Doomsday Book by Connie Willis: Wow. And I mean that in a good way: I am completely awestruck by this novel. Kivrin is an undergraduate historian who wants to visit the Middle Ages. Mr. Dunworthy is a professor in the 20th Century History department who is trying to convince her not to go, since the Medieval History department has never sent anyone back in time and the Middle Ages were totally dangerous. She goes anyway, but while the tech is getting the fix to make sure she ended up in the correct place, he falls ill with a mysterious and possibly deadly virus. Oxford goes under quarantine as Dunworthy scrambles to figure out when and where Kivrin is. Meanwhile, Kivrin has her own set of problems in the 14th century, where she also has fallen ill and no longer knows where the rendezvous location is for when she is to be picked up two weeks later. On top of all this there are the blustery bureaucrat Gilchrist, the obnoxiously overbearing Mrs. Gaddson, the endearingly enthusiastic Colin, and a whole host of other wonderful and memorable characters. This book is nearly 600 pages but not once did it feel long. I was completely absorbed. If you like thrillers and are at all interested in the Middle Ages (and have a strong stomach, for many of the various symptoms and remedies are described in horrifying detail), definitely check this one out. It’s simply marvelous.
Also posted on BookCrossing.