Wednesday, 18 June 2014

L. M. Montgomery, Reading Habits, and a Story Snip

Varied reading habits...

It's funny how sometimes I'll read a book by an author, love it, and then never read a book by that author again (ever, or at least for many years). Sometimes I don't even seek out the sequel of a book, even if I've adored the first one. I'm not sure what makes me do that, when other times I'll race to devour everything by a newly-discovered favourite author (*cough*NeilGaiman*coughcough*) or at least read and reread every book of a particular series.

Every once in a while it's because other books by an author turn out to be a disappointment.

One example that comes to mind is the Anne of Green Gables series by L. M. Montgomery. I love those books. I reread them all the time. I even complained about a recent reissue that failed to include both Rainbow Valley and Rilla of Ingleside.

At some point last year I re-realised that there were other Montgomery books out there. I think I read Kilmeny of the Orchard ages ago, but hadn't explored some of the other series. I ordered copies of Pat of Silver Bush and Mistress Pat from a secondhand bookstore, and started reading the first one...and I still haven't finished it. It was just so dull! There's my confession.

On the other hand, as part of its reissue of the Anne of Green Gables books this past spring, Sourcebooks are also issuing a series of "Forgotten Classics" by L. M. Montgomery, including The Blue Castle, A Tangled Web, Jane of Lantern Hill, Pat of Silver Bush, Mistress Pat and Magic for Marigold. I was lucky enough to get a review copy of Jane of Lantern Hill!



Such a sweet tale! Jane's a likeable, endearing heroine, and I really wish there was a sequel to this book featuring an older Jane. She doesn't get into quite the scrapes that Anne does, but has a few adventures of her own - including leading an escaped circus lion through the village and back to its owners. I love the easy bantering relationship between her and her father, and through them was reminded of an aspect of Canadian literature I haven't explored very well - habitant poetry, written by early French-Canadian settlers.

And at one point, Jane uses one of my favourite odd words - snoots.



I just realised the OED doesn't quite cover the definition that I know and have seen used - to give snoots, which is to stick one's nose in the air at someone.

The trouble with reading these books is they make me long for a historical Canada I'll never be able to see, all neighbourly farming villages, long trips by train, stately houses on broad Toronto streets, extended Prince Edward Island coastlines... Come to think of it, all those things are still around. You just have to look past the modern high rises and greater population, and they're all still there.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who's loved the Anne books, or everyone who'd like a glimpse into early Canadian life.

Meanwhile, though I haven't done much for ROW80 this week, I found an old snip... In my W post in April, I mentioned my story The Face of A Lion: I had an image come in my head of a boy and a cat walking down a dusty road, and the sea was rising behind them. I knew it meant they were walking back into time. And so I started writing to find out what happened...

Here's a snip from Chapter Two. Austin met the cat yesterday, and now the cat has come to remind him of his promise:
It seemed only moments later that he heard someone calling his name. He started up in surprise, blinking. The cat, who had been purring about his head, rolled neatly off his chest to sit on the mattress, still gazing, steadfast, into his eyes. His black nose was only an inch away.
The voice was there – just as he had heard it the day before.
"Have you thought anymore about what I asked you?"
Austin was certain now that it was the cat's voice, and underneath the words he heard again a low rumble, almost as though he was purring while speaking. Yet the cat's mouth was hardly open at all.
"Yes?" The cat laid a paw on his shoulder, expectant, claws sheathed.
He sat up straighter, having recovered breath enough to whisper. "Yes! But I don't know anything about – about –"
"No matter. There will be time enough on the way to tell you everything. Wear the simplest clothes that you have."
The cat jumped off the bed and turned toward the half-open door. "Be ready when I come tomorrow at dawn."
"Wait!" Austin called. "What do you mean 'be ready'? What should I bring? Where are we going? I don't even know your name!"
The cat slowly brought his head round to stare at him once more. "It's Kedi. Kedi Venter Pipire of Camulodunon, which the Romans altered to Camulodunum. But you can call me Kedi. And not where but when."
Kedi turned away and swished his tail back and forth as he left the room.

Hope you enjoyed it!

If you'd like to share short snips from your own WiPs, please do so in the comments!

