• Reading

    Top Ten Tuesday: Childhood Favorites

    I’m not going to do all the illustrated books (I think I might do that for a freebie). I’m picking books (mostly series) from when I was strongly reading on my own. I’m going with favorites then that I’d want my kids to read.

    I guess my age was maybe 9 to early teens or maybe 9-12 for most of these? (And yeah, that’s childhood for me. I was a kid until maybe 14-15). Lot’s of historical fiction (although not the Historical Diaries or whatever they were called  that my sisters and others loved, I think those were a little too realistic for me to handle then based on my memories of my unsuccessful attempts). My introduction to Rosemary Sutcliff came right on the heels of these age.

    1. The American Girls. Felicity, Josefina, Kirsten, Addy, Samantha, Molly at first, then later Kit, I was growing out of them a bit when Kaya arrived (and she’s the last of the quality ones in my opinion).
    2. The Little House books and the Caroline books (and the Charlotte ones I read when I was a bit older).
    3. Boxcar children (we were all obsessed with these).
    4. The Borrowers (The Borrowers, The Borrowers Afield, The Borrowers Afloat, The Borrowers Aloft, and The Borrowers Avenged) by Mary Norton.
    5. Grandma’s Attic series and Grandma’s Attic Novels (In Grandma’s AtticMore Stories from Grandma’s AtticStill More Stories from Grandma’s Attic; Treasures from Grandma; Sixteen and Away from HomeEighteen and on Her OwnNineteen and Wedding Bells AheadAt Home in North BranchNew Faces, New Friends) by Arleta Richardson. Our friends read these allowed while we sewed or whatever (I think I was bit older maybe preteens to early teens?).
    6. Narnia. My dad read these aloud to us twice.
    7. Sarah’s Journey Series (Home on Stoney Creek, Stranger in Williamsburg, Reunion in Kentucky, Whispers in Williamsburg, Shadows on Stoney Creek) by Wandra Luttrell (so, apparently these are middle-grade Christian fiction but I remember these being good, granted they were favorites).
    8. Annie Henry: Adventures in the American Revolution (Annie Henry and the Secret Mission, Annie Henry and the Birth of Liberty, Annie Henry and the Mysterious Stranger, Annie Henry and the Redcoats) by Susan Olasky
    9. Calico Bush by Rachel Field (Hitty is waaay more famous but this was the first one we read, and I’m not sure if I read Hitty at all, if so it was recently).
    10. Bobbsey twins (to round out the list, these were books I read at my grandparents). For some reason, I never got into the Nancy Drew books or the Hardy boys. I did look at Trixie Beldon, I think those are probably more interesting. I wish I’d read all these when I was younger, some books you can love only if you start young.
  • Reading

    What I Read: April and May 2019

    Children’s Lit

    Continuing on from earlier this year in children’s lighter classics that I didn’t read as a child.

    Knight’s Castle by Edward Eager. I read Half-Magic ages ago but forgot everything about it. This is fun, I’m reading more of the series, but it’s not the most thrilling middle-grade lit for adults.

    All-of-a-Kind Family, All-Of-A-Kind Family Downtown, More All-of-a-Kind Family, All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown by Sydney Taylor. These are okay, not the most interesting in tone and description, rather didactic, definitely a lower reading level than middle grade. I ended up DNF-ing the last book, a juvenile tone and writing style doesn’t work with adult life.

    The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright. This is far closer to the sweet spot for excellent children’s literature, and I think I want to get more of these for vacation reading.

    Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary. This is below middle-grade, definitely want future kids to read or to read aloud with them but just not inspiring enough/high enough grade level for an adult although I’d still like to try Ramona Quimby because I’ve heard those are more popular.

    What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge. I saw a gorgeously illustrated set of this series on a British Instagrammer’s page, it turns out they are American but for some reason I got the impression that they were less popular here, the reprint has a note from a British lady. I guess I thought that was odd, it feels like its usually the other way around usually? Also this kinda has that classic American North moralizing (the Northern authors moralize; the Southern authors write about crazy, and I mean CRAZY, people; and the Midwest authors manage to make everything banal, despairing, and demoralizing in my little, ironically, exposure to the grown-up American Classic scene) without the charm of better authors (think Alcott). At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to read more, but those covers! Maybe the others are better?

