Books more people should read
» A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones «
Time City - built far in the future on a patch of space outside time - holds the formidable task of overseeing history, yet it’s starting to decay, crumble …. What does that say for the future of the world … for the past … for the present? Two Time City boys, determined to save it all, think they have the answer in Vivian Smith, a young Twenty Century girl whom they pluck from a British train station at the start of World War II. But not only have they broken every rule in the book by traveling back in time - they have the wrong person! Unable to return safely, Vivian’s only choice is to help the boys restore Time City or risk being stuck outside time forever.
Recommended by likealittlechild
“Diana Wynne Jones is that kind of writer, some one who makes her characters real, and the family situations are always funny and very realistic, and the magic is of the kind that everyone wishes they had when they are young.”
Diana Wynne Jones Now this edition of Author You Should Be Reading is as much for myself as it is for you, dear reader. This is because, though I’ve read and re-read and re-read HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE (read our review here), THE GAME, and FIRE AND HEMLOCK, I have yet to delve into her other books! Of which there are 40! So may this edition of AYSBR serve as a reminder to all of us to get our butts in gear! First, a bit on Diana Wynne Jones, plucked from her website: Diana Wynne Jones was born in London, where…
A wonderful collage picture of DWJ based upon this photo.
“After Chrestomanci, I wanted MORE. Who was this Diana Wynne Jones and what else did she have to offer? Turns out, a lot: she’s written a ton of books and I can’t begin to express how ecstatic I was. I immediately dove into her Derkholm series (GRIFFINS, people!) and the rest is history. I was in love.”
“If you like mythology, or DWJ’s weirder books, you definitely need to check this one out.”
Diana’s first book, Changeover (for adults) was reissued in a limited edition a few years ago. Here is a rare review.
“What’s particularly interesting to me — predictably — is the nascent Diana-Wynne-Jonesiness of it all … “
Book Rec Friday #1
Deep Secret - Diana Wynne Jones
Diana Wynne Jones was one of the secrets of my childhood. I would trawl my library to find any book I could by this genius author the rest of the world seemed to have forgotten about. I know now that DWJ fans are like freemasons - secretly everywhere and recognise each other through obscure references (story of fandom in general really…).
Most people will now her as the writer behind Howl’s Moving Castle - a heavily rewritten version forming the Studio Ghibli classic. The better informed might know the Chrestomanci series, or stand-alones like Fire and Hemlock.
But today I’m going to introduce you to my all time favourite DWJ novel; one of her oft neglected YA/adult crossover titles, the title of which you might have already guessed from the image above - Deep Secret.
The brilliance of this book lies in its ability to turn mundanity into something thrilling, engaging and poignant. As much for its sharp plot, witty characterisation and imaginative world building, I chose this book for my first rec on An Adventure with Tea and Ink because ultimately this is a book about us. It is a love song to fandom, conventions, the general epic bat-shittery that makes our lives as fans that bit better.
In her story of mistaken identity, complex scheming and a centaur being driven round in the back of a car, DWJ is clearly writing what she knows. The meat of the plot centres round a genre-writing convention in a fictional English town; for anyone who has ever attended a con or a meet up - or even just stayed up too late on tumblr and seen the terrors of nightblogging - will recognise the characters that people the world of Deep Secret. Characteristically wry and intelligent, DWJ weaves her gripping adventure story into the fabric of fan life. Into our passion, our extremes, our creativity - this is not a rosy portrait, it is honest and at times cringe-worthy, but it is above all loving.
Diana Wynne Jones passed away in 2011. Prolific writer of fantasy, keen participant at conventions, ground breaker, childhood-maker, student of Tolkien and Lewis at Oxford, inspiration and general all round BAMF. She was one of us. For all these things, and so much more besides - I salute her.
Instead of mourning Diana in March, the month we lost her, we’ve decided to celebrate her life and books. Come join us in our 2nd Annual DWJ March! We’ve got guest posts, read-alongs, giveaways and more. Anyone who loves Diana is welcome to join in! Our kick-off post is up today.
“I feel like this is less about writing than it is about storytelling, which are not quite the same thing … It’s about something more integral, about the art of crafting a story rather than how that story becomes a novel. “