Reviews: resources, books, museums

Having an Anne moment

Like many girls, and particularly girls who were avid readers, and even more particularly girls who grew up to like historical clothing,  I love Anne of Green Gables and L.M. Montgomery.

I either owned or had the Anne books on constant loan from the library, and I read, and re-read them, until I knew every detail of Anne’s life, and that of her children.

Then I availed myself of Hawaii’s wonderful state public library system, which allowed you to order books from any library in the state, and moved on to Anne’s other heroines.

I got to know Pat (whose devotion to cats I shared, but whose devotion to a house seemed a tiny bit excessive), Jane (who I admired for her kind heart), Marigold (too young, but loads of fun), Emily (who, to be perfectly honest, I thought needed a good slap, and who I still have trouble reading about without rolling my eyes and thinking “seriously girl, just get over yourself”, but who is probably responsible for my tendency to over-use italics), the Story Girl (interesting, but the first book too fragmented, the second, too sad), Kilmeny (man, that book is problematic!), and finally, Valancy, whose story I found deliciously risqué, because I was the most widely read but determinedly innocent teenager to ever exist (see, I told you, Emily’s fault!).

As an adult, I’m determinedly refusing to give up the things I loved as a child and grow up and read “adult” novels (mostly).  So I’m having a lovely time assembling a full collection of Anne books – in glorious hardcover (like technicolour, but stiffer, and on a book), because I like my books to be as book-ish as possible.

The collection was going slowly, until a stop at a junk shop manned by a hairy Viking in a kilt* on the way to Art Deco Weekend (true story) yielded almost the entire set of Anne books, and The Golden Road, and Magic for Marigold.

Oh, happiness!

L.M. Montgomery Books thedreamstress.com

The hairy Viking said “Oh, I’m glad to get rid of these.  They are so outdated and no-one reads these anymore”, thus earning himself a glare and a muttered “that’s what you think” as I snatched my precious.  If no one reads Anne anymore it’s a sad, sad world!

L.M. Montgomery Books thedreamstress.com

This does mean that I now have duplicates of a couple of the Anne books, so have to decide which ones I want to keep.  Oh stress!

But look how cute they are!  Particularly The Golden Road, with it’s great ’30s cover:

L.M. Montgomery Books thedreamstress.com

Delicious!

It also means that my bookshelves are starting to overflow.  I really hate when I have to start stacking books on top of each other.  It feels so disrespectful.  Books should never be tossed or put on the floor or have their pages folded, and ideally, they should all have their own little spot on the shelf to stand in.*

L.M. Montgomery Books thedreamstress.com

 

Yep.  I have book issues!

But oh, such lovely books!  How could you not want to take the best possible care of all of them?  How can you not want to love them and pat them and tell them what good little books they are and that you are going to read them over and over again?

IMG_5531

 

Ahem.  Issues.

Any other Anne fans?  Surely we can prove the hairy Viking wrong?

And if not Anne, are there any childhood books you hold dear and are collecting?

 

* does not apply to rubbish books.  Certain popular novels can be folded, flayed, dropped on the floor, in the bath, and have food dropped on them with abandon.

85 Comments

  1. Deborah Thomas-Wilton says

    Oh yes LM Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott, LM Boston, Laura Ingalls Wilder, the Brontes and André Norton. That’s my childhood on a couple of shelves. The Alcotts were my mother’s printed in 1925. The others were like yours constantly checked and rechecked from our library. Now age 60 plus I built a collection over the years that my husband has housed in a room of its own. Yes I love books and over the years have added Arthur C Doyle, Heinlien, Lackey, Agatha Christie,and more. If I borrow a book and reread it more than a couple of times then like the authors work it earns a permanent place on a shelf. Thanks for bringing back many good memories of sitting in a tree with books and a bag of snacks. Time to get a new/old book out and restart —
    Campion.

  2. I love L.M. Montgomery! I started reading her around 11 years old. Started with Anne and then made my way through Emily (who I adore, but I get why everyone rolls their eyes at her), Jane, Pat, etc. etc. So that Viking can stuff it! I still go back and read them! 🙂 Your copies are just lovely. 🙂

    • Hurrah! Another Anne fan! I can’t even remember how old I was when I started reading Montgomery novels, or which was the first, though it was probably Green Gables.

  3. Yes, I do love myself some hardcover books that look like books. Taking care of them is important and respectful, as you said. Unfortunately, hardcover books are heavy, requiring hardy bookshelves, and big, requiring space, which is lacking in my apartment. Most of my books still live at my parent’s house, 3,000 miles away. 🙁 Someday, though, they’ll be able to come live with me and get read more often!

    I think more adults need to determinedly not give up the things they loved as a child. Those things bring us happiness and joy. I certainly haven’t given up some of my childhood loves!

