In case you were not aware, Diana Wynne Jones is very ill right now. If you enjoy her books and wish her well, now would be a good time to drop her a line and tell her so. Her semi-official fan site offers an email address; or if you prefer, her lovely publisher Greenwillow will forward snail mail to her: Diana Wynne Jones c/o Greenwillow Books, 10 E. 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022. It is at times like these that I wish I could change the universe by wanting it to be different. I know Diana Wynne Jones is full of books still, and they are all books I want to read. I hope she is able to write them.
If you haven’t already entered my DWJ giveaway, go forth and do so. You know you want to. And without further ado, here is what you have all had to say so far this week.
Erin of Aelia Reads had never heard of Wild Robert before. It is small and easily missed, so that’s understandable. She also reviewed Witch’s Business, Ms. Jones’s first book, which I get confused with Wild Robert and which is called Wilkins’ Tooth in the UK, I believe.
Kristen of We Be Reading read Witch’s Business, and said I had infinite wisdom. This may be an early sign that my childhood dreams of having everyone go “Correct as usual, Jenny,” are coming true. She also loved Fire and Hemlock (it is hard for me to express the joy I feel every time someone loves Fire and Hemlock); and here she remembers discovering Diana Wynne Jones.
Heather of Letters and Sodas read Dogsbody, and was impressed by Diana Wynne Jones’s clever star jokes. I definitely did not get the one about Cepheids either, but I have since looked it up on Wikipedia and feel much enlightened.
Fiona of The Book Coop found Eight Days of Luke a little hasty but liked it anyway.
A Tale of Time City did not live up to Memory’s memory. She is from Stella Matutina, and I’m sorry I made that joke but I could not resist it. I am running on five hours of sleep. Earlier today I forgot the word “dictionary,” and yesterday I spent an hour trying to remember the title of Catcher in the Rye, and all this is sort of Memory’s fault for mentioning North and South briefly in a vlog recently, which forced me to stay up really late watching the BBC miniseries of it. And now I have digressed. It’s because I’m so tired and cannot focus at all.
Ana of things mean a lot makes the confusing Hexwood sound appealing without spoilering it, and totally blew my mind by noting that she does not read DWJ for the plots, but for the dialogue, characters, and emotional resonance. I feel just the same. How did I fail to notice that this is my exact feeling about Diana Wynne Jones?
Jeanne of Necromancy Never Pays found Deep Secret satisfying, and wonders what makes a book aimed at this audience or that audience (I do not have the answers).
Eva of A Striped Armchair read Fire and Hemlock while hanging around on Twitter, a while back, and that was lovely (for me) (maybe less so for her) because I was all, What is happening now? What about now? Wasn’t that rehearsal scene good? What do you mean, you weren’t crazy about the end?
Gavin of Page 247 enjoyed The Lives of Christopher Chant despite not reading Charmed Life first. I didn’t read Charmed Life first either. It doesn’t matter!
Shanra of Libri Touches shares the tale of how she first “met” Diana Wynne Jones.
Charlotte of Charlotte’s Library found The Pinhoe Egg better her second time around. See? I’m not just saying that to make y’all reread DWJ books you were not wild about. The books are actually genuinely better on a reread. Unless they are A Tale of Time City. (That’s two votes against, and it’s not one of my favorites either. Anyone care to defend it?)
Proper Jenny of Shelf Love was impressed by The Merlin Conspiracy and its complex worlds and themes.
Lightheaded of everyday reads calls House of Many Ways infinitely charming, and even mentions Twinkle. There are so many reasons Twinkle is great.
Bookwyrme of Bookwyrme’s Lair liked House of Many Ways too, especially the urgent but low-key nature of the threat; and admires how The Dark Lord of Derkholm is a parody but not solely a parody. This is one of the things I like best about Dark Lord of Derkholm myself.
In rapid succession Jane of Teabag Central has reviewed three of Diana Wynne Jones’s most delightfully complicated books: Fire and Hemlock, Deep Secret, and Hexwood. She has also provided a link to the article Ms. Jones wrote about Fire and Hemlock and all its lovely myth strands, which if you have read Fire and Hemlock is rather enlightening.
trapunto of Villa Negativa read Enchanted Glass and then cracked me up with a description of what it is like to have a new Diana Wynne Jones book. I feel just the same!
Christy of A Good Stopping Point enjoyed Deep Secret despite its being slightly dated (it is, but I never thought about it before), and did not mind the way it tosses you into the middle of events. I told her to try it again because it’s better on a reread. That’s what I always say. But only because it’s true.
orchidus of epiphany read Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant, with all their coming-of-age goodness.
If you are wondering about the ending of Fire and Hemlock, you (should read the above-linked article and) are not alone; in the past arnique has had similar difficulties; and if you still cannot decide what books of DWJ you must read, try Kate Coombs’s post about DWJ’s books and her status as Queen of Children’s Fantasy. The Greenwillow blog (Greenwillow is Jones’s US publisher) has some very lovely things to say about her too; and, from 1992 but still ever so true, Orson Scott Card goes on at some length about the scope and variety of her fiction. It is all true! She is wonderful in a zillion ways!
If I missed your Sunday-through-Tuesday link, let me know. It is not because I don’t love you, but only because my computer is very slow and sometimes in the time it takes a page to load, I forget things. Carry on linking me your links on the giveaway post, for I will do another round-up later. Y’all are great, and I’m loving reading all your posts. This week is awesome so far.
