(these gentle books)

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I knew an elderly widow lady when I was growing up, and she borrowed just about all of my L.M. Montgomery books.  I would bring one or more to church and give them to her.  After she was done reading them, she gave them back with her initials, “LC” written lightly in pencil, in the back cover of the books.

She had snow white hair, the picture-perfect little old lady, and lived all alone in a big, quiet farmhouse, using just a few of the rooms.

Can you imagine her quietly reading?  Maybe sitting in a “dressed” heavy rocking chair, the kind that has a thick afghan over the back, and a nice comfortable cushion in the seat?  Or maybe it was a recliner by a sunny window, or the kitchen table, or her bed.  Wherever the place, she did read them, and sat alone in her house, passing the hours away with some of the best fiction books anyone could enjoy. . . .

You are never too old for Anne, or any other of L.M. Montgomery’s girls.

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I found my first Montgomery book in the library.  It was Anne of Avonlea, and once I read it, I was hooked for life.  It became one of my childhood and teenager-hood passions~getting my hands on every L.M.Montgomery book I could find.  The more famous ones were easy, but it took years to collect them all.

Anne’s House of Dreams has some wavy yellow pages from me dropping it into a bowl of chicken noodle soup.

It was always a thrill to meet a kindred spirit.  My High School English teacher turned out to be one.  She got excited one day when she saw me reading A Tangled Web, and asked to borrow it.  I had found another Montgomery fan!  Now that I’m older, I realize that I am by no means unusual in my interest, there are thousands and thousands of devoted fans.  Are you one?

My latest purchase has been the Norton Critical Edition of Anne of Green Gables, and a used copy of one of Montgomery’s journals, which covers the years in which Anne was first published.

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In it I found this wonderful quote:

“When I am asked if Anne herself is a ‘real person’ I always answer ‘no’ with an odd reluctance and an uncomfortable feeling of not telling the truth.  For she is and always has been, from the moment I first thought of her, so real to me that I feel I am doing violence to something when I deny her an existence anywhere save in Dreamland.  Does she not stand at my elbow even now–if I turned my head quickly should I not see her–with her eager, starry eyes and her long braids of red hair and her little pointed chin?  To tell that haunting elf that she is not real, because, forsooth, I never met her in the flesh!  No, I cannot do it!  She is so real that, although I’ve never met her, I feel quite sure I shall do so someday–perhaps in a stroll through Lover’s Lane in the twilight–or in the moonlit Birch Path–I shall lift my eyes and find her, child or maiden, by my side.  I shall not be in the least surprised because I have always known she was somewhere.”  ~from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s journal

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The story of that little old lady does stop there. . . . .When I was a teenager, I went to her house one day to help her clean.  The upstairs was full of boxes and old things.  In one of the first boxes of books we opened, there on the top of them all, was an old 1911 edition of Anne of Green Gables.  I gasped, snatched it from the box, and hugged it to my chest.  (or, bosom, as Anne would say) I could not believe my eyes!

She gave me the book, and it remains one of my prized possessions.  It’s ironic that I don’t even know where it is right now.  I just tore my room apart, looking for it.  I think that I was so afraid of something happening to it that I packed it away.  Yes, it will bug me to no end until I find it.  When I do, I’ll be sure to take some pictures.

L.M. Montgomery’s books are all perfectly delightful, full of the beautiful (and not so beautiful) parts of life that we all enjoy~God’s creation, relationships (who can forget Mrs. Lynde, Marilla and Matthew, or Diana Barry?), great humor, food, kitty-cats, quiet moments, childhood mischief, love, community spirit, and the fascinating times of a bygone era.

I’ll be revisiting them all again this summer.&nbsp
; (some for probably the 20th time!) It will be good for me, like visiting an old tried and truly trusted old friend~or cuddling in a favorite blanket with a mug of steaming tea.  Calmness for my mind.

They are the ideal books to take with you to your hammock under the trees . . . .

And, if you have a Grandma who loves to read, I would suggest giving her one (or more) as a gift!

