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31 August 2012 @ 10:55 am
nearly wordless recommendation  
I read Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein yesterday, and after I'd mopped up the tears, I realized that I wanted to recommend this fierce, beautiful, touching, and surprisingly even funny book to people, but I had no idea how to talk about it or what to say. I managed to read a review of it in Horn Book, of all places, that spoiled some of the developments for me, so I didn't want to do that, and I didn't want to simply parrot a bunch of commonplaces about WWII stories, and I didn't want to downplay how painful the book could be in favor of talking about the friendship between the two main characters, even though for me that's one of the things that makes the book stand out...

So here. I read Code Name Verity yesterday. You should read it too.
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the most saint-obsessed Jew you'll ever meetrymenhild on August 31st, 2012 05:25 pm (UTC)
I have an unposted review in my drafts page that basically says, "I can't talk about this book to people who haven't read it at all, so read it and then click on the cut and we'll have a spoilery discussion." I should post it one of these days.
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on August 31st, 2012 07:46 pm (UTC)
Yes, you should! That was exactly the problem - even innocuous topics like structure were opening the way for spoilers.
melancholy in the rainliseuse on August 31st, 2012 08:41 pm (UTC)
I have bought it, so when I have time to read it (I'm in the midst of the second Dorothy Dunnett Lymond novel) I will come and enthuse! (Hopefully!)
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on August 31st, 2012 10:16 pm (UTC)
I put in a library request for it, but I'll definitely be buying a copy for a friend now that I've read it! In the meantime I probably *should* read some Dorothy Dunnett, as I still haven't yet. :)
melancholy in the rainliseuse on September 1st, 2012 05:12 pm (UTC)
I confess to being a little trepiditious about it - my family is all from Manchester and I have read many novels by Americans where the speech patterns have all been subtly wrong, and it has thrown me out of the novel somewhat. But, all the reviews I have read have been rave ones - albeit much like this one where it is "read it! it's awesome! I ... can say no more without spoiling you!"

Oh, the Lymond books are very fun and good! A friend basically thrust the first two into my hands and told me to go away and not come back until I had read the first one. Which I did. In a very short space of time. I think they are all available on Kindle.
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on September 1st, 2012 05:42 pm (UTC)
Ah, that makes sense! I wouldn't know how accurate Wein was with regard to speech patterns, unfortunately, so I can't assuage your anxiety on that score. I myself am terrified of trying to write characters from different areas, precisely because of the possibility of screwing things up. This is a problem, because I'd *like* to write about unfamiliar places, someday, but I don't think I have a good ear...
melancholy in the rainliseuse on September 1st, 2012 08:18 pm (UTC)
I am fairly inconsistent with my critiquing of British accents/speech patterns in fiction. Mostly, if it's set in the North I will get grouchy if it's wrong - because that is where I am from, and where I identify with being from - but I will let it slide unless it is truly horrible if it is southern. I am probably a bad person for this.

tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on September 1st, 2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
Nah - that seems perfectly reasonable to me! We all care more about the stuff that's closest to us.
melancholy in the rainliseuse on September 26th, 2012 11:15 am (UTC)
I read Code Name Verity last night, and oh my heart!.
tempestsarekind: bananas are goodtempestsarekind on September 26th, 2012 05:09 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm so glad you liked it!
melancholy in the rainliseuse on September 26th, 2012 05:10 pm (UTC)
So good! I am still all full of feelings, and liable to well up a bit at the thought of it.
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on September 26th, 2012 05:28 pm (UTC)
I went to an author event the other evening for another YA author who mentioned the book, and several people in the audience (myself included) made these odd little appreciative yet slightly heartbroken noises in response! It certainly seems to have touched a chord.

Speaking personally, I cried the most at the letter from Julie's mother at the end. Oof.
La Reine Noire: Austen - Venting Spleenlareinenoire on September 26th, 2012 06:57 pm (UTC)
I AM IN THE MIDDLE OF IT RIGHT NOW.

CAPSLOCK, I TELL YOU. CAPSLOCK.

Also tears. Lots of those.

ETA: Finished it. More tears. Oh, my heart.

Edited at 2012-09-26 08:03 pm (UTC)
tempestsarekind: books and flowerstempestsarekind on September 27th, 2012 03:10 pm (UTC)
I think "capslock and tears" should be the standard review of this book! I like the fact that it's just making the rounds, quietly traumatizing people. :)
La Reine Noire: Terms Commonly Usedlareinenoire on September 27th, 2012 03:52 pm (UTC)
The funny thing is, it was recommended to me months and months ago and I forgot to write it down so I promptly forgot the title (all I remembered was Elizabeth Wein, WW2, and spies). Then I happened to walk past it in the new YA section of the library so I grabbed it and then left it at home while I was gone for the conference. Came back and just blazed through it yesterday and AUGH. What a fabulous, heartbreaking book.

I kind of want to teach it because I am a glutton for punishment. O HAI UNRELIABLE NARRATOR.
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on September 27th, 2012 10:48 pm (UTC)
Yes! The unreliable narration is so twisty and layered, too: there are different stages of unreliability, and thinking about when and why they get deployed...I can see why you'd want to teach it. Personally, I'd have to learn how to form actual *words* about it, but hey-ho.
La Reine Noire: Terms Commonly Usedlareinenoire on September 28th, 2012 05:43 pm (UTC)
Well, yes, there is that. ;) It would be like me in my Malory class where I just kept throwing up my hands and saying, "...and, also, Malory is on crack, so let's leave it there for now."
tempestsarekind: bored history boystempestsarekind on September 28th, 2012 08:53 pm (UTC)
I am pretty sure that that's my entire teaching method! Yesterday I mentioned to the student who came to section that I used the word "weird" a lot, and then, after that, it was like I didn't know any other words for the rest of the hour.