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To Say Nothing of the Dog (Oxford Time Travel, #2)
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To Say Nothing of the Dog

(Oxford Time Travel #2)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  37,823 ratings  ·  4,326 reviews
Connie Willis' Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Doomsday Book uses time travel for a serious look at how people connect with each other. In this Hugo-winning companion to that novel, she offers a completely different kind of time travel adventure: a delightful romantic comedy that pays hilarious homage to Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat.

When too many jumps back to 1940
Mass Market Paperback, 512 pages
Published December 1st 1998 by Bantam Books (first published December 1st 1997)
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Gail Gibbs Actually, there are two books you don't have to read. The phrase "To say nothing of the dog" is a reference to Jerome K. Jerome's delightful travelog,…moreActually, there are two books you don't have to read. The phrase "To say nothing of the dog" is a reference to Jerome K. Jerome's delightful travelog, Three Men in a Boat, written in 1880's, and full of wry observations about his own Victorian society. Connie Willis also wrote Doomsday Book, with a similar theme and some of the same characters. Both are excellent, but To Say Nothing of the Dog stands alone nicely. (less)

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If ever there was a symphony as book (Beethoven's 8th?), it would be this one. Like a symphony, To Say Nothing is a wonderful composite that is almost impossible to deconstruct. In many books, there might be a chapter that stands out, whether due to brilliance or failure; this is largely a harmonious, excellently written whole, with only one or two incongruous passages near the end.

Then there's the writing: amazingly developed and interwoven, it takes a number of disparate themes and juxtaposes
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
· Previous rating: 5 stars *eyerolls at her 2015 Self of Despicable Book Taste and Total Lack of Judgement*
· New rating: 20 million stars. And a half.

And the moral of this rerererererereread is: Connie Willis’ amazingly clever writing + one of the most beautifully constructed tale ever + the top ranking boyfriend in my High Security Harem (aka Cyril the Bulldog) + time travel + restful Victorian times delightfully wacky Victorian escapades + PG Wodehouse + awesome space-time continuum incongru
Jun 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Update on 6/28/2021: As we get farther in time from when this book was written, certain parts become amusing (the phrase “fax-mags” made me giggle aloud, for example), and I might not love this book as much as i read it for the first time today. But I do love it, and I’ve read it so many times that I wince at every error in the ebook. (You know you’ve read a book too many times when you’re hissing at changes in the italics.) This book has, I think, every single Connie Willis trope there is (exce ...more
Oh, dear. Every time I see the title of this book it makes me feel anxious. I am almost ashamed to say this in public, but I will be brave: I didn't like it.

I know. Everyone loves it and I can't explain why I don't. Normally I love all the elements that make up this book: time travel, romance, the 19th century. Just to be sure about it I have read it twice over the years; once in traditional book format and once as an audio book. *sigh* It makes me feel defective but there you are. I didn't lik
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fateful re-read 5/4/18

This is one of my all-time favorite books. From the clever phrases and deep PTSD exasperation to the total eventual collapse of the space-time continuum because of a freaking cat to THE BISHOP'S BIRD-STUMP, I find myself chortling nearly twenty years after the first read and again on the re-read.

We're catapulted through time thanks to the Oxford History Department's time machine put to the disposal of a wealthy American patron who is, let's be frank, NUTS. She's sent seemi
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
$2.99 Kindle sale, Dec. 11, 2018. While this offbeat time-travel novel is a sequel of sorts to Doomsday Book, they have completely different vibes, and it's not really necessary to have read Doomsday Book before this one. This is one of my favorite books in the world, but it's kind of an odd one that probably won't work for everyone. It's a little bit madcap farce, with people running and time-hopping around trying to find some obscure, ugly piece of Victorian art; it's got a bit of romantic com ...more

Christmas 2010: I realised that I had got stuck in a rut. I was re-reading old favourites again and again, waiting for a few trusted authors to release new works. Something had to be done.

On the spur of the moment I set myself a challenge, to read every book to have won the Locus Sci-Fi award. That’s 35 books, 6 of which I’d previously read, leaving 29 titles by 14 authors who were new to me.

While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and beca
Ms. Smartarse
Oxford 2057, and time travel is a thing.
Lady Shrapnell is pouring all her effort into restoring the Coventry Cathedral, destroyed during a German bombing in 1940. She'll damned well requisition every single time travelling historian for the task, if it'll get her all the original artifacts.

