Oct-Nov 2021 Group Read

DiscussãoGeeks who love the Classics

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Oct-Nov 2021 Group Read

Out 5, 2021, 2:30 am

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Time to get those books, fellow geeks!

Editado: Out 6, 2021, 1:21 pm

Thanks for setting up the thread. I'm looking forward to this one!!!

We should share the link on the group read interest thread, as well, because if others don't often check the group, only their starred topics, they could miss the thread, like I almost did. :)

Out 7, 2021, 4:41 am

Hurrah! I'll get started on it once I've finished my current read.

Editado: Out 12, 2021, 4:50 pm

I haven't started yet, as I'm currently working through my Halloween reads, but for curiosity, who's read Howl's Moving Castle before? Or perhaps, someone has watched Studio Ghibli's animated adaptation?

I haven't read the book before, but I have seen the film, which was curious and rather lovely as well.

Out 12, 2021, 5:01 pm

I’ve read the book and watched the film. Loved both of them, though they have their differences. I’m really looking forward to re-reading it and am planning on re-watching the film afterwards. I love Studio Ghibli films so I might end up watching more than just that one, though.

Out 13, 2021, 7:52 pm

About the author: Dianna Wynne Jones

Born: 1934 (London, England)
Died: 2011 (Bristol England) (lung cancer)

The following was taken piecemeal from the Diana Wynne homepage (constructed by a fan), Wikipedia, and Goodreads.

Jones was the oldest of 3 sisters and often took care of the younger ones. Her parents were teachers and often gone and/or fighting and leaving the house for a few days. Jones struggled with dyslexia but seemed to overcome it and began reading difficult books by age 12-13; such as The 1001 Nights and Le Morte Darthur. By age 13 she knew that she wanted to be an author. She practiced writing for her sisters.

College-Jones attend Oxford where she earned a B.A. (1956) and often attended lectures by C.S. Lewis as well as J.R.R. Tolkien.

She had 3 sons and as she raised them she found time to write. She submitted many manuscripts from about 1960-1970, but they were all rejected. She preferred to write fantasy for children.

In 1970, her manuscript, Changeover was accepted for publication. This was an adult novel. According to the paperback blurb, "Changeover takes place in the fictional country of Nwmkawami, which is on the verge of gaining independence from Britain. A small misunderstanding between the Governor and his aide leads to the creation of Mark Changeover, a wanted criminal to be hanged on Independence Day." Wynne waited until all 3 of her children were out of school before writing in earnest fulltime.

After being introduced to a literary agent, Jones went on to write Wilkins’ Tooth (1973; also published as Witch’s Business), Eight Days of Luke (1975), The Ogre Downstairs (1974), and dozens more over the next several decades. Many of her books feature magic or magicians. Among the most famous are The Chronicles of Chrestomanci series and Howl’s Moving Castle (1986)—the latter of which was made into a successful animated film by Japanese director Miyazaki Hayao in 2004. Jones received many honors and awards, including a World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement in 2007.

Editado: Out 16, 2021, 4:23 am

I'm still waiting on the ebook from my library!
ETA: Just received at 9:15 pm. I'm off to read 1st chapter!

Out 14, 2021, 6:51 am

Just interested in why this book was nominated. It's not on any classic list I can find! I'm not opposed to reading it....just wondering!

Out 14, 2021, 7:11 am

>8 Tess_W: What classic lists are you looking at? Because I've seen it on plenty of lists, but it's a matter of genre. "Best children's fantasy books" - it's up there a lot of the time. It was on Time Magazine's "100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time".

Editado: Out 15, 2021, 12:05 am

>9 PawsforThought: I just choose classics in general. Since I never read fantasy, I've never seen it on the lists I've looked at such as NY Times Top 50 Classics, Goodreads Top 100 Classics, 99 books List Challenges-Classics....just stuff I've Googled. Also, I've never noticed it on any lists in this group (Favorite Classics, What Classics are you Reading, etc.) As I said, not objecting to reading it, just wondering the how/why!

Editado: Out 16, 2021, 4:28 am

Read Chapters 1-5. In fantasy, nothing is predictable if you have not read the genre more consistently than I. I must admit that I belong to the Challenge Group and I groan and sigh when there is a SFF category because most of the time I choose something totally out of my range, not having read even a handful of SFF books, and only then when "forced!" Thus far, I find this book manageable, but not necessarily enjoyable.

