Blog Hop: Walking in a Character’s Shoes…

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: If you could take the place of any fictional character, who would it be and why?

This is a rather intriguing question…I assume this would be for a brief visit, and I assume I’m still me but occupying the role of a fictional character, with the other characters not seeing anything strange.  So!  With those parameters in mind…

The first one to come to mind is Dr. Watson.  I don’t think I could be Sherlock Holmes, and besides, I’d want to meet Holmes, so it would be better to have Watson’s role.  As long as medical knowledge wasn’t called for to help solve the case, I think I could be a decent Watson–even though I’m more squeamish than he is!

I definitely couldn’t be Anne of Green Gables, but it would be nice to try being her friend Diana Barry for a bit.  Or it might actually be more fun to be Ilse, friend of Emily of New Moon.  I like Emily a lot, and Ilse can get away with wild statements and flights of passion that, while not really me, might be fun for a change!

Continue reading “Blog Hop: Walking in a Character’s Shoes…”

Book Review: The Golden Road

I never closed the loop on this one from the January L. M. Montgomery reading challenge.  I reviewed The Story Girl, then went on to reread its sequel, The Golden Road.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the first book…and then got more clarity of my earlier impressions by rereading the second book.

The sequel picks up much where the last book ended, and continues in the same style.  The children of the King family ramble around their family farm and orchard: Dan, Felicity and Cecily, hired boy Peter Craig, neighbor Sara Ray, Toronto cousins Beverly (a boy, despite the name–also the narrator) and Felix, and cousin The Story Girl, so nicknamed because of her telling of stories.

On a surface level this book matches the previous one, but once you scratch said-surface it isn’t really the same after all.  It’s still a lot of light-hearted stories about a group of children in Prince Edward Island, and the stories still centered around Montgomery staples like family gossip, school trials, the local colorful character Peg Bowen (who the children are convinced must be a witch), and the raptures of nature.

Despite all that, I rather think the sequel has been letting its predecessor down.  I’ve always read these books as a unit before, never stopping to analyze them separately, which I think is why I never realized how good The Story Girl is…because The Golden Road doesn’t live up to it.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Golden Road”

Top Ten “Tuesday” – Bookish Couples

I love Top Ten Tuesday and rarely post for it–but this seemed like a perfect topic for Valentine’s Day!  Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, with a new topic each Tuesday.  This week, it’s romance.

I wandered through my bookshelves, and pulled out a stack with my favorite romances in them–with a few bonus bromances and womances.  In no particular order…

1) The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig
Arabella and Turnip – I’ve written at length about these delightfully unconventional romantic leads, who are overlooked by everyone but each other.

2) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jane and Mr. Rochester – I know he has some serious problems…but Bronte punishes him so thoroughly and humbles him so completely that by the end of the book I really believe their romance.  And the last section is rather adorable.

3) Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Catherine Morland and Mr. Tilney – Mr. Darcy is the famous Austen hero, but I ❤ Mr. Tilney instead.  A smiling man who reads Gothic novels and knows his muslins–what’s not to love?

4) Enchantress from the Stars by Silvia Louise Engdahl
Elana and Georyn – The only bittersweet ending on my list, a beautiful love story about two people from, literally, different worlds, who change each other forever but can’t ever be together.

5) The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer:
Well, everyone – This quartet has four wonderful, engrossing love stories.  Cinder and Prince Kai were a hair behind the others; Scarlet and Wolf were as marvelous as Winter and Jacin; and my favorites were Cress and Thorne.  I have a soft spot for charming rogues with good hearts.

Continue reading “Top Ten “Tuesday” – Bookish Couples”

Reading Challenge Update: L. M. Montgomery Reading

I think we all know I’m very, very much a fan of L. M. Montgomery, so I think we all knew I was going to enjoy this January challenge!  Even so, I think it exceeded my expectations.  Hosted by Reading to Know, the challenge is simply to read Montgomery books, or ones about her, in January.  I read three books and a bit for this one.

1) First, the bit–in my ongoing reading of Montgomery’s journals, I finished Volume II and started Volume III.  Count that how you will!

2) I finally read Through Lover’s Lane by Elizabeth Rollins Epperly, which has been on my shelf for a long time.  Even though I didn’t love the book, it had some interesting insights and I’m happy I finally read it.

3) I reread The Story Girl by L. M. Montgomery, and was pleasantly surprised to find I liked it better than I had on previous reads.  In another “bit,” I started the sequel, The Golden Road, but haven’t finished it yet.

