The audiobook I am currently listening to is Howard’s End is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home, by Susan Hill. It’s a book that has been on my TBR list for a long time but I just never got around to moving it to the top of the list. When I discovered that it was available from Audible, I downloaded it and started listening. I am so enjoying it (!) but realized immediately that I needed the book itself to refer to, so I ordered it from the library. Happily, it came in quickly and I have been reading and listening to my double pleasure. But now I have realized that this is a book I need to own, so I have ordered my own copy and it should be arriving shortly. That’s high praise for a book, don’t you think?
This beautiful book called to me from the library shelf just recently. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading it and am sad to have to return it soon. The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables, by Catherine Reid, is the story of the author, L.M. Montgomery, and her beloved fictional character, Anne Shirley. It is an exploration of place, creativity, and the inspiration of the natural world. I love reading books about authors, especially authors of favorite books, and this one was lovely. The place where L.M. Montgomery lived, Prince Edward Island, shaped and inspired the author in her own life and became central to her writing and to the life she created for her character, Anne.
In the journals she kept throughout her life, Maud Montgomery reveals so many similar experiences to those of Anne Shirley that much of the novel appears to be autobiographical.
I didn’t know that much about L.M. Montgomery, so it was very interesting to learn about her life. The photographs of Prince Edward Island were beautiful. That beauty was a driving force in Montgomery’s life and work.
What we do know of Anne is that her goal is to create something beautiful, something memorable, as she says in Anne of Avonlea, “I’d like to add some beauty to life.”
For Maud Montgomery, writing was all those things and more, as necessary as sleeping or eating, providing her the moments when she was most alive and happy. Through writing, she brought together her fertile imagination, her love of beauty, and her reverence for the natural world.
“Oh, as long as we can work we can make life beautiful.”
It was lovely out this evening. I went up over the hill in the clear pure November air and walked about until twilight had deepened into a moonlit autumn night. I was alone but not lonely. Thought was quick and vivid, imagination active and bright. . . . Then I came in, still tingling with the strange, wild, sweet life of the spirit, and wrote a chapter of my new serial—wrote it easily and pleasureably, with no flagging or halting. Oh, it is good to feel well and vivid and interesting and all alive! ~ from THE SELECTED JOURNALS OF L. M. MONTGOMERY, VOL. 1
Learning more about the life and work of L.M. Montgomery made me want to visit Prince Edward Island and experience that beauty and inspiration firsthand. It also made me want to read and re-read all her works. Somehow I missed reading the Anne of Green Gables books when I was growing up. My Mom and I discussed that at one point and couldn’t figure out how we missed those wonderful books! What a lovely summer project it would be to read/re-read them all, one after the other!
If you love Anne Shirley, this book about Maud and Anne and Prince Edward Island is a must!
I always love that first moment of solitude, when the sound of the birds is suddenly noticed, and the scent of the flowers reminds one of the quiet country pleasures ahead.
~Miss Read, from Village Affairs
There’s a lot going on around me today…in particular, construction workers in our backyard…but I can’t do anything but sit here and read. I’m completely stuck in a book at the moment. The Brutal Telling, by Louise Penny, has captured me and I can’t do anything else until I finish it. I do love it when that happens! (And husband is overseeing those construction workers.)
I am so sad today to hear of the passing of one of my favorite authors, Rosamunde Pilcher. She leaves us a lovely collection of her writing over the years — I have many of them on my shelf. And every few years, I re-read her book, The Shell Seekers, which is one of my all-time favorite books. I wish I could thank her for the kind and gentle stories she shared with us, stories that touched our lives is so many ways. Goodbye, dear friend. You will be missed.
Reading one of Miss Read’s books is like coming home. If the world gets too crazy, or the days too stressful, I can depend on Miss Read to calm the waters, make me smile, and renew my spirits.
Farther Afield was a fun read. The storyline was a little different from the other Fairacre books I’ve read so far in that Miss Read went traveling! Summer break arrived, the students all went happily on their way, the school was sorted and closed, and Mrs. Pringle arrived at Miss Read’s house to help her with the deep cleaning she called “bottoming.”
Unfortunately, while helping grumpy old Mrs. Pringle, Miss Read has an accident and broke her arm, so all her plans for the summer were dashed. When Miss Read was released from the hospital, she began her recovery at the house of her close friend, Amy, who took loving care of her. And when she was sufficiently recovered to get around, her friend invited her to join her for a vacation in Crete! What a wonderful, healing adventure they had there!
This was a summer of reflection for Miss Read. The travel was wonderful, but returning home was also wonderful. She returned with renewed health and renewed appreciation for the life she lives. Amy was having serious marital problems, and as she watched and worried about her friend, she ruminated about her own life as a single woman, a “spinster” as the village called her.
It is at times like this that a spinster counts her blessings. Her troubles are of her own making, and can be tackled straightforwardly. She is independent, both monetarily and in spirit. Her life is wonderfully simple, compared with that of her married sister. And she cannot be hurt, quite so cruelly, as a woman can be by her husband.
Conversely, she has no-one with whom to share her troubles and doubts. She must bear alone the consequences of all her actions and, coming down to brass tacks, she must be able to support herself financially, physically and emotionally.
I know all this from first-hand experience. I know too that there are some people who view my life as narrow and self-centred. Some, even, find a middle-aged single woman pitiable, if not faintly ridiculous. This, I have always felt, is to rate the value of men too highly, although I recognise that a truly happy marriage is probably the highest state of contentment attainable by either partner.
This was one of my favorite books so far in my reading of the Fairacre series!
It is with great sadness this morning that I say goodbye to one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver. I heard the news of her passing just a moment ago, and I can’t believe her voice is now silent. We will miss you terribly, Mary, but your poems will live on in our hearts. Thank you for what you did with your one wild and precious life, and for all the beautiful poetry you shared with us.