Out 15, 2021, 9:57 pm

Read Chapters 6-10. This is exactly why I do not like fantasy!

Out 16, 2021, 4:36 am

I like that in Chapter 11 Miss Angorian reads the second verse of John Donne's poem, "Song." Here is the complete poem (posting because it is beautiful)

Go and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devil's foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy's stinging,
And find
What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.

If thou be'st born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee,
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me,
All strange wonders that befell thee,
And swear,
No where
Lives a woman true, and fair.

If thou find'st one, let me know,
Such a pilgrimage were sweet;
Yet do not, I would not go,
Though at next door we might meet;
Though she were true, when you met her,
And last, till you write your letter,
Yet she
Will be
False, ere I come, to two, or three.

Out 16, 2021, 6:13 am

>8 Tess_W: I nominated it for pretty much the reasons >9 PawsforThought: said, and I do admit that I was applying the term "classics" more loosely than not in picking my nominations. But, yes, it is a genre classic.

Eep! Maybe I should start reading soon, too!

Out 17, 2021, 4:43 pm

I've finished! I will await for others to finish and then let the discussions begin!

Editado: Out 25, 2021, 12:30 pm

I'm back from the bookshop with my copy of Howl's Moving Castle!
It's a HarperCollins edition. The cover has nothing to do with the Ghibli adaptation, which is fine with me as I was told there are substantial differences between the book and the animated movie. I usually don't like to have a book with the movie adaptation visual (I've waited years to buy Minority Report because I did not want Tom Cruise on the cover... - despite liking the film).

This cover is full of details which are fun to look at and make me want to discover the story. I've recognised the one-foot scarecrow, but I've also seen a mermaid, which I was not expecting. And who is this boy on the back cover, running with a foot in a bucket?

To answer >4 Majel-Susan:'s questions, I am a fan of Ghibli's movies and watched Howl's Moving Castle a zillion times... It's only after watching it for the half-zillionth time that I discovered that it was first a book. Since then, I've been meaning to read it, but never took the plunge. This group read gave me the perfect hint to finally buy the book and to start it in a few days, so thanks to >14 Majel-Susan: for nominating it!

Out 25, 2021, 1:42 pm

>16 raton-liseur: I love that cover. If it was available in a hardback version I’d buy it in a millisecond.

Out 25, 2021, 3:33 pm

>16 raton-liseur: Ooh, that is a nice cover!

I'm going to borrow my copy from OverDrive soon. It has this cover:

Out 26, 2021, 5:21 am

>17 PawsforThought: >18 Majel-Susan: It seems to be an unusual cover, and I was not expecting it (there was no visual on the bookshop website when I placed my order). I also like the more traditional ones such as yours, >18 Majel-Susan:.
I like the castle in the sky (I've gotten mixed up for some time between Ghibli's Castle in the sky and Moving castle...) and there is the scarecrow (that does not seem to scare crows...) again. He seems to be a prominent character in the story, maybe more than in the movie?

Out 26, 2021, 5:46 am

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Editado: Out 29, 2021, 5:39 am

I have completed the book which I borrowed from Libby (my library version of Overdrive) with this cover. Reminds me of a dinosaur!

Nov 1, 2021, 7:00 am

I've started reading Howl's moving castle this morning and have gone through chapter 1 and 2, so I'm about to enter the castle!
Those two chapters seem fairly similar to the anime (except, if I remember well, for Sophie's two sisters).

I am a bit puzzled with Sophie's psychology and how this scared little girl decides all at once to embark on a journey to we-don't-know where.

Off to

Nov 1, 2021, 7:46 am

I’ve finished the books I needed to return to the library so I’ll get started on this one today. I’m really looking forward to re-acquainting myself with Howl, Sophie and the others.

Nov 1, 2021, 10:40 am

I'd forgotten about the lovely dedication - did anyone else notice this?

"This one is for Stephen.

The idea for this book was suggested by a boy in a school I was visiting, who asked me to write a book called The Moving Castle.
I wrote down his name, and put it in such a safe place, that I have been unable to find it ever since.
I would like to thank him very much."