    The Changeling, The Truce Of The Games, Shifting Sands by Rosemary Sutcliff. And now for the taste of genius. I’ve exhausted most of the best novels of Sutcliff and had been getting some of her less inspiring reads. But these short stories that are part of an older children’s collection, are the true Sutcliff storytelling magic. I think that she wrote more of these (they are published by or part of Antelope books and feature woodcut illustrations, I believe), but I’ve had to get them a few at a time through interlibrary loans.

    ReReads

    The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. This, thanks to my more capable reading abilities plus age, is much shorter than my memory of it. Also, Puritan stereotypes are still annoying as heck. This is sheer historical ignorance, for example black was a GOOD color, a wealthy color for Puritans. Per David Hackett Fisher in my beloved Albion’s Seed Puritans were far more egalitarian (second to the Quakers who were the most) in gender roles and economics than the two Southern cultures (he divides early developing U.S. into four basic cultures coming from four in England) which would’ve have been more similar to Kit’s, I’d imagine, and she’s just used to being on the top too. So, a lot of this story is just nonsense. A lot of this just feels like modern projecting based on some dramatic events without any understanding of the overall times. Nat’s still awesome though.

    My Escapist Reads

    False Colours, Arabella by Georgette Heyer. These were both 3 stars for me, the first featured identical twins as hero and side character, one normal, one a rake. The second featured a girl with a brain . . . and a rake for a hero. Well you, know, that’s her favorite “hero.” I decided to take a break to keep any other Heyers in reserve.

    So then, I started on Mary Stewart and MM Kaye and found another therapeutic reads, of course I’ve mostly exhausted Kaye as she didn’t write very many.

    Death in Cyprus by MM Kaye and The Moon-Spinners and This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart which I read in that order and fairly close together (followed up by Death in Zanzibar), and I kind of started blending the author’s styles a bit, they are both British, suspense for the former, mystery for the latter; have a lot of similarity in the hero-types; and hilariously, were each set on an Island in the the eastern Mediterrean starting with a “c”: Cyprus (no, really?), Crete, and Corfu, respectively. I greatly enjoyed all three. I’m so glad I started both authors like this and read these books in this order, it just fit so well, and I highly recommended anyone new to these authors to do this.

    The Ivy Tree (My least favorite Stewart, I preferred the villain, I kept hoping against hope he wasn’t the villain, I hate the inclusion of infidelity, that was the love story, also, just not a great love story, period, rather sickening.)

    Wildfire at Midnight (Not super crazy about this one, also has a bit freaky stuff, again, cheaters. And the women are just supposed to ignore and forgive the not-truly-repentant cheaters to “keep” them. NO.)

    Nine Coaches Waiting (I think my expectations were too high as I adore the first two I read, and this is the most famous and didn’t match those first two in tone for me.)

    My Brother Michael (I really enjoyed parts, but kind of felt choppy in quality, also, be careful with this one, I feel like trigger warnings are needed, there is a psychopath here and some sexual stuff, one part is pretty awful, not rape although I thought for a bit it was implied in different episode which without the first I wouldn’t have thought at all, but then Simon and Camilla were too calm in their response, but it doesn’t stretch to the imagination that the villain would; anyhow, this is darker than the others.)

    Madam Will You Talk? (This one was thrilling, for more overall evenly intriguing but still doesn’t come close to my original favs.)

    Thunder on the Right (Eh, far more buildup than delivery.)

    The Wind off the Small Isles (This was an enjoyable short story.)

    All by Mary Stewart. A lot of my liking of these novels involves her evocative settings, so if I didn’t like the settings/her descriptions just didn’t match the atmosphere of previous ones, that fact was also mixed with any dislike of the story.

    Death in Zanzibar, Death in Kashmir by MM Kaye. The former is up there with Death in Cyprus, the latter is enjoyable. I DNFed Death in Kenya. I think there is two that I have ordered/will order via interlibrary loan.

    Westerns

    True Grit by Charles Portis. Eh.

    Shane by Jack. Eh, but in the hands of a better author could’ve been awesome.

    I’m going to keep trying, albeit slowly, on Westerns, though.

    Random

    Arthur by Stephen R Lawhead. I have Pendragon (the 4th book), but I think I’m done with this series for now. I felt so lost and felt that the author was as well.

    Motivational

    Outer Order Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin. This isn’t really a book, rather a collection of organizational/personal environment ideas. I felt it “spoke my language,” others may not feel so. I think motivational/self-help books are VERY specific to each person, I mean within the exact same topic, if one author doesn’t work for you, find another.