Ned Henry is one of the unfortunate historians exhausted after several time travelling trips meant to find the Bishop's bird stump. Hoping to carve out some much needed down time, he gets sent back to the Vict
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Two weeks ago I'd not heard of Connie Willis or of this novel. It came into my life because I randomly clicked through to this article in The Guardian when I was looking for something completely different. Had I done my random clicking pre-Goodreads, I may well have passed on this novel, because "science-fiction fantasy" does not describe the kind of novel I generally read. But these days I'm much more adventurous, so I jumped right in.

What fun this was! It's a time travel story that (sort of)
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
2 1/2

I picked up this book because it was the read of the month for the Sci-fi/Fantasy group here on goodreads. Time travel tends to hurt my head, and this was no exception, but that's not what dragged it down.

Honestly, I can't quite put my finger on why I didn't like it - but I'll try.

To start with, I felt like it took a long while for the book to actually start. I guess there was too much set-up, or it was belabored too much. I didn't feel like it really got going until well into 200+ pages.

Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It is a revelation, smart and funny, especially a particular mix-up about Cyril. Romance, time travel, history, this book has it all.
Mar 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
We all like a good laugh don’t we? But for me, comedy works best in TV shows or movies. Humour in print works best in shorter formats, like cartoon strips or magazine articles. I tend to find “comic novels” (not to be confused with graphic novels) problematical. The trouble is I keep expecting to laugh at every page and that is a tall order for the authors. I don’t expect to be thrilled by every page of a thriller or to be scared by every page of a horror novel so I don’t know why I have such a ...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Sep 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
A most entertaining adventure where Oxford dons get to meddle with time travel and a chance for the author to exercise her wit and to pay homage to great British authors. Everything is thrown into the pot - from ancient Greek battles to the decisions that sealed the fate of Napoleon at Waterloo, from Shakespeare to Tennyson, G K Chesterton to P G Wodehouse, Victorian morals and artistic expressions, boating on the Thames or the raid that destroyed the Coventry Cathedral in World War II, Lord Pet ...more
1998 Dec 21,
1999 May 15
1999 June 7
2004 Apr 09
2011 Nov 13
2014 Jan 10
2016 Jun 28
2020 May 15

I read it again, and I loved it. This is definitely a comfort read for me. Ah, the madcap chaos of it all. The naughty cat, the charming Cyril, the annoying people. Total love.

Speaking of books I love, down to every last detail, this is on the short list. The Chapter headings! The Tennyson quotes! The classism, sexism, and racism as viewed from a more enlightened viewpoint! The dog! The mystery novels of
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second story about the Oxford Time Travel Institute. It is only loosely connected to the first, namely through Mr. Dunworthy, whom we know from book 1. And wasn't I glad about that (the first book and I didn't get along too splendidly).

It is 2057 (thus, a few years after the first book) and here, Mrs. Schrapnell, a rich and very eccentric (if not to say gaga) American lady is pouring money into rebuilding Coventry Cathedral exactly as it was before the Nazi Blitz during WWII. She has
Megan Baxter
Nov 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is the third Connie Willis I've read, and I was a little leery. While I really enjoyed Passage, Lincoln's Dreams was pretty much the same book, written earlier, and less well. So I was a little worried about her recycling plots. And maybe she does, but this book has very little in common with either earlier book, and was thoroughly delightful and surprising.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to thi
Most of this book was four stars for me but then it went and got clever. It ended up being completely brilliant and I got some excellent laughs out of it, especially the end.

Poor Ned Henry has a severe case of time lag and he's been to way too many jumble sales. He's taken nearly 15 trips back to the 1940s to find the Bishop's Bird Stump and he's having no luck. Desperate to avoid Lady Schrapnell he goes to Mr. Dunworthy who promptly sends him back to the Victorian Era to have a bit of rest. He
4.5 stars, just to be clear.

Part time travel adventure, part comedy of manners and part mystery, To Say Nothing of the Dog is a little bit of everything I love about books.

To Say Nothing of the Dog takes its name (and much of its sensibility) from the famous novella by Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat, To Say Nothing of the Dog. This choice is not incidental, but neither is it overwhelmingly important to the novel as a whole. The story is told through the eyes of Ned Henry, a time travell
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book was a real stand-out for me! I picked it up after reading some good reviews, and I was pleasantly surprised to like it even better than I expected.
It's a time-travel/mystery/romance which is consistently witty and often downright hilarious. Books which are simultaneously literary and humorous are hard to come by - but here, Willis succeeds amazingly well.
In the near future, time travel has been discovered. It's being used by a wealthy society dame, Lady Schrapnell, in her well-funded p
Hannah Grace
Jan 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is my absolute favorite book. A perfect blend of sci-fi, historical fiction, mystery, comedy, mistaken identity and romance; this book has it all.

