Saturday, April 30, 2016

Favorite Authors Revisited: L. M. Montgomery

Starting with Blue Castle last year and continuing with Jane of Lantern Hill, A Tangled Web, and Magic for Marigold this year, I have been reading several of Montgomery's usually later (compared to most of the Anne books), stand alone novels. My sisters have read or are reading them too, and we are enjoying them mightily. I feel like these are better written.

I am also re-reading the Anne novels which I love but I can definitely see an improvement in her writing. I need to read The Blythes Are Quoted (apparently the full version of another book The Road to Yesterday), The Golden Road and the rest of her short story collections.

The first Anne books were written with a year between, then there was a gap of 6 years after which four books were published every two years, then finally two more 15 and 18 years later. Most of her other novels were published between Rilla of Ingleside and Anne of Ingleside. This is the order of publications with the chronological order numbered.

1. Anne of Green Gables 
2. Anne of Avonlea
3. Anne of the Island
5. Anne's House of Dreams
7. Rainbow Valley
8. Rilla of Ingleside
4. Anne of Windy Poplars
6. Anne of Ingleside




Hopefully, today I am leaving on a cross-country road trip, so I should have plenty of posts from that.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Childhood Fandoms Part 2

Books

The Boxcar  Children. Explained in a few words, how fun to live as they did and then be rescued+crush on Henry.

The Little House series. I was a little pioneer girl. I have my bonnet yet made with the sewing book (not the same as the craft book; I want to find an old copy if I can) from our trusty and beloved old church library. Tied in with the pioneer theme was our Oregon Trail game. I do not think I ever made it to Oregon which could have been due in part to my steadfast refusal to hunt. I remember dressing up and playing pioneers, tramping around our yard.

The American Girl series. I thought I was about 8, perhaps a bit younger, when my dad started reading the Kirsten books to me, but then I looked up the dates; I remember Josefina being new or fairly new (of course I also thought I remember Kirsten being new but she was one of the first . . . before I was born), so I must have been closer to 6 or 7. Surely it was 7. I got the Felicity, Kirsten, and Molly books for Christmas possibly that same year. I wonder if my parents got me those books to encourage me to read because I was apparently a late reader.

The stories have sadly degenerated, starting, I think with Julie. A lot of the older dolls have been archived, and the newer ones are just less interesting and lasting, I think. They changed the original artwork in some of the original girls' books. Ah, me.

I went to an American girl dolls program at about age 7 or 8; the first activity was a mob cap. We also did a Samantha skit. I do not remember all the activities, but the last was a tea in a restaurant in an historical building, and we received a mini tea set (which I have yet; I was obsessed with those for years, but its seems you can hardly find them now).

The next Christmas I received Samantha. I got quite a bit of her clothes and things . . . and then made one of my most regretted decisions. I gave. them. all. away. I wish Mom had not allowed it. I gave hundreds of dollars of things away, and NOT to someone in need, but because I was under the impression that that was what I had to do to get another doll, Felicity. I am so mad at myself.

We also owned some of the cookbooks, theater sets, craft books, and Samantha's sewing patterns, most of which we still have. My little sisters' destroyed Felicity's hair, but I still have her. One sister has her Addy doll. We took part in another program with crafts and activities via a Hallmark store and earned pins and a necklace. I know I gave my necklace away, and I think the pins also. What a careless child.

When my dad made us throw away our barbies (I was 10, I think) at which we bawled our eyes out, my mom replaced them (we had like 15 or more of them) with the mini American girls dolls. Between us and my younger sisters, those poor things are frightening now, but I have a few of the little miniature books yet in good condition.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Childhood Fandoms Part 1

Movies/Miniseries

Hans Brinker. My grandfather started reading the book to us, and we were supposed to finish it first, but that did not happen. We watched an old 60's movie. I adored it. And Hans.

Heidi. I watched the 80's version over and over. What are known as milkmaid braids were Heidi braids to us. We would re-enact on the slide, sometimes wearing a pair of boots we thought were somewhat similar to Klara's in the movie, the dramatic scene in which Klara has drag her legs with her hands into place to help Peter rescue Heidi.

Lion King. I am sitting on my bed typing this with my Simba blanket of nearly two decades. We had Simba and Nala stuffed animals and a puzzle. When I was a wee thing, this was the most watched movie.

So Dear to My Heart. I checked this movie out so many times from our old church library. All I remember is that is was about a boy and his sheep and they found cow remains in the forest (the explanation for that memory is my extreme phobia of bones) and heard wolves/coyotes howling.