15 comments:

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I have done this as well. Some authors are "one hit wonders" in the same way that some singers are. For instance, I LOVED 'Presumed Innocent' by Scott Turow. One of the top five books I've ever read in my life. But every subsequent book of his was sub par, at least in comparison.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

When are you going? Cool, a time traveling cat!

Crystal Collier said...

Ah! A time traveling cat. Okay, I'm in for the ride. =)

I completely understand why you don't have any desire to read the next books. I've read at least 300 to 500 different authors, and it's rare I have to go read everything one has put out. There is a science to it though. If I trust that author is going to give me something I'll love, I'm all in.

Ryan King said...

I enjoyed reading the Anne of Green Gables books but it's been many years since I read it, much like Where The Red Fern Grows. I might have to re-read those next year. Sometimes the writing process is about not writing. I wouldn't worry about it. I'm sure things will perk up. Have a good week.

M Pax said...

I loved Anne. Loved, loved, loved. I'll have to check out the Jane book.

Yeah for time traveling cats. Sometimes I think it's true. They pop up where they just weren't.

Carol Riggs said...

I love Neil Gaiman's writing too! but I've never read ANNE/GABLES. I just watched the movie and enjoyed it. LOL, "snoots." Nice cat excerpt! Can't go wrong with time-traveling cats. :)

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I like the excerpt! Nicely done! I think I only read one of the Anne of Green Gables books, though I did watch all the movies. I liked Anne, though I thought she was too stubborn and proud, especially when it came to Gilbert. She should've admitted she loved him a lot sooner than she did.

S.P. Bowers said...

I remember liking Jane of Lantern Hill and The Blue Castle growing up. I'm not a huge LM Montgomery fan as an adult though. That's one thing that didn't survive growing up.

Shan Jeniah Burton said...

I loved the first two Anne books, and then grew bored.

I never assume I will like everything by any author. Tastes change, after all, for both writer and reader.

I second what Ryan said. It isn't always about the writing; sometimes it's about the refilling, and the simmering...

Time traveling feline OK,my ears are pricked with interest. =)

Amy Jarecki said...

I used to find an author I liked and then read all their books, but these days there are so many, and I'm usually reading for work rather than enjoyment, I tend to sample as many authors as I can. Cute excerpt!

debi o'neille said...

Good first chapter, but now I have to know--be ready for what? Next chapter, please.
http://debioneille.blogspot.com

julieglover.com said...

Interesting question. I've yet to read more by Daphne duMaurier, even though REBECCA is among my faves. Yet other authors make me immediately go out and sweep through their bibliography.

Oh, and Neil Gaiman? Should I read The Graveyard Book? I keep meaning to.

Have a lovely week! Best wishes with your ROW80.

DMS said...

I do the same thing! Sometimes I am just not sure why I don't read the rest of a series I started off really liking. Other times I devour a series or books by the same author. Love Neil. :)

Great first chapter! Thanks for sharing. :)
~Jess

vbtremper said...

I'm the same way about reading. Sometimes I loved the first book of a series and just never got around to the next, or I don't like where I think the story is going based on the ending of book 1. And other authors, I will rush out as soon as their next book hits the shelves. I've never thought too much about why. The heart wants what the heart wants!

-Vicki

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks for coming by everyone!
Happy you enjoyed the snip :-)

Julie, yes, read The Graveyard Book! It's... in one word? Enchanting.

As much as I love how the stories played out, I do agree with you Neurotic - Anne should have realised much sooner about Gilbert. She hated him for all of a few months and then spent what? Seven years or more pretending to not be in love with him? Ah well, at least they got to be friends for a while first.

