I haven’t been a fan for very long of Diana Wynne Jones. I’ve only started reading her works some time around 2004 or 2005, when I first saw Studio Ghibli’s adaptation of “Howl’s Moving Castle”. A small print at the back of the DVD said “Based on the novel by Diana Wynne Jones.”
I immediately searched for information about her and found tons of information about her and the books she wrote. I wanted to get just Howl’s, but when I made a trip to the bookstore, I couldn’t find it. I then turned to my favorite source of books: Booksale. In the years that followed, I’ve amassed quite a number of her books, but I haven’t completed them all. I’ve gotten all three Howl related books, the Chrestomanci Chronicles, the Dark Lord of Derkholm and a couple of the standalone books. I found out she was friends with Neil Gaiman when I saw the dedication for her book “Hexwood”.
After reading “Howl’s Moving Castle”, I can understand why Hayao Miyazaki wanted to animate it. It’s got the perfect whimsical feeling that many of his films are known for. While there’s plenty of deviation from the book, somehow, I find both appealing.
My last DWJ book is “The House of Many Ways”, also a Howl book. It makes me sad to know that such a talented author has passed on, very close to the heels of Brian Jacques, another well-loved author.
Thank you for the wonderful stories, Ms. Diana. They comforted and entertained me. Your worlds and words will live on, and you can bet that I shall pass them on to any one who wants to experience it. Rest in peace.
Edit: Here is Neil’s lovely piece about Diana. I’m glad he’s sharing his relationship with her, and it means so much more because I’m a fan of them both. I honestly read more Diana Wynne Jones works than I have Neil Gaiman’s, and enjoyed them more (because Neil’s works feel a tad too dark at times, while Diana’s is sunny and fun and more fantastical for me).