    Best,
    Quinn

    • Hardcovers are indeed a luxury of space, one in which I’m indulging hugely now that we have a house! Real books are a necessity for me though – reading from screens for too many hours triggers a migraine, so no E-books for me.

      Kids stuff is awesome. Growing up is overrated! Though you do feel a bit mean at petting zoos when you have to let the kids go first and you really want to monopolise all the cute animals for yourself 😉

  4. Susan Robinson says

    I worked in the children’s section of our library until quite recently and I can reassure you on the reading the Anne books – they are still going out fast and furiously.

    I’m glad to see you have also got the Scarlet Pimpernel. My secret book vice is The Three Musketeers, which I read in bed while I was sick with a dictionary at my side and which I have read about a dozen times since.

    Books – what would we do without them? I sometimes think about our ancestors living in rock shelters. No books for them, but maybe a good storyteller.

    • Oh wonderful! I’m so glad that a new generation of girls (and perhaps even a few boys) are enjoying them. Anne and her companions (even Emily!) and great role models.

      Yes, I like the Scarlet Pimpernell books, though they get progressively sillier! And I enjoyed the Three Musketeers myself as a teen, but haven’t read them in years. I’ve got some of them, but in very old editions with tiny print, so haven’t tried reading them. Not very practical!

  5. I can see we are kindred spirits when it comes to the love of books! While I never read Anne, I avidly collect and read the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Rick Brant, Cherry Ames, etc. series. I’ve found a wonderful used book store in Connecticut where they always have several and under $5 apiece too!

    • Books are a wonderful thing to love! I never got into any of the long series except the Boxcar Children. I just found them all too much the same. Cherry Ames was the best though, if only because I remember episodes in her books where children were given reasonable doses of Phenobarbital to calm them down!

  6. Amy B. says

    I named one of my girls Marilla, but not after Marilla Cuthbert. She’s named after Rilla Blythe. And her little brother is Matthew.

    I’m with you on Emily though. Too much pride. Although we all know how Ms. Montgomery loves to drag out a courtship. It’s like she was secretly afraid all her characters’ marriages would turn out like hers.

  7. Oh Anne! (with an ‘e’) So feisty and romantic. She was the reason I wanted red hair (and why I now henna it). I was in love with Gilbert and wanted Diana for my best friend even though she was a little ditzy. I have to admit I didn’t much care for the books from after Anne’s marriage, and I think the only other non-Anne or Avonlea-related book of L.M.’s I read was Kilmeny (the poem is better, though it and L.M.’s book are completely unrelated). But I read and re-read Anne’s stories all through my childhood and early teens. I should really read them again!
    BTW, I see Robin McKinley’s Pegasus on your shelves … love her work, but haven’t read that one yet. What did you think?

    • You should try the 2 Chronicles of Avonlea books – Anne makes a couple of appearances in them!

    • Oh read the other ones! The other heroines are great too. Jane is my absolute favourite though. She’s smart and cooks and gardens and wears overalls and gets on roofs to fix them, and fixes the rest of the world too!

      I haven’t actually read Pegasus. I LOVE McKinley (McKinley, Montgomery, Pratchett, von Tempski and Guareschi are my top five), but I find her books so enthralling that I have to set time aside to read them, because I get too engrossed and find myself with dragon-induced headaches, a mad urge to garden and grow roses, a craving for honey, or weird rashes around my neck, as the book may be. So I’m saving it for a long weekend in winter!

  8. I LOVE L.M. Montgomery! My recently completed Master’s thesis was actually on clothing in Montgomery’s fiction. 🙂 I also just met someone who also wrote their thesis on disabilities in Montgomery’s stuff. (We’re both Canadians.) I was also told by someone else recently that lots of Japanese people visit P.E.I. to get married there out of a love of Anne. So I’m pretty sure the Anne love is still alive and strong worldwide.

    Another favourite growing up was Laura Ingalls Wilder, who also has fantastic descriptions of clothes in her books, and Frances Hodgeson Burnett.

    • First – congrats on finishing your thesis! That’s a big achievement (I know, I’ve been there).

      Second – I’d love to read your thesis. I’m (hopefully) nearing the end of writing my PhD thesis in Dress History. The focus is 18thc England, but over the past couple of years I’ve been thinking more and more how we need historians of Canadian Dress (I’m convinced we have a story of our own!) so I hope to turn in that direction once I’m finished with my current subject matter (I hope to turn my thesis into my first book, so I may still be dealing with it for a couple more years).

      • Elise says

        As an American who loved costume history who spent a chunk og her childhood and early teen in Canada, I agree with you. There is a different dress sense that you can see through Canadian history that would be swell to have articulated!

      • Thank you! And wow! that’s quite a compliment! You can see it here: http://mspace.lib.umanitoba.ca/handle/1993/30352 (It’s more literary than clothing-y, but it was kind of fun to bring together my interests.)

