Hey! An On Topic Post (with a slight digression)

Anna Skarzynska theania at freeuk.com
Thu Jul 5 17:14:22 EDT 2001

I feel I simply must share my dwj favourites with you.

The first one I read was - I think - Time of the Ghost. Still a favourite.
Loaned by a friend with a taste in books.

Actually, to digress slightly, in the mid-80s I followed the trend which
took root among my crowd, to wit, "let's be really cool, live in a truck,
travel around festivals and be New Age Travellers". I ended up on a site in
Kent in winter '86-'87, nearly snowed in, pregnant and lacking reading
material. I got so desperate I'd read the bog roll labels and lists of
ingredients on food packets and tins. I was not entirely bookless, but I'd
read them all. Many times. I trawled fellow travellers' bookshelves for
anything to read. It was pitiful. The average hippy's bookcase would contain
a dozen or so volumes. There would invariably be an engine manual, an
astrology book, one or two herbals, the British Pharmacopoeia (list of
current prescription drugs available) and a novel or two, usu. crap horror.
And then there would be Lord of the Rings and that interminable Stephen
Donaldson saga about a leper, wotsitsname, Thomas Covenant. In my
desperation I actually read the first 3 Donaldsons and despite the dire lack
of printed matter I did not even attempt the rest. It must be the most
miserable, awful load of **** I have ever read. Why is it so popular? Why?
I'd rather read Mills and Boon!
Anyway, ad rem. Only after barely surviving the literary privations of
winter did I realize that the aforementioned friend (then only a vague
acquaintance), who lived only a few hundred yards away in a bus, was
suffering in the same way: she read all her books, was, like me, onto labels
on tins and had a similar taste in books. Not to mentions having rather more
than a dozen of them! To this day we reminisce and say, if only we knew in
November hat we realized in the spring... She gave me the first DWJ to read.
(and Susan Cooper, and Penelope Lively, and others) And we are still
friends. In fact, she told me about this list. She may be lurking

But, back to favourites.
Apart from TotG I always loved the Chrestomanci books. I do like sequels/tie
ins, partly because I read so fast and one little volume is finished much
too quickly. In fact, to paraphrase a saying about chocolate, I have never
met a DWJ I did not like. The undisputed crown was held for many years by -
no surprises here - F & H. Until I read Deep Secret. Now I have a dilemma.
How can one choose? They just get better all the time. A joint first, I

> "Hexwood", to me, is like "A Sudden Wild Magic" in that it keeps doing
> things I didn't expect it to, and it's like "Fire and Hemlock" in that it
> requires multiple readings, but even more so than F&H.  I don't think it's
> going to make proper sense to me until I've read it often enough that I've
> practically memorised it (I only got it last winter, and after two
> I lent it to my mother, who hasn't given it back yet!).  I think I like
> but I know I don't get it properly yet.

I sort of agree, but I am not sure whether I can actually be bothered to
keep rereading Hexwood. I read it twice and it hasn't made me go wow, unlike
F&H and DS which did the first time and every time thereafter.

> > I'm
> > also not so fond of Wild Robert and  Wilkin's Tooth (don't expect
> > much argument here).

It's years since I read those, so I simply can't remember.

> Haven't read "Wild Robert".  "Wilkin's Tooth" is fun when I'm in the right
> mood, but I'm in the right mood less often than I am for, say, "The Ogre
> Downstairs" (which, for some reason, I categorise with WT).

I like TOD. It's lighter reading, though. An earlier book for younger
children, isn't it?
Just to return briefly to TotG, I think of it as quintessential DWJ. Is it,
or do I see it as such because it was the first one I read? Which is your
quintessence of DWJ?
Dear me, this is very long.
Ania, surfacing briefly from her doctorate-to-be.

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