Thursday, March 7, 2019
House of Many Ways for #MarchMagics / #DWJMarch
The first book I chose to celebrate Diana Wynne Jones with was HOUSE OF MANY WAYS, the third story in the Howl trilogy and one of her final books (2008). I know that we will be reading HOWL together later this month, but the audiobook hold came in early and there wasn't going to be a chance of anything being spoiled since it's a multi-time reread so I jumped right in! (BTW, the audiobook is performed by the stellar Jenny Sterlin.)
Charmain Baker is a young lady raised by helicopter parents and sheltered from anything exciting or interesting. She is, therefore, something of a useless brat who just sits around reading and eating until, one day, she is sent off to tend a sick relative's house -- a relative who happens to be a wizard and who lives in a house that is much bigger on the inside than the outside. She quickly finds his library, an unexpected companion for her magical adventures, and a world that she never knew she belonged in.
Why do I love this book so much? Mostly because it has my favorite thing ever -- the main character finding out that magic exists and that he/she is actually able to use it! Long before Harry Potter, I fell in love with Annabel of NO FLYING IN THE HOUSE (1970) and dreamed of finding out that there was real magic in the world. Now, Charmain does know magic exists but she has been told repeatedly by her parents that it is shameful to perform and so she never studied it in school. So, when she discovers that not only is magic rather useful (the wizard's house is run by magic) but that she is able to perform it, it's life-changing. And where does Wizard Howl come into the story? You'll have to read the book to find out!
Sidenote: As I was looking for a book cover to use, I came across this art/storyboarding by artist Dina Norlund which is very fun! I only wish that she had kept going and added some imaginings of Sophie, Calcifer, and Twinkle.
Still searching for that magic,