        Best of luck on your dissertation! I’m starting my PhD this fall and will probably be looking at early 20th century juvenile literature. I’ll keep an eye out for your book! I realized that I’m already following your blog. Feel free to check out mine: http://mala-14.livejournal.com

    • Oh, that is so cool! I would also love to read your thesis.

      My dad read us all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, and I read Hodgson Burnett on my own.

    • Glad you enjoyed it! It’s been really exciting for me to collect them, because you don’t get old books like this in Hawaii.

  9. Megan @ TheGreenViolet says

    Oh yes, I love my Anne books. My parents are in the process of retiring and moving and the first thing I made sure to claim was every single book by LM Montgomery. I read and read and re-read them all up until I was probably 20 or so, but I haven’t revisited them in quite a while. I have to admit that my favorite was Emily, though after reading your comment above, I wonder what I would think after a re-read! I rather think that I was set up with some false expectations for the way men work, though!

  10. Tegan says

    I have old Louisa May Alcott’s (some I got from my great Aunt who ALSO had the entirety of the Five Little Peppers series) and Pearl S. Buck. Which, I got a very beautiful copy of The Good Earth this Christmas as I realized that I owned great copies of all of the books of hers that I read EXCEPT The Good Earth. And it is too good of a book to not have!

    I only read the first two Anne books, but I love your collection!

    Oh, and I collect vintage cookbooks of all varieties. 😀

    And my friend who collects vintage Pimpernel books would be happy to see your shelves as well. 😛

  11. I loved the Anne books! I only read a few as a child but I went back a year or two ago and read the whole series and really enjoyed it (though of course I had very different reactions to some of the events now that I’m an adult and a parent). My mom named me after Laura Ingalls Wilder and I still have a set of paperbacks from when I was a kid and I eagerly await the day my son is old enough for me to read them with him. My parents used to punish me by temporarily confiscating my books.

  12. Down with the hairy Viking!! 🙂 I love Anne of GG!!
    I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books and read them all multiple times over every winter. I still love them!

  13. Beckajo says

    I am re-reading the Anne books (on my e-reader…forgive me, I have a small city flat and a long commute) for the umpteenth time this week. I re-read them at least twice a year. And I share your feelings about most of the books!…except Emily. I adore Emily. She’s so very much a product of the pre-Great War aesthetic, although she came after.

  14. I love Anne, I was first introduced to Anne and her flaming red hair when I was given the audio book of Anne and Green Gables and loved it. I had to get all the books and also watch the series. I loved her for her red hair, intelligence and wit and so wanted to be her, but alas, no red hair nor wit, I have dyed my hair red for years and will do so for many years more, okay, it’s not only Anne but also Ariel the Mermaid, that inspired my love for red hair. I also loved the Little Women series, anything by Jane Austen and Narnia.

  15. Heather says

    I love them too! That series, the Little house books, and the Betsy books by Maud Hart Lovelace (mostly the high school and beyond ones, and some if her other works). Bad Viking, he gives kilts a bad name!

  16. Anne Shirley has essentially been with me my whole life. My middle name is Anne, and with an ‘e’ specifically because of her, upon the insistence of one of my aunts. My dad read Anne of GG to me when I was 8, and I devoured the rest of the series myself afterwards. I got to go to PEI for two weeks when I was 9 and was in transports of delight the entire time….except at the ocean-side beach covered with jellyfish, lol. I ate up most of the rest of her books too. I remember really liking Emily, but haven’t read her since I was young. I wonder how I’d feel about her now. I played dress-up to try and mimic Diana’s dress for the infamous tea. I watch the movies at least twice per year (the first two with Megan Follows, never seen the third, never will, never any of the other subsequent ones either, never will – I did once see 1930s versions of Anne of GG and Windy Poplars, they were amusing) and every time I hear Haygood Hardy’s “Anne’s Theme” I get tears in my eyes and tightness in my chest.

    Anne IS my childhood.

    Although I also read the whole Swallows & Amazons series by Arthur Rackham during those years, which was fantastic too!

  17. You need more bookshelves.
    C.S. Lewis once wrote that when he became a man, he put away childish things – including the desire to be thought very grown up 🙂 You’re never too old for good children’s books!
    I still treasure a book called Embroidery Mary (by Priscilla M Warner) which is all about a girl who goes to stay with her embroidering aunt for the Easter holidays and develops a passion for embroidery. Rather old-fashioned, to be sure, but I unashamedly adore it.

  18. I feel like I could’ve written this post (minus the fortuitous thrift store find)! Anne and her children are my comfort reads for when I need something lovely and pure; like you, I was a ridiculously innocent teen despite reading a lot. Totally with you on the vintage hardcovers, too…my greatest find was the old school hardcovers of almost all of my favorite Marguerite Henry books, the same editions that I had on permanent loan from the library when I was growing up. Mmm, I’m going to go pet my books now.

