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Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Moving Castle, #1)
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Our TMS Reads > June's Steampunk read: Howl's Moving Castle

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Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) This month (and however slightly after)'s winner is Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. Not to be confused with the graphic novel of Hayao Miyazaki's film (which is amazing and I'm sure most of you have seen it many, many, many times!). We will read this through the rest of the month and however far into July we need to. I'm very excited to read this story and see how it stacks up to the film. I'm a huge fan of Miyazaki, and it will be interesting to see how he interprets from page to screen.

Who else will be reading this, and what do you hope to get out of it? Have you seen the film? By the end, how do they stack up and which do you prefer?

Happy Reading!


Chessa (chessakat) | 81 comments Yes! Very excited to read it, just as soon as I can pick it up from the library. I love the film, but I've heard the book has a different tone and I'm excited to see the comparison.


message 3: by Jill (new)

Jill | 3 comments I'm excited to read this! Just picked it up from the library. I remember reading other books by Diana Wynne Jones as a kid... I think I remember Witch Week?


Radclyffe U-Haul | 41 comments Hey just a heads-up: Howl's Moving Castleis on sale on the Kindle.


message 5: by Karen (new) - added it

Karen Hayes I absolutely love this book, I'll pull it out to reread and I'd love to discuss it!


Chessa (chessakat) | 81 comments Ok, so I love this movie. And so I was really looking forward to this book - I love magic and witches and wizards, etc. But I'm 50 pages in and I find...my mind...wandering....constantly. I'm having SUCH a hard time paying attention that I've put myself on a book diet of "must read X number of pages a day in order to finish before it's due at the library." What is my problem?! Everyone I know LOVES this book.

My working theory is that I'm in the mood for a different pace but forcing myself into this pace of book (slow!) and the mismatch is making me crazy.

Folks who have read it: does it pick up speed? Or is it this steady pace throughout?


Sarah Cooper The pace is slow, no question. It's a book I love, and honestly I don't know if I could say why. I know the first time I read it, I got to the end, went "what?" and backed up ten pages to see if I could make better sense of what on earth just happened a second time (I did). I think the movie changed a lot of Howl's motivation but you should recognize a lot of individual scenes as you go along.


message 8: by Karen (new) - added it

Karen Hayes It does start really slow, I lent it to a friend and she couldn't get into it. I actually listened to it on audiobook, which I think helps. And the reader is fantastic. But I've reread it many times now and it is one of my tops. So I hope you can get into it! But sometimes it just isn't the right time...


Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) I was having the same problem. I really, really love the movie and I think I'm having a hard time not projecting it into the book. but after a while I got into it, and the discrepancies between the two mediums are interesting. As is usual with books, I'm loving the in depth character development that we miss in the film for many characters. I do think it'll be one that I read again and again.


Chessa (chessakat) | 81 comments I finally got to a part that diverged from the movie (Wales! Howell!) and totally perked up. So interesting! Very Doctor Who. ;)


Chessa (chessakat) | 81 comments Pasting in my review:

That was the LONGEST 212 pages of my life! That might be a slight exaggeration, but seriously, I cannot remember the last time such a short book took such a long time to get through.

I know this is going to be a very unpopular review, since all my friends that have read this have given this 5 stars. First off, this is one of those times I saw the movie before I even knew there was a book - and I loooove the movie. But, oh my gosh, I could just not find my footing with this book. The pacing was so incredibly slow. I usually don't have a hard time concentrating on books in general, but I have never been so distractible in years as with this one. Squirrel! Huh? What, I only read 1 paragraph?! It felt like 10 pages! Argh!

I have been meaning to read this for a while, and when it came up as the pick of the month for an online book club (where I nominated it!) I thought, great, now's the time. And maybe that was part of the problem - I felt a lot of pressure to read it *right now* whether I was in the headspace for it or not (and it's a library book with a holds list, so I had a limited amount of time). So, time limit enforced, I forced myself into it. And I mean, forced. Like, I put myself on a book diet. I will read X number of pages of this today to make the due date. Then, I will read X number of pages and then I can go check Litsy. The bribes, they were crucial.

What I liked:
Magic!
Wales?! I loved that. That departure from the movie kind of saved me midway through. I might have bailed otherwise.
Sophie (and to some extent Howl) is a thoroughly unlikeable character that you can't help feel sympathetic for anyway. Like a real person.

What I didn't like:
OMG GLACIAL PACE
I just felt...adrift. Like a leaf floating on a breeze, flitting over here for a bit of story, then over here, aimless. Squirrel!
Many, many of the secondary characters just felt like props. Total cardboard.


So there it is. I did it. And before any of you complain that I'm a terrible person for not loving this, just remember that Neil Gaiman agrees with YOU about this book, and so you are clearly right and I am wrong and we can all just go on with our lives happily, ok? Ok!


Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) Chessa wrote: "So there it is. I did it. And before any of you complain that I'm a terrible person for not loving this, just remember that Neil Gaiman agrees with YOU about this book, and so you are clearly right and I am wrong and we can all just go on with our lives happily, ok? Ok!"

Yeah, I'm also a huge fan of the movie and this book is scaring me at how much I don't love it. I actually did put it down halfway through and tried to delete imagery and expectations from the movie from my mind. I still need to finish it, so no final thoughts/rejections yet... I accidentally/subconsciously returned it to the library so I have to wait for it to cycle back through before I can check it out and finish it.


message 13: by Karen (new) - added it

Karen Hayes I will once again throw the rec for the audiobook out there, it is awesome and Howl's welsh accent brings me joy! It is so different from the movie, and I love both, but I think exposure to the movie first definitely makes it harder to get into the book at first. Maybe play the soundtrack while you read ;)


Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) I finished! I've got to say though, as hard a time as I had at first, once I took a break and went back, I really enjoyed it. There were a lot of things that got explained better (of course) and so much got left out of the film. I'm shocked that Sophie's magic was completely removed. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.


Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) Has anyone played that game, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch? Studio Ghibli did some animation for it, and it just crossed my mind while I was writing my review that this story is similar to that one, in that Howl's home world is modern(ish) and there is this alternate world with magic that he and Wizard Sullivan end up in. I wonder if this gets fleshed out more in the rest of the series. Has anyone read them?


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