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MirrorMask (children's edition)
Neil Gaiman
The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories, Volume One: Where on Earth
Ursula K. Le Guin
Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown
Maud Hart Lovelace
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde, Camille Cauti
Riders of the Purple Sage
Zane Grey
Vampires, Zombies, & Wanton Souls
Marge Simon
Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones Such a weird and amazing read! Diana Wynne Jones takes standard fairy tale and fantasy elements--a girl coming of age, wizards, witches, shapeshifters, a scarecrow, demons, a questionable stepmother, castles, princes and kings--and does something utterly unique with them. I've never read anything like Howl's Moving Castle. What to say of a story where everything's exponentially stranger than initially thought? I loved it.

Sophie's such a cool character. Unlike a typical fairy tale, she doesn't need a knight in shining armor to rescue her from danger or an ennui-filled existence. Sophie's tenacious in going after a better life. And what a fantastic grump she is as an old woman! Her courage and no-nonsense approach stand in stark contrast to Howl's careless-but-fearful way of being. There'll be nothing easy about Sophie and Howl's happily ever after. They anticipate an "eventful",'"hair-raising" and exploitive life together.

My one criticism of Howl's Moving Castle is the fever-pitched ending. A host of people and storylines come crashing together in the end. So much happens in the final 10 pages! I could have used a little gentler winding down to affairs. But maybe a hectic ending is just what a hair-raising ever after demands. Whatever the case, my criticism of the ending doesn't rise to the level of docking a star from my rating. Five stars all the way for this one.