If they have NAMES and characters, then you will be sorry to lose them, otherwise not. See also COMPANIONS.”

~Diana Wynne Jones, The Tough Guide to Fantasyland

Shortly after happening upon The Tough Guide to Fantasyland in the Dewey stacks of my local library, I saw it referenced somewhere, as you see a thing everywhere once you’ve become aware of its existence. It was mentioned as being brilliant but hard to find. I found it, I swear, shelved in the travel section. Or maybe just near the travel section, which isn’t far from poetry in the Magnolia stacks. Were I a librarian I would misshelve it to have my little joke, but I suppose that would be breaking the librarian code of honor.  I do not mean to slander the Magnolia librarians. I’m sure they shelved it correctly. Once a book goes to the non-fiction stacks it is simply not likely to be seen again. The Guide is structured as a mock encyclopedia of all the elements found in your average fantasy adventure novel, pitched as if to a noob embarking on a Tour. Jones, herself an author of numerous fantasies for kids including the wonderful Howl’s Moving Castle, knows whereof she writes. Entries are alphabetical for easy reference, e.g.: Read the rest of this entry »