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Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle, #1)
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Book of the Month > Feb BotM: Howl's Moving Castle

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message 1: by Jon (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jon Jennings | 41 comments Mod
We better get rolling with thoughts about February's Book of the Month (ie the book we read in February & discuss in March).

If we enjoy this, I think the idea is that we start the suggestions process at the beginning of the previous month so we've got a full month to suggest, vote and get hold of the books before we start reading - so this month we're running a bit late.

Anybody got any suggestions for a book to read after Brave New World? Maybe something that's got a Glitchy feel about it? I'm not sure what that even means LOL... maybe something animaly, or something quirky?

But all suggestions welcome... what have you got?

message 2: by Deb (new)

Deb | 14 comments This is a great idea. I'm having trouble getting a copy of Brave New World so I may have to wait until February.

I'm still interested in reading Argo.

"Something Glitchy or animaly" makes me think of The Art of Racing in the Rain which was great.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed was very good too.

How do you recommend books that you haven't read yet?

Apple Cheeks, Promising Lush

message 3: by Jon (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jon Jennings | 41 comments Mod
I feel the suggestion process is something along the lines of "I want to read this book (for whatever reason) and it would be cool if other people read it at the same time so I've got someone to discuss it with"

I can't really see a Glitchy link, other than the internet, but I kinda fancy reading 419: A Novel next month.

message 4: by Deb (new)

Deb | 14 comments 419: A Novel looks like an interesting premise.

I'm always afraid I'll recommend something and the other person will hate it.

Apple Cheeks, Promising Lush

message 5: by Tammy (new) - added it

Tammy (tamdoll) | 16 comments I'm looking through my to-read list & it seems filled with post-apocalyptic dystopian fiction, maybe I need something more cheerful to read next? Trying to sift through those - see what has high ratings & 2 stand out that may be worth recommending:
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
The Lost Gate (Mithermages #1) by Orson Scott Card

Jeff (Glitch-FlatEarther) Ugh, sorry I can't spend any time with Mr. Card's writings given his views on a number of topics near and dear to me.

Howl's Moving Castle would be great, haven't read that yet!

message 7: by Terri (new) - added it

Terri Light | 2 comments I started The Lost Gate... and I hated it. It was very skeevy about molestation topics and written out of date with many current (and better) authors' works.

I'm in for Howl's Moving Castle and will throw my hat in the ring to recommend Year Zero. If you are "of a certain age" and a fan of sci-fi sendoffs, you will laugh yourself silly!

message 8: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura (jumpinjiminycrickets) | 24 comments Mod
Both Howl's Moving Castle and 419: A Novel sound interesting to me!

I've also read Year Zero (I think that's the one Terri had in mind?) and it was entertaining. :)

Katje (mamagotcha) | 15 comments I think Diana Wynne Jones' Howl's Moving Castle would be awesome! We love the movie, and we enjoyed the sequel, House of Many Ways, as an audiobook.


message 10: by Jon (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jon Jennings | 41 comments Mod
Healthy looking set of selections here!

In 24 hours or so I'll put up the poll for voting. Same format as last month unless anybody's got a suggestion to improve it - vote for 1st & 2nd choice, 1st choice carries double weight, ties settled by book with greatest total votes.

message 11: by Katy (last edited Jan 26, 2013 07:22AM) (new)

Katy Manck (katyroo) | 2 comments Agreeing with Terri & Laura on Year Zero by Rob Reid! I recommended it recently on my BooksYALove blog (

And it's been too long since I read Howl's Moving Castle, so time for a re-read indeed!


message 12: by Jon (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jon Jennings | 41 comments Mod
Apologies for what turned out to be a twisted definition of "24 hours", but ta-da... here's the poll for voting for next month's reading:

I think we're aiming to have Brave New World (January's book) finished by 7th Feb so I'll aim to have the poll closed & announced for February's winner before then.

Katje (mamagotcha) | 15 comments Another suggestion: Ready Player One.

xoxo, Lilith

message 14: by Tammy (new) - added it

Tammy (tamdoll) | 16 comments Oh, Ready Player One was good.

message 15: by Jon (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jon Jennings | 41 comments Mod
Will probably close Feb's voting at the end of this evening (North American time) as, with 10 votes in, one book has a large lead :-)

Hold Ready Player One over for next month's suggestions!

Katje (mamagotcha) | 15 comments Oh, I'm sorry, Snazz! I totally meant that for the next month, I should have been clearer. I had a little 8yo tornado blowing through right then...

message 17: by Jon (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jon Jennings | 41 comments Mod
OK guys, your reading for February is:

Argo: 5 pts
419: 3 pts
The Lost Gate: 1 pt
Howl's Moving Castle: 11 pts
Year Zero: 5 pts

So there you have it... by a large margin this month's choice is Howl's Moving Castle - I'm looking forward to it :)

You have all of February to finish this.
(PS in case you missed it on the other thread, I've moved the BotM threads around a little... a folder per month seems a bit excessive when there's only a dozen of us so now all the threads are in one folder. Feel free to start new threads in here & put the book or month on the front of subject lines to distinguish what's what)

message 18: by Mandy (last edited Feb 02, 2013 12:23PM) (new)

Mandy | 19 comments Mod
I don't think my notifications are working properly. Did not see the Febuary book choice convo at all. I missed January sorry could not find time to fit it in. I have Howls Moving Castel so will again try to fit it in.
Ready player One is a must read.. I finally got my hubby to read it and he can't put it down :)

Misha, Cheif Inspector Coppersmith

message 19: by Eva (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eva (misseva) We can set up a "Currently Reading" to display at the top of the main page. It would probably be good to set up our Book of the Month up there so people can find out out what it is easily - and get links for where to buy it, who's added it to their lists, etc.

