Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

So for my first run at the classics, I have decided to read the Anne series by Lucy Maud Montgomery.  I adore the movies made about Anne starring Megan Follows, as well as the Avonlea series that was on the Disney channel for a while.  So it stands to reason I would enjoy the books that started it all.

I confess I feared I would not enjoy reading this first book.. Anne of Green Gables.  It is difficult for me to read a book once I have seen the movie of it.  It is like hearing the punchline of a joke before the joke is told.  Takes the wind out of it.  But what I found with Anne is I loved it all the more. There were very few things that differed from the book and the movie.. and what did was trivial and in no way affected the storyline.  I laughed because I saw the movie in my head while reading... the characters were so very clear to me.

The first chapter or two I had to push myself a bit since I knew what was going to happen, but by chapter 3 or 4 I found I was delighting in reading the adventures I knew so well. I've no doubt I will enjoy the rest of the series and have a different experience with them as I don't know the second movie as well and have never seen the final one of the set... and sure not everything in the 8 book series is covered in 3 movies!

If you are unfamiliar with the Anne books, they are set on Prince Edward Island in Canada. Anne is an orphan girl who goes to live with a spinster and her bachelor brother. She has many escapades and adventures as she grows up with Marilla and Matthew.  You will find yourself vacillating between emotions on this roller coaster ride!

A fun book for all ages!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Time for some Classics....

I majored in English Literature in College, so I have read a great deal of Lit... and yet I am woefully lacking at the same time. While I have read Shakespeare and Keats.. Tolstoy and Hemingway...  Faulkner and Milton... Mann and Wolfe... Browning and Twain ... on and on.. there are many books considered classics that I have never read. For instance.. I have never read a book by Jane Austen... I have seen movies of her works, but never read them.  I have never read Little Women or Anne of Green Gables.. In fact, I grew up watching Little House on the Prairie, but never read them until I had children of my own.

I read a great deal with my children.. not just picture books, but chapter books.. we read together well into their early teens.  I got a big fill of classics then... the Sarah, Plain and Tall series... E. B. White books (actually I read those as a child too!)... Phantom Tollbooth (OK another favorite from childhood).. Narnia (I never heard of these until my older child was 8!)... The Wizard of Oz (the book is soo much better than the movie!)... and on and on... Needless to say I enjoyed this part of their childhood a great deal and now that they are grown (24 and soon to be 20!) I miss that read aloud time and those classics. Surely there will be grandchildren to read with one day, but in the meantime...

I have decided to read some classics on my own. Some will fall into the category of "children's classics" (like Montgomery and Alcott's works) and others will be adult fiction (Austen and Bronte).

If you own a Kindle or have a Kindle ap on a device, you can read the vast majority of these for free or at very little cost. Most of the Anne books are free, but I could not find the first 2 in the series in the freebies. What I did find was a collection of all the Anne books for the Kindle for 99-cents!  Alcott and Austen books I found for free, as well as a few others I want to read.

And if you have a library, you should be able to find all of these there for free! I love the library.

And lastly you could purchase print copies.  If you have children at home consider reading these with them.  Even very young children can handle a chapter a night from a children's book and there are so many wonderful ones out there from days gone by.  If your nest is empty, like me, you could save them for future grandbabies or once read, donate them to a school or some program that caters to children and literary needs.. or give to a child in your church or neighborhood.  Anything to promote reading!

If you are looking for ideas as to what to read, here is an excellent place to start:  List of Classics by Age Group

I just finished my first classic of the year.. there will be a review very soon.  It was a delightful read!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Grow Old with Me by Melinda Evaul

Evaul is a new-to-me author.  Grow Old with Me caught my eye because the cover says it is a Quilt Trail Novel. I love anything to do with Quilts and Quilting!  This book does have quilts involved, but oh it is so much more. I was more than pleasantly surprised when I read it.

I truly truly loved this book and hated to see it end... I believe more are coming in the series.. I hope so!  Maybe it was the little bit of Quilt theme found in the story... or the fact that it was set in a B & B... or that the 2 focal characters were in their 50s.. or the fact that Evaul tackled some issues and circumstances not seen over and over in novels.. and handled them truthfully and well.

