While I had some different issues with the book, my favorite parts were the lists of books and the book club scenes. regarding how fast she reads, it's almost as if she only reads books that she can devour in one day. I'm sure that's not true, but I jokingly mentioned in my review that maybe she wasn't interested in Herbert's Dune because it's not a book one can finish in one day.

  • 8 May 2012 - 5:02 pm | Permalink

    I just picked up a copy of this a few days ago because the reviews were waaay too tempting. I really like the sounds of a book that could inspire its own bookgroup: how completely and utterly bookish!
    Buried In Print´s last blog post ..Terrified and Curious: White Horse by Alex Adams
    Buried In Print´s last blog post ..Terrified and Curious: White Horse by Alex Adams

  • 9 May 2012 - 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Oh I hope you enjoy it. I see you've just reviewed White Hose, I'll have to visit, got that in at work and it looks interesting.

  • 10 May 2012 - 8:18 pm | Permalink

    I read Carl's review of this and it's what I was immediately thinking when I opened your post! This sounds great and it has brought it back to my attention. I should check it out – perhaps I'll see if my library has a copy as well!

    Thanks

    Lynn :D
    Lynn´s last blog post ..Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris, Book No.12 in the Sookie Stackhouse Trueblood series
    Lynn´s last blog post ..Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris, Book No.12 in the Sookie Stackhouse Trueblood series

    • 10 May 2012 - 8:22 pm | Permalink

      And if your library doesn't have it, maybe ask them to buy it in :) The more copies in circulation the better :)

  • 11 May 2012 - 4:31 am | Permalink

    I am glad you enjoyed this book! I thought it was wonderful, but I still haven't read anything by Jo Walton yet.
    Kailana´s last blog post ..Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
    Kailana´s last blog post ..Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

    • 11 May 2012 - 11:10 pm | Permalink

      I read her Tooth and Claw a while back, which was certainly different :) enjoyed it a lot, but this is a far better book. imo of course

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