Joan’s Books

On the Books Page of the JOAN AIKEN WEBSITE

You will find all her books in different groups with roll over tags so you can find what YOU like!

Books Page

From the age of five until her eightieth year Joan wrote stories. Whether you like myths, magic, fantasy history, adventure or romances there are stories here for everyone!

Go to the  BOOKS PAGE and start exploring…or the full BIBLIOGRAPHY  where all the books are listed alphabetically, chronologically or in Book Groups,

Happy Reading!

11 thoughts on “Joan’s Books

  1. I read my first Joan Aiken book at the end of last year (at the age of 54). The Wolves of Willoughby Chase led on to the next books in the series (I have now bought the whole series but haven’t yet read them all). I don’t know why I didn’t come across them and read them earlier because I was familiar with the name of “The Wolves of Willoughby Chase”.

    I have chosen to read them in the order they were written rather than according to the chronology of the story lines. I don’t know whether that will make any difference.

    • THE ‘WOLVES’ SERIES – WHAT ORDER TO READ THEM IN?

      Interesting! There isn’t a short answer I’m afraid…

      There were only three written out of chronological order.
      The first of these, The Whispering Mountain should be seen as a prequel to the whole series, because it concerns the young Prince of Wales ( Davie Jamie Charlie Neddie Geordie Harry Dick Tudor Stuart! ) the son of James III, who becomes Richard IV at the end of The Cuckoo Tree. This was actually the next book in the series that Joan wrote, but the earlier book also mentions a baby son by Davie’s first marriage, the next Davie Prince of Wales, who has to be fifteen by the time we get to ‘Is’ and ‘Cold Shoulder Road’ so the action of the previous book has to have taken place much earlier. However the style of The Whispering Mountain also fits the early period of the sequence, although written later than, for instance ‘Wolves’, as it is actually more 18th than 19th century in style, like the hero Owen’s wonderful little book of knowledge.

      (The two ‘IS’ books mentioned above were written in sequence and benefit from being read in order, as they do play a part in the historical timeline of the collapsing kingdom.)

      Dido’s two extra adventures at sea – The Stolen Lake and Limbo Lodge (also known in the US as Dangerous Games) were written later, and are perhaps more mature in style, but chronologically fit in before Dido’s return to England for Richard’s coronation. They can be read as separate adventures, as they don’t contribute structurally to the historical background, but do add enormously to our respect for Dido and go some way to explain her extraordinary character development!

      I have laid them out on the Website – The Wolves Chronicles – in chronological order because reading them in this way does add to the reader’s growing sense of the changing Kingdom, the darkening world, and to the characters own maturing and growing up process, but Joan also made sure that each book stood as a complete work on its own.

      Unfortunately she was less strict with herself about the historical consistencies – but that’s another story!

      • You and I have already had a little discussion about the Wolves chronology, Lizza, and it recently came up in a conversation between Lizzie Ross and myself (http://wp.me/p2oNj1-tL). You may be glad to know that I’ve decided to do a re-read of them all to check my notes, compose reviews and prepare a draft for a study guide. I’ll continue to pass them by you, of course, if you don’t mind!

      • Hi there, I missed this as it came up out of order (mysteriously…?) I would of course be absolutely delighted to hear the outcome of any of your researches – what a wonderful project you are setting yourself!  I keep thinking of a charming letter from a fan I quoted on Joan’s letters page – http://www.joanaiken.com/pages/letters.html -‘So many books, so little time!’

  2. The situation is perhaps totally different, but my preference comes from reading Lewis’s Narnia series. I read them in the order that they were written (Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe first) and enjoyed the little insights revealed about that book in the later Magicians Nephew, where the reader found out about the origin of Narnia and things like the wardrobe and the lamppost from the first book.

    I have seen that recent sets of the Narnia books include The Magicians Nephew as book one in the series. I think reading that book first would spoil some of the joy and surprise of recognition when those origins are revealed within the story.

    But as I said, the situation with the “Wolves” series is perhaps totally different.

    • I know battle rages (though it’s never The Last Battle!) over what order to read them in. I did read the first two a while ago in publication order after watching a BBC adaptation, but more recently I read them all in chronological order (http://wp.me/s2oNj1-narnia), and this is my current thinking on the dilemma.

      My feeling is that the books are best read — when you are younger — in publication order, so that the narratives pull your imagination along. When, as an older reader, you return to them, chronological order may be preferable, for two reasons. One is that you are no longer worried by spoilers (as given away by taking The Magician’s Nephew first). The other reason is that we as adults are more aware of historical context and have developed a timeline view of the past; whereas children have a more pick & mix view of the past, with millennia jumbled up as Prehistory (everything that happened before they were born or as far back as their personal memories stretch). For many British schoolkids (and, sadly, a fair proportion of adults) Vikings and Romans and Tudors and Anglo-Saxons are from some unimaginable Neverland, often reinforced by project-based learning (not that this is necessarily a bad thing). I recall a daytrip visitor to Stonehenge who, asked by her companion who built it, responded I dunno, the Vikings?, and though this was a few years back I suspect that such a lack of perspective is still prevalent today.

      As for the Dido books (yes I know, Dido isn’t in all of them) they could be read in any order — I thoroughly enjoyed The Stolen Lake as my introduction — though the last two or three titles make more sense when you’ve read some the earlier ones. When I go for a third reading I shall, however, be reading them chronologically. Even though I’m not convinced that The Whispering Mountain realy is a prequel!

  3. So many books! So little time! It’s such a lovely quote, isn’t it? And I’ve seen it so many times I could almost swear that I said it first! But a little online research suggests that it’s a quote from Frank Zappa, though I don’t know if it’s something he wrote, part of an interview or even an extract from a song lyric.

    Other online discussion theorised that it’s a variation on “So much to do, so little time!” and attributed to the White Rabbit. I couldn’t put my finger on where it occurs in Carroll’s text, if indeed it does. Then I see that Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka in the film of the same name says “So much time, and so little to see!” before correcting himself with “Strike that, reverse it.” Is that based on something Roald Dahl wrote or a contribution from a scriptwriter or Wilder himself?

    And then it gets more complicated. There’s a song sung by Louis Armstrong with the lyrics
    “There’s so little time and so much to do | There’s so little time for dreams to come true | Many a ship to sail, many a magic land | Many a moonlit trail, many a road to walk hand in hand.” The song’s called, appropriately, So Little Time (So Much to Do), and may be what the film is referencing. I’m utterly confused.

    Whatever its origins, that little phrase is one that assumes more urgency for me (and all our generation, I expect) with every passing moment.

  4. Pingback: Welcome to the Official Joan Aiken Blog | Joan Aiken

  5. I LOVED “The Wolves of Willoughby Chase” because I really like those kinds of books where bad guys get their comeuppance at the end and I really enjoyed it. Is “Dangerous Games” the sequel?

    • Hi Kaizie,
      Great to get your message – yes, I’m Joan Aiken’s daughter so I was lucky enough to be around when she was writing all the ‘Wolves’ books – there are twelve of them altogether, and you’ll find them all on this page of the website –

      http://www.joanaiken.com/pages/wolves_chronicles.html

      Dangerous Games is a great one – but I’d recommend Black Hearts in Battersea next -Simon from the book you read meets a girl called Dido Twite and she turns up later in Dangerous Games and many of the others. I guess you are writing from somewhere in the USA? I hope you manage to find more Joan Aiken books to enjoy.
      Best wishes, Lizza

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