    When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H Pink. Eh, considerably overstretched the “scientific” aspect, if you could even call it that; books like this and The Happiness Advantage (I DNF’ed for this reason, the lack of new concepts, and the tone) tend to stick “scientific” in quite too often and, I think, not very accurately. Sorry, not every scholarly study, undertaking, etc. is scientific. Also, protesting too much.

    The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey. Overall, great basic money advice. As with everything can be tailored to personal situation (something I didn’t realize in my foolish youth with his first book). Don’t agree about no credit cards, nor about super specific budgets all the time, ain’t gonna happen for this girl. But all the way there for the emergency fund!!!

    I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. He speaks my language, and I find him hilarious. He also writes more for my age and situation. I want to get the newer copy of this book for myself. I agree with more of what he had to say/the way he said it than Ramsey although, truly, the overall advice isn’t wildly different (no helpful financial advice is at bare bones). But I found Sethi’s breakdown extremely helpful to me.

  • Reading

    Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books of the Last 10 Years

    I thought this was really creative/fun/easy topic. I don’t pay too much attention to specific publication dates, more to decades/centuries/eras, so I was curious to see what would come up for me. I exported my Goodreads library and cutting down out extra columns, I managed to look at the years 2018-2009 on publication dates for books I’d rated 4 or 5 stars. I aimed for fiction when I could, but a few years I only had nonfiction. If there were two, and I thought that I preferred one over the other, I picked that. If there were two, and I thought both were equally deserving, I put both. I’m pretty sure I’ve featured most of the fiction on TTT multiple times, but what can I say, I love my favorites, and I’m quite picky. But, somebody PLEASE give Faerie Rebels  and the Swift duo more attention.

    • 2018 Book Girl: A Journey Through the Treasures and Transforming Power of a Reading Life by Sarah Clarkson
    • 2017 The Vanishing American Adult by Ben Sasse
    • 2016 The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd (a standalone middle-grade novel, my favorite of hers, Appalachian magic, like the first, which I love; I usually think magic belongs in Old World settings, but there are specific areas/cultures where it fits in the New World, and Appalachia is one)
    • 2015 The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall (book four of The Penderwicks)
    • 2014 Nomad by R.J. Anderson (the second book of Swift duo, was supposed to be trilogy, but that hasn’t come and might not come, mourning)
    • 2013 Death by Living by N.D. Wilson
    • 2012 Swift by R.J. Anderson (book one of Swift, a continuation of the world from Faerie Rebels)
    • 2011 Entwined by Heather Dixon (a slight eery yet lovely retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairytale) and The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall (book three in a charming middle-grade series about four sisters)
    • 2010 The Chesnut King by N.D. Wilson (the third book in The 100 Cupboards trilogy, a wonderful middle-grade fantasy trilogy)
    • 2009 Knife and Rebel by R.J. Anderson (books one and two of the Faerie Rebels series, an awesome fantasy series that straddles the line between middle grade and teen like Harry Potter)
  • Reading

    A Miniature Review of The Ordinary Princess

    I’m posting this review as part of Cordy’s Lovely Blog Party.

    The Ordinary Princess is a sweet little story that is part a blend of fairy-tales and part a fairytale in its own right. I don’t want to have too many spoilers, so I will keep it short, sweet, and general. The basic plot is this: Princess Amethyst receives an odd gift at her christening and goes on an adventure under an assumed name and meets a young man. Of course the story has tons of delightful details, but like I said, I don’t want to spoil things in my synopsis (although there are spoilers at the end of the post relating to my comparison of this book with Cinderella (2015) which you can avoid).

    This princess story has some similarities with a few fairytale re-tellings including the basic Sleeping Beauty story and the 2015 live action Cinderella. It has of course, the proper fairytale elements which includes everything from obscure kingdoms to woodland wanderings to animal friends. This fairytale elements are sometimes exaggerated for comedic effect. This story also has an intentional overlay of the modern and mundane that, when juxtaposed with the exaggerated fairytale extravagances, makes for a quirky, humorous, tone. For example, an absurd amount of bureaucracy is involved in inviting fairies to a christening . . . who would have thought of the words “fairy” and “committee” in conjunction?!

