Howl's Moving Castle, the book

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Aug 12, 2012 19:04
I read Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones.

Of course, I watched Hayao Miyazaki's film at first, and then became interested in the original book which inspired the film director.

By the way, Western people often talk about Studio Ghibuli without mentioning the director. I think it's absurd, because the whole point of Studio Ghibuli is to give him a place he can work. The studio is dedicated to Miyazaki and his fellow director Isao Takahata, who is best known for his filmGrave of the Fireflies” (火垂るの墓). Without these two geniuses, the studio is nothing. Because both of them are quite old now, this has been a serious problem in the studio; they've been trying hard to find next generation animation directors. Along with this effort, Hayao Miyazaki's son, Goro Miyazaki started making animations, but he hasn't established himself yet.

Back to the Moving Castle, I quite enjoyed reading the book. The story and characters were significantly different from the animation film. But they still share some of fundamental elements, and I like both of them. As far as I know, it seems that the author of the book, Diana, quite liked the film version, even though the story is far from her her original.

I read the Harry Potter series in English. It took a whole year. Well, they are ones of the best selling books in history. The story is intricate and engaging. There are a lot of mysteries to solve.

Nevertheless, I didn't like the Harry Potter series as much as I liked in my childhood Japanese translations of other children's books written by British authors, including Arthur Ransome's "Swallows and Amazons", J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings", Philip Turner's "The Grange at High Force" and so on. My overall impression about the Harry Potter series is that the author, J.K. Rowling, has some jet black darkness in her mind. The story contains a lot frustrations, hatred, betrayal, and disbelief. I suspect that she hates, or once hated, the world and the people. Perhaps, these negative elements may really suit the modern readers' daily concerns, and this could be part of reason her books were that successful. Anyway, the more I read the series, the darker my mood became.

Howl's Moving Castle was the opposite. Somehow, I can feel the author's fondness toward the characters throughout the story. I can tell the author is really enjoying her real life, too. So I enjoyed reading the book all along while feeling good. I think if I had met her, I would have liked her. I guess this positive attitude towards life may be one of the element which inspired the director, Hayao Mayazaki.

It's a relatively short story for children, but I still had to look up many many words and expressions in dictionaries.

In the appendix at the back of the book, the author told that she gave the book to a boy who lived next to her cello teacher. The teacher and the boy's parents were woken up in the middle of the night; the boy was reading the book by torchlight under his duvet, and he laughed too much, eventually falling to the floor with a loud thump.

I have to admit that I couldn't find myself falling from my bed by laughing too much while reading the book. I need more training in reading in English!!!