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Jonesing for a Good Read: What Makes Diana Wynne Jones Magical

Howl's Moving Castle

Howl’s Castle – From the Miyazaki film

Diana Wynne Jones is one of the authors I foist on everyone who asks for a fantasy reading recommendation. Because I didn’t discover her work until I was well into my twenties (thanks to the Miyazaki film version of HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE), I try to make up for lost time and spread the word of an author whose works deserve to be widely read.

My relationship with HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE is a bit backwards. Usually, I seek out the book before watching the movie, but I didn’t in this case. Howl, a tortured wizard with a penchant for snazzy dressing and a weakness for hair dye, was the perfect animated hero. Sophie was also a nuanced heroine with a tinge of sadness so common in Miyazaki films, and Calcifer just cracked me up. I ended up loving the film and I knew I had to read the book.

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Posted by on March 21, 2013 in Author: Diana Wynne Jones, Fantasy, Tribute

 

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#Plottymouths: Five Favorite Literary Leading Men

For our #GettingLucky Twitter love story event on March 16, I’m writing about some of my all-time favorite literary leading men. I’ll probably add a post on leading ladies in the future, since it takes two to share smoldering looks across a crowded room.

Why leading men? You can’t have a good love story without a swoon-worthy romantic lead. Some of them are dark and brooding, others a sweet and loving, some noble, others not so much, but they all have that magnetic spark that inevitable attracts their leading ladies, and the readers.

As you can probably guess, a great leading man isn’t a stock character. He has to be someone you can picture as a real person, and identify with his triumphs and travails. He sometimes falters on his quest (whether for the Holy Grail or the heroine’s hand) and loses his way, but you root for him nonetheless. I’m not going to focus on the typical romance hero, because in many ways, he is a stock character. Also, I don’t think great romances are limited to just one genre.

Quick note: there are spoilers below, as I couldn’t discuss these heroes without disclosing specific story details.

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#GettingLucky: A #Plottymouths Chat About Love Stories, 3/16 at 7:30PM EST

These days, I tell everyone that Twitter is great for a lot of reasons, but especially for the writing community.
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Posted by on February 28, 2013 in Plottymouths, writing

 

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Root Bound (Emma & the Elementals #1) by Tanya Karen Gough

Root Bound by Tanya Karen GoughNote: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Root Bound is the first of a planned quartet called Emma and the Elements. This middle grade fantasy series follows Emma as she comes of age and discovers how her unique magic can restore order to the mysterious land of Under. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Wyrd Sisters: A Discworld Novel by Terry Pratchett

Wyrd Sisters is one of Terry Pratchett’s earlier Discworld novels, focusing on his cast of witches: Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Magrat Garlick. The three, at Magrat’s prodding, have formed something of a coven, and meet every so often to do what Magrat considers are witchy things (like chanting over a cauldron).

Witches in the Discworld universe are generally solitary (except for when they are apprentices to a more experienced witch), and shirk structure, unlike the wizards at Unseen University. Overall, Pratchett’s witches tend to lead quiet lives and don’t have a designated leader.

Among them, Granny Weatherwax was “the most highly-regarded of the leaders they didn’t have.” She’s also disinclined to admit when she’s wrong, bears a grudge like a cat (although she hates cats), and has a habit for shelling peas at inopportune times. Nanny, on the other hand, has had five husbands, more children than she can count, and an inclination for getting hammered and singing inappropriate songs about hedgehogs and wizards’ staffs. Magrat, plain and unworldly, wants only to be a proper witch, with all the occult accoutrement that comes with it, whether her fellow witches like it or not.

If it weren’t for events outside of their control, Granny, Nanny, and Magrat would likely have continued along quietly, with the occasional arguments about whose turn it was to make the tea. When they find themselves unwittingly responsible for Lancre’s infant heir to the throne, Granny realizes that fate has aimed its beady eye at them. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2012 in Author: Terry Pratchett, Fantasy

 

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Poll: Will you buy ‘Harry Potter’ e-books?

sabrina:

From EW’s Shelf Life column. I’ve already bought all of the books a couple of times now and I was thinking of re-reading them, but I’m on the fence about whether I will actually buy the ebooks. I wonder what the illustrations look like in digitized form? I love ebooks for convenience, but there’s still something about paper books.

Originally posted on Shelf Life:

[ew_image url="http://img2.timeinc.net/ew/i/2011/07/18/Harry-Potter-Sorcerer_212.jpg " credit="" align="left"]In 2007, the publishing industry was rocked by two colossal events: the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and the debut of Amazon’s first Kindle e-reader. Nearly five years later, these phenomena will finally collide — as of today, all seven of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels are available in e-book form.

But here’s the potential fly in the Amortentia: HP fans already own copies of the septet. Heck, because I have two siblings and we all hate sharing, there are no fewer than three copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince floating around my childhood home. Audio versions of each book in the series — recorded by Jim Dale in the U.S. and Stephen Fry in the U.K. — have also been available for years at this point. Do Potterheads feel the need to own the series in up to three…

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Posted by on March 28, 2012 in Reblogs

 

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Bone: Full Color One Volume Edition by Jeff Smith

I lost myself in the Bone 20th Anniversary color edition over Christmas. I’d discovered the series a few years back, after the original one volume black and white edition was published.

The last time I encountered Fone Bone and his friends was in 2006, when the original One Volume edition debuted. Previously, each of the series’ issues had been collected into (now somewhat hard-to-find) graphic novels. The One Volume, like many current editions of The Lord of the Rings, emphasized that Bone was one long story, with a beginning, a middle, and an end as the author intended. Even though Jeff Smith was publishing Bone for a good portion of my childhood, I hadn’t discovered it until I was well into adulthood. Still, I feel lucky that I was able to read the entire epic in one handy volume, without having to wait until the next issue to see what happened.

The story tells the epic adventure of three cousins who stumble upon a plot to unleash an ancient evil that will trap the world in a nightmare. There are many reviews of the series on the Internet, so this review will focus on the color one volume itself. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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