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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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Remembering Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones died on March 26, 2011. She was only 76. Since then I’ve been mentally composing and uncomposing various tributes to her, one of my favorite novelists. What could I write that would be equal to the person who inspired me to pursue writing?

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