Howl’s Moving Castle

Howl’s Moving Castle

Diana Wynne Jones

I can’t even think about this book without hearing the music from Hayao Miyazaki’s animated film.  This book as been sitting on my shelf since I bought it after Margo and I watched the movie and she informed me it was actually a book.  And since I love the movie and I love Margo, I finally decided to read it.  Also, it won the poll, but I swear that wasn’t a big influence.

Anyway, this book is going to cause me to say something I thought I would never say–I liked the movie better.  Phew, okay, now that I got that out of my system, here’s why:

The book slowed down quite a bit after the first quarter.  I was interested in the beginning, but once Sophie reaches the castle, it gets pointless for a few chapters.  Then, we start to see hints of where the story is going, and it starts getting good again.  The movie does a much better job of filling out the characters (especially Howl) and also skips over all the terribly boring bits.  The book, on the other hand, explains the missing wizard and prince better.  Well, I shouldn’t say “better” since aside from one sentence said by a character who isn’t even given screen-time, the movie doesn’t explain it at all.

Now that I sound like I hate the book, let me say it was a good read!  Sophie is a strong female, who doesn’t take any orders from anyone.  Love and romance don’t distract her (unlike many other books) and in the end, she saves the day just by being her–she doesn’t need magical powers or a super knight to scoop her out of danger.  I really liked this, and I think young girls should read more stuff like this.  If you can power through the dry bits, then I highly suggest you pick up a copy (and grab one for a pre-teen too).


I’ve been fiddling with the site for hours now.  It’s completely feeding into my obsessive need to hold onto Harry Potter and know everything there is to know about the world.  Goodness.  Anyway, I just arrived at Hogwarts and I feel like I should blog about the moment when my life might change.  I’ve always hovered between a Ravenclaw and Slytherin–but which will I be shuffled into?  I do hope it’s the house of the nerds.  I’ve always self-sorted myself with the eagles.

The site is suffering under the extreme traffic, so I’m waiting to be let back into the site.  Maybe I’ll paint my nails while I wait.  To the polish!

And I’m back–this is it.  A message from J. K. herself has confirmed the fact that I am indeed about to be sorted.  Wish me luck!  Okay, just kidding.  I got kicked out again.  Okay–one hand done.  Still kicked out.  I went with red if you were wondering.  OH GOD, I’M IN!  EXCUSE ME A MOMENT!


Oh my goodness, I haven’t been this excited in such a long time!

This is…

This is… Ravenclawesome!

I’m glad I documented this moment.  Squeeee!  Thank you J. K. Rowling!  You’ve done it again!  You’ve turned me into a kid, brimming with the purest joy as I wait to keep reading!

Now that I am so giddy I can barely focus on one thing for more than two minutes, I think I need to walk around the apartment and scream about my triumph to strangers while contemplating the best way to redecorate my living room with Ravenclaw items.  Thanks for sharing my nerdtastic moment with me!

Oyster Bay-East Norwich VS Mineola

Oyster Bay-East Norwich

As I pulled into my parking spot, I realized I’ve driven passed this library twice before in my life.  I was pretty excited to finally go inside.  Oyster Bay-East Norwich (OBEN for short) is a pretty library that looks like a house from the outside.  There’s a large lot to the left, and lots of green around the front, which you can see a bit of in the pictures.  When I was there, they were advertising a movie.  The sign was simple but it really made the entrance inviting, like when a store puts out their best meals because they want people to stop in.  There are also some men on the roof, which I didn’t notice until just now when I was uploading the pictures.  Whoops!

Once inside, I stopped by the reference desk and asked a librarian for help locating a book.  He took me to the wrong section at first, and after realizing none of the books were on my topic, quickly scooted me over to the right place and we exchanged jokes about the mistake.  I could tell by the way he immediately got out of his seat when I first asked for help that he knew the collection and that I was in good hands.

I found the young adult books while wandering the shelves, and picked out a graphic novel that looked really interesting.  Finally, I made my way to the circulation clerk, who kindly checked out my materials for me, and I walked happily back to my car.



