by Jane Austen

Published 1815

So, I had stumbled across a couple of sequels to Emma and wanted to read them, but it had been a while since I read the original.  This old Dover copy (I love Dover books!  They used to be a dollar everywhere; I would agonize over which ones to purchase every year at the home school convention) is exactly the way I like to read Austen’s book: It’s just her book.  No notes, no one else’s thoughts, just Austen’s story, plain and simple.  Commentary has its place; that place is very rarely while I’m actually reading a story.

Anyway, I enjoy Emma, but Emma herself is not my favorite heroine.  I just want to give her a good shake most of the time.  She annoys the bejeebers out of me.  And while most of Austen’s other heroines end up understanding and working to rid themselves of their flaws, I never get that feeling with Emma.  Yes, she realizes that she’s an arrogant, self-centered, indolent person, but her regrets about not befriending Jane Fairfax, her attempts to make things up to Miss Bates, her realization of how amazing Knightly is–none of these things really impress me as actual changes in her character.  One hopes that she will go forward and be less annoying, but I’m not really confident about that.  Perhaps Knightly will have a good influence on her.  One can only hope.  But between her and Mrs. Elton (!!!!!!!!!! horrid woman!!!!!!!!), Emma is a book I pick up every few years, but not one that I miss in between.


Howl’s Moving Castle



by Diana Wynne Jones

Published 1986

So, since I enjoyed Fire and HemlockI decided to give another Jones novel a try.  This time, I picked one of her juvenile novels, and it turned out to be a great deal of fun.

I really enjoyed the premise of someone being cursed to be old.  The characters were hilarious, the dialogue delightful, and the concept fresh.

However, as with Fire and Hemlock, there still seemed to be a lot of unanswered questions at the end of the book.  Jones’s endings just aren’t as tidy as I want them to be.  I like having things all tied up neatly at the end.  Apparently, there are a couple of sequels to this book??  My library doesn’t have them (!!!!) so I will have to seek them further afield.  (If anyone wants to lend them to me, that would be great! :-D)

Overall, an easy 4/5, and could have been a 5/5 if the ending had come together better for me.  Still, a lot of fun.