Pocahontas. I think this and Cinderella are the Disney princess movies I watched the most when I was very small. I had a Pocahontas costume too. I really need to watch this again as I have not seen it in over a decade. I feel like I found this more interesting than Cinderella, but maybe I am wrong.

I think we watched Jungle Book fairly often too. I remember watching Thumbelina for the first time. And I may have watched Swan Princess when I was little, but I only remember watching it when I was older, like preteen. I know I watched more movies, mainly if not all Disney, but the first four movies listed are with what I obsessed.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Favorite Authors Revisited: Rosemary Sutcliffe

I recently finished with the final two books of  The Eagle of the Ninth "series" that I had not read: Dawn Wind and Frontier Wolf. 

I mentioned to some people, during a discussion about The Eagle film, about how I did not think that The Eagle of the Ninth makes for a good movie (that film was not well made period, though). I think that holds true for all of the books. The stories are not merely plots, and all the intensity and detail is the words, so many emotions and details are underlying and implied in the stories. There is no melodrama, but the intensity will tear your heart out.

Here is the series in chronological order. By series I mean it traces Marcus' direct line down through the generations via his ring. There are enough generations between books, so there no memories just the ties barely hinted at which and this makes these books all the more interesting.

The Eagle of the Ninth
The Silver Branch
Frontier Wolf
The Lantern Bearers
Dawn Wind
Sword Song 
The Shield Ring

Stand alone books that I have read include: Outcast, Warrior Scarlet, The Mark of the Horse Lord, and The Shining Company. Ones that have content/graphic inappropriateness include: Sword at Sunset (this is considered a crossover book between Eagle and Arthurian Legend series, but since this barely says anything much of Aquila and Flavian and focuses more on Artos, a skip for content is fine story wise; it does not fit the pattern of the other books which make Marcus' family the central story) and Blood and Sand. I would just make certain the novels are for children not adults and you should be okay. I like to use Wikipedia.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Tag Post

I was tagged here. I am sorry, but as usual with tags, I am terribly late and am not tagging anyone.

Blog that makes me laugh
http://tieyourowncravat.blogspot.com/

Blog that makes me think
Blog that teaches me things
http://www.girltalkhome.com/blog/

Blog with beautiful header(s)
http://maidformore.blogspot.com/

Blogger who takes great pictures
http://www.susannahhope.com/
For me it is important to have good stories with good photos and this blog has that. The blogger does not blog regularly anymore, but I would recommend going through the archives (I like doing that when I find new blogs I like).

Blogger whose recommendations I trust
I have tried make-up, Cowgirl Dirt, after hearing about it on this blog: http://freshmodesty.blogspot.com/
I have tried books from various blogs including http://www.woolandwheel.com/
I appreciate reviews on this blog: http://old-fashionedcharm.blogspot.com/
There are many more I am sure.
I have been inspired by so many blogs. I think that is the best purpose for blogs to share lovely crafts, fashions, books, and such and inspire others to pursue them also.

New blog I'm enjoying
http://pleasantviewschoolhouse.blogspot.com/
This is not new nor quite new to me, but I recently went through the archives after previously bookmarking/noting it and then ignoring it.

Blog I've followed the longest
http://insertfootinopenmouth.blogspot.com/
This blogger has not blogged regularly in years. I read Stacy McDonald's book Raising Maidens of Virtue and found her daughters' blogs via her site. I found other blogs through those blogs, and that is what started all my blog reading. I am more hit and miss at finding blogs now, and it seems that the bloggers are mostly quite a bit younger than me or at least that it is easier to find those bloggers; I still find some of their blogs well-written and thought provoking and so follow them, but I would like to find more grown-up bloggers who know how to balance adult lives and their blogs, to replace the ones that quit.

Blog I've started following the most recently
http://ashleyalphabet.blogspot.com/
I am not certain if this is the most recent, but is one of the most recent.

Blog that is always a refreshing happiness
http://naomiblog15.blogspot.com/

Blog where I revel in the words
http://www.gsheller.com/
I am wary of people and bloggers who place undue emphasis on word-craft. Usually, I find rather more to dislike. But I like photos and stories, so I like this blog even though it isn't what immature bloggers consider well-written (and I consider frothy, flowery, and questionable).

Friday, April 1, 2016

2016 Anne of Green Gables Reading Challenge

I am participating at my own speed in this challenge. I started my re-read in March and will be on book five by the time this posts. 

January
Anne of Green Gables
This first installment of Anne Shirley’s story is about her finding a home after years of displacement. While we often consider ‘home’ to be synonymous with ‘house’, it’s also a state of being. What does home mean for you and what makes it special?
A sanctuary, a haven, a safe place. A place in which my family lives. Where there are limits to outside contact in order to have rest and respite. Where there is little to fear.

