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Diana Wynne Jones! Oh my lord!

(41 Posts)
Psippsina Sun 31-May-15 11:02:29

Just finished Howl's Moving Castle...I HAVE to read her others now...where to begin?! smile

(it's not quite the same as the film, which I'd already seen but still - mindblowing!)

Sootgremlin Sun 31-May-15 11:42:39

Love love love it - my favourite book as a child, bought it for myself as an adult and wasn't disappointed by my memory.

There is a follow-up, Castle in the Air, and the Chrestomanci ones are good. Charmed Life is the first iirc. I don't honestly think you can go wrong though smile

I haven't seen the film version yet, big fan of Studio Ghibli though (hence nickname) saving it for when my son is old enough to enjoy it, which is just around the corner I think.

jeee Sun 31-May-15 11:46:59

Archer's Goon and The Time of the Ghost are both worth a read. Particularly Archer's Goon - it's clever and funny, and begins with a list including the memorable line 'Power corrupts - but we need electricity'.

Sootgremlin Sun 31-May-15 11:48:31

Yes - had forgotten Archer's Goon. Might set myself to rereading more of these.

BabyNeedsChocolate Sun 31-May-15 11:57:17

I read and reread most of her books as a child/teenager. My favourites were the Chrestomanci ones - Charmed Life, the Lives of Christopher Chant etc. I had a massive crush on Chrestomanci for some reason. He makes an appearance in Witch Week which was the first DWJ novel I read (it is a boarding school novel and v good as well). Would recommend Fire and Hemlock too.

RubyMyrtle Sun 31-May-15 11:59:14

The follow up Castle in the Air is OK but not as good as Howl. House of many ways which is the 3rd is better. All of the Chrestomancy series are great. Fire & Hemlock is a darker one, also fab. Actually I love all of them but Howl is my favourite. So jealous that you've only read one and have all the rest still to come!!

Pipistrella Sun 31-May-15 12:02:18

Thank you for all the suggestions, I'll get busy ordering (sorry it's me - namechanged for another thread!)

I'm totally in love with Howl. And Sophie grin

I sort of wish I'd read the book first but it doesn't matter either way as I love the film and the book equally. Perhaps the book a bit more tbh! Like she says, a book can show you the inside of a person, a film only the outside.

Takver Sun 31-May-15 13:04:21

My favourite DWJs are The Homeward Bounders (heartbreaking) and The Power of Three.

tumbletumble Sun 31-May-15 13:07:34

Oh I love Diana Wynne Jones! My favourites are The Power of Three, Charmed Life and The Magicians of Caprona.

LapinDeBois Sun 31-May-15 22:52:55

I can't believe I didn't know there was a follow up to Howl!! I've been inspired by this thread now, and I must read some more of hers. I've read about half of the ones mentioned - don't know why I haven't read more. I was a bit obsessed with Fire and Hemlock as a kid.

DandyDan Mon 01-Jun-15 07:20:37

The Charmed Life series (principally, Charmed Life, Witch Week, The Magicians of Caprona and The Lives of Christopher Chant) is superb, esp. the character of Chrestomanci.

The Homeward Bounders is tragically brilliant.

But the best DWJ and beating Howl into a cocked hat is Fire & Hemlock. A strange love story but dark and complicated and can take any number of re-readings: more an epic convoluted poem and more adult in tone than her other books.

Eight Days of Luke is lovely too. I read it hot off the press in the Seventies - and Neil Gaiman took this as one of his literary springboards.

neverevernorever Mon 01-Jun-15 21:44:11

But the best DWJ and beating Howl into a cocked hat is Fire & Hemlock. A strange love story but dark and complicated and can take any number of re-readings: more an epic convoluted poem and more adult in tone than her other books.

Yes, the implications and nuances became more and more murky and interesting as I reread this one from childhood to adulthood...

Lambbone Mon 01-Jun-15 22:04:18

I've found my people!

Darling wonderful people who get DWJ! My family does too. Kids have been fans for years. DD1 went to a WBD event in year 6 as Chrestomanci in a pair of satin pyjamas and a top hat.

