I read a lot, but not necessarily well, I wasn’t thrilled with a lot of my fiction, however, I think it again helped me to think about my fiction. And the two non-fiction books I read were EXCELLENT!
Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling. A must read for everyone in the West! Gives a true perspective of how much even the “poor” (US “poverty” is not based on actually need but comparison) of the West are SO much better off than not just true poverty and past times, but level 3 (there are 4 levels, Westerners and some other nations like Japan are 4). And how much the overall world has improved (and I’m a history major, I knew we had it good in modern, but wow, I still didn’t know how bad it used to be for children, that is a hard, necessary section). Also, I’m trying to keep in mind that level 3 workers work I think calculated 90+ hours, so if I have to patch together a couple jobs that may not even add up to 40 (and that I can CHOOSE), I can get over myself a bit, it won’t kill me.
I want to explore the authors’ site, especially the Dollar Street part to see all the different standards of living around the world. Reminds me of that Children Around the World book we had growing up. I want this in my library.
On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser. I need to improve my writing but most of the writing books I came across were for fiction. This book benefits EVERY type of writer; it is excellent, truly emphasizing the importance of strong writing (which is rarely displayed in all the poorly written things published). I’ve definitely got this on my purchase list as well, I’ll need to review and review. I’m not trying to be a “writer” per se, I’m just trying to be more readable on my blog, to learn to express myself better and clearer. And maybe, maybe, if I go back to school someday for history, I won’t dread the reams of writing that will be necessary quite as much.
Ashtown Burials series by N.D. Wilson (one of my favorite authors): The Dragon’s Tooth, The Drowned Vault, Empire of Bones, and part of The Silent Bells. I have 14 chapters from the serialized version the author is publishing which I’ve caught up on, I realized when starting them (and an earlier series mistake of not rereading the earlier ones) that I was going to have to reread since I’d forgotten. I’m so glad I did, I enjoyed these so much, I highly recommend, especially for a summer adventure vibe. Also, I’m going to have to get some of the merch too.
Andy Catlett: Early Travels by Wendell Berry. I have loyalty-dislike relationship with Berry. This is my state’s best author, and I am near Henry county where his stories are set (although my family is mostly from the Western part of the state). He is our states greatest author I believe. And I appreciate aspects of his writing. However, I can’t stand the fatalistic tone (I’d have to say, very authentically Kentucky; if I have to hear “it is what it is” from people in real life I’ll scream) or his rather ahistorical romanticizing of agrarian life.
Dune by Frank Herbert. I read this quite easily, although not super enjoyably. I just felt like this had so many plot holes or underdeveloped aspects, it just wasn’t satisfying or even as dramatic as the movie previews made it feel. I’m still interested (although less excited) in seeing it in theater though. I feel like sci-fi often has super interesting conceptions and plots, but falls short in the development. However, I need to read more sci-fi. Dad keeps bringing up Isaac Asimov (a blast from the past, Dad had a couple shelves of just Asimov, you know what, I think I need to do a post on our family’s book tastes . . .) and how he thinks every newer sci-fi author rips him off which may or may not be actually true. I think I’ll try Asimov’s Foundations series sometime.
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke. Joy Clarkson picked this book for the readalong she hosts on her podcast Speaking with Joy. I felt it so mysterious and grand because of the beginning and the podcast, but yeah, the build up didn’t go anywhere and ultimately it felt very forgettable especially after the boring ending. Although this is shorter and different, I felt that way about her first book, especially since I usually forget I read that book and it was a TOME!
Circe by Madeline. It held my attention mostly, but I sure got sick of the “problems” of a self-indulgent, self-absorbed goddess. Wow, your life is SO hard. Also there was a UGH, NOPE twist at the end that caused me to not finish the last bit. And also, some egregious ick and violence from the god world. Less than Ariadne (the gory part is just unbelievably violence voyeurism or something) which I very quickly put down. I just can’t justify reading gratuitous graphic violence and sexual choices in such mediocre form. I mean the myths are part of culture and yes, stuff happens (one of my professors said the gods had sex with everything, people, animals, plants), but these are grand stories, part of ancient culture, part of the world’s heritage. And I don’t recall such level of gruesome, wallowing vicarious detail. While the original myths add to culture, such muck in mediocre writing subtracts from self, I guess I’m saying. It’s hard to explain how to draw my lines morally and artistically, but I think that is what it is.
The Coming Storm by Regina M. Hansen. Thriller/horror (not too bad or else I’d not have read). Again, I was left thinking, how did this benefit me? It wasn’t a clean happy bit of light reading. And it is shallow fluff intellectually.
A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine. Silly bit of fluff. I was trying to find something light, but not to this level.
I didn’t do a jot from my July reading goals, although I thought I’d be finishing Far from the Madding Crowd. Yeah, no, Hardy is not for me. This was a 2nd try after years of growing up. Nope, CANNOT stand that sort of thing. Everyone makes very obvious terrible choices or is a terrible person and its all presented sort of fatalistically as if they couldn’t help themselves, woe are they. They most certainly could have helped themselves, most people manage to be able to avoid the extreme level of wreckage a Hardy character seems to relish (kind of an exaggerated Ethan Frome experience except these characters have even more agency and choices and so its more infuriating). It’s crazy how some of the same choices or plots can, by another author’s hand, evoke such a different response.
I reread Jane of Lantern Hill and Magic for Marigold. Both of them charming and magical as always. However, Jane’s “mummy” is infuriating. Hmm, might have to do a post about that, it connects with other thoughts I have for a theme.
