By February 9, 2012 0 Comments Read More →

“Among Others” by Jo Walton

Do you love coming-of-age stories? Do you like books with a little magic in them? Do you enjoy reading about boarding school life? Do you love books written as diary entries where you learn about a character’s innermost thoughts and lives? Do you like books full of literary references, from science fiction and fantasy to historical fiction? Well, if you nodded in agreement to any or all of these questions, then Jo Walton’s Among Others is the book for you.

We meet Mor at a boarding school after the death of her twin sister. Mor has fled her mother, a woman whose dabbling in dark magic resulted in the loss of her sister and in the maiming of Mor’s leg. Introduced to the father she never knew and three mysterious aunts, Mor begins her new life with the ghost of her sister and the fairies they used to see following her.

Mor is a bookish 15-year-old girl as this passage will attest:

Interlibrary loans are a wonder of the world and a glory of civilization.

Libraries really are wonderful. They’re better than bookshops, even. I mean bookshops make a profit on seling you books, but libraries just sit there lending you books out of the goodness of their hearts.

Every diary entry is filled with Mor’s reading pursuits from Mary Renault to Ursula K. Le Guin to Samuel Delany to Tolkein to Robert Silverberg and Kurt Vonnegut. One central plot point occurs when Mor finds a science fiction book group in the library in town, where she finds, to coin Vonnegut, her karass. And yes, that’s right, there are even some book discussion recaps in here!

Among Others is the kind of book that readers and book groups hope for. And best of all, you will finish (if, like me, you haven’t read everything Mor has) with a spectacular reading list that will keep you busy for simply ages.

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About the Author:

Misha Stone is a readers' advisory librarian with The Seattle Public Library. Follow her on Twitter at @ahsimlibrarian.

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