 Here’s another library I’ve really been looking forward to visiting.  Whenever I mentioned that I was planning a trip there, most heads nodded approvingly and complimented the library.  And now I know why.

I parked (so terribly the first time, I got back in the car and fixed myself for the sake of retaining my driving dignity) on the street in front of the library, and walked in.  As usual, I went straight to the reference desk and asked for my book.  The reference librarian chatted happily with me while she looked up my call number, then she walked me to the location of the book.  While we were there, she pointed out a few other titles I might enjoy, and explained how the OPAC worked, as well as how the library was arranged.  She was so kind, extremely helpful and friendly.  And she didn’t tell me all this information so I wouldn’t bother her the next time I visited–she was doing it because she genuinely wanted to share information with me.  It was greatly appreciated.

I visited their young adult books, which were on a few shelves by reference, and picked one out.  The circulation clerk was very personable and really made sure I knew when all my books were due.


Both of these libraries are pretty from the outside (and I’d say about the same size on the inside).  OBEN had the bigger and more convenient parking situation, but Mineola’s extremely patron-conscious staff makes me hand this round over to:

Amulet: The Stonekeeper’s Curse (Volume Two)

Amulet: The Stonekeeper’s Curse (Volume Two)

Kazu Kibuishi

This volume picks up immediately where the first one leaves off.  We’re tossed into the action while Emily and Navin do everything they can to save their mother as well as one another.  We see more of the world and get more backstory, which I really enjoyed.  I love that the stone is not pinned as a completely good or bad source of power–it’s always going to be a struggle and Emily is given the burden of deciding just about everything in regards to the stone.  She’s forced to make grown-up decisions all the time.

We get to meet new characters in this volume, and they only add more to the storyline.  Like I stated in my review of volume one, Kibuishi is really good at creating characters.  You quickly become invested in their story and their survival.  Plus, the art is great.

Without giving anything away: If you liked the first volume, you’re going to love this one.  I had a ton of my questions answered and even more have bubbled up to the surface.  I can’t WAIT to read volume three.

Week Sixty-Nine

This week I lost .4 pounds, bringing my total to an even 71.  Not too shabby.  I’ve been running all around the city, which makes me happy–exploring and discovering is more fun than I ever imagined.  I’ve been cooking every day (tonight I had fresh flounder) and man, it feels great!

I hope after this week I’ll keep losing and keep working up muscles.  I just bought a ton of clothes (I’m a LARGE now in the regular section), and I plan on having to give these away as well when they get too big.  The countdown continues:

62 lbs left!

Wantagh vs Williston Park

I decided to remove Elmont from the running.  It was a bit of a catch-22 for me.  I realized I would upset a large group of people if I wrote bad things about it and I would upset an even larger group of people if I wrote good things about it.  Instead, I swapped it’s spot with Wantagh, who was left dangling on the bottom of the list without someone to battle.


The inside of Wantagh is both confusing and awesome.  I felt like I was in a maze full of books (which, in my opinion, is the coolest kind of maze there is).  There are three levels of shelves and each is shaped like a circle.  On the lowest level there are two curved benches against the wall.  It was really cool and reminded me a lot of a boat.  While I had a hard time finding my way to the reference desk, I really liked the layout of the library.  As I wandered upstairs on my reference desk quest, I spotted the graphic novels.  I swear, it’s like they call to me.  On my way to the graphic novels, I found the reference desk and paused my journey to ask a question.  The librarian was helpful, and explained the logic behind the layout of the bottom floor to me as she found my books.  This was great since I wouldn’t have been able to find my materials as quickly as she did (or at all).  It was also a really warm and welcoming thing to do–as she explained a little, I became more familiar with the way the library was arranged, and in turn, felt more at home.

I picked a book, finished my mission to the graphic novels (which was next to the cute YA nook), then happily let a very polite, and handsome clerk check my books out.  And then came time for the embarrassment.  There are two entrances right across from one another and they look pretty similar.  I completely forgot which entrance I had come through, so I hesitated between them for a short moment while I debated the likelihood of the left entrance being the one I came from.

