What's this list for?

Rosie Burroughs rosieburroughs at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 29 16:12:43 EST 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: <JOdel at aol.com>
To: <dwj at suberic.net>
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2001 5:23 PM
Subject: Re: What's this list for?

> Now, I know that Charmed Life was quite some time ago, but she had been
> getting books published for at least a decade previously. Was there some
> of "critical mass" built up by then before the publishers started giving
> an extra "push" or was there something else going on? I do recall that
> Charmed Life was about the first of her books that I actually saw in
> bookstores in hardback. (Was it her first that was by Greenwillow? Was a
> change of imprint the deciding factor?)

Can't speak for anyone else, but I also discovered DWJ through Charmed Life,
and having read nearly all her others still think its probably the most
accessible. Cat feeling small and weak - what child hasn't? - the fairytale
setting of the castle (and I love the contrast with the dangerous dreamy
atmosphere of the garden), the whole world setting as familiar and yet not
quite the same as ours, and the introduction of someone from our world
giving us a sort of yardstick.

But after all that :-), I first read Charmed Life when I was about 10,
because I had noticed the yellow spine (1980s UK paperback) on the shelf in
the school bookshop. I loved it, and went back and found The Magicians of
Caprona. I also looked in the library for DWJs, but the only one I remember
finding is Fire and Hemlock, and I think at that age I was put off by the
heroine at the beginning being so much older than I was. Then as far as I
knew that was it, until I went to boarding school and began spending large
parts of Saturday afternoon in a little secondhand bookshop nearby, and
discovered Eight Days of Luke (wonderful - I was so proud of myself for
realising Luke and relations were Norse gods) and Wilkins' Tooth
(disappointing). It was a few years before I could start buying new books; I
think children's books at the time were about £3.99, and I was only on £2
pocket money at 13 (and addicted to the cheap sweets sold in quarters at the
local newsagents!).


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