    ***********SPOILER WARNING***********

    Because of a few noticeable similarities I have The Ordinary Princess and Cinderella (2015) together in my mind. Both stories include:

    ~The leitmotif of the folk song Lavender’s Blue

    ~The couple meeting under assumed names and positions

    ~Said positions are the same or similar: Cinderella and Amy are servants, and Kit and Peregrine are an apprentice and man-of-all-work, respectively

    ~The genuine sweetness and candidness of the members of the couple

    ~Quaint, tiny, happy kingdoms

    ~An overall magical loveliness, brightness, and joy

    And I just know that Phantasmagoria is as beautiful and charming and quaint as Kit and Cinderella’s kingdom in the movie

  • Reading

    Ten Lesser Known/Lesser Loved Couples from Books

    I’m joining in with Cordy’s Lovely Blog Party here. I love this, its basically a couples freebie for all of February, so low pressure. I’m going to include my Top Ten Tuesday post, write another one of these for movies, and do the tag Cordy made. And anything else that I feel like doing (I might do a small post on The Ordinary Princess and how it reminds me of the live-action Cinderella). I love learning about new stories, so if you have any unknown/under-appreciated couples to add, let me know in the comments.

    1. Martin and Ivy from Swift and Nomad. I loved Martin when he appeared in the first trilogy (Faerie Rebels), and Ivy is the perfect girl for him. I love their relationship and its complexity and progression. Martin doesn’t woo her (he isn’t like that and they have far more serious issues to think about), but he waits until she “gets” it. Rob and Linden from Rebel (the second Faerie Rebels book) are in second.
    2. Azalea and Lord Bradford from Entwined (I also love her next two sisters and their suitors; I’m trying to spoil too much here). Simple sweetness.
    3. Sophie and Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle. If you haven’t noticed, I don’t really care for sappy romances in which one or both characters are soppy, weak, and gushy. No thanks, that isn’t real romance. I need humor. And this is hilarious.
    4. The ordinary princess and her apprentice from An Ordinary Princess. I LOVED that connection to Cinderella although it is probably accidental. Friendship first, the romance, and then the revelations (actually this reminds me a LOT of the live-action Cinderella).
    5. Nell and Aquila from Lantern Bearers. My sister said they did not love each other. I’m sorry but yes, yes they did. I just love understated and intense. Their story is small in the huge picture of Aquila’s tortured life, but it is important. Another of my favorite elements to romance is intense and understated, and Rosemary Sutcliff does this well.
    6. Perry and Ilse from the Emily of New Moon trilogy (I cannot be happy about Teddy and Emily because I want to strangle them, mostly Teddy for his unmanly cowardice and weakness; that last book HURTS unbearably, I had to put it down for my last reread). I just love a child-hood based romance and besides these two are HILARIOUS individually and together.
    7. Marcus and Cottia from the Eagle of the Ninth. In the beginning Marcus is grown-up (although barely) and Cottia just a girl, so he takes a friendly interest at first, and I love that their friendship is the foundation for their romance. When he gets back, they are both thinking, “yes.” And that’s that.
    8. Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane from the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. Oh, my stars how I love them. His persistent wooing, her persistent resistance makes for a multitude of hilarious, and later, romantic scenes. Their romance combines intensity with laughter.
    9. Peter and Donna from A Tangled Web. From their absurd love at first site, to their awesome breakup to Donna’s illness and Peter’s absurd reaction, I love these two together. I also, in a quieter way like the quieter romance between Roger and Gay and their sweet little love scene after her realization.
    10. Judy Abbot and Jervis Pendleton from Daddy Long-Legs. The build-up. The unreasoning and hilarious jealously exhibited (unbeknownst to Judy) by Daddy Long-Legs. The reveal.
  • Reading

    Top Ten Tuesday: Significant Moments of Romantic Tension or Realization

    Happy Valentine’s Day, The Top Ten Tuesday topic for today is a romance freebie, so I went with some interesting moments.

    1. John Brooke’s proposal to Meg in Little Women. This is so classically funny.

    2. Polly and Tommy’s love scene at the very end of An Old-Fashioned Girl. It is so absurd and so completely them. And “stopping for refreshments,” ha!

    3. In Nomad, when Ivy finally “gets” it after Martin’s patience waiting (he didn’t woo or press her, just waited).

    4. Marcus sweet, simple, proposal to Cottia. They know, they knew when he came back and saw her (Eagle of the Ninth).

    5. Philippa Gorden’s letter to Anne regarding Jonas with the telling postscript (Anne of the Island). Peoples, that is the right way to do triangles. If the girl (or guy if it is guy, two girls which is unusual in my reading experience, I cannot think of one off the top of my head), cannot choose between two guys, she doesn’t care enough for either, duh. An entrance of a true love demonstrates that.

