Friday, September 14, 2007


The Book: Connie Willis, TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG, or How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last. Bantam mass market paperback reprint, 1998
First read: 1999
Owned since: 1999

To Say Nothing of the Dog is the subtitle of THREE MEN IN A BOAT, and J. and his companions make a funny cameo in this wonderful time-travel novel.

I'm a sucker for time travel novels; my favorite is Jack Finney's Time and Again, which I may not currently own, because I keep giving my copies away. Matt says I would not love Time and Again so much if I hadn't read it at an impressionable age (12, I think). If I'd first read Time and Again as an adult, he says, I'd like it, but this book would be my favorite.

He could be right. To Say Nothing of the Dog is an epic adventure about a very silly quest: the need to retrieve a hideous Victorian garden ornament as part of the 2044 restoration of Coventry Cathedral, destroyed by the Nazis 100 years earlier. It's not something that Britain's crack time travel corps would be involved in, except for the insistence of the terrifying Lady Schrapnell. Lieutenant Ned Henry is already suffering from "time lag" when one of the project's historians, Verity Kindle, brings back a cat from Victorian times.

Of course they have to return the cat, in order to preserve the time-space continuum, and Henry becomes increasingly time-lagged as the search for the bishop's bird stump becomes desperate. He becomes involved, despite his best intentions, with a young lady, and things get ridiculous before it all works out in the end. Hurrah!

In transit again today, after a morning meeting. This week all my reading has been work-related, except for one thriller that was just terrific.

And oh my goodness, I almost forgot: Happy, happy birthday to Miss Margaret Adele Lavinder, who is two years old today!

What I Read This Week

Linwood Barclay, No Time for Goodbye. Fourteen-year-old Cynthia Bigge wakes up one morning to find her mother, father and brother gone -- with nothing to indicate where they'd gone. The police never find any hint of what might have happened to them. Twenty-five years later, Cynthia starts to get phone calls, e-mails and even mementos that suggest at least one member of her family is still alive. Cynthia's husband Terry, who narrates the book, is torn between wanting to support her and wondering whether she's losing her mind. No Time for Goodbye is ingenious and fresh; I read it in two sittings, and resented having to put it down.

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