I, too, would like to thank Stephen for this suggestion, as it has meant the existence of not only a book I really like, but also one of my favourite animated films ever.

Nov 2, 2021, 5:23 pm

Chapters 1-3

Sophie's my kind of girl! Dull (mood-wise, that is), fatalistic, and timid, talking to anything but no one. And oh, the lethargy!

She thought she would find time next day to go and talk to Lettie.
But she did not go. Either she could not find the time, or she could not find the energy, or it seemed a great distance to Market Square, or she remembered that on her own she was in danger from Wizard Howl---anyway, every day it seemed more difficult to go and see her sister.

I really like how calmly, almost complacently, she took the curse. In fact, Sophie seems far more at ease as an old biddy and finally exercising her right to be as cranky or not as she likes. I thought it was pretty cute too how she takes assurance in the fact that Wizard Howl is not likely to want her ol' soul, and then considers that if he were to lift her spell, "I'd have my heart eaten before I could turn around."

It's a somewhat dubious deal she's made with the fire demon... like what did he get out of the contract??

I'm just at the beginning, but I am liking it!

Editado: Nov 2, 2021, 7:51 pm

>22 raton-liseur: I am a bit puzzled with Sophie's psychology and how this scared little girl decides all at once to embark on a journey to we-don't-know where.

Sophie seems fixated on her "fate," that as the eldest, she is bound to fail if she seeks her fortune, which she is content not to seek so as to avoid ending her days as a failure. However, as an old woman, everything she ever expected for herself has somehow come to fruition. She has nothing more to fear now, and she seems at peace, telling herself, kindly even, "this is much more like you really are."

... Which reminds me of Emily Dickinson's poem:

While I was fearing it, it came,
But came with less of fear,
Because that fearing it so long
Had almost made it dear.

Nov 2, 2021, 5:51 pm

>24 PawsforThought: Oh, yes, I noticed it, too. It was so sweet!

Nov 3, 2021, 7:34 am

I'll be honest folks, I read this book the 2nd week of October and is was so not memorable for me that I can barely discuss it. I can give the plot details and the character summaries, my favorite was the story line of the flame in the fireplace. I'm meaning no disrespect for the book or the genre, but it's not my thing! I read it to read it, to get through it, and get it finished!

Nov 3, 2021, 7:42 am

>28 Tess_W: Not everything is for everyone. We all have our different tastes. There’s plenty of well-loved and classic books that I can’t stand.

Nov 4, 2021, 9:36 am

Chapters 4-6

I honestly believe that Sophie has been waiting her whole life to become a cranky, righteous ol' spinster.

There are bits and parts that I remember from the movie, but it's been a couple of years since I've watched it, so I can't really remember. For instance, I remember from the movie that she met Howl in the market square at the beginning; but there, if I recall, he spared her from some pestering fellow, rather than being the accosting gentleman himself. Good sense for Sophie not to remind Howl, though!

Ooh, Howl's affinity for spiders! I wonder if that means something...

I thought it was hilarious how Sophie approaches every corner of the house as a potential hiding place for "piece of girl," chewed hearts, hoard of souls, etc. Haha, I was almost disappointed to hear from Michael that Howl's appetite for girls' hearts was only a figure of speech. But seriously, I was hoping for something a little more menacing than Howl... Guess I'll just have to wait for more of the Witch of the Waste.

Ahh, but howling and shadows in the castle were something---well, that is, until it was just slime... I do like Sophie and Calcifer's friendly-ish relationship so far, though.

I was starting to wonder if it could be "lovely Lettie", but honestly, I hope she isn't serious about him. After all, Howl is complaining about "another fellow." Hahaaha, I don't wonder at Sophie's sympathy!

Nov 5, 2021, 9:48 pm

Chapters 7-9

Sophie is getting cosy! But of course, there's still the trouble of the double Letties.

Witch of Waste is very sad, very unloved, huh? Wonder why.

Also, I can't tell if Lettie really is losing her heart to Howl or simply taking up the opportunity to learn more magic from him... And, um, good on Michael that he can tell the difference between the two Letties enough to declare "his Lettie" prettier. Otherwise, nothing much seems to have happened here... I can't make much of the chapter dedicated to the difficult spell, but I sympathised with the star's confusion and its acceptance over its time to die.

