A more anthropologically minded post than I usually write, inspired by Diana Wynne Jones' new book

Diana Wynne Jones' new book, Enchanted Glass, arrived yesterday. From the jacket: "When Andre Hope's magician grandfather dies, he leaves his house and field-of-care to his grandson..."

I haven't read more than a few chapters, and I'll be writing a real review later. But I just wanted to share how tickled I was to find that Jones and I have both been thinking about the same thing. My own work as an archaeologist is very much concerned with the concept of "fields-of-care," as discussed in the brilliant, and very readable, Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience, by Yi-Fu Tuan (1977).

“A house is a relatively simple building. It is a place, however, for many reasons. It provides shelter; its hierarchy of spaces answers social needs; it is a field of care, a repository of memories and dreams" (Tuan: 1977: 164).

It's harder to pin down the memories and dreams held by an archaeological site than it is to dig up the post holes that show where the houses stood. But if you want to tell a story that matters, I think you have to try.

Here's another favorite quote of mine from Tuan that should appeal to writers and readers of fantasy: “Countries have their factual and their mythical geographies. It is not always easy to tell them apart, nor even to say which is more important, because the way people act depends on their comprehension of reality, and that comprehension, since it can never be complete, is necessarily imbued with myths.” (Tuan 1977: 98).

And now I am toying with the idea of the book blogosphere as a field of care, where the lived experiences (aka the blog posts) of the inhabitants change and shape the geographies of the book reading worlds in which they live. An example of such a post is Colleen's recent column on diversity at Book Slut.


  1. I'm looking forward to Enchanted Glass! It's still "on order" in the library system. I'll look for Space and Place, too.

  2. You know, every once in awhile, I forget just how cool of a job you really have. Fields of care is such an interesting phrase.

    I'm trying to figure out if I've read this DWJ; I find so many books here under slightly different titles... this one does sound brand new, though.

    Incidentally, have you heard how the author is doing? I should check and see if there's any more word on her cancer.

  3. I have an Enchanted Glass ARC - I was told at ALA there will be a different final cover, which is good b/c I felt the one it had was too splashy. I haven't even opened it yet though - I am firmly reading my ARCs in order of their expected appearance. Really.

  4. Gee, Farida, if you do pick up Space and Place, I sure hope you like it (or at least find it a little interesting...)

    I bought mine from England (hooray for The Book Depostitory), where it came out in early January...so you haven't read it, Tanita!

    And since I bought mine with my own money, as opposed to getting an ARC, I figure I can read it now...

  5. Fascinating thoughts, Charlotte. Some day, I'll sit down and pick your brain about how book blogging (or blogging in general) and archeology intersect.

  6. Yay for new Diana Wynne Jones! I didn't even know about it, but then, I sort of stalled in my project of reading her backlist...


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