I've just started Diana Wynne Jones' House of Many Ways (a sequel to Howl's Moving Castle and Castle in the Air). It is off to a grand start, lots of unexpected twists and turns, lots of humor. The story so far: Charmain, clueless about life (and magic) since she always has her nose in a book (does that sound like anybody writing this blog?), is asked to watch over her Great-uncle William's house while the elves are treating him for an illness. He has very inconsiderately left piles of dirty dishes, bags of dirty laundry and a terribly nervous dog for her to care for. To complicate manners, an attractive young wizard-apprentice has arrived for his training. I'm curious to see how Howl fits into the picture.
I was introduced to Diana Wynne Jones back in the mid-1980s. On a vacation to New York, my traveling friend JN and I happened upon a small annex to Books of Wonder just around the corner from Christopher Street. The woman running the store was named Becca and was a fabulous recommender of books. I wasn't yet in the library biz so I wasn't terribly familiar with different authors. Becca recommended, in spite of its ghastly cover art, Howl's Moving Castle. JN and I read it and were immediate fans of Ms. Jones. We visited Becca every time we were in New York (back then, it was a yearly occurence) and she introduced us to Tamora Pierce and many other authors. It was a very sad day when JN and I arrived in New York to find the annex closed and Becca living in northern New York. Sigh...we both owe her for many hours of reading pleasure.
I highly recommend Dark Lord of Derkholm (once a year the magical world opens its doors to Pilgrim Parties from our world. Derk and his family are in charge of this year's tour and anything that could go wrong does go wrong, wreaking havoc on the magical world) and its companion book Year of the Griffin (Derk's adopted griffin daughter Elda goes off to Wizard's University with disastrous results). They are complicated, unexpected and very funny books that will grab your attention and not let go.
I must say that not every book by Diana Wynne Jones is a keeper (Aunt Maria comes to mind) but when she is on, there is no other author like her. Give her a try...please.
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