Its the not-too-distant future, but time-travel has been around for awhile. Oxford historian Ned Henry is trying desperately to find a hideous Victorian object, the Bishop's Bird Stump, shuttling back and forth between World War Two and the Victorian Era. Meanwhile, another historian, Verity Kindle, accidentally brings something back from the pas
Wanda Pedersen
Well, that was fun. A wonderful time travel whodunnit. I forget where I read that this book was informed by Three Men in a Boat, which I read earlier this year in preparation for reading this novel. Although I didn't find Jerome K. Jerome's tale too engaging, I loved Connie Willis' version. I’m so glad I was familiar with Mr. Jerome's work, as it provided a great deal of humour. Although this novel features the same university department as Willis' Doomsday Book, it had an entirely different ton ...more
I've now read all of Connie Willis' Oxford Time Travel novels and I have to say that I found this one to be the best. The story was intriguing and funny and didn't have any of the ridiculous tension issues of the other books. No communication issues anywhere. No mistaken identities. Yes there were mysteries and things that needed to be resolved but they were handled in a way that made it enjoyable to read, not frustrating.

I look forward to seeing where she takes this series next. Highly recommen

This was a fun romp -- perfect summer reading, and a nice homage to P.G. Wodehouse, whose books I've really enjoyed. There are enough twists and turns that I'll probably be just as pleasantly surprised by how the events play out in a re-read, too.
So this was a fun little read, with elements of sci-fi time travel, a Victorian era social comedy story, and a 1930's mystery with a very light touch of romance thrown in.

In the future we have mastered the ability to travel through time... only to discover we can't actually bring anything consequential back (sorry people who want to steal the Mona Lisa fresh off da Vinci's easel) and any attempts to change key events are thwarted by the space-time continuum itself. In this way is was a bit like
Alexis Hall
This book is the best book.

That is all.

Okay maybe it's not all.

I don't even know how to describe it ... a ridiculously clever, ridiculously funny madcap time-travelling Victoriana-infused romp?

Profoundly Oxfordy as well - full of references and allusions that make me at once feel at one and in on a snooty private joke. Which is a feeling I kinda enjoy. Because I'm a bad person.

Also Lady Shrapnel is the best name for a villain.

"When was the last time I’d eaten? A cup of tea and a rock cake at the Women’s Institute Victory Drive Sale of Work was all I could remember, and that was at least two days and fifty-two years ago."

This was absurd and witty and very, very funny. I’m a sucker for absurd and funny.
Mar 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Many people know that Three Men in a Boat: to Say Nothing of the Dog! is probably my favorite book. What many people don't necessarily know is that I first read it because I bought a very old copy of it at a book sale, and the reason I bought it was because I had read Have Space Suit-Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein, (to whom To Say Nothing of the Dogis dedicated) in which the main character, Kip, interrupts his father as he is reading HIS favorite book, Three Men in a Boat, in which, he claims ...more
Dec 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Ah, I was so bummed when this book was over, I would have gladly stayed with these characters for at least a month, that's how delightful they were. Even when Willis writes about the more annoying characters, it's with such bonhomie they become like irritating family members that you hope will leave soon but they are still family so you're stuck with them, and after they leave you can have a good laugh and roll your eyes at their antics. And I miss Cyril and Princess Amahajumed the most, I wish ...more
donna backshall
I must admit that, through the first few chapters, I found myself wondering if I would be able to finish this book. It moved slowly, too slowly I thought, the literary references were thick as morning fog, and the characters were hardly relatable.

And then something happened. Don't ask me how, but the characters and the story got under my skin, in the best way possible. Ned's frustrations became charming, the naming of Lady Schrapnell proved genius, and the sheer ridiculousness of the interaction
lucky little cat
Such a lovely book that on finishing it, I had to promptly go smooch my husband.*

My favorite-ever Flicker image, which the photographer captioned, "I found the Bishop's Birdstump!"

Willis's most famous novel is a light-hearted romp, a comedy of errors where a put-upon time-traveling civil servant falls In Love at First Sight. Complete with a groaning bulldog and all the fondest clichés about Oxford, including a clever heroine who identifies with Harriet Vane from the Gaudy Night e
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Constance Elaine Trimmer Willis is an American science fiction writer. She is one of the most honored science fiction writers of the 1980s and 1990s.

She has won, among other awards, ten Hugo Awards and six Nebula Awards. Willis most recently won a Hugo Award for All Seated on the Ground (August 2008). She was the 2011 recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award from the Science Ficti

Other books in the series

Oxford Time Travel (4 books)
  • Doomsday Book (Oxford Time Travel, #1)
  • Blackout (All Clear, #1)
  • All Clear (All Clear, #2)

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