Yesterday I re-read a book I first read years ago. It’s really a children’s book (adolescent, perhaps), but that was kind of the point. I was baby-sitting some pasta water for my brother’s lunch the next day, and I wanted something to read. Good caution told me not to start anything long, because it was late enough I was unlikely to have the discipline to stop. It was true, too; I couldn’t quite till I’d finished it—at 1:30 in the morning. And I’d already read this book, and all. Imagine how much later I’d have stayed up if (1) it was longer, (2) it had been my first time reading it, and (3) it was actually more at my reading level.
The book is Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones (I believe that’s the correct spelling. . .). Unfortunately, I’ve never liked any of her other books. . .just this one. I appreciated it’s quirkiness. I appreciated some of the metaphors, as simple as they were (a truly bad mood creating a potent weed killer. . .sometimes I feel like I could make a potent weed killer out of my bad moods). In some ways, it’s a parody of some Brothers Grimms tales. But even though, as all fairy tales do, it ends in the happily ever after, the characters. . .well, they’re more like people, with their irrational bad moods, with their internal thoughts, with their interactions. That is to say, it’s less of a moralizing tale of how we ought to be, and a little more like how we’d really act, should we be living in the land of seven league boots. Sometimes that kills a fairytale, and sometimes it brings it to life.
It’s a children’s book. Don’t expect great literature. But it is a pretty good way to spend a few hours on your vacation. Just don’t be like me–start reading before quarter after ten at night.