    6. The throbbing-ly intense romantic scene at the end of North and South. Read between the lines for those not so subtle hints people. This is WAAAAY more romantic than the movie which is short, rushed, unromantic, and has Henry Lennox’s jealous snake face smashed right in the middle.

    7. Whenever Mac catches Rose unawares with his absurd and persistent wooing, and she cannot remain dignified (Rose in Bloom).

    8. Captain Wentworth’s letter in Persuasion. Oh, my what intensity and passion without any gushing or grossnesss. He is mainly and to the point as always, and WOW.

    9. When Gay realizes she loves Roger and when he sees it (A Tangled Web).

    10. The burglar in the library hullabaloo that gets Jim and Nora together thanks to Anne’s meddling in Anne of Windy Poplars.

  • Reading

    A Review of Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways to America

    I had this book recommended to me twice and was pleasantly surprised to realize that this is a serious, well-researched scholarly monograph. The subject is how certain immigration patterns in the early part of United States history shaped our developing nation. The author is very detailed and traces patterns from old to new world in four different areas: Puritan Massachusetts, the Chesapeake, Quaker Delaware Valley, and the American Back-country via a multitude of cultural patterns. He describes the differences and then demonstrates how these cultures and their clashes shaped U.S. history.

    I consider this an absolute must for anyone slightly interested in U.S. history. I am learning more and more that we have to understand the cultural background (and this includes the worldview that shapes the culture) in order to understand the people and events that spring from culture. In college I noticed that in both history and literature classes some people cannot or will not understand that people thought in completely different ways in different times (and this is true for different places; we are seeing this in Europe’s issues with migrant assimilation . . . and criticism of U.S. gun laws). People automatically assume that anything religious or spiritual is subservient to science and reasoning, and they don’t or won’t understand the difference in value systems or the difference between blind trust in scientists and fallacious reasoning. We must understand limitations of science and reason within the academic scope of the scientific method, critical thinking, and logic; blind trust in the vague category of “science” is as stupid as supernatural superstition.

    This book explains the worldviews in as unbiased a manner as I have ever come across. He does not pass judgment with adjectives overly often even though many activities and attitudes are condemned now; he explains how these people arrived at their ideas and how these ideas shaped their culture.

    I would advise you to read it thus: the preface and introduction first, then the conclusion up to page 808 and take a look at the charts on pages 813-815, and then go and start with part 1 and read through to end.

    Although the book is scholarly, I found the writing style to be quite readable. And even if you aren’t planning any particular historical use when reading this book, the book has fascinating stand alone information. I found the speech ways section particularly interesting, especially as I feel that my speech ways have been influenced by multiple areas.

  • Reading

    2016 Anne of Green Gables Challenge: Rilla of Ingleside

    Here is the last post for the Anne of Green Gables reading challenge: Rilla of Ingleside. The questions are here.

    What do you think of Rilla? Is she like her parents? How is she different?
    Rilla is much more selfish and shallow than both of her parents. She does grow considerably though I still don’t find her super-likable although I can probably relate more to her.

    After returning to Ingleside, Jem tells Rilla that Walter wasn’t scared at the front. Even though Walter was sickened by the thought of war, Jem said that he turned out to be a courageous hero. Why do you think that was? Anticipating a situation and actually being in the moment can be totally different experiences and sometimes bring out surprising reactions. Can you remember a time when this has happened to you? 
    I frequently dread things, and sometimes that dread is justifiable, sometimes proper planning does away with it, sometimes it makes the situation worse, and sometimes it turns out to be a waste of energy. Walter, like his father said, had an active imagination. He knew far more of what is would really be like than Jem and Jerry (although that would not have stopped them). But he possessed moral courage in the actual face of wrong-doing and duty.

    There wasn’t much to Rilla’s relationship with Kenneth Ford in terms of time spent together. How do we know that their relationship is going to last?
    Well, Rilla has been in love with Ken since she was little, and she waited for him. Ken is quite honorable, he wasn’t just playing at being in love with a much younger girl.

  • Reading

    2016 Anne of Green Gables Reading Challenge: Rainbow Valley

    I am behind on these. Here is the link to the questions.

