by Catriona Mills

Vale, Diana Wynne Jones

Posted 27 March 2011 in by Catriona

I heard about Diana Wynne Jones on the weekend, during Earth Hour. We were sitting on the back verandah in the light of some leaf-shaped candles when Nick, reading his iPad, told me that she’d died.

I texted my older sister, another fan. “Diana Wynne Jones has died,” I wrote.

She didn’t reply. But she rang the next night to tell me she’d been at a dinner party. She’d read my text out loud to a room full of historians and one psychologist. Most of them weren’t familiar with Diana Wynne Jones, though one said he had enjoyed her books “when I was a child”.

“He can’t have been a real reader,” said my sister. “Real readers enjoy her books now.”

Then we chatted for an hour about how many times we’d read each book.

“I’ve only read The Pinhoe Egg about four or five times,” said my sister. “But it hasn’t been out that long. It’ll catch up to Charmed Life.”

I’ve written elsewhere on the blog about my feelings for Diana Wynne Jones. Only on Friday, I was talking about the delight of finding two of her books that I didn’t already own.

But, now, I think I’ll just follow the footsteps of other fans, and show you rather than tell you what Diana Wynne Jones meant to me as a reader.

Vale, Diana Wynne Jones.

Share your thoughts [3]

1

Celia wrote at Mar 28, 12:22 AM

What a fantastic collection – I like the spine of your copy of Deep Secret :-)

I’ve decided I have to get myself a copy of The Tough Guide to Fantasyland now – I haven’t read it before, and I’ve now seen so many people referring to it as one of their favourites.

2

Catriona wrote at Mar 28, 12:30 AM

You seem to have started this photo-memorial trend, Celia! Deep Secret is a lovely edition. I also love my The Ogre Downstairs: it’s not a first edition (I think it’s a first reprint edition), but it does have the first edition dust-jacket. (Unlike my Power of Three, which I think is also a first reprint, but is sadly sans dust-jacket.)

I see people calling Tough Guide their favourite, as well. It bewilders me a little. It’s hilarious, and great fun to dip in and out of. But I don’t think I could name a book without a plot as my favourite. I wonder sometimes if it might have to do with the anxiety that people (or some people) seem to feel about reading children’s/young-adult books as adults. She didn’t publish much for adults, so I have a feeling some people might prefer to name one of her more “adult” books as her favourites.

3

Celia wrote at Mar 28, 04:45 AM

Mmm, perhaps that’s it – and the other books she published for adults don’t seem to be as well respected. It also seems to be particularly beloved by writers. I do like most of her adult books that I’ve read, but not with the same unhealthy adoration that I feel for her books for younger readers.

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