Friendship is such a huge theme in this book. There are many elements that make up a great bosom friendship like Anne and Diana’s but if you had to pick three of those elements, what would they be?
Trust, and by that I mean not merely that the friends do not break confidences, but that the friends does not misinterpret or abuse words. Longevity. Diana and Anne stay friends even though for a time their circumstance were totally different; if a friendship cannot last, people should not have been friends in the first place. Integrity. Diana and Anne do not destroy or attempt to destroy each other’s relationships whether familial, friendly, or romantic. Indeed, Diana did try to persuade Anne to mend her relationship with Gilbert, and I do not think Diana encouraged Anne in her unforgiving attitude.

Of course, we love Gilbert Blythe but the real sweetheart in the first book is Matthew Cuthbert. What makes Matthew such a great father figure in Anne’s life? And (if you’ve read the books before) what effect do you think his love and influence has in the rest of Anne’s life?
Matthew, as Anne later says, is the first person in Anne’s memory to love her. He listens and does not mock, criticize, or reprove her often wild, imaginative speech. He is her source of encouragement and support in both trouble and triumph. He is the real example to her ideals of the treatment and raising of children.

February
Anne of Avonlea
Anne of Avonlea introduces a cast of new characters including Mr. Harrison, Miss Lavender, Davy & Dora, Paul Irving, and Charlotta the Fourth. Which new character(s) was the most endearing to you? What do you like about them?
I like Mr. Harrison and Davy because they are hilarious each in their own way. And they both force Anne to look at things via different perspectives from her own.

Anne has such high hopes and ideals when she sets out to teach Avonlea School. However, she’s in for a few surprises. What do you think about expectations and ideals when approaching a new situation? What do you think Anne discovered in this season as a school teacher?
I think that Anne already had a knack with children. I feel that she learned more from Davy and Dora than from this particular teaching experience.  .  . except in the case of Anthony Pye. However, I do understand why she was so upset when she explained that she punished him in anger.

What do you think of Miss Lavender’s romance? Do you agree with Gilbert’s comment on what could have been?
I agree with Gilbert . . . and his double meaning/warning. But still, I do NOT agree with Marilla’s rendering of it in prose; I do not think either Mr. Irving or Miss Lavender were that pragmatic.

March
Anne of the Island
There are some great conversations between Anne and Gil in this book. As much as I love the TV series, some of the real essence of their friendship is lost in the film adaptation. They were such buddies! Is there a scene in the book that you wish hadn’t been left out of the film adaptation? 
Well, all of them. The first proposal to begin the list. The first proposal in the movies border lined on if not actually committed plagiarism Laurie’s proposal from Little Women (the novel). That film had other distinct plagiarisms from the novels, one also with a Gilbert/Laurie parallel (two leading men who are not remotely alike). Anne and Gilbert did not bicker like Jo and Laurie; that sort of behavior was not like them at all. The movies increasingly infuriate me as they progress.

The proposal. Ah! The proposal! Tell me, which do you like better? The film version or the book version? Mind you, I see Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie when I read the books so I’m not talking about the acting but rather the scenes for their own sake.
See above. I want to research that subject better. Anne and Gilbert in the movies are little like the book characters.

Let’s talk about Roy Gardener, the man straight out of Anne’s dreams. Give three reasons why he’s so not the guy for her. And if you’d like, talk a bit about having a ‘dream man’ and whether or not we should hold out for them or eventually let them go.
He wasn’t the guy for her because half of what she thought for and all of what she felt for him was imagined. Because he could not be the understanding companion that Gilbert was.  Because in reality Roy had little in common with her. And as to having a “dream man,” well that depends on whether we have high expectations (which is good, as long as we have them for our own behavior/character/appearance) and unrealistic expectations (i.e. expecting perfection or expecting low of ourselves and high of our men).

BONUS QUESTION!
Christine Stewart. I get that TV has to be written so that the plot moves along smoothly and all, and I can respect that, but really? What do you think about what Sullivan did in the movie as opposed to how Montgomery wrote Gil’s relationship with her?

Again, this goes back to the filmmakers’ misunderstanding/misrepresentation of Anne. Anne really loved Gilbert, and that colored everything she understood about him and about Roy (she thought she loved Roy; she was not settling), but she also undervalued him. She did not understand that he loved her so deeply that he had not gotten over her or attempted to compromise. That is why she thought the untrue of him, that he quickly lost his feelings for her and became engaged to Christine. Sullivan merely chose to go the conventional route involving compromising on both sides.