Also, if we edit the title of the topic to reflect the final decision (in this case, Howl's Moving Castle) it'd be super organized. Just a thought. :)

message 20: by Jon (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jon Jennings | 41 comments Mod
Good idea Eva - thread title updated!

Melissa (Ozli) | 5 comments Huh, I have long wanted to read that one! ~joining in late~


Katje (mamagotcha) | 15 comments Just got my copy from the library yesterday, woohoo! Gonna talk my 8yo into letting me read it aloud to him, I think, even though it alters my perception of a book... not in a bad way, just different (I become more aware of rhythm and alliteration and poetric phrasing, rather than tearing through prose for the story).

xoxo, Lilith

message 23: by preoccu (new) - added it

preoccu (egiantine) | 16 comments Mod
Finished HMC and I quite liked it! It did seem kind of Glitchy... the flower garden by the Waste made me think of Marrakesh Meadow, and the scarecrow reminded me of those old-style garden vendors in the community gardens. Goshdarn it, I miss Glitch :)

message 24: by Asta (new) - added it

Asta (astaa) | 11 comments I've added it to my To Read list, but with home stuff taking up all my time, I'm afraid I'm not going to make it in time for Book Club discussions. Still, thanks for the tip. I hadn't heard of Diana Wynne Jones, so this book club is already a success as far as I'm concerned.

message 25: by Jon (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jon Jennings | 41 comments Mod
Not finished yet, but someone mentioned a HMC movie & I'm enjoying it enough that I'd love to see a movie version (AFTER I'm finished!).

Doing my research I discovered the movie's animated by Studio Ghibli - same people who produced the gob-smackingly gorgeous Spirited Away. Really looking forward to watching this now!

Slightly bemused that the HMC movie is (according to Wikipedia) "one of the most financially successful Japanese films in history" and nominated for an Academy Award and I'd never heard of either the movie or the book before now!

Katje (mamagotcha) | 15 comments The movie is what introduced me to Dianne Wynne Jones in the first place. I watched it again after finishing the book, and loved seeing what stayed and what changed. Usually we watch Japanese movies with the original sound and subtitles, but I must say that the American dub of HMC was one of the few truly well-done translations, so you'll win either way.

Snazz, if you enjoyed Spirited Away, you really should treat yourself to the rest of the Studio Ghibli lineup. There truly are no stinkers in the bunch (watch out for Grave of the Fireflies, though... possibly Ghibli's most controversial film, definitely the most heartbreaking, and stunningly brilliant). My personal favorite is probably Porco Rosso, but they are all great fun.

Lilith, Overpaid Executive Fruit Tree Harvester

message 27: by Jon (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jon Jennings | 41 comments Mod
I think I'd give HMC about a 7/10. I enjoyed it a lot - but not deep, significant or life-changing. I know, I know... that's not what it's intended to be.

The world described in the book was lovely... the common acceptance of magic, the generally medieval time period. I giggled at the early talk about the expected futures of first-born/middle/youngest children.

I thought the way things existed in/travelled between Wales & Ingary was awesome. I remember the moment when I first thought "wait... Sullivan... Suliman... hold on a second". I love books like this - Stephen King's The Talisman is a personal favourite.

The concept of the door that opened onto different places was nice... but I thought her descriptions were clunky... the whole "black down" nomenclature for describing the knob position always seemed a bit ungainly to me.

I had another 'penny dropped' moment when I suddenly realized that Sophie had magical powers. The trouble was, I had that realization about 200 pages before Sophie did... which seemed kinda stupid. All that stuff about the spell darned into the suit's seams and still she didn't realize.

I was really enjoying things until we got to the last couple of chapters. We obviously knew that some sort of encounter with the Witch of the Waste was going to be the climax, but things seemed to get out of hand story-wise.

There's a line that reads "Sophie had to leave anyway: Howl preferred Miss Angorian"... and suddenly the book became a romance story. Actually, I googled HMC a couple of days earlier and the top link starts with "A love story between an 18-year-old girl named Sofî, cursed by a witch into an old woman's body, and a magician named Hauru". OK, so that's a quote about the movie, but I read that & thought "huh? A love story?". Am I really that blind?

And then, out of nowhere, Miss Angorian is the Witch's fire demon. Were we expected to see that coming? It seemed like one of those Agatha Christie 'the butler did it' reveals.

And then it's all over and everybody ends up happy.