Nov 6, 2021, 9:55 pm

Chapter 10

Wait, what? Sophie got a hint in this one chapter?

Between the time that Calcifer tells her that she may get a hint later in the day and when he tells her that she's already got her hint, Calcifer has only spoken twice.

"I never do say hello."

"What's all this fuss about?" he demanded. "You caught one (star) yourself, didn't you?"

Probably something to do with the star, since Calcifer would know that Sophie and Michael went star hunting the night before and could expect it to come up again in conversation during the day. Maayyybe Calcifer is the star that Howl caught, annddd... yeah, I dunno where I'm going with that.

I even skimmed through the other chapters again since I remembered that Calcifer had already supposedly given Sophie a hint earlier, but I can't connect it with the star business so far. The only other thing that Calcifer said that caught my attention earlier was that bit about fetching hot water from the Waste... which brings me back to the black side of the door. Hmm, guess I'll find out.

Nov 7, 2021, 5:28 am


The 2nd verse of John Donne's "Song"

If thou be'st born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee,
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me,
All strange wonders that befell thee,
And swear,
No where
Lives a woman true, and fair.

Nov 7, 2021, 7:50 am

>26 Majel-Susan: I agree with what you say regarding Sophie's psychology, but hum, I'm still a bit frustrated by how she behaves (both in the anime and in the book).

>30 Majel-Susan: I agree on this as well. Sophie seems actually much more at ease with her old body than the young one. The Witch of the Waste actually made her a favour with this spell! She allowed her to actually live her life fuller. By the way, I am wondering about this sentence from the Witch right after she cast her spell: "let that teach you to meddle with things that belong to me." (chapter 2).
I keep wondering what Sophie meddled with: is the fact of not having a perfect hat for the Witch is enough? Or Sophie has done her wrong without noticing?

Nov 7, 2021, 7:54 am

I've just finished chapter 10.
There is nothing much happening in the Castle. We learn about the various characters, see their relationship building slowly. Not sure how this slow pace would do with young readers. I don't really mind, but I think I'd like the story to go a bit faster.

>32 Majel-Susan: I've seen the movie so many times that I remember the issue around Calcifer, even if it might not be exactly the same in the book. I too have a theory about the falling star, but will keep it to myself! It's fun to read and being able to see where the hints are, but honestly, I don't think you can guess them without an hint!

Nov 7, 2021, 9:03 am

>34 raton-liseur: By the way, I am wondering about this sentence from the Witch right after she cast her spell: "let that teach you to meddle with things that belong to me." (chapter 2).

Same, I've been wondering about that too. There is a bit of a revelation about Sophie in chapter 12, but the Witch's meaning is still not quite clear to me.

>35 raton-liseur: I think I'm realising that either I remember very little from the movie (to be honest, I don't even remember Calcifer) and/or the movie is very different from the book!

But the mystery is one of my favourite things about fantasy though, and all the theories and speculation one can conjure up before everything is laid bare by the end.

Haha, the more I read and the more I enjoy, the more certain I am that younger me could not have been persuaded to genuinely enjoy reading.

Nov 7, 2021, 9:09 am

Chapter 11

Haha, that video game broke the fourth wall just a bit. On the other hand, it is an interesting contrast how naturally magic is a part of the other "dimensions" such that even our humdrum technology is no less magical from, say, Sophie's point of view.

Heck, even our poetry becomes "spell" material. That is kind of a nice touch.

More mystery is on the way! I gotta go look up the whole poem.

Oh, wait, there it is! >13 Tess_W: It is a very pretty poem! I'm guessing that the third stanza will come into play in the coming chapters.

Nov 7, 2021, 9:14 am

Chapter 12

Oh la la, Sophie a witch! I had wondered about that scarecrow, but it does make sense now. Oh, yes, and how the Witch came into the hat shop and knew exactly what Sophie had told each of her hats except for the modish black-and-white, which the Witch said "doesn't do anything for anybody."

