Friday, January 27, 2017

Cephalopod Coffeehouse: January 2017

Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the works they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.  If you wish to add your own review to the conversation, please sign on to the link list at the end of my post.

Title: House of Many Ways
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
via Wikipedia
House of Many Ways is the third and final book in the Howl series which began with Howl's Moving Castle.  My reviews of the first two books are here and here.  This time, we meet Charmain, a highly sheltered girl who agrees to look after her great-uncle's house while he is away, hoping she'll get time to read.  Her uncle is, it turns out, a magician and his home is a spacial and temporal labyrinth.  While her uncle's away, she is left to figure things out for herself.  Meanwhile, she's also trying to ingratiate herself with the royal family so she can work in their library.

Diana Wynne Jones is my daughter's favorite author so, even beyond the Howl series, I have grown quite comfortable with her style.  Her fantasy worlds are not Narnia or Middle Earth dream worlds.  Somehow, they're just a shade or two past reality.  Her magicians are generally awkward people beyond their extraordinary abilities.  Charmain discovers she has a knack for the arts herself though her magic derives more from force of will than studious training.  I appreciate the fact that both of the sequels are essentially stand alone stories with new and interesting characters.  Howl, Sophie and Calcifer do join in the fun for both but the tale is ultimately someone else's.

By the end, I'd grown quite fond of Charmain and her circle and would be eager for more stories.  Alas, there are none.  Jones passed away in 2011, three years after the book was published.

Please join us and share your own review of your best read from the past month.  This month's link list is below.  I'll keep it open until the end of the day.  I'll post February's tomorrow.  Meetings are the last Friday of each month.  Next gathering is February 24th.


18 comments:

  1. I loved Narnia while growing up. I'll have to give this book a try. Sounds like a wonderful read.

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    1. I love Narnia, too. Jones's worlds have a lighter flavor somehow.

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  2. I kind of need to read these books with my kids now. Thanks...I think. My TBR isn't a pile, it's a mountain... ;)
    Best,
    V :)

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    1. I understand that feeling. My TBR shelf became three, plus a pile on the floor.

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  3. This sounds wonderful. Something I would love to read.
    I will put it on my list but not sure if a will get to it. I am still reading Yearling 8 to 12 year old books right now. I have several unfinished books that I have tried to start but can not keep reading.
    Frustrated.
    I think if I can find some large print books that might help.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Yes I like audio books but they put me asleep if I sit down and listen.
      I am trying to get my eye-word and comprehension working. I have also lost my words. No fun

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  4. I should check these books out. I only know Howl's Moving Castle from the most excellent Miyazaki.

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  5. I too only know of Howl's Moving Castle from the movie. I had no idea it was a book. This series sounds really interesting.

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  6. I didn't realize this was a series. I might have to look into them, then, after all.

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  7. I still have the first book on my TBR. The whole series sounds great; just need to make time to try it.

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  8. I am definitely curious about this series. It sounds like something I would really like. I think it is awesome that you have been reading books by your daughter's favorite author. What a great thing to share together. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. Children's lit is a big part of my blog mission. What better expert do I have on the subject than the kid who sleeps in the next room?

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