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My Favorite Comfort Book July 7, 2010

Posted by laurenrobbins6 in Plinky.
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I have, possibly, the most beaten-up copy of Howl’s Moving Castle sitting in a special place on my bookshelf right now. Diana Wynne Jones, the author, is a British children’s fantasy genius and this is one of my favorites. I read this book every year (sometimes twice a year) and also enjoyed the Miyazaki film. I am also known to hoist it onto other people to read and everyone who has reports back that they also enjoyed it.

I first checked out this book years ago from the library and I kept checking it out so often that I decided to buy a copy for myself. It is part sophisticated fairy tale, part romantic comedy, and part whimsical fantasy. The novel follows the story of Sophie Hatter who runs away to seek her fortune when an evil witch turns her into an old lady in a hilarious case of mistaken identity. The novel deals with such subjects as challenging social norms, not judging people or things on appearance, and Welsh Rugby.

Howl’s Moving Castle is my “comfort book” and I can vividly remember my first night in Scotland, studying abroad, when I started to re-read it for maybe the dozenth time. I had had a harrowing time navigating through Heathrow on practically no sleep (not to mention the nervousness that comes with traveling alone for the first time) and waiting out a layover that took hours. Then, after a long bus ride, I somehow stumbled across the right dorm and, after unpacking all of my important items, grabbed blindly for Howl’s Moving Castle to read the first few lines that I had practically memorized. I forgot all about worrying where to find the mysterious Tescos that the orientation volunteers told me about or what my new roomate might be like. Diana Wynne Jones invites you into new worlds by the first sentence and it is definitely a book that I can continue to read over and over again.

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