"But I now see," she said, "what has happened to the Witch. She made a contract with a fire demon and, over the years, that demon has taken control of her. Demons do not understand good and evil. But they can be bribed into a contract, provided the human offers them something valuable, something only humans have. This prolongs the life of both human and demon, and the human gets the demon's magic power to add to his or her own."

Uh-oh. Sophie's in a contract with the same fire demon, too...

I know what, it's layers upon layers: Sophie seeks break the curse she's under by breaking Calcifer's contract with Howl, who gets a moving castle and whatnot by breaking Calcifer's contract with the Witch of the Waste, thereby invoking her ire, leading to... yeah, I don't know where. It's a possible theory, though!

Nov 8, 2021, 7:11 am

I've read chapters 11 to 13 yesterday evening. I was half complaining about the slow pace of the book. But those three chapters are packed, well not really with action, but with information and new twists on the plot!
I like how all threads are slowly coming together, and I am just happy to follow Sophie and Howl on this strange path.
Have we met Miss Angorian before? I thought I had read her name earlier in the book but could not find it? Or maybe it was when I was flipping through the book before starting reading?

Editado: Nov 9, 2021, 1:40 pm

>13 Tess_W: Thanks for the poem by the way! I had never heard about John Donne before.
It's a lovely poem. Difficult to make sense of it (I'm like Michael and Sophie), but lovely. I'll have to investigate more on this author and the meaning of his poetry!

Nov 9, 2021, 3:52 pm

Chapters 13-15

The Witch of the Waste reappears! I didn't mention it in my notes on Chapter 10 since I was so caught up with the hint, but Sophie's "spell" with CAYENNE to "even" the chances of the duel was hilarious. Now we see that it was a success, too!

"You were preventing me getting some information I needed," the Witch said.

What Sophie in her past life had to do with Howl and Wales beats me. But, awww, it was so cute, Sophie telling little Valeria, "The Witch shan't hurt you. I won't let her!"

The dog-man is rather suspicious... though to be fair, he doesn't seem to be doing Howl any harm. Yet.

"I brought it on myself by making a bargain some years ago, and I know I shall never be able to love anyone properly now."

More clues?

Sneaky Sophie! The moment she gets her hands back on the gray-and-scarlet suit, she wastes no time in cutting it up. On the other hand, the blue-and-silver suit is a disaster...

"Good," said Howl. "If I can deceive another dog, I can fool everyone else."

Ehh, nope. Who's fooling who?

Nov 9, 2021, 3:56 pm

>39 raton-liseur: Agree! I'm liking how everything is gradually coming together.

And now that you mention it, Miss Angorian does seem vaguely familiar, but similarly, on search my ebook, I found that the name Angorian never appear before that chapter.

Nov 10, 2021, 7:46 am

Chapter 16

This chapter was just a lot of BOOM and KABOOM. An important thing happened here, at the same time as not much.

Chapters 17-18

She told herself she had never been happier in her life.

Poor Sophie! She's cut off from everything and everyone that once were hers. I really feel for Sophie moving back to her old digs; she's come a full circle, still an old woman. That is depressing.

And boy is Sophie feeling mean! Can't say I blame her. I think her old age and the realisation of everything she has lost and missed out on is finally catching up to her.

On the other hand, I love the description of the edge of the Waste. It's gorgeous.

Calcifer is a fallen star, after all.I like the quiet manner of his recollection, and I can see why Sophie no longer feels inclined to breaking their contract anymore...

"Neither of us knew what we were getting into. I was grateful, and Howl only offered because he was sorry for me."

Or had Howl slithered out so hard that he had come out right behind himself and turned out what most people would call honest? (Chapter 17)

That only left one more thing: the wind to advance an honest mind. (Chapter 18)

For all of Howl's insistence on his "wickedness," umm... I think Howl will be the one to do himself in.

Ooh, so that's who the dog-man is! Things are really moving along now!

Nov 10, 2021, 9:38 am

*squealll* I've finished! 💖

Nov 11, 2021, 5:37 am

Same here, I just finished this morning, reading the 4 last chapters at once!
I'll have to let the dust settle a bit and will come back here to discuss further!

Nov 14, 2021, 1:12 pm

Hum... Difficult to draw a conclusion after this reading.
I think Majel-Susan's summary of chapter 16 in >43 Majel-Susan: is actually a good summary of the entire book: An important thing happened here, at the same time as not much.

