Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Charmed Lives from Diana's Castle

Diana Wynne Jones is dead. Apparently she died last night (early in the morning of the 26th). She'd been dealing with cancer, which temporarily went into remission. More details are on her website.

I was just going online for a short break, and found this. It breaks my heart.

A few years ago (while working on my master's thesis, I believe), a friend recommended her book, "The Tough Guide to Fantasyland." It was hilarious and on point and so much fun (I kinda wanted to "forget" to return my friend's copy, but I was nice and gave it back). Since then, I've bought most of the Dalemark books from a library book sale, borrowed from the library (and then bought in omnibi) the Chrestomani books, and just as eagerly swiped up every book set in the world of Howl's Moving Castle that I could find. I ordered online "Mixed Magics," a Chrestomani anthology, and bought from Borders the anthology, "Unexpected Magic," which I read in bits and bobs when I need something short but damn good to make me happy.

In my heart, I continued to hope for more Chrestomanci books with Cat and Christopher, as well as stories featuring Sophie and Howl. I've yet to read a DWJ book with which I was disappointed.

Every death of a fantasy/sci fi writer leaves me feeling a little despondent, but this one hits particularly close to home. There are apparently two more books coming out by DWJ, "Earwig and the Witch," a short novel, and a collection of her lectures, articles and interviews. I look forward to both. According to her website, her papers are being preserved in Seven Stories, a gallery and archive for children's books. I would like to go there.

Although she may be considered a writer of children's books, Diana Wynne Jones was an author for everyone, regardless of age.


Jennifer Ambrose said...

I just blogged about her Tough Guide to Fantasyland too. We are so on the same wavelength! Even though I haven't read much of her work--YET--I was still so sad to hear she had passed. I'm sorry, it sounds like it touched you much more deeply since you are so much more familiar with her wonderful stories.

When I "discovered" DWJ a few years ago, I didn't run out and buy all her books, save Howl. I think I'm waiting, making sure they are there to look forward too. But now I want to read one...where do you recommend that I start?

Sabrina said...

I think it just hit me because usually, I'll hear about an author who passed and feel sad, but they weren't one whose work I read much. But Diana's stories are ones I've been devouring just in recent years, and wishing I'd discovered sooner.

I enjoyed all the Howl books, I think there are four or five total, some focusing less on Howl, though. I also really love the Chrestomanci books with Christopher and Cat Chant. (I really need to get my own copy of Tough Guide now. Everyone is posting entries and reminding why I liked that book so much.)