    This book was totally centered around the Blythe small fry and their friends. Reading about their adventures in Rainbow Valley made me think of Anne’s days with the the Echo Lodge crew in Anne of Avonlea. It also made me think of Camp Laurence from Little Women, as well as sweet Betsy-Tacy moments. The innocence of childhood play is so lovely to read. Do you have any favorite Rainbow Valley moments? Did they remind you of other childhood moments from any other books?
    I loved when the boys all stood up for the girls. I love the comradeship between the two families, and the clannishness (like between characters in books like The Penderwicks; their “clan” of friends, family, and neighbors). Una is my least favorite Meredith, but I love when she set things right between her father and Rosemary (I like Mr. Meredith and his dreamy ways; I think other people should’ve been more forthright about his abstraction and not leave it to the vulgar, horrible people).

    Montgomery likes writing about romance lost (Captain Jim and Lost Margaret) or almost lost forever (Mr. Irving and Miss Lavender). What would you have done in Rosemary’s place? Would you have kept your promise to your sister and refused John Meredith despite loving him?
    I would not have made such a promise, not because I am so wise, but because I would not have wanted to keep it, and I think the swearing part might’ve brought be to my senses if I had gotten that far; that was so incredibly controlling. I also don’t think promise keeping should be like oath-swearing (which is what Ellen made Rosemary do). This was such an ethical dilemma, but I think that Rosemary should have told him why she refused him, I think she owed him that much, that much of the oath should’ve been broken because she was hurting someone else badly. Ellen is so manipulative, selfish, and evil.

    We’ve said goodbye to Anne’s childhood long ago. This book is a farewell to the sweet childhood of the Blythe clan. This always makes me sad. While being an adult is a wonderful thing in so many ways, childhood always calls to us in one way or another. What do you miss about childhood? 
    The relative simplicity, the clean slate, the fresh world.

  • Reading

    Anne of Green Gables Reading Challenge: Anne of Ingleside

    I finished Anne of Ingleside long ago, and it is possibly my least favorite of the series, certainly it is the least memorable. I had to refresh my memory a bit.

    Montgomery has some precious episodes in this book about the Blythe children. Do you have a favorite of the Ingleside munchkins? What was your favorite story?

    Walter and Jem are my favorites. There are too many little tragedies for this book to be super enjoyable. Most of the children’s stories involve real terror, anxiety, or stress. The cake story could be considered a favorite merely because it cannot be assigned to the aforementioned category of tragedy, and I have no sympathy for Rilla’s ridiculous vanity. Nothing in that story is deep.

    In this book we really get a taste of Anne and Gilbert’s parenting styles. What do you think of Doctor and Mrs. Blythe as parents? Do you have any thoughts about the way their household is run?

    I GREATLY dislike the picking favorites between the twins; as in, I think that is absolutely despicable and doesn’t at all match with my conception of the honor and love the old Anne and Gilbert would give. I also dislike that Susan has such a say in things, particularly with Shirley. I am not sure the author meant to do this, but we hear more about Susan than Anne as Anne seems rather passively in the background, and this doesn’t fit with Anne’s personality at all in the earlier books; she was quite involved and hard-working (I think the author had trouble keeping a balance with characterization, e.g. Shirley is barely a personality at all). Also, that Mary Maria Blythe is an evil witch, and Gilbert should have made her leave, and Anne should have said something. No manner of loneliness or neglect or wrong justifies anyone in making everyone else miserable. What a busybody. She spoiled much of the book, I think.

    Anne fears that Gilbert no longer loves her because he doesn’t seem to be as attentive. Do you think that Gil should have been more cognizant of his behavior or should Anne have voiced her concerns? Was she just being a worry-wort and over-dramatizing things or did she have a legit reason to be concerned/jealous? 

    I don’t think she had a legitimate reason to doubt Gilbert, but mentioning her worries might have saved her some anxiety. I do think that Christine was trying to deliberately draw Gilbert’s attention to herself and make Anne feel bad so that she, Christine, could feel better.

  • Reading

    Anne of Green Gables Reading Challenge 2016: Anne’s House of Dreams Answers

    Anne’s House of Dreams is one of my least favorite Anne books. It contains considerably too much Leslie. As much as I enjoy L.M. Montgomery books, she has a rather glaring failing: she simply doesn’t know how to fully develop most of her heroes. Gilbert is still in the background. Also, this book is more confined in outlook. Although some of the few characters are rather interesting, there are still few characters. And the book’s preoccupation with Leslie’s story is boring and annoying. The story should be more about Anne (Anne features less and less in the novels; I enjoy the ones about her children, but Susan and other personalities shine far more than Anne). I do not need melodrama; I enjoy “quiet” stories with either a sweet tone or with underlying intensity, but I just found this novel lacking.