The book is clever, with lots of references to classic tales, there is a personal touch, but I feel there is too much happening and nothing is really explored in-depth.
While closing this book, I really have a mixed feeling about this read. Happy to have read it, but not thrilled...

Editado: Nov 14, 2021, 1:38 pm

I absolutely loved this story! The amount of details woven throughout was impressive, and I liked the way all the hints and mystery was tied up in the end. It relied a lot on misimpressions, which once things were cleared up again, required me to revisit various chapters all over the book to re-understand what was happening there. In that regard, it reminded me of the Harry Potter books, and that was one of my favourite aspects of reading those books.

I found the resolution, too, was very satisfying! Sophie, Howl, Calcifer, and Michael made such a great team! The wit and humour worked very well for me as well.

Browsing through people's reviews and gifs of the movie, I realised that I really remembered almost nothing about the movie except for the beginning, Sophie's fluctuating changes, the lush landscape, and the music. It is just as well, I think, considering how very very different the movie is from the book.

Nov 14, 2021, 1:45 pm

Well, I'm happy you loved it so much!
It's possible it was not the right book for me to read in English, as I feel I have sometimes been overwhelmed by those details you liked so much.
And I felt the resolution came too quickly, having 2/3 of the book describing the situation, and then a handful of pages at the end to resolve everything.
It did not work for me as well as it did for you, but I understand your point of view and that it can be a book that one likes or loves.

I think I'll watch (again) the movie next week end, so I'll be able to spot the differences. But I must admit that Howl's moving castle is not my favorite Ghibli's movie. It is not unlikely that those two feelings are linked...

Anyway, it was a great experience, and I'm happy I have finally read this book that has been on my radar for ages.

Do you plan to read the sequel(s)?

Nov 14, 2021, 3:14 pm

>48 raton-liseur: No, as much as I really enjoyed it, I absolutely know what you mean, and from what I've seen, other readers also found the twists unnecessarily convoluted for the purposes and extent of the novel. And the Witch's demise was a bit anticlimactic. I liked, though, when Miss Angorian had Howl's heart and couldn't believe that he fainted so easily, and she was just like, "He's faking." XD

I will need to re-watch the movie as well, sometime. Which Ghibli movie do you like, by the way?

Hmmm, ye-es... I might look in at the sequels, although I do like where we leave Sophie and Howl here. I might try Jones' Charmed Life as well. :)

Nov 15, 2021, 6:41 am

>49 Majel-Susan: Yes, it seems that there are mixed feelings around this book.
It's an interesting idea to try a completly different book from the same author rather than the sequel. I'm curious to see how it works for you.

Ghibli movies that I like... Nausicaa, Arrietty and Grave of the Fireflies are probably among my favourite ones, followed by Castle in the Sky, and Princess Mononoke. But I like as well Whisper of the Heart, The Wind Rises, Kiki... And of course My neighbour Totoro. Thats's a lot (but there are still 4 or 5 of their films that I have not watched)!

I discovered a few days ago that Arrietty is also from a book, The Borrowers by Mary Norton. I might have to read that book next. Arrietty has such a beautiful aesthetics, including pictures and the music!

But hey, we are far from Howl's moving castle book here!

Nov 15, 2021, 7:53 am

>50 raton-liseur: I highly recommend reading The Borrowers (which is the first books in a series of five). It's a delightful book that I read as a child and recently re-read and still enjoyed. There was a TV series or TV movie made in the 80's or 90's that I remember watching as a child. The Ghibli film is nice, but I think the book is even better.
(Though you might want to take my opinion on the matter with a grain of salt seeing as I love Howl's Moving Castle - both film and book.)

I haven't watched all the Studio Ghibli films yet, but so far I haven't disliked any of them (but I did find Ocean Waves a bit boring).

Nov 15, 2021, 1:38 pm

>50 raton-liseur: The Borrowers does not seem very easy to find in bookshops, but I'll definitely keep my eyes open!

Ocean Waves is one of those movies I have not watched yet.

Nov 16, 2021, 6:05 am

>46 raton-liseur: I am in agreement with your statement that "too much is happening" and not enough depth!

