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March 25, 2010

The coming of the post is possibly one of the most exciting household events EVER (I am completely serious), and never more so than when it comes with a BOOK. For ME.

So! The post came and it came with MY BOOKS!


Book the first!

I just opened it up, and I read ‘the drink tasted of cherries and spice,’ before the page whipped by.

I know I want to read this book.

If it is disappointing, I will have to kill it – and that would be bad because murder is haram. Or I could complain to Maggie, who said it is like a magical cross between Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell and Howl’s Moving Castle, both of which I love.

Sometimes I find the anticipation before reading a book more exciting than the book itself. But I would feel rather cheated if that were true for a book I BOUGHT.†

I do enjoy the anticipation, but I would also like to enjoy the actual book.


Book the second!

Anyone I have spoken to at any length about books (i.e. anyone I have spoken to EVER), will be familiar with my love of all things Anne, and my familiarity with that whole series, which I re-read recently. The last in the series, Rilla of Ingleside, is probably the one I have read the most times, and against all my macho instincts, it unmans me every time I read it: in my most recent re-read, I practically blubbed through every page.

So imagine my delight to discover there is a NINTH BOOK (and confusion – how did I not know this before?). And apparently it is very recently published, from a manuscript Montgomery handed in to her publishers the very day she died.

I bought it immediately, of course, ignored the price (you must do that often, when you are a little impoverished). And it’s here! And it’s pretty! And shiny! And very thick! And completely at a mismatch with the rest of my set! And I’m dying to read it!

I do get very excited about books. How can you not be? What kind of a soulless person doesn’t get excited about books?


* ‘There is little more likely to exasperate a person of sense than finding herself tied by affection and habit to an Enthusiast‘. I apologise to all my friends for my painful enthusiasm and thank you for tolerating me with kindness nevertheless.

† Apart from a few exceptions, I don’t buy a book I haven’t already read unless I mean to keep it and reread it.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Maryam permalink
    March 25, 2010 1:11 pm

    oh my mercy, another ANNE BOOK????!!!!! i also read rilla the most often and it just left the house (sob sob) with a ton of books that didn’t make the keep-forever cut. sigh. but a new one!! how absurdly exciting!!!

    • March 26, 2010 1:38 am

      Nuuuu how can Rilla not make the cut!!?!? Rilla is a SOUL-GROWING book – every time I read it, my soul grows a little! A lot! Even if there IS a Ken Ford, a lisp, and a dance, it’s all very Christian and therefore almost halal (i.e. marriage happens)!

      As I’ve said elsewhere – I really admire that you can do this, and I WILL NOT discourage you. So please ignore the above, which is only kept in posterity to my reaction at Rilla’s exile ^_^

      Libraries must be the way forward! Also – book-swapping! I would lend you mine, but you are kind of far away…but it is definitely terribly exciting! I read about it a bit, and it is meant to be quite experimental, and quite different to her other work. Firstly, it’s very non-linear, except for being pre-war and post-; secondly, it is mixed-media – poetry (Anne’s and Walter’s), script-style dialogues between the family, and short stories that join back to the inner-circle narrative by the constant reference to the Blythes (hence the title). It’s a book to be read slowly – or at least, *I* am reading it slowly – a few pages a night, maybe.

      As for Magic Under Glass – I’ve nearly finished it, and Nimira is awesome (I kind of love the name and feel obliged to extend the affection to her character, obv), and she reminds me of Ella (of Ella Enchanted)! I’ve been after an Ella-fix since I read it first, sigh!

      • Maryam permalink
        March 26, 2010 4:45 pm

        rilla… oh, rilla. she didn’t make the cut. only a few books did. i might have kept rilla 10 years ago, but now being a mom, there are things in books that really turn me off (like how she gave up the baby to his real dad and new mom and there’s not talk of that poor child being torn away from the only mother he’s ever know, that just makes my stomach turn). anyway, i do love rilla. i acutally (shhhhhh) love her more than anne (shhhhhhh) (because anne started to get on my nerves in the 3rd book (i think that was it, allllll those letters. i got bored. i know, blasphemy.).

        sigh. if only i could use books like bricks and build a new room in which to keep all the books i love…

      • Maryam permalink
        March 26, 2010 4:46 pm

        wow, please excuse my typos in the last reply. hmmph. don’t know who typed all that with my username.

