Née Draft #240

August 19, 2009 @ 8:03 pm | Filed under: Books

So I was all set to write a post about Jane of Lantern Hill, something I’ve been meaning to do for, oh, years; but I’m 700 words in and still haven’t gotten past Anne of Green Gables. Hmm. This could take a while. There comes a point when you realize you’ve swum out farther than you meant and either you have to turn around and head back to shore, or keep on going across the whole ocean. I have an ocean of things to say about L.M. Montgomery’s books, and I never get around to saying them. During grad school I went on a quest to acquire every single Montgomery novel or story collection in print. Did it, too, which is why I had to live on ramen noodles for two years. She is part of a small cadre of authors whose bodies of work I reread every two or three years: Alcott, Lovelace, L’Engle, Montgomery. Those are my big four. I’m sure I’m forgetting someone important. Not Austen; I don’t reread her all at once: with her it’s a book or two spread out through the year. I do return to Burnett almost every year, but only The Secret Garden. Tolkien is a twice-a-decade-or-thereabouts treat; ditto Lewis. Dickens, maybe one book a year, but it takes a month.

Anyway. The Montgomery epic post is in drafts now, along with 238 other unfinished pieces. Yes, really. I have 239 posts in drafts. Jiminy crickets. That’s a post a day for eight months, if I were to finish them. I wonder what they all are. I’m scrolling down the list and I see most of them are called No Title, because I usually think of titles last. There’s one called: Fewer Dishes, —the comma is part of the title, but there’s nothing after it. Where was I going with that? Fewer Dishes, More what? Pints of Ice Cream?

This post, too, is a No Title post so far. Also, apparently, a No Subject post. And a No Point post. I can probably safely promise No Conclusion as well. I have No Idea where I’m going with this.

I also have No Idea which book I’m going to read next. Yes, that again. Scott finds me staring at a stack of books as tall as our three-year-old, and I wail: “They all look so good. I don’t know what to do.”

“Here’s an idea,” he deadpans. “Open one up and start reading.”

Easy for him to say. I do this dance: I should read the library books first; they’ll be due soon. No, wait. I should read review copies first, because they were sent to me and it seems considerate to tackle them in a timely manner. No, wait! I should start with the books that have been waiting the longest. Like The Diamond Age: how embarrassing; I bought it right after Comic-Con 2008 and fully intended to read it immediately, and then Comic-Con 2009 rolled around and there it was still in the pile. I actually liberated it from the pile this week, put it in my bag on our way to the YMCA, intending to read it during Rose’s gymnastics class—but get this: I rode the exercise bike instead. Instead of reading! What’s happening to me?

Diamond Age is still in my bag, dusty with cracker crumbs.

I’m actually kind of in the mood to reread Jane of Lantern Hill.

Then maybe I could finally finish that post, aka Draft #239.

Hey, anybody else read The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate yet? Man, I really need a book club.


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Comments

13 Responses | | Comments Feed

  1. LM Montgomery is one of my select few regular rereads also. I only discovered her as an adult and have been deeply in love ever since. Her books have an incredibly rare quality – I can read them as often as I like and they never become stale to me, unlike books I would even categorise as favourites.

  2. I guess I need to go in college-girl’s bedroom and get the Anne books out. I didn’t discover her, either, until my dd was old enough to read them and I love them. I don’t have Jane, though.

    I also suffer from too many books. Too many in the house. I got a pile from the library recently (that you recommended) and was only able to get through one, I Capture the Castle, before they were way overdue. But I loved it, so it was worth the fine!

  3. I said this recently somewhere. The television series of Anne completely put me off of the books. Melanie insisted I read AoGG and now – oh, what treasures! The story itself is charming yes, but the descriptions of Avonlea are just gorgeous.

  4. I never know what to read first too, then I forget I have certain books and if it’s a library book, end up with a fine. If this is my biggest problem in life…

  5. Ooh, I share most of your four – my four are Montgomery, L’Engle, Alcott, and Wilder. And I have the exact same issue with not knowing what to read first. I also need a book club. Maybe we need an online book club? I’m trying to think of what would be a good way to do that – maybe a group blog? Hmmm.

  6. I think Jane of Lantern Hill is L.M. Montgomery’s best book. It’s certainly the most evocative–and that’s saying something. I reread it easily once a year. I’ve been haunting audible.com for ages, hoping it would come out in audio book form, because it’s my favorite.

    Whomever was in charge of the movie version ought to be banned from any further productions FOREVER. They destroyed it.

    Maud Hart Loveless is another great favorite of mine. My grown-up comfort books are by D.E. Stevenson, especially Amberwell, or when I’m in the mood for humor, Miss Buncle’s Book.