>51 PawsforThought: I loved The Borrowers!

Nov 21, 2021, 1:26 pm

I finally finished. I loved it just as much this time as I did the first time I read it (which LT tells me was almost three years ago - time flies). It’s weird and funny and confusing in a similar way to The Princess Bride or Stardust, both favourites of mine. Neil Gaiman was actually the reason I discovered this book as he is a big fan of Wynne Jones and recommends her books on a regular basis. I think he took the idea of the falling star in Stardust from this book.
I need to find the time to read the other books in the series next year (and more of Diana Wynne Jones’s books in general).

Thanks you for having this group read - I wouldn’t have re-read this so soon if it hadn’t been for that, and I’m so glad I did. I liked it even more this time than the first time I read it.

Editado: Nov 22, 2021, 6:48 am

>54 PawsforThought: There seems that there are mixed feelings around this book, which is interesting.
Interesting paralell with The Princesse Bride (a suggestion for our next group read in this group!) and with Stardust.

I hope you'll participate in other group reads! (Here is the link if you want to cast your vote!: link).

Nov 22, 2021, 6:42 am

I've watched (again) the animate this Saturday, and liked it better than the book. I feel that they manage to give strong messages, around the family you choose and you build, around the power of loving, around accepting who you are, while such messages are not that clear in the book.
There are a lot of differences between the anime and the book. Of course, there are things that are not included in the anime, for example we meet only one Sophie's sister, or the Welsh part does not exist. But there are things that are added, namely the war context, and lots of things that are changed including the fate of Sullivan and of the Witch of the Waste.

Having read the book, there are bits of the anime that I understand better (Sophie's mother, Howl's tantrum when his hair turns pink...)? I also missed John Donne's poem, but overall, I like what they did with the book, although very different. I almost wonder why they bothered base the anime on a book rather than starting from scratch. But it seems a pretty recurring process for the Ghibli studio.

As a coincidence I am about to receive Goshu the cellist (in exchange for a review), which inspired Isao Takahata for another anime, pre-Ghibli. I might have to start a theme read for books that inspired Ghibli studios!

Nov 22, 2021, 9:07 am

>55 raton-liseur: I've been keeping an eye on the group read suggestions but am choosing not to take part in the voting since I don't feel I can make any promises about taking part no matter the outcome. But I'm keeping track and if a group read that I'd be interested in could slot in with my reading, I'll definitely join in.

>56 raton-liseur: I'm really impressed that they managed to change so much while still making it feel like the same story and making it so good. I find that unusual among movie adaptions.

Nov 22, 2021, 11:04 am

>54 PawsforThought: I loved it, too. Oh, nice! The Princess Bride has been on my radar for some time, but perhaps I should add Stardust to my TBR list as well. I haven't read anything by Neil Gaiman yet. I might look in on the sequels as well. :)

Nov 22, 2021, 11:07 am

>57 PawsforThought: I rewatched the adaptation, too, last week, and my impression was similar. The story somehow felt very different at the same time as very true to the book.

I've watched a lot more Studio Ghibli films since I first saw Howl's Moving Castle, and I can tell that it isn't exactly Miyazaki's best film. I enjoyed it all the same, and the aesthetics were beautiful as always. What really amuses me, though, is how the studio writers read the book and decided that their love story was going to be a "romancing the monster" sort of thing, with Howl transforming into a giant black bird! It's bold, but I do like the changes they made.

Nov 22, 2021, 11:59 am

>58 Majel-Susan: Oh, you have so much great stuff ahead of you with Gaiman. Stardust has also been made into a (very good) film. And The Princess Bride is one of my all time favourite films (I have the book, but haven’t got around to reading it yet).

>59 Majel-Susan: I agree that Miyazaki has made better films (Kiki’s Delivery Service and Spirited Away are probably my favourite of his) but what a legacy to have Howl’s Moving Castle be one of your “lesser works”!

I saw somewhere that there are “the art of” books made for if not all then most of the Ghibli films. I might have to buy those for myself.

Dez 29, 2021, 6:07 am

I finally finished up my review of Howl's Moving Castle (review)... as well as of the two Howl's Castle sequels (review)... I couldn't stop myself after all... :)