Featured Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Posted by Patricia @ Lady with Books
As readers, we have our favorite authors. Some of them we go back to again and again and get incredibly excited when news of a new book by those authors reaches us. Whether it is a set of characters we adore, a type of writing style we like, or merely a genre the author writes in that we enjoy, we all have our reasons for liking our favorite authors. This post will feature one of my favorite authors, what I like about them, and a couple books I would suggest to other readers.
Diana Wynne Jones
Diana Wynne Jones was always classic fairytale to me and I can always rely on her books to give me that same feeling I got when I was a kid. Her books just have the ability to cause wonder and curiosity in a reader. I was so saddened when she died in March 2011. We lost a great author when she passed. Her stories turn the basic sword and sorcery plot on its head and invite us to have a chuckle at those old stereotypes. DWJ has a ridiculous amount of books, some of them quite hard to find now, but it’s worth the effort to read everything. They are all amazing. You are not always sure where the story is going and it can get a bit confusing sometimes, DWJ’s plots are puzzle-like, but it always comes together in the end and often leaves the reader blown away.
Favorite Book: Howl’s Moving Castle
I came across DWJ backwards, movie first; which is never how I recommend being introduced to a new author. I watched the movie of her book Howl’s Moving Castle before even knowing it was based on a book. The Studio Ghibli movie by Hayao Miyazaki is beautiful. (I highly recommend all of the Studio Ghibli films.) The movie and book are very different from each other but each is spectacular. There are also two sequels that loosely follow, each dealing with different main characters but also including Howl and Sophie in some way. I recommend all of them. Howl’s Moving Castle is a fantasy and adventure book of the like that you don’t see too often anymore. There are witches and wizards and magic and the story just makes the kid in me give a little squeal in delight.
Reading DWJ’s books can take a bit of work. A lot of series are written out of order so that you can either read by publishing date or chronological event order. The Chrestomanci series is one that can be read different ways.
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
first published 1986
In which a witch bewitched the hatter’s daughter – and then some….
Sophie lived in the town of Market Chipping, which was in Ingary, a land in which anything could happen, and often did – especially when the Witch of the Waste got her dander up. Which was often.
As her younger sisters set out to seek their fortunes, Sophie stayed in her father’s hat shop. Which proved most unadventurous, until the Witch of the Waste came in to buy a bonnet, but was not pleased. Which is why she turned Sophie into an old lady. Which was spiteful witchery.
Now Sophie must seek her own fortune. Which means striking a bargain with the lecherous Wizard Howl. Which means entering his ever-moving castle, taming a blue fire-demon, and meeting the Witch of the Waste head-on. Which was more than Sophie bargained for….
Favorite quotes by Diana Wynne Jones
“If you take myth and folklore, and these things that speak in symbols, they can be interpreted in so many ways that although the actual image is clear enough, the interpretation is infinitely blurred, a sort of enormous rainbow of every possible colour you could imagine.”
“This is the mythosphere. It’s made up of all the stories, theories and beliefs, legends, myths and hopes, that are generated here on Earth. As you can see, it’s constantly growing and moving as people invent new tales to tell or find new things to believe. The older strands move out to become these spirals, where things tend to become quite crude and dangerous. They’ve hardened off, you see.”
An interview with DWJ about the film adaptation of Howl’s Moving Castle.
English trailer for the Howl’s Moving Castle film.
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