Archive for the ‘L. M. Montgomery’ Category

Review of Further Chronicles of Avonlea, by L. M. Montgomery

Thursday, September 19th, 2019

Further Chronicles of Avonlea

by L. M. Montgomery

Seal Books, 1987. First published in 1920. 199 pages.
Review written September 17, 2019, from my own copy.

I feel guilty reading this book, because I know full well that it was published against the author’s wishes and without her getting any of the profits. She, in fact, sued her publisher to desist publication, and won that case. It’s kind of too bad to go against her wishes after her death.

And yet… stories by L. M. Montgomery!

Now, I was enjoying them thoroughly, marveling in her quirky, humorous characters and the wide variety of situations – until I got to the last two.

What happened when this book was published was that L. M. Montgomery had already split with the publisher of Anne of Green Gables, L. C. Page. So that publisher pulled out stories she had submitted for possible publication in the first volume — Chronicles of Avonlea — but that they had decided not to use.

In her lawsuit, Maud Montgomery claimed that the book damaged her reputation, because she had used some of the plots here in other places.

Well, I disagreed about it damaging her reputation – until I got to the last two stories. The next-to-the-last story uses the same plot as one of the subplots used in Anne’s House of Dreams. There may be other stories repeated, but I couldn’t pinpoint where. I was enjoying them greatly.

But the last story – the last story is completely, horribly, blatantly racist toward Indians and “half-breeds.” Just horribly so. It’s assumed that they are inferior and shouldn’t dare to aspire to fall in love with someone with a “good pedigree.” And things are said about their “natures” – which are simply despicable. It’s even worse than the racism in Kilmeny of the Orchard.

Now, she was a product of her time, and everyone around her thought that way – but that story, “Tannis of the Flats” – is still horrible. And yes, reading it damages her reputation for me – though I doubt that’s the story she was thinking of.

I would have been better off if I’d bowed to the author’s wishes and refused to read this book.

But I was enjoying some gems before I got to that point! L. M. Montgomery got her start writing stories, and she mastered the form. So let me just give my readers fair warning – you might want to stop before you get to the end.

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Teens/further_chronicles_of_avonlea.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on my own copy.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables, by Catherine Reid

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables

by Catherine Reid

Timber Press, 2018. 280 pages.
Starred Review

Hooray! This was the perfect book to discover shortly before my own long-awaited trip to Prince Edward Island! I finished reading it a few days before I set out myself with two childhood friends.

The book is full of full-color photographs taken on Prince Edward Island. Most of the spreads that don’t have one have a black-and-white photo that L. M. Montgomery took herself, or an illustration from the original edition of Anne of Green Gables.

The author does a nice job of getting across the basics of L. M. Montgomery’s life and how important Prince Edward Island was to her. She peppers the book with many quotations about the island from the Anne books, from Maud Montgomery’s journals, and from her book The Alpine Path about her career – and how important the beautiful landscapes of her home were to her.

At the back of the book there is a list of L. M. Montgomery sites to visit, and you can be sure I’m going to visit all of the ones on Prince Edward Island.

I wish these photographs could be printed on the pages of L. M. Montgomery’s books! Seeing how beautiful Prince Edward Island truly is made me appreciate much more her many descriptions where she hopes to explain that to the reader. She does a good job – but pictures verify that instantly.

The section about Gardens on Prince Edward Island pulled together gardens in her books and gardens she talked about in her journals – with photographs of the flowers she mentions and gardens such as the kinds she described. That chapter especially gave me new appreciation of what L. M. Montgomery was saying – since I didn’t even know what some of the flowers she names look like.

Browsing through this book is a delightful experience. There are enough well-chosen words to help you appreciate what you’re seeing. And for building excitement for an upcoming trip – it is absolutely perfect!

catherinereid.org

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Nonfiction/landscapes_of_anne_of_green_gables.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on my own copy, purchased via Amazon.com.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of The Alpine Path, by L. M. Montgomery

Monday, September 9th, 2019

The Alpine Path

The Story of My Career

by L. M. Montgomery

Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited, 1990. First published in 1917.

I’m visiting Prince Edward Island in a few weeks (Yay!), and as part of my preparation, I’m rereading L. M. Montgomery’s books in the order they were published, so this short book about how she got started writing was up next.

In the Preface, the purpose of the book is explained:

In 1917 the editor of Everywoman’s World, a magazine published in Toronto from 1911 until the 1920s, asked L. M. Montgomery to write the story of her career. What she produced was published in six instalments, June through November, under the title she chose, The Alpine Path. It came from a verse that had been her inspiration during the long years when success as a writer seemed remote and only dogged determination kept her on

The Alpine path, so hard, so steep,
That leads to heights sublime.