4) I also reread Magic Island by Elizabeth Waterston, very probably my favorite book about Montgomery.  It goes through each of her novels, analyzing what factors in her life, either in the past or at the time of writing, influenced the novel.  I didn’t get to a review of it, but maybe soon.

And so wraps my shortest challenge!  Time to get onto my other challenges…and I’ll post another update in a couple months.  In the meantime, happy reading!

Book Review: The Story Girl

I’m interrupting my usual Friday programming to instead do a book review, because today is an interesting anniversary–at least, if you’re somewhat intensely interested in L. M.  Montgomery!  Her dearest friend and cousin, Frederica Campbell, died on January 25th, 1919, a victim of the post-WWI flu epidemic.  That makes today the 100th anniversary.

Montgomery mourned Frederica, nicknamed Frede, for the rest of her life, and her presence looms very large in Montgomery’s journals and life.  So much so that it seems very strange to me that she died a hundred years ago–but I can never quite feel that Montgomery has been dead for over 75 years either.  I’ve been rereading the second volume of Montgomery’s selected journals, which includes Frede’s death (which is why I noticed the anniversary date) and it’s quite moving.

So in a kind of acknowledgement, today I’m reviewing The Story Girl, which I read this month for the L. M. Montgomery January Reading Challenge, and which I didn’t remember was dedicated to Frede until I started it.  Kismet!

The Story Girl stands a little apart from Montgomery’s other novels, which almost all have one girl or young woman at their center (Rainbow Valley is the other exception).  Despite what the title would suggest, The Story Girl has an entire circle of children at its center: brothers Bev and Felix King, Toronto visitors to Prince Edward Island, their cousins Felicity, Dan, and Cecily King, neighbor and faux-relative Sara Ray, hired boy Peter Craig, and cousin Sara Stanley, the titular Story Girl.  The group romps through a PEI summer and autumn, brush up against tragedy real or imagined, laugh a lot, and listen to many, many stories from the Story Girl. Continue reading “Book Review: The Story Girl”

Friday Face-Off Freebie: The Blue Castle

Today is a free day on the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme is “choose your own favorite” so I’ve selected one of my favorite books, my favorite L. M. Montgomery novel, The Blue Castle.

      

These two are much the same, both capturing the pastoral setting and suggesting the romance by putting a couple on the cover…though they don’t evoke the title at all, and there’s some questionable clothing choices going on in that right-hand cover! Continue reading “Friday Face-Off Freebie: The Blue Castle”

Blog Hop: Time-Travel Book Browsing

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: If you could travel back in time to purchase the first printing of a specific novel, what book would that be?

Seems to me there’s two ways to approach this…is this a book I’d buy to keep and cherish, or is it an investment?  If we’re looking at it as an investment, than the three that come to mind (although none are actually novels) are the Gutenberg Bible, a Shakespeare First Folio, and Action #1 comic book (the first Superman story).  I think any of those would be a very tidy investment!

Aside: I saw a First Folio once in Stratford, and just for fun I tucked one into the Phantom’s bookshelf in my Phantom trilogy, on the theory that he has a lot of money, and they may have been less sought after 140 years ago anyway.  I don’t call it a First Folio, just mention the title sitting on the shelf in one paragraph–and Hamlet, surprisingly enough, has a bit of a prominent role in the story.  /End Aside.

If we say I can buy the book but not re-sell it, then of course my brain goes towards L. M. Montgomery.  I probably wouldn’t get a first edition Anne of Green Gables (although I do have a “Thirty-Eighth Impression” 1914 copy, which I believe to be in the style of the first edition–$10, I kid you not).  I’d actually rather have a first edition of The Blue Castle, seeing as it’s my favorite.

Truth is, I’m not that enthralled with first editions, though.  I’d much rather have a signed copy of a favorite book than a first edition.  The cheapest L. M. Montgomery signed book I can find online is over $1,000 though, so…not something I’m purchasing!  At least, not right now. 🙂  But if I could time-travel to buy a book, see Montgomery and have it signed…yeah, that would definitely be what I’d do!

I’d also be rather tempted to get pre-first editions–to get a Strand magazine edition of a Sherlock Holmes story, or the original magazine installments of A Princess of Mars or The Phantom of the Opera.  I think that would be great fun!

If you could time-travel to buy a book, what would you get?  Would you sell your purchase, or would you buy something sentimental?