Fire and Hemlock possibly my favourite book ever. It is so precious to me I can hardly bear to talk about it. Does that make sense? After my first reading, I had to go away and read The Golden Bough. And read up on True Thomas/ Thomas the Rhymer.

Power of Three marvellous. Who else thinks it's Otmoor?

Time of the Ghost deeply creepy and disturbing.

You must read The Merlin Conspiracy, and its prequel, Deep Secret.

And the Spellcoats quartet.

And, and.... Oh I can hardly write for delight!

Such great writing, superb characterisation, fantastic stories, brilliant humour.

One of the many delights of DWJ's books is the fact that the endings are so seemingly chaotic, but they never in fact fall to bits.

OP- you have a lot of joy to come.

DandyDan Tue 02-Jun-15 07:29:16

One year one of my children went to World Book Day as Joris the Demon Hunter from The Homeward Bounders.

The Highland Toffee bars from The Ogre Downstairs are always well remembered too.

mistymeanour Tue 02-Jun-15 13:43:13

I have such happy memories of reading these books to my eldest in the early 90's - stunningly good. Mixed Magics - a collection of short stories is good especially the funny Warlock at the wheel and creepy Stealer of Souls. My DD also really liked Dogsbody, Black Maria and A Tale of Time City as well as all those mentioned above. We also had many of them on tape.

I always thought that someone who make the Chrestomanci series - but it's never happened.

Rathalie Tue 02-Jun-15 13:46:31

Fire and Hemlock is one of my favourite books too - I've been reading and rereading it since I was a teenager. However many times I read it though, I don't really understand the ending. Can anyone shed any light on it?

Wilding Tue 02-Jun-15 13:51:21

I bloody love DWJ. Think Archer's Goon is probably my favourite but I do also love Fire and Hemlock. A Sudden Wild Magic is another great one for older readers, very feministy too.

Wilding Tue 02-Jun-15 13:52:46

Oh and there are actually two follow-ups to Howl- the third is called House of Many Ways.

noblegiraffe Tue 02-Jun-15 13:58:39

I read A Tale of Time City about a billion times when I was younger. The Spellcoats quartet is brilliant and epic. But I will always have a soft spot for Chrestomanci.

Diana Wynne Jones' output was astonishing. So many, and all great. Except The Time of the Ghost, I found it too weird, which is funny seeing as it was based on her early life.

jeee Tue 02-Jun-15 15:16:45

I'm another person who's never understood the ending to Fire & Hemlock. Mind you, reading it as an adult I do think the relationship borders on the creepy.

An earlier thread about DWJ was about a 1970s cover for The Time of the Ghost - the poster had been a model for the artist, and her profile was the centre of the cover picture. I was very jealous wasn't jealous at all grin.

Takver Tue 02-Jun-15 15:33:03

The one that I've never been able to get my head around is Hexwood.

DandyDan Tue 02-Jun-15 19:15:56

I think Hexwood is the hardest to understand.

I have some good articles on Fire & Hemlock which explain it a good deal. One is by Dr Catherine Butler of UWE university, an expert on DWJ, and one is by Diana herself on the subject of Heroes.

Two things are useful when exploring ideas about it: the ballads of Tam Lin and Thomas the Rhymer; and TS Eliot's Four Quartets.

DandyDan Tue 02-Jun-15 20:12:23

It appears that the DWJ one is no longer freely available online, only by subscription, but the Catherine Butler one is here - but again, is no longer available in many places, so read it while you can -

(of course Red Shift is another superb and complex YA book, light years away from the guff that is being published these days)

More Fire & Hemlock stuff here from the generally brilliant Red Hen (if you like Harry Potter, her analysis essays were some of the best written during the era) -

This one here is also good -

Rathalie Tue 02-Jun-15 22:24:13

Fascinating stuff, Dan, thank you so much.

UptoapointLordCopper Wed 03-Jun-15 08:35:04

I love these books!

I don't think I can read Homeward Bounders again. So sad.

But the animation movie of Howl's Moving Castle is the only Studio Ghibli film that disappoints. sad

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