  19. I suppose even the best books don’t appeal to everybody.

    I don’t think I’ve ever actually read L.M. Montgomery. I did read a lot as a kid, and a lot of classic literature (Wodehouse, Conan Doyle etc.), but these books aren’t familiar to me. It may be one of those things where you come into contact with different authors depending on where you grow up.

  20. I’ve never read them, but always wanted to. I did get to read Little Women, but it’s not till recently that I’ve got my hands on some of the other classics I’ve always wanted to read. Still haven’t found any of the Ann books though.

  21. Barbara Stevens says

    Well written children’s books can be read with pleasure by those of any age. My bookshelves are two deep with books collected over the years. I desperately need to downsize but just cannot bear to dispose of any of my treasures. Winnie the Pooh and Milly-Molly-Mandy were recent re-reads when I found them while looking for something else. Still jolly good stuff – although I suspect we see things through different eyes than those we had as children. I must admit though, that many of the ‘classics’ I was forced to read at Secondary school and didn’t understand because they were way beyond my experience of the world have not become easier to read as an adult. They still badly need a good editor with a large blue pencil to cut out at least half the unnecessary dribble.
    Query – who wrote Girl of the Limberlost? Was it an L.M. Montgomery? I read it years ago and rather think I would like to read it again. It’s a long time since I read an Anne book – must search them out. Who can ever forget the liniment flavoured sponge cake, or the over sugared peas. There is such a sense of reality about those books.
    Tough Titty Mt Viking – you’re just a man, with absolutely no idea of what constitutes a really good book. Rhubarb to you.

    • Girl of the Limberlost was Gene Stratton-Porter. I have that, and Freckles, and (not without reservations) Her Father’s Daughter.

      Funny how the classics go – I read huge amounts of Dumas as a child, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Now I wonder how on earth I got through all the Three Musketeers novels, and the Count of Monte Cristo, not to mention Les Miserables! At the same reading period I found Tolkein incredibly boring and tedious, and I’m afraid I still do.

      • Barbara Stevens says

        I’m with you on Tolkein. I too enjoyed Dumas. But handing a 13 year old Silas Marner and regularly testing on it was child cruelty -it was too long and terribly outdated, and even though I now know the history required to understand it, I continue to think that asking us to read those long dead books was just plain stupid. From memory S M was followed by Bleak House! really engaging reading for young teens, even those of a scholarly bent.
        Still searching for Girl of the Limberlost, and hoping she’s not Girl of the Bookcase Lost, or worse still, Girl Inadvertently Thrown Out and Lost.

        • Oh, I liked Silas Marner! I liked it as a teenager, and I like it still. Bleak House though, that’s a struggle!

          We had to read A Day No Pigs Would Die (OK, didn’t thrill me), Grendel (blech, blech, blech), Moby Dick (which I actually LOVED), and lots of Shakespeare (I enjoyed reading the plays as a family, not so much in school), something Fitzgerald (hate em all), Old Man & the Sea (meh, which is my reaction to Hemingway).

          Come to think of it, it was a very male slanted reading list. Not a single female author, not a single book with a female protagonist, or even really a remotely sympathetic female character. Actually, not even a major female character in any of those books. I read all the Bronte’s and Elliot’s and Austen’s and Gaskell’s under my own steam.

          • I liked Tolkien very, very much. I still haven’t made it through most of The Silmarillion or stuff, and completely understand its difficulty, but I like Tolkien very much.
            I also enjoyed Old Man and the Sea fairly well, but otherwise my reaction to Hemingway is much the same. Tried reading something else and put it aside after a few pages.
            And so true on male slanted lists. We Czechs are “burdened” with Božena Němcová as an indisputable classic (it’s hard to argue out someone who recorded heaps of fairy tales, for one thing), so we read Babička. But otherwise all the books we all had to read (not counting the long lists of reccommended books we had to choose from, but even then) were all written by male writers. But hey, at least Shakespeare sometimes… We actually didn’t have one single Shakespeare assigned, and the second I read was As You Like It. That was where I started loving Shakespeare.
            (Above paragraph not to be construed as a single angry feminist argument. More as “it’s eight in the morning and I don’t have an argument.”)
            Pondering the connection between emerging national literatures and female writers. If I remember correctly, the Baltic states also have their female classics. Emancipation attempts happening on several fronts.
            Of course, there’s always children’s books: for me, Astrid Lindgren and Tove Jansson, and Amálie Kutinová’s Gabra and Málinka, the books I consider to be the Czech Anne. I discovered Anne in my late teens and only the first one. When there was a Canadian guest speaker in one of my courses and asked about Anne, she probably got an unpleasant surprise when she found out it wasn’t a big thing here – I may have been the only one raising my hand when she asked who’d read it…

  22. Janet van Dompseler says

    Just as a point of interest, when Lucy Maude Montgomery left Prince Edward Island, she moved with her husband to a small town called Leaskdale, in Ontario, not too far from where I live in Peterborough. Currently, there is an exhibit of her photographs showing in Peterborough. I haven’t seen it yet but plan to do so.