Set in Love Valley, NC (a real place), Benjamin has come there to do repair work on the church.  He books a room at the Mosey Inn, a local B & B where each room is named for a quilt pattern. Appropriately, this carpenter finds himself in the Carpenter's Star room.  Sarah Campbell owns the inn. It has been in her family for generations, but Sarah is getting tired.. tired of taking care of others, of living on the edge financially, of having physical problems that cannot be dealt with because she cannot afford to see the doctor, of not being loved and having someone to love.  In walks Benjamin, a bit of a loner and outcast with a painful past.  Both are lonely and in need and find themselves drawn to each other. But Sarah is a woman of faith and Benjamin has made it clear he wants nothing to do with God.

Can these two find a life together... a life rooted in faith... despite the gossip and innuendo, financial crisis, health issues, difficult pasts, hurts, insecurities, stubborn pride and more?

A sincerely sweet and frank look at love from a different perspective... and a reminder that sparks still fly even after 50!

I should note that Grow Old With Me is not available as a book-book.. with paper and ink.. it is an ebook. I got mind at Amazon, but it is available elsewhere.  Evaul's site has link to purchase it, as well as neat info on the book and the author... Melinda Evaul

CORRECTION:  I learned that this book is available in print form.  You can purchase it from the author at her site. Sorry about that! 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Love Finds You in Hope Kansas by Pamela Griffin

As I have stated before, I really enjoy the books I have read in the Love Finds You In series. I have come no where near close to reading all of them... but I have read a good many and so far there isn't a bad one in the bunch,

There are certain things you see regularly when reading romances:

* A girl leaves home and travels to marry a man.

* He is often a man she does not know. In this case, she has met him but hasn't seen him in years and doesn't really know him.

* The man has children who need a mother.

* There has been a bit of trickery involved.

* The two rub each other the wrong way and seem to spar with each other more than anything else.

* Others can see the truth of their feelings long before they admit them.

All of these are true in Love Finds You in Hope Kansas.  Rafe Munroe needs a wife for himself and a mother for his six children.. he just won't admit it.  So his children decide to help. They write a letter from Rafe asking his deceased wife's younger sister, Alison, to come help and consider staying on as his wife and their mother. From the moment their paths cross sparks fly.. and throughout it all others see the depth of passion each is trying to hide from themselves and others.

Alison is a well-bred woman of society from Boston who said good bye to her older sister and Rafe many years ago. She only met Rafe briefly before the wedding and has never met the children. Life in Kansas intrigues here... an adventure to be had... but she finds much more than she bargained for.

Rafe is determined to stay true to Amy's memory by never letting go of his grief... even if that means ignoring his children and their needs.  He is shocked when Alison arrives and immediate determines that she has to leave.  Together they devise a plan (or two.. or three...) to make the children want her to leave so she can depart without hurting them and so they will give up on the idea of finding a new wife for Rafe and mother for themselves. To say that each plan backfires is an understatement.

Alison and Rafe learn that there is Hope in Hope, Kansas.. hope for each of them individually and together.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Smitten by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt. Denise Hunter

1 book.. 4 stories.. all centered around the town of Smitten, Vermont.  Smitten .. small town America.. reminiscent of a Rockwell painting.. great place to grow up or so you realize once grown and gone and looking back.  The hub that keeps everything afloat is the Mill, so when it closes despair sets in.  How will Smitten survive. What can they do to draw people in and keep their hometown alive?

Romance!  That's what they will do!  4 girlfriends dream up a wonderful to them.. crazy to others idea. Why not capitalize on the name.. Smitten.. and the setting. Smitten is off the beaten path.. untouched in many ways by progress... you can ski on the mountains in winter and on the lakes in summer... it is the perfect spot for a romantic get-away. And so these 4 rouse the townspeople and set out to create a Romance Paradise.

Sadly, none of them have romance happening in their lives... but that is about to change.  

As sweet as the stories are they do contain lessons in letting go of the past, trusting God, surrendering your life to Him, seeing who you are in Him not comparing yourself to others and more.

Another fun read!