Category Archives: connie willis

To Say Nothing of the Dog

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To Say Nothing of the Dog

Have you ever wondered what a penwiper is? If you have the answer lies in this delightful novel. Set in 2057, time traveling Oxford dons are looking for lost relics from Coventry Cathedral for their boss Lady Schrapnell. It’s her mission to rebuild the cathedral because visiting the cathedral changed her great great great grandmother’s life. Sent to jumble sale after jumble sale, Ned Henry’s mission is to find out what happened to the bishop’s bird stump, the one relic Lady Schrapnell must have. His last drop send Ned into the hospital for sever time lag. Because of his time lag, Ned is sent to Victorian England in order to recover and complete a mission that might disrupt the time space continuum.

Verity Kindle is the reason Ned is sent back to Victorian England because she has done what no other time traveler has managed to do, she’s brought back something from the past. A cat to be precise. This cat has caused an incongruity that must be fixed or it could alter history forever.

This incongruity sends Ned and Verity on a delightful mission to right the wrongs done by bringing the cat into the future. They have to make sure certain couples meet, break up other couples, and get Lady Schrapnell’s great great great grandmother to Coventry Cathedral. But each time they try to fix the incongruity they make things even worse. That is until they find out that maybe the incongruity is fixing itself and their just part of the process.

To Say Nothing of the Dog is a love letter to literature. There are so many homages in this novel it kept me on my toes trying to keep up. From all things Victoriana, including Tennyson, hilarious Oxford dons, and spiritualism, to references to the Golden Age of mystery writer’s, including Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. This novel has it all. Some of the best moments are when Ned and Verity are discussing the incongruity like Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. They are trying to hard to piece the pieces together they fail to see the bigger picture. Willis took these beloved literary characters and gave them more human counterparts. I feel like Ned and Verity solve mysteries like any of us would. Looking at everything like it’s a clue and focusing on the minutiae trying to be Hercule Poirot.

With elements of science fiction, romance, and mystery, this novel can’t go wrong. It’s a great introduction into science fiction for those readers like myself who haven’t really read much in the genre before. You just kind of get your toes wet into the genre with the elements of time travel.

Rating: 5/5 Read it and try not to laugh at her sly look on literature.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015. Happy reading!

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Back to the Future

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Back to the Future

The next book in Book Battle 2015 is a novel set in the future. Not having read many science fiction novels, I wasn’t really sure where to go with this category. I asked everyone I know who reads sci-fi and compiled some possibilities and then went browsing the local library. Funny enough, I didn’t end up choosing any of the novels that were recommended to me. I chose Connie Willis’s novel To Say Nothing of the Dog. I just kind of stumbled across the book while I was looking for another one and the title caught my eye. After I read the synopsis I decided that this was going to be the sci-fi book for me.

Set in Oxford, England in the year 2060, the novel is about a group of time traveling scholars who are looking for the Bishop’s Bird Stump in order to rebuild Coventry Cathedral for their patron Lady Schrapnell. The main character ends up getting something called time lag and then is ordered to take a break. To escape the demands of the patron, his team sends him to Oxford in the Victorian era to take a break. But apparently, there is boo break to be had as another colleague brings back an anomaly from Victorian England to the present that could destroy the space time continuum.

Needless to say, this novel sounds like a lot of fun. It’s got all the elements in it, mystery, intrigue, time travel, romance, humor. I can’t wait to get started. Happy reading!