Steph Su's Reviews > Among Others

Among Others by Jo Walton
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's review
Apr 16, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: e-book, best-of-12, dead-relatives, will-reread-someday-damnit, own, favorites, desert-island-library, evangelical-zeal
Read from April 17 to 22, 2012

You don’t need to be an SF fan—or know much at all about SF history, really—to love Mori and AMONG OTHERS. This is a book that everyone who has been or is still a bookworm can relate to and delight in.

Mori represents the kind of bookish teenager you want to be, your best friend to be, your teenage daughter to be. She drinks up books like water and then writes about them in her journal—not in-depth academic analyses, but the kind of meandering way that most bookworms do naturally. I admit to knowing hopelessly little about SF, but I could definitely relate to Mori’s somewhat scattered comments on the books she’s finished. She’s not trying to write a SF novel or be a SF expert; she’s just enjoying herself wholeheartedly as an avid reader, and you can’t help but love that.

Due to its diary format, AMONG OTHERS is filled with bits and pieces of the sort of things that teenage girls wonder about: sex, their sexuality, people they meet, their future. It makes the book so genuine that there is no one primary plotline. Because it’s like life in that way: we have many interests and thoughts and curiosities, and they all make up a part of who we are.

I loved the bookish aspect of AMONG OTHERS so much that I was rather put off by its fantastical element, which I felt was almost unnecessary. The main plot, if you must name one, is Mori’s relationship with fairies and her crazy mother. I have no problem with how fairies work in Mori’s world: like other things that Mori writes about, the fairies are just a part of her life, just a part of her. But I do feel like the magical aspect was not the driving force of this novel, and so, in making it a significant part of the ending, I felt…unsatisfied.

AMONG OTHERS is classified as fantasy, and Mori loves SF, but it doesn’t mean that SFF fans should be its only readers—nor, perhaps, its most significant. AMONG OTHERS is, in my opinion, above all other plotlines, a love letter to books as salvation, and so if ever you love books, you should check this one out.
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Quotes Steph Su Liked

Jo Walton
“One of the things I've always liked about science fiction is the way it makes you think about things, and look at things from angles you'd never have thought about before.”
Jo Walton, Among Others

Jo Walton
“Libraries really are wonderful. They're better than bookshops, even. I mean bookshops make a profit on selling you books, but libraries just sit there lending you books quietly out of the goodness of their hearts.”
Jo Walton, Among Others

Jo Walton
“Interlibrary loans are a wonder of the world and a glory of civilization.”
Jo Walton, Among Others

Jo Walton
“Bibliotropic," Hugh said. "Like sunflowers are heliotropic, they naturally turn towards the sun. We naturally turn towards the bookshop.”
Jo Walton, Among Others

Jo Walton
“Tolkien understood about the things that happen after the end. Because this is after the end, this is all the Scouring of the Shire, this is figuring out how to live in the time that wasn’t supposed to happen after the glorious last stand. I saved the world, or I think I did, and look, the world is still here, with sunsets and interlibrary loans. And it doesn’t care about me any more than the Shire cared about Frodo.”
Jo Walton, Among Others

Jo Walton
“Being left alone - and I am being left alone - isn't quite as much what I wanted as I thought. Is this how people become evil? I don't want to be.”
Jo Walton, Among Others

Jo Walton
“I love the train. Sitting here I feel connected to the last time I sat here, and the train to London too. It is in-between, suspended; and in rapid motion towards and away from, it is also poised between. There's a magic in that, not a magic you can work, a magic that's just there, giving a little colour and exhilaration to everything.”
Jo Walton, Among Others

Reading Progress

04/18/2012 "Sooo excited for this. I read the Kindle excerpt and it was fantastic." 3 comments
11.0% "Is it bad of me that I'm enjoying the boarding school, contemporary narrative voice aspect of this more than the fantastical aspect? Oh well, looking forward to warming up to the strange beasties!" 2 comments
20.0% "Highlighting stuff on every other page. There is so much librarian FTW here. *hug*"
25.0% "Astonishing. You couldn't pry this book out of my fingers right now if you really put your back into it."
36.0% "LOVE bookish people."
57.0% "I want to find a book club..."
77.0% ""If I have to have a book on how to overcome adversity give me Pollyanna over Judy Blume any day, though why anyone would read any of them when the world contains all this SF is beyond me." Well, we can agree to disagree on that, Mori! Still love ya."
100.0% "Whaaat? That ending? So. Bizarre. But the rest of it was great!"
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Aaron Vincent Yay! Looking forward to what you will think about it.

Aaron Vincent Be warned, though. It may do considerable damage on your to-read list. :)

message 3: by Krispy (new)

Krispy Thanks for this review! I borrowed this from the library because I was curious and heard from others that it's good. More excited to read it now!

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