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The Quilty Reader

Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.

Reading progress update: I've listened 150 out of 600 minutes.

Among Others - Jo Walton

The narrator just went into a rant about the temerity of the author of Lord Foulsbane, Stephen Donaldson, comparing his book to "Tolkien at his best." I am laughing out loud at this fictional character.


"I did not buy a book called Lord Foul’s Bane by Stephen Donaldson, which has the temerity to compare itself, on the front cover, to “Tolkien at his best.” The back cover attributes the quote to the Washington Post, a newspaper whose quotations will always damn a book for me from now on. How dare they? And how dare the publishers? It isn’t a comparison anyone could make, except to say “Compared to Tolkien at his best, this is dross.” I mean you could say that even about really brilliant books like A Wizard of Earthsea.


I expect Lord Foul’s Bane (horrible title, sounds like a Conan book) is more like Tolkien at his worst, which would be the beginning of The Silmarillion. The thing about Tolkien, about The Lord of the Rings, is that it’s perfect. It’s this whole world, this whole process of immersion, this journey. It’s not, I’m pretty sure, actually true, but that makes it more amazing, that someone could make it all up. Reading it changes everything. I remember finishing The Hobbit and handing it to Mor and saying “Read it. It’s pretty good. Isn’t there another one of these around here somewhere?” And I remember finding it—stealing it from my mother’s room."

"Reading it is like being there. It’s like finding a magic spring in a desert. It has everything. (Except lust, Daniel said. But it has Wormtongue.) It is an oasis for the soul.
Even now I can always retreat into Middle Earth and be happy. How can you compare anything to that? I can’t believe Stephen Donaldson’s hubris."
How could I not love this book?