35 thoughts on “(these gentle books)

  1. I must say that I’m intrigued.  I’ve only ever read the Anne books.  I’m on _Anne of Ingleside_ right now.  It’s been so long since I last read them that I’ve forgotten what this book is even about!  I didn’t realize she’d written so many books!  Where did you get a comprehensive list?  I suppose I could find one online somewhere…

  2. Good Morning Shanda….What a beautiful collection of books. Funny I never did get reading the L. Montgomery books. But I think I will now!! There was a tv show on a few years ago “Anne of Green Gables” a Canadian show I believe. I have to admit because of that show I was not interested in reading these books. But that has changed.
    I’ve been reading your blog. I so love reading about your children and the funny things they do. My girls laughed at the “electric ears.” They wanted to keep going back to those pictures. It is so funny.
    Leslie when she was little got into baby powder. And we mothers know that when the children are quiet its best to check on them to see what they are up too. Well, thats what I did one day when it was quiet. I walked into a baby powder perfumed room and found a toddler covered in baby powder! And her footprints all over the place! I regret not having a camera. She was all white. Her tiny eyelashes were white, her hair had a dusting of white. White, white, white……..
    You have a blessed day…..your writings here on your blog always inspire me, they make me happy, and I truly enjoy visiting.

  3. Oh, I felt kindred spirits with Anne and read the series many times in my ‘youth’. One of my friends even said I was just like Anne. I even made up a skit(green hair saga) that I did with my friend.I loved her imagination and the way she was enraptured with beauties of nature! My, lfe has changed being the mother of 6 boys who don’t care for “romantic” notions!I was in heaven when the movie came out. I felt it matched the book almost perfectly!
    Ihave never read any of the other L.M. Montgomery books, maybe they would capture my fancy as well!
    ~C

  4. A few years ago, we visited Prince Edward Island and did all the “Anne” things, including spending a day at “Avonlea” ~ the girl who played Anne there was a delight ~ I have a photo of her with me.  We toured the home, cemetery, Lovers’ Lane, etc. ~ so enjoyable.  I haven’t even read many of the books, but we enjoyed it all, nonetheless.  I have been eating lunch as I read your blog today ~ rather relaxing, I must say ~

  5. I adore L.M. Montgomery’s work. I was homeschooled, and some of my required reading were the Anne books, the Little House on the Prarie’s and of course the Chronicles of Narnia. Those series are my all time favorites. I have to find those other books. I have never seen half of them. I also need to find the Little house on the Prarie books (resonably priced of course). This was a beautiful post.

  6. You know how much I love Anne…and I have read a few of your others.  But I would love to read the rest.  I know you had brought your Anne book with you on our get away.  I’ll have to see if I can find them at the library – or e-bay maybe.
    Love You – my kindred spirit…and my bosom friend.

  7. My mother introduced me to the Anne books when I was quite young. I have quite a few but not all of LM Mongomery’s books. They are treasures. Did you like Before Green Gables? I think thats the title.

  8. I have never read any of hers, I know Juls will make her way over here and leave a comment.  I loved the movies but just never read the books.  I am also thinking of my friend Louise I am going to send her over here I think she would be a “kindred” as well!

  9. I just watched the movies–I borrwed them from Colleen–and it made me want to read the books.  I couldn’t get into them when I was younger but I know I could now.  Afterall I’m kind of a carrott top!  I can relate!

  10. wow, the 20th time? Let us know how many of the books you make it through this summer. 🙂 I was in Anne of Green Gables the play once…but I don’t recall reading the books….I just might pick one up soon though!

  11. Jo did send me the link … I am drooling over your collection! I have a fairly decent LMM collection myself, but it’s paltry compared to yours. I honestly can’t remember a time when I haven’t been reading her books. I think The Story Girl and The Golden Road are my favorites (as if one can choose … I also love Anne, Jane, the Blue Castle … the list goes on). Your copies of the Anne books are exactly the same as my mom’s, the ones I grew up reading. I have my own boxed set, but the covers aren’t the same, and just seeing those older editions brings back such a rush of fond memories.Here’s final proof of my LMM-geekiness. I now write LMM fanfiction because she just didn’t write enough books! I figured that if I wanted to read more, I’d have to write them myself … and lo, a new obsession was born. I now have four completed stories and two in the works, and one more planned!The world would be a better place if more people read LM Montgomery …

  12. Wow, I didn’t realize that L.M. Montgomery wrote so many books!!! I have read all of the Anne books and love them…. and now I want to read some of her other works, too! I have been inspired to re-read the ones I have, and find some new favorites
    These are lovely pictures, by the way!

  13. You know how I love Anne, and all of Lucy Maud’s characters!  I thought that I had them all, but I saw one in your pictures that I don’t have.  I wonder if there are more that I don’t have.  Something to research.  I was just thinking that I should read some L. M. Montgomery this summer!  I mailed you a letter today.