  2. March 26, 2010 11:36 pm

    By the time his father came back, Jims was already 4 or 5* – he must’ve grown up knowing and being told that Rilla wasn’t his real mother, and that his father was coming back – don’t you think? And in all, it seems most pro-nature (hm, Islamic, too – pro-fitrah!) that he should return to his father – and they didn’t go far! They stayed in the Glen! I guess I can’t argue with your mother’s instinct, but I do think it was much more natural and organic than him being torn away – children are resilient (and also forgetful), and get used to things quickly. It is we, as adults**, who impose our anxieties on them and then believe that they are the children’s own – not a projection of ours. I imagine the pain would be nearly all Rilla’s – but she had her happy ending too and probably came to terms with it quickly enough ^_^

    I can’t decide between them, I love them all equally! Including Emily! Although Emily was a bit wet and TOO peculiarly whimsical sometimes (I’m sorry Emily, I do love you but you needed a little more vim and vigour). And nuuu Anne can’t get on your nerves in the third book, that is one of my favourites!! Blasph…oh wait, letters? That’s the fourth book. Okay, that’s okay, I’ll let you have that. /nodnod

    * Wasn’t he a CUTIE? I still chuckle madly every time I read the part about them falling off the train:

    “Nasty old twain,” remarked Jims in disgust. “And nasty old God,” he added, with a scowl at the heavens.

    “Jims, you shouldn’t have said anything like that.”

    “God frew me off the twain,” declared Jims defiantly. “Somebody frew me; you didn’t frow me; so it was God.”

    “No, it wasn’t. You fell because you let go of my hand…it was your own fault.”

    Jims looked to see if she meant it; then glanced up at the sky again.

    “Excuse me, then, God,” he remarked airily.

    **Haha, I’ve referred to myself as an adult. How droll! XD

    • Maryam permalink
      March 27, 2010 12:59 am

      my problem isn’t that she gave him up or that the dad wanted him, it’s that there isn’t mention of how hard that would be on a child to leave his parent.

      and… uh oh. you said children are forgetful. tsk tsk. you must be trying to inspire me to go into a tirade and test the maximum-character-limits of this reply-to-post option. but i won’t. i won’t test them… by writing… a whole lot…

      i will simply say that i disagree, and we’re allowed to do that. i can still like you 😀

      i may not be remembering the book well enough, but i feel that rilla’s happy ending quickly overshadowed the event of the kid going. in fact, i feel like it just jumped — kid’s gone, then the happily ever after ending. the only way i can see any child accepting removal without emotion is if he’s been so emotionally repressed that he knows he isn’t free to show feeling. i didn’t see rilla punishing him for crying, but rather doing things like holding him when he cried in the dark, despite how the parenting book she had directed her to let him cry-it-out. her compassion for him in that moment leads me to think, if she were real, she’d have been in pain to see him go, but also that her closeness WITH him was healthy and full and so he’d be in major agony to say goodbye to her. being in the glen or not, he changed homes, and changed parents. i think it’s a very basic reaction to be very very sad about this. and i have a child who is soon to be 6 years old, and i will tell you it is in no way grown up. she would tear down the walls of a house if i told her she had to go live with someone else, even if she’d known all along i’m not her real mother. eventually she’d “get used to it” but it would remain inside her as this heartbreak, forever. she would never be the same kid. an inherent trustfulness would be gone from her life. that stuff doesn’t grow back spontaneously. i know people who were abused as infants, toddlers, who were seriously damaged as children, and that junk doesn’t leave you. it doesn’t just fade away from being ignored. and i truly believe being taken away from one parental figure for another is a really big trauma. think about chuuurls’ post “mom salad mom sandwich” and think how fast she would have bounced back by being removed? kids form bonds and attachments in those early years that are rock solid. it’s the adults who let them crumble or knock them down. it’s the adults in children’s lives who don’t respect the intensity of love and closeness that kids feel. children are so insanely underestimated and it’s because adults were underestimated when they were young people. the world would be a really different place if every child was emotionally attached to an adult who was respectful of the child’s inner life. so much parenting is driven by fear, which results in children being screwed over and cheated out of their right to be close to adults. “hold on to your kids” is an amazing book about the importance of staying close, of actively putting effort into staying close to kids, instead of being replaced by your childrens’ peers and letting them all raise each other.

      i also know that there are cultural differences, not between me and rilla, but between this western culture and others. i’ve read about native americans giving kids to extended relatives to raise, and it being a beautiful thing. i know a sri lankan woman who gave one of her daughters to her sister to raise because that was the right thing, to give to a childless couple, and that child was then raised with a completely different religion. that makes sense to some people, and i respect that. what bothered me, again, was in jims’ feelings being unaddressed. it made the whole book tainted for me, that there was such a lack. i also think it fits the times that l. m. montgomery lived in. children were not seen to have such a world inside them as they, sometimes, are today.

