E is for Entertainment

At first I thought I would have maybe two authors for "E" but a scan of the bookshelves supplied me with more!

Umberto Eco: I have read The Name of the Rose (yes, I probably read it about the same time as everyone else) and thought it very fine. In fact, there's a passage in the novel that I reference in my thesis:
Now I realized that not infrequently books speak of books: it is as if they spoke among themselves . . the library seemed all the more disturbing to me. It was then the place of a long, centuries-old murmuring, an imperceptible dialog between one parchment and another, a living thing, a receptacle of powers not to be ruled by a human mind, a treasure of secrets emanated by many minds, surviving the death of those who had produced them or had been their conveyors.
Unfortunately, I've never been able to get into any of Eco's other books although I did read half of Foucault's Pendulum and tried one or two of his others. In all fairness, I don't typically read the kind of stuff Eco writes.

Rufus Sewell
Walter D. Edmond: I read Drums Along the Mohawk years ago. I remember almost nothing about it except (1) I enjoyed the references to upstate New York (where I grew up); (2) I thought it was impressively non-soapy. I think I expected a kind of "Then the brave soldiers pursued the Red Coats across the wide vistas" type of thing (the book was written in 1936), but it actually isn't like that.

George Eliot: I read Middlemarch in college and was impressed to the nth degree. I still consider it one of the best novels in the English language. The thing I remember liking then and that I still admire now is how much of the book is about relationships and the small, everyday moments in life. Up till that point, it seemed like every English class I took began and ended with  depressing books about DEATH, DEATH, DEATH, accidents, DEATH. Here, for the first time, I was being assigned a book that talked about the human condition, not just about human tragedy.

The BBC series doesn't really measure up--despite the appearance of Rufus Sewell.

David Eddings
1931-2009
Aaron Elkins: Elkins is the author that I read for the first A-Z list. I'm happy to report that it totally paid off! I've now read a majority of Elkins' books. The first are better than the most recent (a not atypical issue for writers who are expected to produce on a constant basis), but they are all enjoyable. I recommend them!

David Eddings: I usually avoid world fantasy/science-fiction. There's a few exceptions: Tolkien (naturally) and C.J. Cherryh's Foreigner series, which is as much character-oriented as world-oriented, but hey, that's C.J. Cherryh for you!

However, I have read--and own--David Eddings' Belgariad series. In some ways, it is exactly what you would expect: every single fantasy motif that has been tested by Tolkien, Walt Disney, and generations of Medieval and 19th century English writers packed into a single group of novels.

However, the writing is easy, crisp, exciting, and tells an interesting story with decent characters. Frankly, many world-fantasy writers have done much, much worse.

Richard Paul Evans: I have to mention Richard Paul Evans, not because I enjoy his books but because I read one for my thesis. My brother Eugene's hilarious review of the same book pretty much says it all.

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