Ask me anything
Day 14 - Favourite book of your favourite writer
Well, as usual, it depends on my mood. And Diana Wynne Jones has a lot to choose from.
But today I will be decisive. Narrowing it down from my DWJ shelf of 33 fantastic books (35 if you count the accidental double copies I own) I am selecting….
*drum roll, please*
The Dark Lord of Derkholm is an AMAZING book. I adore it more than words allow me to express. I love how the adaptation of her Tough Guide to Fantasyland parody novel makes for one of the most amazing and thoughtful books I’ve read.
What makes me say that this is my favourite book is harder to define. I love the interaction between the characters – the family especially. None of the family are just plot devices, they are all well rounded characters with a story arc of their own to develop, and they all change and move and its brilliant. I especially love the characters Kit and Blade, I think they are fantastic siblings. I may have totally had a crush on Blade too. Just a bit. Haha. I especially loved how Blade could vanish and leave when he didn’t want to be somewhere, cos sometimes I manage that quite well too. Scales is a fave too. Who doesn’t like a grumpy magic wielding dragon?
And, really, I love everything about the book.
I buy everyone who I think might like it a copy for their birthday. :)
Day 13 - Your favourite writer
So, I’d probably say that Diana Wynne Jones is my favourite writer, mostly because she has the greatest catalogue of books. I read my first DWJ book when I was 10, with Archers Goon. Awful is, and always will be, my hero.
DWJ has so many fantastic books: Homeward Bounders, Lives of Christopher Chant, Dark Lord of Derkholm, Year of the Griffin, Magicians of Caprona, Deep Secret, The Merlin Conspiracy, The Time of the Ghost, Howls Moving Castle….so many more. I have an entire DWJ shelf. These are all amazing stories, and all ones that I have read so many times. I was seriously devastated when she died last year.
I also adore many other writers, but she is the one I have loved the longest. Not every story is an absolute win, but her hits outweigh her misses by a mile. And her hits are amazing.
I would suggest you all try reading one of her books- there is something for most people. She has a few adult novels, a few for really little kids, and lots of those of us in the middle.
Day 06 - A book that makes you sad
I’ve got a few books that I’ll read if I want a good cry. Rilla of Ingleside by L M Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables book 8) is a book that will have me in tears from about 50 pages in, right through ‘til the end. The Fire in the Stone by Colin Theile is ridiculously sad. Diana Wynne Jones’ The Homeward Bounders has such a poignant ending, I can’t read it if I’m sad already- I can’t handle the story on top of already feeling sad!
I remember having the worst day at school in a long line of awful days at school, and I came home and read Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia while sitting in the bath, and I would have sworn I cried enough to fill the bathtub again, but I didn’t overflow it so I may have been mistaken haha. That is one tragically sad book. Never read this book after a bad day. Trust me.
Melina Marchetta’s Saving Francesca takes me on a huge emotional journey. I connect far too well with this book and sometimes when I read it, it can set me off for days. I have to be picky about when I read this book, as I do when I read Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Salingers The Catcher in the Rye. All great books (well, Catcher is a bit overrated- and the worst culprit in the setting me off for days thing) but I have to be selective in reading them sometimes. Which is sad, cos I do love Perks of being a Wallflower and Saving Francesca. Actually, when thinking about it - I read both of those books in quick succession. Around my 17th birthday. I remember because I read Perks twice the day of my birthday, and Saving Francesca came out not long after that and I got my copy signed. Haha. Funny that the two I still rate as saddest I read so close together. And that 9 years after I read them, I still find them so.
Day 05 - A book that makes you happy
I have a few books that I read when I need an up.
Diana Wynne Jones’ The Magicians of Caprona, The Lives of Christopher Chant, and The Dark Lord of Derkholm all make me so super happy to read - the first two because they are just hilarious, the latter because it is an honestly fantastic and interesting book, with all the sadness and happiness that is signature of a good book. (not that the others don’t have that, this just has.. more?)
Mercury Beach by Tessa Duder has the honour of being a book that I loved the happy ending of so much that I memorised it. I also loved that it was set in New Zealand, kind of not far from where my parents grew up.
There are so many books that make me happy; I could just start rattling off names of pretty much every book I’ve read and rated above an 8/10 (which is a lot – my inner critique is a softy and ignores many flaws others might find!)
But I read because I want to read a good story. To feel the characters emotions as they go through a journey of self discovery, of discovery, of love, of loss, of triumph. And after the characters have been run the gamut of emotions, they generally have succeeded in their quest (to beat evil, to win the girl, to win the guy, to stand up for them selves, to be better…) or realised they were questing for something else entirely; and that self recognition and reflection from characters at the end of the story, to see how far they have come – and even if it doesn’t end happily there is always a thread of hope. Hope for the future or whatever, and that can sometimes be enough to make me really ridiculously happy. It really doesn’t take much.
Day 02 - A book that you’ve read more than 3 times
Umm, just one? I have at least one book I’ve read like 50 times, a few I’ve read 30+ times, and hundreds I’ve read 5-20 times.
I read The Andalite Chronicles by K A Applegate 27 times in 9 weeks when I was in year 8, because goddamn I loved that book. It would have been more, but the library wanted the book back seeing as I had extended my loan as long as I could. I bought it a week later and read it again. I’ve read it at least that many times again in the 14 years since. I adored the Animorph world, and this book is still a great story, maybe because it meant so much to me as a teenager, and a bit because it is still a good story, but this is one of my favourite books, and I’m ok with admitting that.
I’m actually a massive fan of the extension books of many worlds, the books that fill in the gaps that the main story doesn’t have time to cover. Building up the backstory of characters and making me love them even more.
Some I’ve read at least 30 times are Mercury Beach by Tessa Duder, The Pastures of the Blue Crane by H F Brinsmead, Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jacklyn Moriaty, Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda… Most of Diana Wynne Jones’ books. Next tier would hold Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (9 times in the first week puts it there regardless of the 14 years since I first read it) The Song of The Lioness and Circle of Magic series by Tamora Pierce, Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, Wheel of Time (books 1-9 especially) by Robert Jordan, the Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer, The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, all of the Trixie Belden Books, The Second Sons Trilogy by Jennifer Fallon.. And I could go on. These are just the ones that I can see while I’m sitting on the couch in my lounge room haha.. I love to re read books, I’m a serial re reader.
ETA: Links, tags and fix up the ipad autocorrects