  23. Marilyn J. Hollman says

    Astounding. I finished the third “Emily” book last weekend. I’m still having difficulties w/her relationship with Dean. And, the “nature stuff” is really almost too much. Nevertheless, received them from Amazon, sat down and read straight through.
    I dragged my husband to PEI years and years ago – he’d never heard of Anne – and both of us remember it so fondly; camped in the national park on the beach. Lobster and Tyne Valley. oh, my.

  24. Lynne says

    Look at all of us! How wrong that hairy Viking was, and what a marketing opportunity he missed. What a wonderful haul for you, though.

    I came to Emily as an adult, and I share your reservations about her. But she obviously has the magic, if she appears at the right time. I don’t know if any of you are as devoted to the books of Rosemary Sutcliff as I am. She was English, and wrote most of her historical novels for the young, the youngish, and people like me. She suffered from Still’s Disease, and spent a lot of time in hospitals when she was a child. Many operations – while in hospital she was presented with a Girl Guide badge for Courage. During one stay, she found ‘Emily of New Moon’, and disappeared into it for the summer, reading it over and over again. She was given an old hardback (like the ones we treasure) as an adult and found the old magic was still there.

    It’s like that with such books, isn’t it? In times of extreme stress and trouble, I go back to Beatrix Potter’s ‘The Fairy Caravan’, a book my godfather gave me for Christmas one year. It’s like love and home and comfort, that book.

    We are so lucky, we book addicts.

  25. Alex says

    Lately I have been collecting Kathy Reichs’s books (the ones the TV show Bones is based on). As is the norm, the books are better than the TV show.

    I would be collecting Tamora Pierce’s books too but I can never find them in op shops, which is where I do all of my book buying. That or in the library throw out pile.

  26. At least the hairy Viking held on to them until a kindred spirit of Anne’s found them! What a thrilling find!
    Laurie

  27. Gillian says

    Another Anne fan here! My personal favourite is the last book, centred around WWI. I cry my eyes out every time I re-read it. I have read nearly all of LMM books at one point or another, but I still prefer Anne to the other heroines, because of them all, she was the most intrepid and independent. Perhaps beacuse she was an orphan?

    • I love Rilla of Ingleside too! I must have read it first in forth grade, because we had to write a story about the US in wartime in forth grade, and I asked if I could write it about WWI, because I knew about it from Rilla. I was told no though, because all the other students were writing about the Revolutionary War, Civil War, or WWII. I think the teacher simply didn’t know anything about WWI so didn’t want me writing about it. Good thing I didn’t ask about the Spanish American war!

  28. Chalk me up for another Anne fan, although I wanted to shake her for her stubborn resistance of Gilbert for so long. I read all the Oz books as a child, checked out from the library, but I never was able to get copies for myself. I do have the Heidi books, though…the original story and the sequels written by Johanna Spyri’s translator, Charles Tritten. Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time was the gold standard after I read it in 7th grade.

    Later on I discovered CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein and Zenna Henderson and Ellis Peters and Dorothy Sayers…

    And of course I read and reread my favorites. Old friends…. 😉

  29. Elise says

    Living in Canada at exactly Anne’s age when she arrived at Green Gables…that is all. You would have SWOONED had the libraries in Ontario!

  30. Elizabeth says

    Aaah! Your bookshelves look like mine! I don’t have a shelf of Anne (sadly) only a few books, but I do have a shelf of Terry Pratchett very much like that one!

  31. Kylie says

    I love the Anne books. Anne of GG was one of the first books I read on my own without reading out loud and I still re-read them regularly. I always cry every time I get to the Matthew bit, and the Joy bit, and as for Walter’s letter to Rilla, well, let’s just say that it’s not pretty. Have to respectfully disagree with you on Emily though. Yes, there are many eye rolling moments, but… Well, I guess it’s down to the fact that I used to want to climb the alpine path as well. And then I heard that a lot of it is pretty much autobiographical (guessing not the bits with the flash…why comments section doesn’t have italics option I don’t pretend to understand). So, do people still read these? In Rilla’s final words… “Yeth.”

    • Oh, it’s not the alpine path bit that makes me frustrated with Emily! That I can empathise with! It’s the family pride, and her personal pride, which she will sacrifice happiness and honesty to uphold. And I find that too often Emily lacks a sense of humour, or the ability to laugh at herself, and I find it very hard to like a heroines without those qualities.

      Apparently ‘The Flash’ is one of the things that is definitely autobiographical – Montgomery was trying to explain something she actually experienced.

      Plus the romance with Mr Priest is squicky + incredibly sad.