The Greengage Summer by Rumer Godden. Enjoyable at first but with a taste or warning or undercurrent of, hmm, issues. And then the last section, oh, my, stars. So, gave this a one. Just not comfortable with the content.
Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson. Very enjoyable and funny.
Greenwillow by B.J. Chute, I got confused posting my June reads so late, but I read this in July. Also enjoyable, in a sweeter way.
Start to transition to reading primarily on Kindle and return back all my library book.Yes, I’m enjoying it! I do love pretty book covers, I’m not sure I’m going to give all mine up or even stop buying them, although for the present I am. But this is SO convenient.
- Update my reading Excel list. I’ve not kept up on this very well. Too much work, I’m not sure I will.
- Reevaluate Storygraph. I’ve not used either of these things. I need to look at Story Graph closer to see what stats it provides, I want something quick like Goodreads, but I want more reliable stats.
- March TBR
- Read The Pomeranian Handbook
- Finish Factfulness. This is a book borrowed from my Dad, probably should finish before I move out.
- Finish How to Raise a Perfect Puppy. No, and I’m not 100% sure I will, too much information I feel.
- Finish The Girl with the Louding Voice: A Novel
Continue to participate in the Sense and Sensibility Read Along, which is so much fun, and I need to participate in more read-alongs, I should seek out ones for books I have on my TBR.I love this, I’ve missed more structured book discussions. Once we are done I’m going to rewatch the movies and Elinor and Marianne Take Barton. Continue to participate in the Villette Read Along. I’m really enjoying this, definitely prefer the lesser known Brontë works. Definitely enjoying it, I’m getting to all of the M. Paul Emmanuel scenes that are gems of wit.
- Get caught up on The Silent Bells serial
Thanks to my kindle I read 8 Georgette Heyer novels. 5 stars doesn’t give enough nuance. I have a lot of 3’s of these on Goodreads, but I think that they rank more like 4 to 6 or 4.5 to 7 which is quite a difference. I’ve put them here in order of liking as best I can remember or judge.
- Sylvester, Devil’s Cub
- The Reluctant Widow, Regency Buck
- The Foundling
- The Masqueraders
- Powder and Patch
- Cousin Kate
I finished the pomeranian book (different than above) that I’d started. And I also read Greensleeves by Eloise Jarvis McGraw which I greatly enjoyed until it (and the heroine) took a nosedive at the end attempting to be all deep, realistic, psychological or whatever and being instead completely flakey and fickle. Ugh. Ugh. UGH.
I discovered that you can scan words via your phone camera, so I can save quotes from physical books easily, of course, with my kindle I’ll be able to save even easier.
This Psmith is set in America, and so, I set forth for you these hilarious bits:
“There are several million inhabitants of New York. Not all of them eke out a precarious livelihood by murdering one another, but there is a definite section of the population which murders – not casually, on the spur of the moment, but on definitely commercial lines at so many dollars per murder.” Preface
” ‘It would ill beseem me, . . .’to run down the metropolis of a great and friendly nation, but candour compels me to state that New York is in some respects a singularly blighted town.’ . . . ‘I have been here a week, and I have not seen a single citizen clubbed by a policeman.’ “ Chapter 3, p. 17
“he had gone to a local paper of the type whose Society column consists of such items as ‘Pawnee Jim Williams was to town yesterday with a bunch of other cheap skates. We take this opportunity of once more informing Jim that he is a liar and a skunk,’ and whose editor works with a revolver on his desk and another in his hip-pocket. Graduating from this, he had proceeded to a reporter’s post on a daily paper in a Kentucky town, where there were blood feuds and other Southern devices for preventing life from becoming dull.” Chapter 2, p. 13
” ‘Secondly, as there appears to be no law of libel whatsoever in this great and free country, we shall be enabled to haul up our slacks with a considerable absence of restraint.’ “ Chapter 9, p. 50
“There was once an editor of a paper in the Far West who was sitting at his desk, musing pleasantly of life, when a bullet crashed through the window and embedded itself in the wall at the back of his head. A happy smile lit up the editor’s face. ‘Ah,’ he said complacently, ‘I knew that Personal column of ours was going to be a success!’ “ Chapter 10, p. 51
“Billy Windsor suddenly became militant. There was a feline smoothness about the visitor which had been jarring upon him ever since he first spoke. Billy was of the plains, the home of blunt speech, where you looked your man in the eye and said it quick. Mr. Parker was too bland for human consumption. He offended Billy’s honest soul.” Chapter 10, p. 55
I’m joining up with Tarissa from In the Bookcase for the Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge.
I have the Alcott books on my list of rereads for this year, but we don’t have all of them, and I don’t know when the libraries will start the curbside process.
I know we/I have Little Women, Little Men, and An Old-Fashioned Girl. I’d like to read Eight Cousins and Rose In Bloom. I may buy them if the library doesn’t open.
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.
- 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).
- The Little House books and the Caroline books (and the Charlotte ones I read when I was a bit older).
- Boxcar children (we were all obsessed with these).
- The Borrowers (The Borrowers, The Borrowers Afield, The Borrowers Afloat, The Borrowers Aloft, and The Borrowers Avenged) by Mary Norton.
- Grandma’s Attic series and Grandma’s Attic Novels (In Grandma’s Attic; More Stories from Grandma’s Attic; Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic; Treasures from Grandma; Sixteen and Away from Home; Eighteen and on Her Own; Nineteen and Wedding Bells Ahead; At Home in North Branch; New 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?).
- Narnia. My dad read these aloud to us twice.
- 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).
- 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
- 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).
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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).