“…it is quite a risk to spank a wizard for getting hysterical about his hair.”

It’s very rarely that I read a book for the first time (or ever), put it down, contemplate what book I want to read next, then pick up the same book to start all over again. That seems to be what’s happening with Howl’s Moving Castle, though. It’s just… Diana Wynne Jones writes such beautiful sentences! With the slightest word, she can make me laugh and laugh. If a book is witty and contains intellectual puzzles, like this one does, but *doesn’t* contain heart, then I might like it okay, but I don’t love it — but this book has it all, including the heart, without being the least bit sentimental. I’m reading it again, because I wasn’t paying close enough attention the first time through, and because it deserves it.

Here’s a moment I love:

She had to get this right, and she was not sure how you did. “Well, here goes,” she said.

That’s it. Maybe it doesn’t look like much out of context, but that’s the character of Sophie in a nutshell. She never knows for sure how to fix things (which is, incidentally, NEVER her fault), but that doesn’t stop her from trying. I love that.

Diana Wynne Jones died on March 26, and my inbox has been filling with friends’ favorite tributes to her. The Diana Wynne Jones obituary at the Guardian, by Christopher Priest, taught me about the fascinating life she led. Kirkus Reviews‘ tribute, by Deborah Kaplan, taught me that her books had a way of predicting her future. Bn.com’s tribute, by Sarah A. Wood, goes into more detail about the books, and Neil Gaiman knew her personally.

Thanks to Amanda, Tui, and Anindita for the links.