I guess I'm picking some rather contradictory points... I'm complaining about things that were obvious to me but not to the characters and I'm complaining about things that were apparently obvious to the characters but I never saw coming!

But, like I said, I really enjoyed the book. I'll definitely be checking out the other books in the series and maybe some other of DWJ's works (and the HMC movie!).

DianeER | 10 comments Jon, thanks for the review, I felt very much the same way: how in the world did it morph into a love story, and (while I could tell that Miss Angorian was something other than what she presented) it just seemed to arrive from too far out in left field. I felt that the section with the Witch of the Waste was hurried and pasted on last-minute, it didn't have the resolution or attention I was hoping for.

It was fun to read, but forgettable. I'd give it 6/10 myownself, and I'm unlikely to read any of her other works. (Might see the film, though: I love Studio Ghibli!)

message 29: by Jon (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jon Jennings | 41 comments Mod
Thanks Diane. Musing about the ending, it occurred to me that "the ending seemed rushed" is a criticism I've made of quite a few books I've read recently. I wonder if it's a natural comment on a book that you've enjoyed: you're enjoying the plot and characters and their lives... and then suddenly what the hell... why does it have to end? Although I'd stand by my comments here!

I think my favourite parts were all in the middle of the book. Sophie living with Howl and gradually getting used to his life, grumbling about him, changing him, discovering the man behind the legend (OK, they DO sound like a couple now!) and discovering the truth about herself. The ending was a couple of pages to get to the Waste, a page of chit-chat with the Witch, then Howl arrives to save the day and defeats the Witch all within a page. Oh... then let's rush back to the castle and complete the deal. We got more information about the scarecrow than we did about anything else.

I think I need to read the last chapter again... my head was spinning so much I didn't manage to get straight all that stuff with heads/bodies/dogs/scarecrows all being mixed together - who was the Wizard, who was the Prince.

Diane... what gave you the hint that Miss Angorian was more than she seemed? Howl's sister/nephew/niece didn't have parallels in Ingary - why should she?

There's a trailer for the movie here: - looks lovely... very Ghibli :-)

I noticed the top YouTube comment was (corrected for appalling grammar) "If I just suddenly aged like Sophie, I wouldn't have been as composed as she was.....I would have died of a heart attack". I thought the same too - she takes about 2 paragraphs to get used to the idea. I rationalized it as this being a world where magic was an everyday occurrence... people were probably used to being put under spells, much in the same way that we might get sick for a week and then get better. But still, I think I could have empathized more with Sophie if she'd been a bit more freaked out by the transformation.

message 30: by Deb (new)

Deb | 14 comments I'm just going to add a few comments rather than write a whole review. I have seen the movie which shows the relationship building much more clearly than the book. I found myself wondering how that was going to develop as I read.

I read this aloud to my two 13 year olds. They really enjoyed hearing it. What struck me was that this book was listed as YA in our library. Compared to other YA books of late, e.g. Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Divergent, HMC was remarkably innocent. 1986 wasn't that long ago. Or maybe I got old quickly like Sophie?

Overall, a sweet and gentle story with some good themes about acceptance and perseverance.

Apple Cheeks, Shiny Medal Fancier

Melissa (Ozli) | 5 comments I loved this book so hard. :) I watched the movie the day after finishing it which I have regrets about - I think I would have loved the movie completely separate from the book, but coming right after it i could only see where I felt like it didn't measure up. Howl!

What a magical story. :)

-Ozli, Barman of Death

message 32: by Jon (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jon Jennings | 41 comments Mod
Hi Omens. Isn't that always the way with movies though? I totally agree with you. I'm trying to think if there's any movie I've seen that ever lived up to the book. Or at least a movie about a book that I loved.

One of the best adaptations I've seen (to my mind anyway) was quite recent: The Hunger Games. I thought it did a pretty good job with only a couple of complaints ('not enough Rue' being one of them)

message 33: by Jon (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jon Jennings | 41 comments Mod
I finally watched the HMC movie last night. My wife, who hadn't read the book, kept saying "this movie is weird, really weird". I kept thinking "why have they changed this bit? And yeah, it's a bit odd".

I know movies based on books always change things a bit, but this seemed almost like a different story involving the same characters LOL. Although as Deb said, it does at least make the romance more apparent.

Now I'm thinking about Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away and wondering if my opinion of that movie as "intriguingly weird but wonderful, clear enough to follow and an absolute delight" might have been different if it had been based on a book & I'd read the book before seeing the movie.

Maybe you're right Omens - maybe if I hadn't read HMC first then the movie wouldn't have confused me where it differed. But then maybe I'd just have been doubly weirded-out by its general oddity.

Melissa (Ozli) | 5 comments Hey Jon - ha, I tried to think of movie adaptations that were really great and I think Hunger Games was the best I could come up with, too. (I have my complaints, as well.)

My husband was pretty weirded out by the HMC movie, too! But in that generally fascinated way we usually are with Studio Ghibli movies ;) ..he did follow it better than I did, though, not having read the book. They are just two separate creatures, I guess.

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