J is for Jones, Diana Wynne

Dianna Wynne Jones (1934-2011) was a magnificent fantasy novelist. A number of her books fall into shaggy dog territory--Howl's Moving Castle the novel is surprisingly less cohesive than Hayao Miyazaki's interpretation (though just as much fun).

What sets Jones on high as a master storyteller is her use of character alongside fantastical developments. I am especially fond of her Chrestomanci series; my favorite of that series is Cat Chant's book, Charmed Life.

I am particularly fond of Charmed Life because I first heard it read by Tony Robinson, an audiobook version that is difficult to find now (Robinson has narrated a number of children's books, including several by Terry Pratchett). His reading of Charmed Life is wonderful: deadpan, funny, captivating--all delivered in Tony Robinson's singular voice (you can hear his voice on his Wikipedia page and below).

I also highly recommend Witch Week and the "prequel" to the series, The Lives of Christopher Chant (each book in the Chrestomanci series can be read separately).

Among other roles, Tony Robinson plays Baldrick on Black Adder:

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