  32. Maire Smith says

    I was delighted this Christmas, when my great-aunt gave me her mother’s and her own L.M. Montgomery collections. Beautiful editions in wonderful condition.

    I am still not quite sure whether to keep my duplicates for one of my daughters. At the moment, they’re in a box.

    I reread her works regularly, especially Jane of Lantern Hill and The Blue Castle.

    I find Anne’s enthusiasms in her first book somewhat hard to take, so was put off Montgomery at age 12 when I first tried her. It wasn’t until my girlfriend lent me The Blue Castle when I was 19 that I really discovered her. Wonderful author.

    Did you know that all her short stories are up on Project Gutenberg now?

  33. I love the Anne books–always have and always will. I am glad that Hairy Viking held onto them long enough for a kindred spirit to find them!

    But I am afraid not many people read Anne as used to, which is a shame. I tried to explain that my former house was my “House of Dreams” once and was met with blank, blank looks. Sigh.

    This is making me want to re-read many of my old favorites…Oz and Anne and Narnia and so many others.

  34. mom says

    I didn’t come across the Anne (with an e) books before I was an adult, but I enjoy them hugely now (not the ones where Anne is married and has children, they are a bit boring, I think). I am pregnant with a daughter and find the insights into how Anne’s mind works and into Marilla and Matthew’s ways of raising her highly interesting and sometimes quite useful. Marilla reminds me a little bit of Lisa’s mother in Astrid Lindgren’s “Children of Bullerbu” books, a very practical, no-nonsense character.
    I also love Wilder and Alcott, although both seriously tone down the hardships of their lives and their literary heroines.
    There’s one book which I found at a library sale as a teenager, it’s called “Mrs. Mike” and it’s about a young woman who marries a dashing Mountie and goes on to live somewhere in the Canadian North. I loved this book, but I’ve never found anybody who’s read it. Does anyone here know the book, by chance?

    • Robin says

      I am the Mom of the Dreamstress, I was thinking about Mrs Mike while I was reading all the responses to this blog. My 5th grade teacher read us all The Laura Ingalls Wilder books and when she had finished she began Mrs. Mike, but didn’t finish it. I searched for it in libraries for years until one of my daughters ( probably Leimomi) brought it home from the Molokai high school library! Then I finally got to finish it. Those 5th grade readings greatly influenced my life. They led me to choose to live a rural-sort of pioneer lifestyle.

      • Hi Mum!

        It wasn’t me that brought home Mrs Mike. I’ve never heard of it and am definitely going to go look it up now. If it was in the MHS library, I’m surprised I didn’t find it, as I read almost every single book in that library!

      • mom says

        Hi Mom of the Dreamstress, you are the first person I’ve ever heard of who knows “Mrs. Mike”! For some reason, it makes me totally happy to find a fellow reader of this book. Do you know why your teacher didn’t finish reading the book? Maybe she thought you were a bit young for all the drama with the cut throat and the epidemy and all the tragic deaths? I can remember these scenes haunted me for years after I’d first read it, and I must have been about 12.

        This book and “The Long Winter” were weird reading experiences because I read them in summer when it was really hot. I remember sort of getting sucked into the vortex of the story, the snow, the cold, the blizzards, the howling wolves, and of being intensely disoriented for a few seconds when looking up and finding myself in warm summer sunshine…I wonder whether you get a similar feeling when reading such stories in Hawaii when it’s a lot hotter and more summery than in an average European summer. 🙂

        • Robin says

          My teacher did not finish because she got ill. I was in Lincoln Nebraska during 5th grade so stories of snow and blizzards made sense to me

      • mom says

        With a slightly sinking feeling I learned that the story is basically all made up – it all sounded so vivid and realistic and gave the impression of being a bioraphy that I just lapped it up, but apparently Katherine Mary Flannigan was not only blessed with an abundance of red (auburn) hair, she was also blessed with an abundance of imagination. A sort of Anne Shirley of The Land of Blizzards, Grizzly Bears and Diphteria, really. 😉

  35. Oh Anne Shirley!
    My very first Anne book was “Anne of Windy Poplars”. I was about nine years old when an aunt gave me the book. She was having a yard sale and nobody bought the book that day. She knew I was a reader, so she offered me the book. And being a bookworm I took it!
    I wish I could say I loved the book, but I didn’t. I didn’t really understand it, and I didn’t continue to read it after only a few chapters. About two years later, I finally picked the book up again. I had run out of books to read, and Anne of Windy Poplars was the only book I had yet to finish. This time I loved it! I couldn’t put it down! I remember thinking how silly I was to not finish the book at nine years old. I read the book over and over, hoping that someday I would get the first Anne book. I had no idea who L.M. Montgomery was, I only knew the books as “Anne Books”.
    Finally at thirteen I bought “Anne of Green Gables.” I was at dollar bookstore with my family, and when I saw the book I nearly shrieked with happiness. To say I loved the book would be an understatement. I felt like Anne was my friend! She was so much like me, even though our appearances are total opposites.
    Over the next year I found Chronicles of Avonlea, Further Chronicles of Avonlea, Magic for Marigold(which I adore!), The Golden Road, and all of the Anne books except for Anne’s House of Dreams. And I’ve also read the rest of L.M.M’s books online.
    So you see Mr. Viking, people still read and are crazy about Anne!

