Dec 06

A dirty little secret: we don’t always love our favorite authors’ books. A roundup of novels featuring time travel. Michael recommends I am Half-Sick of Shadows, the new Flavia DeLuce novel by Alan Bradley, and I recommend Jo Nesbo’s The Leopard.

When good authors go bad

 

How do you handle the disappointment when you are looking forward to a favorite author’s book and it leaves you wanting? I tend to make a distinction between favorite books and favorite authors — not all of my favorite books are by my favorite authors. I tend to judge authors on the body of their work, but I don’t always love every book by a favorite author. Michael and I discuss this. Is it a case of overblown expectations? Are we more disappointed by a book we don’t love if it’s from a favorite author? Do we cut other authors more slack?

 

Excuse me, where is the time travel section?

 

Michael and I are both fans of time travel in fiction.

Paris Before Men by Pierre Boitard is often mentioned as one of the first time travel novels. Some classic examples of time travel fiction are The Time Machine by H.G. Wells and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain. In this segment, we do a quick roundup of some of our favorite time travel novels, and one or two that are on our to-be-read list:

 

Two books we can’t wait for you to read

 

I am Half-Sick of Shadows   The Leopard by Jo Nesbo

Michael talks about Alan Bradley’s new book, I Am Half-Sick of Shadows. The latest in the Flavia DeLuce series, this book is set during the holiday season and includes a plot by Flavia to catch Santa Claus. Michael hasn’t read it yet, but  you know that both of us are huge fans of Alan Bradley, so I suspect that we will both have read this book before the year is out.

My recommendation for this episode is gritty and gory: The Leopard by Jo Nesbo, the latest mystery in the Harry Hole series. The novel picks up after The Snowman, and we see Harry Hole suffering from the events that transpired in The Snowman. Despite his best efforts, Hole gets dragged into a new investigation in Norway that involves a serial killer who is targeting people who stayed in a particular cabin on a particular night.

 

 

  • Stan Hynds

    How did you like On Chesil Beach, Ann? Just wondering.

  • Stan Hynds

    How did you like On Chesil Beach, Ann? Just wondering.

  • I LOVE Margaret Atwood, but I didn’t really care for either Oryx & Crake or The Year of the Flood.  Sadly I think this is the direction her work is taking going forward, and though I will still read anything she writes, my heart isn’t entirely in it. (Ironically, The Handmaid’s Tale is my favorite book).
    I guess I am going to have to read Outlander now.  I had a preconceived notion of it as some bizarre fantasy thing but Ann’s description has me very interested.

  • Hey Anne and Michael! I loved the episode on time-travel books. Huge Dr. Who and Gabaldon fan here, though her latest book reminds me of your first segment “When good authors g-o bad.” lol The book Replay especially interested me because the premise sounded oddly familiar. Didn’t take long either to realize why. CBC produces a tv show called Being Erica that follows a very similar plot.  Erica is an early thirty-something at an impasse in a life going nowhere. In this time of need, she meets a Dr. Tom who offers to be her therapist in a most unusual way. He can send her back to time to experience her past, perhaps change something, or at least understand her present predicament better. As you might guess, each episode is one time-traveling trip backward and then the ramifications of the trip on the present. Very cute, uplifting, and thought provoking show. 
    I believe you can watch all the seasons online here: http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/Shows/Being_Erica
    Enjoy!

  • Hey Anne and Michael! I loved the episode on time-travel books. Huge Dr. Who and Gabaldon fan here, though her latest book reminds me of your first segment “When good authors g-o bad.” lol The book Replay especially interested me because the premise sounded oddly familiar. Didn’t take long either to realize why. CBC produces a tv show called Being Erica that follows a very similar plot.  Erica is an early thirty-something at an impasse in a life going nowhere. In this time of need, she meets a Dr. Tom who offers to be her therapist in a most unusual way. He can send her back to time to experience her past, perhaps change something, or at least understand her present predicament better. As you might guess, each episode is one time-traveling trip backward and then the ramifications of the trip on the present. Very cute, uplifting, and thought provoking show. 
    I believe you can watch all the seasons online here: http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/Shows/Being_Erica
    Enjoy!

  • Hey Anne and Michael! I loved the episode on time-travel books. Huge Dr. Who and Gabaldon fan here, though her latest book reminds me of your first segment “When good authors g-o bad.” lol The book Replay especially interested me because the premise sounded oddly familiar. Didn’t take long either to realize why. CBC produces a tv show called Being Erica that follows a very similar plot.  Erica is an early thirty-something at an impasse in a life going nowhere. In this time of need, she meets a Dr. Tom who offers to be her therapist in a most unusual way. He can send her back to time to experience her past, perhaps change something, or at least understand her present predicament better. As you might guess, each episode is one time-traveling trip backward and then the ramifications of the trip on the present. Very cute, uplifting, and thought provoking show. 
    I believe you can watch all the seasons online here: http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/Shows/Being_Erica
    Enjoy!