Now, I’ve read L. M. Montgomery’s Selected Journals and am currently reading her Complete Journals — so this little book doesn’t really contain any new information for me. Instead of focusing on just her writing career, Maud Montgomery writes a lot about her childhood. Though that part very much reflects how she came up with a child as imaginative as Anne and a child so in love with the natural beauty of Prince Edward Island – this is simply who she herself was.

She also finished up The Alpine Path by copying her journal entries from her honeymoon in Scotland. It’s not very pertinent to how she became a writer, and it feels like padding to make this long enough to be a book. Visiting Scotland is very interesting, yes, but doesn’t have a whole lot to do with the story of her career. This time through the book I enjoyed that section much more, since I got to visit Scotland in 2003 and have been to some of the same places.

Since I am now reading her books chronologically, I did notice in particular how much of this story of how she got started as a writer she later used in her book Emily Climbs, as her heroine Emily of New Moon works and struggles to become an author – just as Maud Montgomery did herself. In fact, some of these scenes are pulled exactly and used for Emily, emphasizing how autobiographical a character she is.

I was also reminded that Maud Montgomery did her apprenticeship writing short stories. Here she writes about how her first efforts were spurned. But she persisted and started getting published by magazines that paid her in copies. And she persisted still more until she actually got paid, and eventually made quite a sum with her pen, even before she published a book. So Anne of Green Gables didn’t come from nothing.

This book does remind me that L. M. Montgomery is in her element writing about characters in a small town and incidents and interactions that happen with them. She knows the foibles and quirks of human nature and can draw people to great effect with her pen.

It’s also interesting that her career had just begun when she wrote The Alpine Path. She had published the first three Anne books, Kilmeny of the Orchard, the two Story Girl books, a book of short stories, and a book of poems. She would go on to publish fifteen more books in her lifetime. So it’s no wonder that this book talks more about how she got her start than on what it was like to continue to build a career as an author. I do recommend reading her journals to find out more about that!

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Nonfiction/alpine_path.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of The Annotated Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Montgomery, edited by Wendy E. Barry, Margaret Anne Doody, and Mary E. Doody Jones

Monday, September 2nd, 2019

The Annotated
Anne of Green Gables

by L. M. Montgomery
edited by Wendy E. Barry, Margaret Anne Doody, and Mary E. Doody Jones

Oxford University Press, 1997. 496 pages.
Starred Review
Review written September 2, 2019, from my own copy.

This book is an obvious purchase for any L. M. Montgomery superfan like me. I ordered my own copy as soon as I learned of the book’s existence several years ago (though not as long ago as when it was first published in 1997). (Okay, it looks like now it’s out of print and expensive on Amazon. It’s worth looking for a used or library copy!)

I did not, however, get the book read very quickly. The content is marvelous and full of interesting tidbits, but the format is oversized. It’s a heavy book, not suitable for curling up with in bed, and not fitting easily into the books I pile up near my dining room table and read bits of daily. So I was making very slow progress.

However, this year I’m heading to Prince Edward Island with two dear friends – and that was enough for me to get motivated and finish reading this book. It’s also the perfect book to read for background on L. M. Montgomery and the book that made her famous.

The full text of Anne of Green Gables is included in this volume, but there’s a plethora of materials to go with it.

Yes, there are annotations with the notes written in the wide margins on the sides of the pages. We get insights on the books Anne refers to and notes on the sources of quotations used. We get definitions of words like “bush” (uncleared natural woodland) and “wincey.” (I once tried to use “wincey” in Scrabble because of Anne of Green Gables, but it wasn’t in a current dictionary.) We get explanations of household chores at the time like boiling the dishcloth before washing machines existed.

There are also an abundance of illustrations. Many are from early editions of Anne of Green Gables, but there are also photographs from L. M. Montgomery’s journals and other illustrations and photos from the time period.

The material at the front and back is particularly fascinating and helpful. There’s a Chronology of L. M. Montgomery’s life. I used it to update my list of her books in publication order, which I’d gotten from the internet and had a few small errors. There’s a short biography of Lucy Maud Montgomery and notes about her writing of Anne. There are even Textual Notes detailing when the manuscript differs from the first published edition or the English edition, which had some changes.

The Appendices have a wealth of material. And this is the part of the volume that I finished up recently – so they were perfect reading just before my upcoming trip. They include “The Geography of Anne of Green Gables,” and much information about the times – orphan care, education, gardening, home life, and the “concerts” where music and elocution were demonstrated. They also list the complete text of many songs, literary works, and recitation pieces that are mentioned. And at the end are book reviews that came out when Anne was first published.

This book is for the adult Anne aficionado. I, for one, found many surprises – things I’d glossed over, thinking I knew what they meant – but now I have a more complete picture. This was so much fun to read – especially in anticipation of visiting the Green Gables Museum in a few weeks!

