I’m afraid this became my favorite books: though I did read some fun books that were new to me in 2007, I don’t think I loved any of them. And to quote my tagger, Medieval Woman, “When I read for fun (i.e., not obscure Middle English romances), I read trash. Yep, that’s right. Trash. . . . I also read my favorite books over and over again. 4 or 5 times means nothing to me.” So my responses might be the same as they would have been last year. And may be again next year.
What I mostly read for fun, though, is fantasy, children’s literature, and mysteries. But I think this list will be all the first two, as I’ve been a bit off mysteries in the last year.
1. Susanna Clark, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I read it when it first came out; this year, I liked it even more than the first time. Fantasy with footnotes: what could be more fun?
2. Pamela Dean, The Secret Country trilogy. Not at all new, but topping the favorite list. I originally read it in grad school, when a friend lent me her battered paperbacks. After I got a job, we mailed each other her copies across the country, several times, because both of us are re-readers and for a long time it was impossible to find these books. Finally they were re-issued a couple of years ago. The Secret Country, The Hidden Land, and The Whim of the Dragon. Reading these always makes me happy.
3. Lois McMaster Bujold, The Curse of Chalion. And Paladin of Souls. These are brilliant. I love the world of Chalion-Ibra. (I’m also fond of her Vorkosigan series. Not so much the new series—too long-winded and goopy.)
4. Arthur Ransome, Swallows and Amazons. There’s nothing so worthwhile as simply messing about in boats, and being trusted by parents to behave sensibly while you’re camping out, without them.
5. Pamela Whitlock and Katharine Hull, The Far-Distant Oxus. Two schoolgirls were inspired by their love of Ransome’s books to write their own series, back in the thirties. The children in this one imagine themselves in Persia, inspired by Matthew Arnold’s Sohrab and Rustom. It’s a little weird to read this now, as the kids shop in “Cabul” for camping provisions. But if you like Ransome, you’d like these.
I’m not sure of the etiquette of tagging people. Should it be those who have commented here? People on whose blogs I have commented? Can it be people I read but haven’t commented on? I am inclined to spread this to the Southern Hemisphere and tag Stephanie Trigg and StyleyGeek. But I don’t think Styley knows me, and Trigg has been here only once, recently.