  • I’m reading the newest Flavia de Luce book & loving it like I did the previous three! Thanks so much to the two of you for turning me into a huge fan of Flavia and of Alan Bradley’s writing. Flavia’s exploits make me smile & laugh. What an amazing character she is.

  • Deb

    You forgot one of my favorite time travel books – The Time Travelers Wife.

  • Simcha

    While listening to this episode I was suddenly reminded of one of my favorite childhood books, Time at the Top by Edward Ormondroyd, about an 11 yr old girl who accidentally  travels back in time in her building’s elevator. I used to love this book but for some reason I forgot all about it, until now. I’m so glad to have been reminded of this book and I’m going to hunt down a copy of it right now.

  • JanetS

    Ann, I was so happy to hear that you liked Outlander.  So often it gets dismissed because it is considered in the romance genre.  I am currently reading book 7, An Echo in the Bone, on audio.  Davina Porter is the narrator for this series and she has an amazing voice and does all the parts, male and female and different accents.  She is as incredible as Diana is.  I just met Diana Gabaldon for the first time at the release party for The Scottish Prisoner which was held at The Arizona Biltmore and she is a very gracious person.

  • JanetS

    Ann, I was so happy to hear that you liked Outlander.  So often it gets dismissed because it is considered in the romance genre.  I am currently reading book 7, An Echo in the Bone, on audio.  Davina Porter is the narrator for this series and she has an amazing voice and does all the parts, male and female and different accents.  She is as incredible as Diana is.  I just met Diana Gabaldon for the first time at the release party for The Scottish Prisoner which was held at The Arizona Biltmore and she is a very gracious person.

  • William Lexner

    Replay by Ken Grimwood is a haunting book that remains with you for a long, long time. Glad to see it was mentioned.

    A couple of absolutely wonderful (and award winning) time travel books that weren’t mentioned are The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers (The absolute best Steampunk story ever told) and Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. (Winner of the Hugo and the Nebula Award.)

    Also, you can’t talk time travel without mentioning the short story “All You Zombies” by Robert A. Heinlein which chronicles a young man (later revealed to be intersex) taken back in time and tricked into impregnating his younger, female self (before he underwent a sex change); he thus turns out to be the offspring of that union, with the paradoxical result
    that he is his own mother and father. As the story unfolds, all the
    major characters are revealed to be the same person, at different stages
    of her/his life.

  • Sue Jackson

    Eeeek!!  You did a show on time travel books AND mentioned Replay, my favorite book of all time!  I was so excited! (can you tell?)
     
    What I love so much about Replay is what I love about most time travel stories – they are thought-provoking.  Reading about the main character’s different choices during different “replays”, you can’t help but think about what YOU would do if you suddenly woke up as your 18-year old self (scary thought).  Here s my review, explaining why Replay is my favorite book:

    http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2006/03/science-fiction-replay.html

    A few years ago, my husband gave me The Little Book by Selden Edwards, about an 80’s rock star who goes back in time to 1897 Vienna, where he interacts with both famous people (Mark Twain and Sigmund Freud) as well as his own ancestors who are young adults.  This brings up all kinds of thought-provoking questions about tinkering with time and potentially affecting your own life.

    And one of my favorite books (top 5 definitely) fits into both categories you covered today – The Time Traveler’s Wife was a wonderful time travel novel…and the author disappointed me with her second novel which I didn’t enjoy nearly as much.

    Great show as always!

    Sue Jackson
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  • My favorite is The Time Travelers Wife. And by the way, its nice to see the list of time travel novels. Nice post too! Also it nice to see the passion of book lovers here 🙂

  • Cari

    You must read The Time Traveler’s Wife if you haven’t.  We talk about it constantly on our book podcast, http://bethandcari.blogspot.com.  We did talk about time travel books recently as well, and we discussed Replay and Outlander!

    • Thanks, I will check out your podcast!

  • Ann

    For time travel one of the first books I think of is Slaughterhouse-five.  Also, for YA time-travel-ish books, I really liked Tanglewreck by Jeanette Winterson. 

  • Kimberly

    Thank you for talking about Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. I’m reading her next book Voyager and have been a little embarrassed by how much I’m enjoying it. I greatly appreciate the validation.

  • I’ve read Outlander 9 times! I just started listening to your podcast and I’m really enjoying it. Happy to have one of my all time favorite books receive a good recommendation. 

  • I’ve read Outlander 9 times! I just started listening to your podcast and I’m really enjoying it. Happy to have one of my all time favorite books receive a good recommendation. 

  • I’ve read Outlander 9 times! I just started listening to your podcast and I’m really enjoying it. Happy to have one of my all time favorite books receive a good recommendation. 

  • Debbie_60435

    ‘Second Sight’ by David Wiliams and ‘Bid Time Return’ by Richard Matheson are two of my favorites!

  • Paula

    I’m a Whovian too!  🙂
    Recently read a short story by EM Foster called ‘The Machine Stops’ — sci-fi from 1909. 

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  • after watching one of Vsauce videos my trouble now with only time travel is that the Earth, solar system and our galaxy is constantly moving and isn’t always at the same space

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