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (annual reread)
  • A Matter of Grave Concern by Brenda Novak
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • Beowulf and Sellic Spell by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • What to Expect in Baby's First Year
  • Baby's First Year for Dummies
  • secret beta read!
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman)
  • Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • The War of the Ring - Book 8 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • Lessons for a Sunday Father by Claire Calman
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • The Heart of Christmas by Brenda Novak
  • Deadly Contact by Lara Lacombe
  • Carry On, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse
  • The Floating Admiral by the Detection Club, including Christie, Sayers, Chesterton, etc.
  • Brief Lives, Sandman 8 by Neil Gaiman
  • Liza of Lambeth by Somerset Maugham
  • The Mapmaker's Daughter by Laurel Corona (I give up on finishing this; skimmed to the end)
  • Childe Harold by Lord Byron (listened to the parts of it set in Switzerland read aloud)
  • Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon
  • My Dancing Bear by Helene de Klerk
  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
  • The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier
  • Jane of Lantern Hill by L. M. Montgomery
  • Tu Vas Naitre by Sylvia Kitzinger
  • Goodbye To All That by Robert Graves
  • secret beta read 2!
  • Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay
  • The Caliph's Vacation by Goscinny (Iznogoud series; Canadian translation) (reread)
  • Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson
  • Le Tresor de Rackham le Rouge by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • Le Secret de la Licorne by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • L'Affaire Tournesol by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • The Bum by Somerset Maugham (short story)
  • The Colour of Magic, Discworld 1 by Terry Pratchett
  • Fables and Reflections Sandman 6 by Neil Gaiman
  • Doctor Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party by Graham Greene
  • Once Upon an Heirloom by Kait Nolan (novella)
  • The No-Kids Club by Talli Roland
  • Snip, Snip Revenge by Medeia Sharif
  • Journey to an 800 Number by E. L. Konigsburg
  • various Neil Gaiman short stories on the An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer album (reread (well, this time in audio))
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (reread; actually this was an older edition, published under the original title of Ten Little N******)
  • Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • Never Saw It Coming by Linwood Barclay
  • How To Fall In Love by Cecelia Ahern
  • biographical note on Lord Peter Wimsey in reissue of Clouds of Witness by Dorothy Sayers (on Gutenberg)
  • One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern
  • Notwithstanding by Louis de Bernieres
  • The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
  • Temptation by Sandy Loyd
  • The Incorrigible Mr. Lumley by Aileen Fish
  • Effie's Outlaw by Karen Lopp
  • Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
  • The Christmas Crossing by Bev Petterson (short story)
  • secret beta read!
  • An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
  • Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie
  • Arranged by Catherine McKenzie
  • Emil In the Soup Tureen by Astrid Lindgren
  • Whales by Jacques Cousteau (excerpt essay from his book)
  • Tutankhamen's Tomb by Howard Carter (excerpt essay from his book)
  • Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson
  • Everything's Eventual by Stephen King
  • Go the F*^$ To Sleep (board book)
  • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss (reread) (brought to you by Neil Gaiman: http://www.worldbuilders.org/our-next-stretch-goal-unlocks-at/neil-gaiman-reads-green-eggs-and-ham)
  • The Sagan Diary by John Scalzi
  • mini Twitter stories by Talli Roland (available here: http://advice.uk.match.com/dating-advice/enjoy-valentine%E2%80%99s-day-and-get-mentallydating?utm_expid=55691082-15.2L0G0ictTcSJ4BI9Srh77A.0&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fadvice.uk.match.com%2Fdating-advice)
  • The Book of Jane by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul: O Canada The Wonders of Winter
  • Beloved Demons by Anthony Martignetti
  • Hands-on Therapy by T L Watson
  • Let Me Make Myself Plain by Catherine Cookson
  • The Razor's Edge by Somerset Maugham
  • Mystery of the Fat Cat by Frank Bonham
  • Spin by Catherine Mckenzie
  • Virgins by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen (reread)
  • The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
  • The Ghost in the Window by Betty Ren Wright
  • The Progress of Love by Alice Munro
  • The Treason of Isengard - Book 7 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling (reread)
  • Behind the Lines (poems) by A. A. Milne
  • the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (reread)
  • Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother's Soul
  • see the 2013 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2014/01/toast-to-professor-books-read-in-2013.html
  • see the 2012 list and statistics here http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/12/the-hobbit-review-and-year-end-books.html
  • see the 2011 statistics on http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011-statistics-fourth.html
  • see the 2011 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011.html
  • see the 2010 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2010/12/books-read-in-2010-listed-here.html
  • see the 2009 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-ii.html
  • also in 2009 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-iv.html
  • see the 2008 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-ii.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-vi.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-iv.html