Stardrag's Reviews > Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
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Feb 23, 12

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Known for being better than the mainstream drivel that I'm getting sick of along with a good endorsement from one of the best reviewers of this site? Why haven't I read this yet?

Oh, right, I didn't get an eReader till now.
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Reading Progress

05/15/2013 "Wow, this book is longer than I thought it'd be." 2 comments

Comments (showing 1-24 of 24) (24 new)

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Kate Bond This is one of my all-time favorite books, but I always tell people that they HAVE to read it hardcopy because of the copious gorgeous footnotes. Did the footnotes not bother you on the e-reader? I feel like they would have driven me bananas.


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Stardrag I'm going to soon, after I read this book on a bunch of stories. Happy to see this book has another fan. I'll tell you how the footnotes pan out on the ereader though.


Jonathan Good choice to read. Really good choice.


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Stardrag Jonathan wrote: "Good choice to read. Really good choice."

I know and that's why I feel so bad for not getting to it yet. I have to read the other two books before I get to this one. Well, at least it's already brought and paid for.


Jonathan Stardrag wrote: "Jonathan wrote: "Good choice to read. Really good choice."

I know and that's why I feel so bad for not getting to it yet. I have to read the other two books before I get to this one. Well, at leas..."


Yes, but books you own can take so much time for you to get to them. I've had Dune for a year on my shelves...


Kate Bond Ugh, yes. I have two full shelves of books I haven't gotten to yet, but I constantly read new releases on my kindle. Once a book's gone unread for like 2 months it's dead to me.


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Stardrag That's so true Jonathan! I have to read books in the store fast. It's like allowing myself to be lazy. Which Dune book do you have there? Like the first one?

Katie wrote: "Ugh, yes. I have two full shelves of books I haven't gotten to yet, but I constantly read new releases on my kindle. Once a book's gone unread for like 2 months it's dead to me."

For a while I was just skipping my home screen on Goodreads and just went right to rating my books or doing reviews I should've done months ago. And then I realized...I have a responsibility to the horribly small number of people who follow my reviews to write something there of questionable worth.

It makes me feel worse knowing I told you I was going to read this book "soon" back in October of last year!


Kate Bond Oh, I've read it three times, so it's not like I'm waiting for a review. I'm just always curious to hear what people think of this book, which I LOVED, because so many hate the leisurely, literary pace. And the footnotes--a lot of people hate the footnotes.


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Stardrag Three times? I read that more as three time and it got better with each reading. I've heard about the footnotes before though and I've yet to read a book with them in it, so I'm not sure what to think about that. But since I hate obvious info dumps from people who should know everything they're telling you already, then the footnotes might not be such a bad idea.


message 10: by Kate (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kate Bond The book is kind of an alternate history w magic, and the footnotes cite shit from fake reference books. I LOVED the device. Other people felt differently.


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Stardrag That's awesome! Why wouldn't people like that? It builds the world without interfering with the narrative. I like that way that sounds.


Jonathan Katie wrote: "Oh, I've read it three times, so it's not like I'm waiting for a review. I'm just always curious to hear what people think of this book, which I LOVED, because so many hate the leisurely, literary ..."

Katie. I loved this and tried to convey my thoughts. I have a loving relationship with footnotes in their varying forms. In other words I love using them and reading books using them. I also loved the pacing and the worldbuilding by the very end.

Stardrag wrote: "That's so true Jonathan! I have to read books in the store fast. It's like allowing myself to be lazy. Which Dune book do you have there? Like the first one?

Katie wrote: "Ugh, yes. I have two ful..."


Well I have the first one. First it's like the greatest sci-fi of all time I believe and secondly it inspired Star Wars. That's all I need to know.


message 13: by Kate (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kate Bond I didn't love Dune. A lot of old, classic science fiction (Heinlein's probably the worst) is too misogynistic to hold up for me, and Dune's solidly in that class.


message 14: by Stardrag (last edited Mar 10, 2013 04:55AM) (new) - added it

Stardrag I respect the classics, but I don't if I'd love it all.

