I putter around the library a great deal, and wasn’t even looking for this book when I read the title: Howl’s Moving Castle. I chuckled, plucking it from the shelf and badgering my younger brother–who had the good sense to bring his library card along–to check it out for me.
He quirked an eyebrow at me, slumped over to the counter, and hastily returned to my own hands, muttering something about stupid books older sisters read.
And I’ll admit–if I had read a delightful little tale about castles that had the power to roam countrysides, of turnip-headed scarecrows and little girls who become old ladies, I would be quite peeved that I would up with a cover like this.
But the chapter titles, my goodness… so much appreciation. Much like opening lines for books, these relatively irrelevant bits added to books can add so much delight.
Particularly, those beginning with “In Which.” Heaven knows why, but these are the best.
Therefore, I give you ten of my personal favorites, in no particular order:
1. “In Which Pooh and Piglet Go Hunting and Nearly Catch a Woozle” -A. A. Milne’s The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh
2. “In Which The Plot, Behaving In Much The Same Manner As A Soup To Which Cornstarch Has Been Added, Begins, At Last, To Thicken” -from the Khaavren Romances, being a parody of Dumas’s work
3. “In Which We Accomplish The Promise Made By The Previous One”
4. “In Which Something Happens”
5. and “In Which Someone Sneezes and The Story Continues,” all from the 18th century Spanish novel Friar Gerund
6. “A Very Short Chapter, In Which Not Much Is Going To Happen,” from Walter Moers’s The City of Dreaming Books
7. “In Which It Is Exceedingly Muddy” in Particia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles
8. Rick Riordan uses this (though minus the “in which) for laughs, usually. For example, when his main character meets the Fates, it’s in the chapter entitles “Three Old Ladies Knit the Socks of Death.”
9. Also, in his The Kane Chronicles: “I Have a Date with the God of Toilet Paper”
10. “In Which, If It Were To Summarize The Prodigious Revelations Of Which It Speaks, The Title Would Have To Be As Long As The Chapter Itself, Contrary To Usage,” -used by Umberto Eco in his The Name of the Rose, mostly because he would have otherwise had to write something along the lines of “In Which _____ Is Revealed To Be The Murderer.”
..all that to say, I particularly enjoyed glancing over the Table of Contents in Howl’s Moving Castle and reaching titles such as “Chapter One: In Which Sophie Talks To Hats” or “Chapter Six: In Which Howl Expresses His Feelings With Green Slime.”