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Nonfiction/annotated_anne_of_green_gables.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Reading L. M. Montgomery

Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

I’m going to Prince Edward Island this Autumn!

My friends and I had the idea to visit Prince Edward Island together five years ago, when we were all fifty. One of them is older than me and one is younger – there are twenty days in September and October when we are all the same age, between their birthdays.

When we were fifty, one friend decided it would be too expensive to go, so we decided to plan for it when we were fifty-five. That year is here! We’re going to make a road trip of it! A cottage on Prince Edward Island is booked for six days at the end of September, and we have hotel rooms around the halfway point on the way there and on the way back.

And what better preparation can I make than to reread my L. M. Montgomery books?

Since I do have other books to read, I’m currently alternating my novel reading between an L. M. Montgomery book and something else. I’ve decided to read them in the order of publication this time, which takes away some decisions and is fun in the context of looking at Maud Montgomery’s life.

I’m writing reviews of her books as I go, and for many of them, I already had reviews posted. So I’m going to link to the reviews in my list as they get posted. At the time of this writing, I’ve reread the first seven books. I hope I can make good progress before my trip!

The most amusing thing about rereading the books this time around? Many of the “old ladies” in her books are now younger than me! My goodness!

I’m also working on finishing The Annotated Anne of Green Gables and plan to then take up Landscapes of Green Gables. I’m so excited about this trip!

Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Books in Publication Order:
1908 Anne of Green Gables
1909 Anne of Avonlea
1910 Kilmeny of the Orchard
1911 The Story Girl
1912 Chronicles of Avonlea
1913 The Golden Road
1915 Anne of the Island
1916 The Watchman and Other Poems
1917 The Alpine Path: The Story of My Career
1917 Anne’s House of Dreams
1919 Rainbow Valley
1920 The Further Chronicles of Avonlea
1921 Rilla of Ingleside
1923 Emily of New Moon
1925 Emily Climbs
1926 The Blue Castle
1927 Emily’s Quest
1928 Magic for Marigold
1931 A Tangled Web
1932 Pat of Silver Bush
1935 Mistress Pat
1936 Anne of Windy Poplars
1937 Jane of Lantern Hill
1939 Anne of Ingleside

Posthumous Story Collections:
1974 The Road to Yesterday
1979 The Doctor’s Sweetheart and Other Stories
1988 Akin to Anne: Tales of Other Orphans
1989 Along the Shore
1992 After Many Days
1993 Against the Odds: Tales of Achievement
1994 At the Altar: Matrimonial Tales
1995 Across the Miles: Tales of Correspondence
1995 Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories

Related books written by other authors:
Before Green Gables, by Budge Wilson
Marilla of Green Gables, by Sarah McCoy
The Annotated Anne of Green Gables, edited by Wendy E. Barry, Margaret Anne Doody, and Mary E. Doody Jones
The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables, by Catherine Reid

Lucy Maud Montgomery’s selected journals have been published in five volumes. I’ve read them all except the end of the last one, when I lost steam as her life got more and more depressing. But her amazing skill as a writer is revealed in these as well. I’m rereading them at the pace of approximately a page a day, so I won’t finish before my trip. Though the first one is the only one where she still lives full-time on Prince Edward Island, so it is the most pertinent.

The Selected Journals of L. M. Montgomery, Volume I: 1889-1910
The Selected Journals of L. M. Montgomery, Volume II: 1910-1921
The Selected Journals of L. M. Montgomery, Volume III: 1921-1929
The Selected Journals of L. M. Montgomery, Volume IV: 1929-1935
The Selected Journals of L. M. Montgomery, Volume V: 1935-1942

Alert! Looking up the journals for this post, I have just learned that the Complete Journals are now in print! So I am immediately ordering them, of course! (Okay, that’s expensive. I will order the first two and put the rest on reserve.) I think this time around I’ll read the Complete Journals. I’ll list what’s available as of this writing.

The Complete Journals of L. M. Montgomery: The PEI Years, 1889-1900
The Complete Journals of L. M. Montgomery: The PEI Years, 1900-1911
L. M. Montgomery’s Complete Journals: The Ontario Years, 1911-1917
L. M. Montgomery’s Complete Journals: The Ontario Years, 1918-1921
L. M. Montgomery’s Complete Journals: The Ontario Years, 1922-1925
L. M. Montgomery’s Complete Journals: The Ontario Years, 1926-1929
L. M. Montgomery’s Complete Journals: The Ontario Years, 1930-1933

I’m going to refer back to this post as I progress in my reading and add links to reviews. Anyone who wants to take up the same challenge is welcome to use this list!

I will be sure to blog about my trip on my Sonderjourneys blog! Stay tuned! And Happy Reading!