And I think Dune just has some of the base outlines for Star Wars, but of the two I'd have to say that if I got my hands on a really good Star Wars book then I'd go with that. Dune is weird in that it doesn't care about big reveals that would normally flow pretty well in other novels, but in the expansive mind from the spice, culture from the Fremen and the world building on both the science and deeper meanings behind how it can shape the culture, going full circle.

But I think we're on the same page sort of since your reason for reading it is the same as mine was. I just have to finish the damn series.

One of these days.


Jonathan Katie wrote: "I didn't love Dune. A lot of old, classic science fiction (Heinlein's probably the worst) is too misogynistic to hold up for me, and Dune's solidly in that class."

Do you mean misogynistic as in hateful of women or as in purely just sexist bigotry - chauvinism? I've noticed there's been a change in the term and while I like neither I'd rather no whether I'm going into a book that has hate for its female characters or merely a lack of understanding of equality/femininity in general.

Speaking of which that is a strength of this novel here. I found that while a lot of male fantasy/sci-fi authors cannot write female characters to save their lives the same could not be said about Clarke and her male characters.


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Stardrag Jonathan wrote: "Speaking of which that is a strength of this novel here. I found that while a lot of male fantasy/sci-fi authors cannot write female characters to save their lives the same could not be said about Clarke and her male characters."

Isn't that usually the case? Feels like when male authors try to write female characters, for the most part they end up feeling fake. not all of the male authors, but enough of them do.


Jonathan Stardrag wrote: "Jonathan wrote: "Speaking of which that is a strength of this novel here. I found that while a lot of male fantasy/sci-fi authors cannot write female characters to save their lives the same could n..."

Yeah that's my point. Guys tend not to be able to write female characters as well as women can write male characters...


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Stardrag I hate that you're right. I guess it's because they try too hard to make them different from guys. While woman are more relaxed? Maybe we're just simpler to write...


message 19: by Kate (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kate Bond Oh, Clarke is not a misogynist. That was a Dune comment. It is annoying that ladies don't have much to do in Jonathan Strange, but I wouldn't call that misogynistic (Misogyny is the hatred or dislike of women or girls manifested in way that include sexual discrimination, denigration of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification of women--rampant in old school scifi).


Jonathan Katie wrote: "Oh, Clarke is not a misogynist. That was a Dune comment. It is annoying that ladies don't have much to do in Jonathan Strange, but I wouldn't call that misogynistic (Misogyny is the hatred or disli..."

Yeah I was wondering about Dune and misogyny and whether you were using it in the full blown 'he hates or dislikes women' or more of a misuse in that 'he doesn't understand and thinks women are slighltly lesser'. Both are bad in any fiction but one is more like ignorance and the other is pure hate... :(


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Stardrag I don't know if I don't like the woman of Dune or if I just like their abilities since woman had easier access to genetic and mind-body abilities and were building up towards a man with the ability to do the same.

With violence against woman as long as it's not them being portrayed as glass dolls and them being warriors I'm okay. Like, a helpless woman getting the all loving crap beaten out of her sucks. If she's a soldier fighting and stuff then yeah, I can deal with that.


message 22: by Kate (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kate Bond I think women are better at writing men than men are women because our society is so male-oriented. Movies, books, TV--most of the good stuff for years and years was written by men about men while women struggled to tell their stories.

If you've read Fitzgerald and Steinbeck, you can figure out how to write a man. There aren't as many good examples for men to learn about women from.

My husband is a professional writer, and he's really good at writing women, and he said the difference is the mindset you have to be in--his example is that on the first date, the worst thing a guy is scared of is that he'll get the lady alone and she'll reject him; her biggest fear is that he'll rape her. Interesting, right?


message 23: by Jocelyn (last edited Apr 16, 2013 04:09PM) (new) - added it

Jocelyn Currently reading this one. So far it's pretty good!

As for Keely's endorsement of this book, I keep thinking of it as "the book he refuses to give 5 stars because it isn't as good as Titus Groan."


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Stardrag Jocelyn wrote: "As for Keely's endorsement of this book, I keep thinking of it as "the book he refuses to give 5 stars because it isn't as good as Titus Groan."

Then I guess we'll never get another five star review from him.


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