Stopping for a Spell, by Diana Wynne Jones

Stopping for a Spell, by Diana Wynne Jones December 3, 2013

What if the old armchair in front of the TV—the uncomfortable one that’s been there for ages—came to life…and all it knew was what it had seen? What if all four (!) of your grandmothers came to take care of you on the same weekend? What if the worst houseguest in the world came, and lifted you into the air by your hair whenever you tried to do your piano practice?

Stopping for a Spell, by Diana Wynne Jones, is a collection of three short stories about unpleasant house guests, with unorthodox solutions as to their removal. The tales are magical and goofy and funny; they’d make good bedtime stories.

I’ve been a fan of Diana Wynne Jones for a while now and have read the majority of her books, which range from the deeply serious and so fraught with meaning and literary and historical allusion that I couldn’t make heads or tails of them (these are rare) to more straightforward fantasy tales (much more common) to the incredibly goofy and fun. These are in the latter category, at the goofy end of the spectrum—lesser siblings of the augustly goofy Archer’s Goon, which you really should read. They are lighter, and soon over, and not particularly essential unless you’re a real fan.

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