  36. holly says

    Some favourites:
    Fireweed by Jill Paton Walsh (two children cut adrift in WWII)
    Apple Bough by Noel Streatfield (though I was never interested in ballet per se)
    Miss Happiness and Miss Flower by Rumer Godden (those beautiful Japanese illustrations!)
    plus the various series of:
    Swallows & Amazons series, Earthsea and Green Knowe
    not forgetting the Snugglepot & Cuddlepie books, loved by Australian children of all generations.
    So many more, so much nostalgia. I read a lot as a child!

  37. Robyn Williams says

    i first heard the story of Anne of Green Gables from my mother over the dishes in rural Australia. Mum’s copy of the book had intriguing cuttings about the movie. My interest was whetted and it was one of the first “big books” I read. I worked my waybthrough Mum’s collection and any relatives had. I began assembling my own collection from second hand book shops and stalls in the 60s. In the 1970s i met an elderly male Anne book collector. The invitation to afternoon to view his collection of first editions and pictures of Prince Edward Island was one of the highlights of my life. I bought a couple of early editions from him. Roll on to 2010 and after 25 years living by myself i met my husband, who was a Canadian citizen even though he had never lived in Canada. Our first trip together, during which he proposed, was a drive across Canada … and I got to Prince Edward Island. It seemed incredible to me. I had to keep pinching myself. But there was more. He asked how i felt about living on PEI. For him the motivation was embracing his inner Canadian in a place where he could afford to do so … real estate on PEI is relatively inexpensive … We spent the next year happily bonding over PEI houses online and went back over for a month the following year, from Australia. Most of the online bargains were unsuitable but we found a wonderful real estate agent (name supplied on request), looked at lots of houses, and against my wildest expectations, we now live most of the year 3.5 kms up the road from Green Gables. I absolutely love it! The rich greens could not be more different than the bare earth and dried grass of my childhood and the people are amazingly kind. All the LM Montgomery historic properties are well worth a visit. I love the little house where LM was born especially, but Green Gables is interpreted very well. I can also recommend “Anne and Gilbert” the musical, which is far from trite … “Anne of Green Gables the Musical” is a bigger production, well done but aimed more at children. I am not the only fan from afar resident on PEI. The “Blue Winds” tearooms in a charming old farm house, near LM’s birthplace, is run by a Japanese lady who saysshe always knew, without doubt, that she would one day live on PEI. There is lots of touristy stuff, some of it amazingly garish, although loved by locals I discovered, but at the other end of the spectrum, the University of PEI hosts an LM Montgomery conference every two years and there is a wonderful resource of books (I can recommend the LM Montgomery Cook Book, approximation of title, written be family connections) for all levels of interest. I am still pinching myself … we head there from Australia in a few days and the excitement is mounting. It really is a special place.

  38. bette says

    I am from Prince Edward Island, and loved all your Anne, etc., stories, having griwn up with Anne. I have to read an old hard cover copy of L.M.Montgomery’s books for them to feel right. You should see the musical,Anne of GG, playing every summer in Charlottetown, and this year in Ottawa, also.

  39. I LOVE the Anne series!! I was reading them one summer and my mother was too busy to drive me to the library so I took my book and made the 4.6 mile walk by myself so I could return the book I finished and check out the next.

  40. I believe every Canadian girl has been given a set of these. I loved them. (And Little House on the Prairie-the series every American girl got).

  41. Susan says

    I’m a retired children’s librarian (the librarian part is the retired, not the children’s part). So I read this post, and all the comments from all you kindred spirits with a big smile on my face.

    Before I was a children’s librarian, I was a child, teenager, and young adult who was first read to by my parents, then became and remained an avid reader myself. I was blessed by being born into a family which read and read to its children, along with a good elementary school librarian who took an interest in me, a kindly and knowledgeable public children’s librarian in a storefront branch library in suburban Maryland near Washington, D.C., where my father’s work took us during the summer months, and by a bookmobile librarian who was another kindred spirit, this time a couple of blocks from my home.

    In addition, books were double-shelved at my grandmother’s house: not only books that were my father’s and his siblings, but books from a generation before that, so I read a lot of Victorian children’s literature. Anyone remember “Little Prudy’s Storybook”? A collection of extravagant, preachy fairy tales, it was just about as awful as the title sounds, but its florid plots and equally flowery writing touched something in me at age ten or so and I thought it was wonderful. I was sadly disappointed when I rediscovered it a few years ago.