I’m sorry I beffuddled you. It’s worth it, though? Richard Armitage is goodness?
My goodness, such a lot of DWJ links! Just knowing all those reviews are out there makes me want to read more of her stuff, even though I’m trying really, really hard not to borrow any more from the library right now so’s I can get through the piles of books I bought last Friday. Sigh. I think this may be a losing battle.
Richard Armitage is total goodness. He is perhaps the smolderiest smolderer ever to smolder on British television. Up with smoldering!
You can read the piles of books you bought any time. Get DWJ from the library. Now’s the time. She has many books. They are all wondrous. #temptress
I totally enjoyed having someone to gush over the book on Twitter with. 😉
I should have been clearer in my post, but ultimately my disappointment with the ending wasn’t over its mildly confused nature but over the lack of lovey dov-iness. Which probably speaks more to my level as a reader than DWJ’s level as an author! And perhaps I should have gushed more in my review, if it didn’t come across how much I truly loved the reading experience? *worries* I was rather tired on Monday morning when I was writing the post up.
No, I knew you loved it! Except for the lack of lovey-doveyness. I totally understand. I’m trying to think which books of hers you might find more satisfying (in that regard–none of her books is actually more satisfying). Do not build your hopes on Deep Secret, but Howl’s Moving Castle or Castle in the Air maybe.
Eva’s question about the ending pretty much inspired my entire post today. Thanks, Eva!
Thanks for the suggestions! I just requested the first to Chrestomanci books based on Gavin’s post, so I’m curious to see what I’ll make of them. 🙂 Also, I totally want my own copy of F&H so I can reread it…I can’t even get it from the library again since it was an ILL.
I thought it WAS lovey-dovey! Enough, anyway.
I guess I want more lovey dovey-ness than you. 😀
Also, isn’t North and South the best miniseries ever?! I keep checking it out from my library, since I am broke, lol. But it’s on the top of my list to Santa for next Christmas!
It totally is. I started watching it at nine-thirty, thinking I could just watch the first bit and then go to sleep. No I could not, as it turned out, definitely had to stay up late to see how it ended. And it ended awesome.
If I could change the universe in this particular regard I totally would too
I bet I totally miss all the stars jokes in Dogsbody! I should spend some time at Wikipedia brushing up my (non-existent) astronomy 😛
Cepheids stutter, was the joke Heather pointed out. But I do often feel I’d get more of DWJ’s jokes if I were better educated. Neil Gaiman pointed out that the Hell’s Angels characters in The Ogre Downstairs, who speak in Greek, are actually saying colloquial English things, with Greek transliteration, but I went and looked, and I couldn’t figure out what they were saying. I think it was partly the Greek alphabet and partly that British colloquial language is not the same as American; the combination defeated me.
1. “Hit me on the lid again and see what you get!”
2. “Think you can hit fellows on the head do you?”
3. “These kids tried to thump me, fellows.”
4. “OK, let’s take both of you apart a bit”
5. “Let me at ’em”
6. “Full o’ spirit, aren’t they?”
7. “Let’s go, fellows”
THANK YOU JANE! I read that Neil Gaiman thing too, and I totally tried to work it out and couldn’t.
Whoa, Jane, you are my hero. Thank you.
I’ve posted my review of The Lives of Christopher Chant and The Magicians of Caprona. Really enjoying all the postings — thanks again for doing this!
I am loving doing this! And I really enjoyed your reviews of those two. 🙂
I had also heard that she was very ill, and though I haven’t read many of her books, it made me very sad. I do hope that she is able to recover and write the books that you so want to see!
I hope so too. I would be heartbroken if she died–her books have been part of my life for so long, and she’s so reliably wonderful. 😦
I’m glad that Deep Secret is getting read 🙂 It’s one of those DWJ books that I read long before I was book blogging and felt that uh, nobody else has read it (until you posted about choices for this week a couple or so weeks back).
I only learned she was ill when I linked to her site a couple of days ago 😦
I wish Deep Secret got read more often too! It’s set at a readers’ convention, for goodness sake, it should be like catnip to book bloggers! :p
Great round-up! *rubs hands in gleeful anticipation of reading to come* 😀
Thanks! I’m so enjoying your DWJ posts!
I think that my post today defends A Tale of Time City. I liked it quite a bit! Great characters and an interesting premise.
Oh, good, that makes me feel better for it. Less justified in not liking it, but happy for the book to have friends. 🙂
Wow, look at all those reviews! I feel guilty now I’m still wading in dinosaur books- not quite sure why, they just struck my fancy last week and I still have some around- so I haven’t read any DWJ yet! Yikes! But I did pick one up at the library today, and have been meaning to write a post on Dogsbody, which I read so many times I nearly have it memorized…
Well, if you don’t get around to it before week’s end, it’ll still be a wonderful post. Diana Wynne Jones is lovely all the time. 🙂
I mostly like Diana Wynne Jones’s children’s books, but I have to say, I’ve never laughed so hard in my life as when I read her use of a conga line in A Sudden Wild Magic!
I love the conga line too. I have a soft spot for A Sudden Wild Magic, although I think it’s probably not as strong as many of her books. I like the centaurs. 🙂
It has been a fabulous week so far. I’m so capricious and behind with my blogging that I might not manage to post on her this week, but I’ll just extend DWJ time in the blogosphere… But I’ve been loving reading all these posts!
Really every week should be Diana Wynne Jones week, so I’ll be excited to see your post whenever you get a chance to do it.