      i recognize that there are many different ways of looking at, seeing, and feeling about children. many of them i disagree with, and many things i do others can easily disagree with. i believe in allowing children to feel their feelings when all around us people tell my kids “oh, don’t be sad” about some clearly sad thing that is happening, and “don’t cry” when they are full of despair, and “you’re a big girl” when who gives a crap how big she is? she’s allowed to have the full range of feelings. so many problems exist in the world because people have grown up being told that their feelings/reactions/ideas/dreams/hopes/frustrations are bad/wrong/shameful/immature/stupid/annoying. i tell my kids that they can cry when they want to and i’ll do my best to listen to them. i let them know that they don’t have to agree with me, but we can both have strong opinions and still respect each other. i explain that everyone has big feelings, gets sad or mad or excited, even the very same people who tell them not to cry. i find it especially true that people pin their gender issues on girls and boys, depending. and i find that especially distasteful and tell my kids that people will tell them “girls can’t like…” and “boys shouldn’t play with…” and “this book is for girls…” and “that toy is for boys…” and they don’t have to agree with that. they can like anything they want to, play with toys they prefer, read the books that interest them, and choose. they get to choose. it’s their life. their bodies. their hearts and minds that they’re growing to understand. who am i to tell them? i’m raising them to be kind, to be honest, playful, and compassionate—they ALREADY ARE anyway, i’m just not stamping the life out of them with my judgements about every thing they do–from how they interact to how they react. this living is a process and people like to say that children are closer to God than adults, but then they go and make children feel like poo for every little thing they do.

      ooh, i’m mad now. LOL nothing like an outburst to get me to wake up after falling asleep with the kids for the last hour. ahh, off to sew with vim and vigor.

      and by the way, this isn’t personal to you, dear. but when i hear how kids are forgetful and get over stuff fast and how they’re resilient, well, i’ve heard it said so many times and i’ve seen kids treated really unkindly that i just can’t let it slide without saying something. i’m sure YOU are kind to kids and respect them, but i’m opinionated and hot headed and had to speak up.

      hm…. what’s the weather where you are? we could talk about that…

      • Maryam permalink
        March 27, 2010 1:01 am

        omg, that was a looooong post. i was so full of um, responses, that i didn’t read your last paragraph. i kept the emily books, and pat (love her), and the blue castle. i KNEW you’d love anne’s letters. i’m just not patient enough. i want more action, mabye. anyway, did you read the blue castle?

  3. March 27, 2010 1:27 am

    Argh I had a BAD niggling when I wrote that, but I wrote it with a specific situation in my mind, and not as a generalisation. Mainly, I was drawing on my memories of experiences of change in my own family, and the reference to forgetfulness and resilience is within the context of an otherwise healthy and happy childhood, not a dysfunctional or damaged one.

    I think the question of abuse is a very very different one to Rilla and Jims – which is clearly very happy, very open, and full of love. I might have read into it too much, but I think the book did do justice to Rilla’s feelings on Jims’ removal.

    On Jims’ feelings, however, you’re right, she doesn’t address that. But I think that could well be to do with the limits of the book and its perspective, not its narrator: she’s written other books and stories with characters quite as young as Jims, so I really think it was a question of what was possible to put into a book, not lacking sympathy with Jims.

    As for everything else you said, I agree with nearly all of it – I just don’t think a single book could have contained it all 🙂

    > i believe in allowing children to feel their feelings when all around us people tell my kids “oh, don’t be sad” about some clearly sad thing that is happening, and “don’t cry” when they are full of despair, and “you’re a big girl” when who gives a crap how big she is? she’s allowed to have the full range of feelings.

    agree x 5389249582

    …I’m so relieved it’s not personal. Because I probably feel as strongly as it’s possible to feel about children, in all the ways you’ve mentioned, without actually BEING a mother (I am just too macho to publicly admit it, so I couch it in more cynical terms XD).

    And thank you for telling me off for writing that pretty awful lacking-in-clarity generalisation. I should be more careful, but I’ve been out of practice! Thank you!

    Last thought: I just re-read the bit about your daughter tearing down the walls. I remember me being 6, and if I had been told that, it’s pretty likely I would have gone along with it, because that is what I did. So I’m throwing into the mix that every child is different, and every child will react to and cope with situations in a different way, so using a standardised approach with them is always a bad idea. This is part of why I think of high schools as battery-farms of kids (‘it’s mass production!’), with everything that entails. /shudder

  4. March 27, 2010 1:29 am

    PS – not read Blue Castle! Feel like I should now, though! Er, apart from the fact that today’s library visit yielded a zillion squillion books which I have to read first (otherwise: fines! Yay!) XD

  5. Maryam permalink
    March 27, 2010 1:38 am

    glad i checked back here and can see that you don’t hate me for being a total spaz. or am i passionate? depends who i ask.

    ah, the blue castle. i had to special order most of her books (except for the first few annes and one of the pats), are they in your library? thankfully the mass of books i end up checking out from the library have big pictures and only 10-20 pages. i try to not stray into the young adult section or i’m done for…

    • March 27, 2010 1:46 am

      As long as you don’t hate me for being dumb ❤

      Mothers have to be passionate, it's the LAW.

      Blue Castle: I think it's available as an e-book since it's passed the whatsit-thingy (yes that was clear XD). I might actually just buy it if it is as good as you say. Although my track-record with buying books I haven't read is not great – and that is a story for another day!

    • March 29, 2010 10:36 am

      I kept meaning to add (and I kept remembering at the randomest times), that when I used ‘forgetful’, apart from it being a badly-phrased generalisation, what I really meant is adjusting quickly (still within the context of happy, healthy ones).


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