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

  • Arthur and George by Julian Barnes
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • The Peoples of Middle-earth - Book 12 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • Edmund Campion by Evelyn Waugh
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • A Woman in Arabia: The Writings of the Queen of the Desert by Gertrude Bell
  • 12 Anne and Avonlea books by L. M. Montgomery (skimming/reread (this was free on Kindle!))
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman)
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • Career by Yevtushenko (poem)
  • Human life in this century by Yevtushenko (poem)
  • Willow by Anna Akhmatova (poem)
  • Sonnet LXVI by Shakespeare
  • Sir Walter Raleigh to His Son (poem)
  • Fair Jenny by Robbie Burns (poem)
  • MacPherson's Farewell by Robbie Burns (poem)
  • World's End, the collected Sandman No. 8 by Neil Gaiman
  • O Wert Thou In The Cauld Blast by Robbie Burns (poem)
  • The War of the Jewels - Book 11 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • The Rolling English Road by G. K. Chesterton (poem)
  • The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes
  • A Tradition of Eighteen Hundred and Four by Thomas Hardy
  • The Hierophant by Lee-Ann Dalton (short story)
  • The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff
  • 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (reread)
  • Lonely Planet guide to Switzerland
  • Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
  • beta read!
  • Ode on Venice by Lord Byron (poem)
  • Little Miss Scatterbrain by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Little Miss Lucky by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Little Miss Trouble by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Homage to Switzerland by Ernest Hemingway (short story; reread but I really don't remember it after 20 years)
  • The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier (reread)
  • Sing a Long Children's Songs
  • Emily's First Christmas
  • Up At the Villa by Somerset Maugham (novella)
  • Telling Stories by Tim Burgess
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Marble Collector by Cecilia Ahern
  • Sophie's Throughway by Jules Smith
  • Baby Animals (Little Golden Books)
  • The House That Jack Built (Little Golden Books)
  • Scuffy the Tugboat (Little Golden Books)
  • The Saggy Baggy Elephant (Little Golden Books)
  • Morgoth's Ring - Book 10 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Who's A Pest by Crosby Bonsall
  • Mine's the Best by Crosby Bonsall (reread)
  • The Case of the Hungry Stranger by Crosby Bonsall (reread)
  • extracts from the diary of John Evelyn (Volume 1 of 2)
  • extracts from Lord Byron's letters about Villa Diodati
  • Pippin the Christmas Pig by Jean Little
  • Ite Missa Est by Anthony Martignetti
  • The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Red Angel by G. K. Chesterton (essay)
  • Emily's Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary
  • The Boy Who Set Out to Learn What Fear Was by the Brothers Grimm
  • The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • secret beta read!
  • Preludes by Wordsworth (extracts read aloud)
  • Little Miss Scatterbrain by Roger Hargreaves
  • Dance Me A Dream by Kait Nolan (ARC)
  • Once Upon A Coffee by Kait Nolan
  • England and Switzerland, 1802 by William Wordsworth (poem)
  • Once Upon A New Year's Eve by Kait Nolan
  • short story by Becky Morgan (http://forums.compuserve.com/discussions/Books_and_Writers_Community/Writers_Exercises/Becky_Morgans_December_X/ws-books/85291.1?nav=messages)
  • Blood In Blood Out by Brenda Novak (short story)
  • That Hell-Bound Train by Robert Bloch (short story)
  • Distraction by J. L. Campbell
  • Humble Bundle Peanuts collection (strips by Charles Schulz)
  • Peanuts Volumes I to VI (bought via Humble Bundle; very disappointing as it's mostly new strips -- how is that even allowed?!)
  • Sandals and Sangria by Talli Roland (short story)
  • Over the Hump by Talli Roland (short story)
  • issues of Journal of Inklings Studies and Amon Hen and Mallorn (Tolkien Society)
  • Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet by Matt Napier
  • Babar and his Family by Laurent de Brunhoff
  • Illusions Lost by Byron A. Maddox (short story)
  • ongoing rereads of most board books listed last year!
  • Lost My Name book for Emily (https://www.lostmy.name/)
  • Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne
  • When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne (reread)
  • Neil Gaiman comics on Sequential app
  • Moranology by Caitlin Moran
  • see the 2015 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2015/12/annual-books-read-statistics.html
  • see the 2014 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2014/12/books-read-in-2014-review.html
  • 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