March Magics is here! This annual event, hosted by We Be Reading, was formerly known as Diana Wynne Jones March, a celebration of the late, great fantasy author. This year the focus has been expanded to include Terry Pratchett, another giant of the fantasy world who is greatly missed. I think that pairing these two writers is a terrific idea, and will give us double the fun as we share what we love about their works.
The suggested topic for today is “Share your books” — either showing off our book collection or what we intend to read this month, or both. I don’t actually own any books by Terry Pratchett (yet), but I’m delighted to share some pictures from my DWJ shelves. Since I discovered her more than 30 years ago, I’ve known I wanted to read and own everything she wrote, and I’m getting pretty close to completion. First off, here’s where it all started:
As I mentioned in this post, I first found Diana Wynne Jones through another favorite author, Robin McKinley. When in my local bookstore I found a paperback that had actually been blurbed by her, I had to have it — and so the obsession began.
I snapped up the Greenwillow hardcovers that were available — Witch Week, Archer’s Goon, Fire and Hemlock, Howl’s Moving Castle, A Tale of Time City — but some of the earlier works were hard to find in those pre-internet days. I still remember exactly where I was standing, along with how thrilled I was, when I found a copy of Witch’s Business (aka Wilkins’ Tooth) in the University branch of the Seattle Public Library. Later I did track down my own copy, or rather copies:
Yes, my obsession was such that I often ended up with multiple copies of the same book, in both hardcover and paperback, or UK and American editions. I scored quite a few UK paperbacks on a trip to England, but unfortunately I lost several of these in a book-lending accident when the recipient didn’t understand they were a loan and passed them on to someone else. I still have a few, like a spectacularly ugly edition of The Homeward Bounders:
In England I also bought the UK hardcover of Deep Secret, which turned out to be a good thing because for many years the only US edition available was a bowdlerized “YA” version. Thankfully, Tor finally fixed that with a reprint a couple of years ago.
When internet book buying kicked in things became much easier, and I was able to fill in most of the holes in my collection, like the Dalemark sequence (I much prefer the beautiful covers of these original Atheneum editions to the later ones made when the fourth book was published by Greenwillow):
It was still fun to hunt for treasure in real life, though. I found this copy of Power of Three in excellent condition at a library sale, and picked it up for a song:
On the other end of the cost spectrum is the limited edition of Everard’s Ride published by NESFA when DWJ was the guest of honor at their annual convention. Only 185 of these were signed, and I have one of them! I think it’s worth quite a bit now, but I’m not selling.
However they look on the outside, what I really treasure is what’s between the covers, the inimitably funny and vivid and inventive stories that have given me so many hours of reading delight. I’m looking forward to passing my collection on to my son, who’s the perfect age to start exploring the wonderful world of Diana Wynne Jones. I’d love to see your favorites — please share!