    Melissa, did you read the Maida books as a child? Especially the first three? Maida’s Little Shop does as good a job portraying turn-of-the-century Charlestown as Montgomery does with the North Shore.

  7. You certainly have enough readers here to begin a nifty book club.

    I discovered Anne after my oldest was born. Montgomery’s writing voice would stick to my brain and I’d feel it pouring out as I wrote journal entries about my own life. Pretty powerful stuff.

    I adore Lovelace too.

    I can’t seem to read anything right now–last few weeks of pregnancy and all I can do is plan, nest, think, worry, plan, nest, etc.

  8. The internet is great. I thought I was the only one who reread my favorite children’s books periodically. I love to read Montgomery, Wilder, Alcott and Burnett. As a child, “A (maybe The) Little Princess” was the first book to really thrill me. I haven’t read everything by these women, but I still reread what I loved. I actually just reread “Anne of Gree Gables” and “Anne of Avonlea.” I am trying to read, for the first time, “Little Men.” I feel so peaceful and hopeful when I read or reread these lovely works. My husband and I had a discussion about our reading styles and motivations recently. He questions how I can read something and not remember every detail. I tend to speed read and he plods and remembers all. You have turned me onto some fun books. I read a few by Nick Hornsby, and a collection of essays by Joyce. I didn’t discover Lovelace until I had a daughter and now I am trying to encourage her to read all of them. My mother-in-law was excited because she read them as a girl. Thanks for your great advice.

  9. Mary, Little Men is one of my top ten favorite books, a lifeshaper. I used to write stories about time-traveling back to the 1870s and living at Plumfield with Mrs Jo & the gang. You’ll love it. 🙂

  10. You along with your readers are so wonderful to lead us in so many great directions.
    Love this post and thank you..

    ……No Idea which book I’m going to read next…….

    Yes exactly, so many I can hardly catch my breath sometimes and daughter Anna (age 11) is the same way…her solution, make a list…… looking at her long booklist/purchases/library books she has compiled this plan………

    Currently she is reading the Boston Jane Series.
    Just finished
    Boston Jane An Adventure
    Currently reading
    Boston Janes Wilderness Days

    Then take a Boston Jane Break

    And Read
    Rumblewicks Diaries (2 books)
    Vet Volunteers # 9 and # 10 (she has been reading these as they are published for a few years now)
    Claire de Lune by Golds
    No More Cornflakes by Horvath (started with Everything on a Waffle along with days in the kitchen cooking– Julia Child her we come, But that’s another book)

    Back to
    Boston Jane The Claim

    Then
    Becoming Jane Austen (Saw the movie, sparked her interest)
    Soup by Peck
    Witch of Blackbird Pond by Pope

    That’s the Aug/Sept plan. She is currently leader of one book group (she started 3 years ago which meets monthly) and part of two other monthly book groups, a classic bookclub (last discussed the Pushcart Wars) and a nature bookclub (last discussed Project Mulberry).

    Me, I hope to catch up with the Actor and the Housewife, The Evolution of Calpurnia and Horvath’s – My One Hundred Adventures:)and Jane of Lantern Hill, which I have never read.
    Oh, I guess I started a list too. Is that any better than a stack of books?? A list does take up less space. I am holding out to purchase a Kindle for the newest iPhone with a larger screen. My son already is reading books on his iPhone – me I need a larger viewing area.

  11. Speaking of the exercise bike . . .

    I once read a research paper which concluded that after aerobic exercise, people found members of the other gender more attractive. The researchers attributed this finding to the exercisers misattributing their increased levels of endorphins to the desirability of a member of the other gender.

    So several months ago, I wondered whether I would find certain books more exciting while reading them on the exercise bike. And you know what?

    I found the exercise bike more exciting than usual.

  12. I’d love to read that post about Jane of Lantern Hill when you get around to it. 🙂
    I’d never even heard of it until I saw you mention it as the source of Jane’s blog name. Now Jane has joined Anne and Emily in my list of favorite heroines.

    My blog software doesn’t number the unpublished posts, but I bet I’ve got at least a hundred of them. Glad I’m not the only one with all those unfinished thoughts hanging around gathering virtual dust.

  13. How do you find these wonderful book?
    Calpurnia Tate is the best. Observe, observe and observe and learn.
    Anna and I are racing through the book, but want it to go slow it is so good, wanting it never to end.
    Perfect for Anna, 11 years old, who loves studying nature, drawing, observing. Anna is happy.. the story is always adding on a new adventure, from family relationships, nature study, Harry and his girl friends, getting a telephone, fainting, looking for an automobile to cigar smoking gents and the wonderful relationship she has with Granddaddy.
    Thank you again for the find. We love it. It always pays to follow your trails. We owe you many.
    Anna commented it is much like Tom Brown Jr.’s The Tracker.