One of my favorite books ever is Connie Willis' Doomsday Book, the first in her Oxford Time Travel series, and I will feature that book another day. Today I'm talking about the second book in that series, To Say Nothing of the Dog. Doomsday Book and the other books in this series, Blackout and All Clear, are serious, contemplative novels, and I thought we all might be needing a lighter touch today. Ned Henry, one of the time traveling historians of these books finds himself going back in time from 2057 to Victorian England, 1888, in conjunction with his pursuit of "the bishop's bird stump" and a much needed rest. The phrase "the bishop's bird stump" alone should send readers scurrying to the library or bookstore. The result of Ned's journey is a comedy of errors, a mystery, a romance, and a delightful homage to Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat. This witty story will have you finding some laughter and joy that is much needed today.
As a reader of mostly mystery and crime, science fiction has never been my preferred genre, but Connie Willis is such a brilliant writer and storyteller that not reading her because of the genre would be an egregious error. Repeat winnings for the Hugo and Nebula awards, Willis is one of the top five authors I would still love to meet. I haven't yet read her latest novel, Crosstalk, which came out a year ago and was selected by NPR as one of the best books of the year, but I will and hopefully soon. I consider Connie Willis one of the best examples of why readers should keep an open mind about genres and thinking that one is not for them.
Book Jacket Description:
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 leave 21st century Oxford history student Ned Henry exhausted, a
relaxing trip to Victorian England seems the perfect solution. But
complexities like recalcitrant rowboats, missing cats, and love at first
sight make Ned's holiday anything but restful - to say nothing of the
way hideous pieces of Victorian art can jeopardize the entire course of