I took a chance, exited, and quickly doubled back to the entrance on the right (secretly hoping the circulation clerk wasn’t watching me in my moment of extreme memory loss).  There’s a very large lot at the back of the library and parking in front, so this wasn’t a problem at all for me.  Apparently my new problem is getting BACK to my car.

Completely random: I noticed during my walk around the library that they still have a card catalog filled with cards.  Yes, I know–I couldn’t help but open a drawer.  I stood there a moment and happily stared at the forgotten piece of many libraries and wondered how many books in the drawers were actually still in the library.  I figured there were probably still a good chunk.  Then I wondered how long it would be before every card no longer led to something.  I pondered a lot during my few minutes by the card catalog.  Then I noticed the graphic novels and all thoughts about the future, times forgotten and change vanished.

Williston Park

I’m not going to lie: I went to East Williston first and kind of expected Williston Park to be this giant tower of a library.  I don’t know why–I just felt that these libraries were out to surprise me.  It’s slightly larger than East Williston, but not by very much.  The parking lot beside it is equally teeny.  It took a few loops around the block to spot the library.  A friend joined me for this trip and as we were parking the car (phfft, we?  Why am I giving her any credit?), she looked pensively at the building and in a very serious tone, suggested a lot of Christmas lights around the windows and door.

I imagined Williston Park library suddenly decorated like that crazy house that has lights which blink in time with music.  I dare someone to miss the library then!  Wow, off topic–back to the library!  I walked in and was immediately greeted by the circulation clerk.  She was incredibly friendly and had a great laugh.  I made the reference desk my first stop where the librarian informed me he was helping someone already.  He wrote the number down for where I’d find my book, and then let me know that if I couldn’t find my book, he’d look for me as soon as he finished helping the patron he was currently working with.  Even though he couldn’t help me completely, he was clear and polite.  Instead of ignoring me or having me wait for him without letting me know he was busy, the librarian explained the situation to me and still gave me the help I needed.  I was really grateful for that.

His number was spot on and I found the book without trouble at all.  He was still helping the other patron while I checked my books out.  I could tell he wasn’t the kind of librarian who answered questions at face-value and moved on, and so after chatting briefly with the circulation clerk about the intense rain that had just stopped, I left Williston Park feeling a lot happier than when I walked in.


Here’s another really tough round.  Size isn’t too much of an issue between these libraries (for the record, Wantagh is much larger) because both libraries have such incredible staff members.  Wantagh was easier for me to find and way easier in terms of parking.  Based on convenience, I give the round to:

Give a Smile, Get a Smile

Sometimes being on your own is a bit lonely.  I’m used to being greeted every day by families and coworkers that care about me, and for the past two weeks, that hasn’t been the case.  A friend (Zoe) shared a site with me that let’s me get a smile just for giving one!  You’ll need a webcam and the internet to use this site (though if you’re reading this post, you’re half-way there).  Click here for smiles!

Here’s the smile I got:

Best smile ever?  I think so.  Night completely made?  Yep.

Enjoy!  Feel free to share your smiles!

Amulet: The Stonekeeper (Book One)

Amulet: The Stonekeeper (Book One)

Kazu Kibuishi
I didn’t realize that this series was written and illustrated by the awesome guy who is responsible for Flight until I saw the cover and recognized the artwork.  Naturally, I picked it up immediately.  It’s a story focusing on two siblings (and their mom) who move to a new house and get transported to another world.  I’m beginning to notice a trend in the stories I read and the movies I watch.  People always get teleported placed after a move.  Lesson?  If you’re not interested in adventures, never leave your house.

Anyway, back to the graphic novel.  I really enjoyed it!  I love stories where kids, especially siblings, have to rescue adults.  I also like that the main problem solver is a female and she’s flawed enough to need help without being the kind of loser damsel-in-distress I dislike so much.  I love the characters of this volume, and the ending does a great job of setting things up for the next volume.

If you love fantasy stories with a strong, realistic female lead and a bag of cool, interesting characters, then I highly recommend reading this one.  You won’t be disappointed!