  14. I have read all of the Anne Of Green Gable books. When I first met my best friend Debbie, she got me watching the Anne movies, then she lent me all of her Anne books. We used to, and still do, call each other our kindred spirits and bosom friends, like Anne and Diane. I have never thought about reading her other books.  I will have to start looking online for them. You always have the most interesting posts, and most wonderful pictures with your posts. God Bless
    Kelly

  15. I love, love, love the Anne of Green Gables series!!!!  I’ll have to look into other books by that author.  I never thought about reading her other books.  I’ve loved the Anne books so much!  I love the basket full of books.  Makes me smile.

  16. To be completely honest I have never read any of the books or watched any of the movies. Nate is always telling me how much he enjoyed them, we were just talking about getting some so I could read them.

  17. I never knew she had written so many books…I have loved the stories of Anne of Green Gables since I can remember…When you said who could forget Marilla and Matthew…I teared up…because I know that those are characters that I will not soon if ever forget, and they really brought joy into my life…Now you make me want to go look for more of her books…

  18. Yes, yes, I am a fan….I have several in addition to the series….but I see you have some I have never seen The Anne books are the best…..and I was thinking of Rainbow valley one day when reading your blog.  All the fun the children have.  A good idea to reread this summer!  blessings, Jenny

  19. I so cherish every one but next to Anne I just loved the Emily books. Something haunting about them…I think of her often.We did the homeschool unit study..Where the Brook and River Meet…and through that obtained so many L.M. Montgomery books…cookbooks and journals.But, many years ago through a PBS offer I bought the Anne of Green Gables Cookbook and to this day the birthday cake of choice for all of us..every year and then some…is Anne’s Liniment Cake. Would like the recipe? It is most delicious….we use vanilla instead of liniment. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story of the woman who read your books. I think it a treasure you have her initials in the books too…maybe her way of lightly marking which ones she had read.Like I have been saying…to be a child in your home would be an awesome gift.I do admire you so much.God has truly blessed your husband and children.Susan

  20. @suzsea – Dear Susan, Thank you for your kind comments. You give much needed encouragement. About the recipe for Anne’s cake~please do share it with me! I just read today in Montgomery’s autobiography that the story about the cake was based on a true experience. Your friend, Shanda

  21. This post was so inspiring to me! It made me run downstairs and grab a few of my own L.M. Montgomery books! :o) I love the pictures too…you have a way of making things so cozy and beautiful! I enjoyed the story about the sweet old lady as well! The mental pictures that you paint for us all are lovely and always give me a little escape in the day…thank you!

  22. OH, my!!! This is Carilyn from mom3kids3cats! My husband had logged in and then when I went to put a post it posted under his name! Hahaha! Oops! He got the message back and was like…”What did you do?” Oops again! Anyways, this is going to show up under his name again…but just so you know…it is actually MOM3KIDS3CATS (Carilyn). Sorry if it was confusing! I didn’t even know that I had done it! My comment must have sounded kinda’ funny coming from a “guy” huh? Hhaha!

  23. OH, that time it posted under me! Hmmm…so strange! My husband is AudioDr. (he doesn’t normally use it but he had logged in I guess and was looking at my blog and didn’t sign out when I left my first comment…)

  24. I too am a collector of Montgomery’s works.  I am missing a couple of her short story books, I think.  It’s been a few years since I’ve put time into researching and looking for the ones I am missing.  The cake recipe would be intersesting to see, although I think I’d use the vanilla too!  As for soup stains…my copies have met the same fate.

  25. funny.. i just put a quote by her on my post last night. brought back memories seeing all these books here.. most of which i’ve read. was a huge fan of hers growing up and am excited to see my kate loving her work. in the little town where my husband is from in Can. they have Anne stuff everywhere in all the little shops – you’d LOVE it!

  26. Oh, I love Anne too. . .I used to imagine that if I had daughters I would name them for my favorite “characters” in books and/or movies.  They would have been Laura (Laura Ingalls Wilder), Maria (Sound of Music), Anne (Anne of Green Gables), and Elizabeth or Lizzie (Pride and Prejudice).  And just look. . .God gave me four sons instead!! 🙂 Maybe I’ll get a granddaughter one day named after one of these beautiful girls. . .

  27. I just found your blog from someone else’s blog! LOL Easy to do!I love Anne’s books. Since I am laid up right now, I watched Anne of Green Gables, and the Sequel, and all of the Road To Avonlea movies that are on You-Tube!I found some books online that you may want to read also, if you haven’t already!Go to http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/mScroll down until you find Montgomery and in the list of her books are these:Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1896 to 1901 (English)Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1902 to 1903 (English)Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1904 (English)Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1905 to 1906 (English)Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1907 to 1908 (English)Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1909 to 1922 (English)May I subscribe to you? I love how you write! Very encouraging!Tina

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