    I am joining up here for the 2016 Anne of Green Gables Reading Challenge.

    How is Anne’s friendship with Leslie different from her friendship with Diana? What are your thoughts about friendships and different seasons in life?
    Diana and Anne were childhood friends and grew up together and shared many similar experiences. I think the book (in the guise of Miss Cornelia) points out that although Anne had a hard childhood, Leslie’s entire life was tragic, and Anne had never (until the death of her baby) experienced anything near so bitter as what Leslie constantly endure from age 12 and on.
    I find it irritating and insincere when people can only relate to people in their specific season of life. Particularly when newly married people and new parents drop their single friends and seemingly instantaneously gain a (miraculous) superior (read: condescending) knowledge of everything the single friend has not experienced. Also, if you lose friends then you probably were not actually or should not have been friends with those people in the first place.

    Leslie’s life is a tragic one. Once you learn her story, you understand why she was so bitter the night Anne and Gil come riding blissfully into Four Winds. How would you have felt if you were developing a friendship with Leslie?
    I can see her bitterness, but I cannot sympathize. Anne is one of the most sensitive and tactful characters ever, so Leslie’s attitude is awful. (Also, I feel that her later misery is her partially her own fault; I don’t really feel as the book intends us to feel that she was morally compelled to marry Dick). Anne really is amazingly patient and kind for bitter people are hardly attractive; friendship with them is probably easier to maintain than obtain, but Anne reached out and endured. However, her reaction to Gilbert’s proposal of the medical procedure is morally abhorrent, and I felt, did not fit with Anne’s character well at all as she usually takes the moral high ground.

    This is the book where Anne’s whole life changes. She’s a married woman now with a different lifestyle, different dreams, and different goals. But she’s still the same lovable Anne she’s always been. What are 3 things you think should never change when you get married?
    Love for one’s spouse and one’s family. Basic personality. We should never change or attempt to change our fundamental personality as that would be insincere, but we should change anything sinful in our personality (i.e. certain personalities lean toward certain sins; e.g. choleric personalities have anger issues). Everything else depends on the person individually. I think that we should neither keep character traits because everyone needs to change for the better nor all goals and dreams because that is unfeasible and unreasonably confining (goals and dreams are not as a concept, moral, so there is nothing inherently right or wrong in having new goals and dreams).

  • Reading

    Anne of Green Gables Reading Challenge April Answers for Anne of Windy Poplars

    I and my sisters have been on an L.M. Montgomery reading spree these last few months. I have only maybe one novel and several collections of short stories that I have not read. I have also recently reread the Anne books and am preparing to reread the Emily ones.

    I am participating (at my own pace since I have finished the novels) in this challenge. Here are my answers to April’s questions for Anne of Windy Poplars.

    What do you think of Anne’s letters to Gil? Do you have any favorite lines? Are you or have you ever been a letter writer? Do you require a certain kind of writing instrument to write certain things?
    I am not a fan of completely epistolary novels, I liked the blend of narrative styles in this novel. I am not a letter writer. I prefer the looks of pens, particularly those with easily flowing ink. I do use pencils (more practical), but for important things, pens or I feel dissatisfied. I cannot think of favorite lines (I need to get back into the habit of filling up a quote journal!).

    Who is your favorite character in this book? Any kindred spirits who stole your affection?
    This novel is made up of vignettes of Anne’s three years of teaching, so most characters did not stay long. My favorite small characters are Lewis (of the Little Fellow story) and Nora and Jem. I did not overly love some of Anne’s kindred spirits, Little Elizabeth is sickly sweet; Katherine, unrelatable and unconvincingly kindred; and Jen, irritating and less developed as a character (not in a poorly written way, though). Rebecca Dew is hilarious though not a great favorite with me.


    This is the last book before the start of Anne’s married life. What have been your favorite moments in her childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood? What has she learned? How has she changed? How has she remained the same?
    I love her rivalry with Gil and then her “friendzoning” relationship with him later. Her raising of and relationship with Davy is hilarious and enjoyable. Her scrapes and drama are funny. I like that she kept her imagination, her ideals, her character, but she realized her mistakes about certain dreams (her absurd hero, her melodramatic stories).