    Thankfully, that will never happen with L.M. Montgomery’s books.

    The Christmas I turned twelve, my mother gave me “Anne of Green Gables”. For several years afterwards, she gave me the rest of the series – one at a time- for birthdays and Christmases, so I made my way slowly but surely through them, although the last I received was “Anne’s House of Dreams” – I think “Rainbow Valley” and “Rilla of Ingleside” were out of print for a while then.

    I not only read them – I reread them over and over, while waiting for the next birthday and/or Christmas to arrive.

    One of the best tangible gifts my mother ever gave me was this series.

    And yes, they still are both well-loved and well-read. I was glad to be able to obtain extra copies of the series in paperback to meet the demand back during my own librarian days. I think almost every one of my young girl relatives has also fallen in love with the “Anne” books, and as a result, most are avid readers.

    I haven’t made it up to PEI yet – but someday. Maybe in a year or two…a big trip somewhere is on my agenda for 2017, so we’ll see.

    Thanks so much for sharing these stories It’s good to know that Anne’s magic is alive and well and flourishing.

  42. Kathryn says

    cbc.cacbc.caHello, Dreamstress. Visiting your blog after a couple weeks away, and this is the post I stumble across. It’s so strange that you posted about Anne this week, considering the very sad news we in Canada have just gotten. Jonathan Crombie, who played Gilbert in the extremely beloved CBC tv movie adaption of “Anne of Green Gables” has died suddenly at a very young 48. This miniseries is as dear to the hearts of many Canadian women (and many Canadian men) as the Colin Firth “Pride and Prejudice” BBC miniseries to people elsewhere in the world (many in Canada love that series too, for the record). I wore out my VHS tapes of these movies growing up, and still come back to watch them now and then. Sorry to bring down the thread with heartbreaking news, but I thought you’d like to know. Also, it’s always nice to see how many people outside Canada appreciate Anne, so thanks for sharing. I am deeply, deeply jealous of your new book acquisitions.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/jonathan-crombie-anne-of-green-gables-actor-dead-at-48-1.3038948

  43. Erin says

    Anne and Emily (and Marigold, and Jane, and Valancy, and everything else I could get my hands on by LM Montgomery) were such a huge part of my child and teen years. I admit that I am partial to Emily, even as an adult. I think it was being a very sensitive child in an emotionally repressive atmosphere that made me gravitate to her. I completely get why a lot of people can’t stand her, though. 🙂

    Alcott, Lovelace, and L’Engle were other constant book companions.

    Did anyone else read the Katy books by Susan Coolidge? I loved those, as well!

  44. redbarngirl says

    I have read all of the Anne books at least three times, and the first ones more than that. I have read many of L.M. Montgomery’s books besides those as well. She is one of my favorite women authors, Jane Austen being my ultimate favorite, of course! I don’t usually comment, but I just wanted to contribute to the long list of people who don’t think you are crazy. My favorite things to collect (after antique sewing machines) are antique and vintage books.

  45. Miss Sis says

    Another Kiwi who loved the Anne books here! My mother gave me the entire series the Christmas I was eleven and I devoured them. This was after it was on televison, and I was completely in love with the whole thing.

    I haven’t read them now for many years, but I’m sure I will sometime when I get a chance. I also had Emiy of New Moon and Kilmeny of the Orchard, but I confess I can’t remember much of them, apart from Kilmeny not having seen herself because they had no mirrors in the house!

    I know exactly the shop you mean with the kilted Viking. My Mum and I always stop in that town to peruse the second hand shops when we’re on our way to or from Napier. 🙂

  46. Martina says

    I loved all the Anne books, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Little Women, The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankenweiler, The Borrowers, and Johhny Tremain. But most of all I loved The Witch of Blackbird Pond. I had to pack my books away during my senior year in high school so that I’d concentrate on studying!

  47. I have to admit I’ve never read the Anne books. I was quite obsessed with Nancy Drew as a girl, and had loads of those hardcovers which I gave away to the library as I grew up. I do, however, cling to my original paperback copy of my childhood favorite, Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright. A few years back I went online and located ex-library editions of Gone-Away Lake and its sequel, Return to Gone-Away, which I bought. It was the first time I’d read the sequel, actually! I jealously guard them and their spot on my bookshelves now!

  48. Laurel says

    Confession – came across your blog today through your great tutorial on making a cushion cover, and have been sitting here reading various posts ever since (I will get to the cushion eventually!). Just wanted to add my assurance that “Anne” is still much loved in our family – my mum (mid 70s), me (mid 50s) and my daughter (mid 20s) have all followed her adventures and I have much loved and re-read copies of all the books. My middle name of Anne (with an e of course) was chosen as Mum loved the character. I hope one day to have a granddaughter who will enjoy the stories too – while they may date from a past era, there is something very true and comforting about them still.

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