Thursday, January 31, 2013

Reading Journal: Looking for Anne of Green Gables by Irene Gammel

Book Description:
In June 1908, a red-haired orphan appeared on to the streets of Boston and a modern legend was born. That little girl was Anne Shirley, better known as Anne of Green Gables, and her first appearance was in a book that has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide and been translated into more than 35 languages (including Braille). The author who created her was Lucy Maud Montgomery, a writer who revealed very little of herself and her method of crafting a story. On the centenary of its publication, Irene Gammel tells the braided story of both Anne and Maud and, in so doing, shows how a literary classic was born. Montgomery’s own life began in the rural Cavendish family farmhouse on Prince Edward Island, the place that became the inspiration for Green Gables. Mailmen brought the world to the farmhouse’s kitchen door in the form of American mass market periodicals sparking the young Maud’s imagination. From the vantage point of her small world, Montgomery pored over these magazines, gleaning bits of information about how to dress, how to behave and how a proper young lady should grow. She began to write, learning how to craft marketable stories from the magazines’ popular fiction; at the same time the fashion photos inspired her visual imagination. One photo that especially intrigued her was that of a young woman named Evelyn Nesbit, the model for painters and photographers and lover of Stanford White. That photo was the spark for what became Anne Shirley. Blending biography with cultural history, Looking for Anne of Green Gables is a gold mine for fans of the novels and answers a trunk load of questions: Where did Anne get the “e” at the end of her name? How did Montgomery decide to give her red hair? How did Montgomery’s courtship and marriage to Reverend Ewan Macdonald affect the story? Irene Gammel's dual biography of Anne Shirley and the woman who created her will delight the millions who have loved the red haired orphan ever since she took her first step inside the gate of Green Gables farm in Avonlea.
My thoughts:
Looking for Anne of Green Gables: The Story of L. M. Montgomery and Her Literary Classic by Irene Gammel caught my eyes a couple of years ago at our local Borders (when it existed) always had it shelved in the wrong section. Obviously, their mis-shelving worked since it really piqued my interest. I had said in my initial post that I would read this based on time and interest. It did keep my interest, but I really had issues with parts of the book.

My first big issue was with the treatment of how girls behaved and acted during that time period. Today's author's put on lenses of political correctness and judge everything through that. Is it that hard to believe that at one time girl's liked to hold each other's hands, put their arms around each other, and even sleep together? (I remember my grandma once telling me that they slept three siblings in her bed.) In this book it is portrayed as weird and with a possiblity of being _ _ _. (I refuse to put the word in my blog!) So on that point I was highly annoyed.

But second issue was with the conjecture and supposition that I found threaded throughout. This is one reason why I have a big dislike for biographies since author's can't seem to really stick with facts, but tends to draw their own conclusions. Where does the fact end and fiction begin?

The sections that I liked best that told of Montgomery's life and actual writing of the story. From this book I could tell how her family had a big part in influencing her books and not only her Anne books. I came away with my own impressions that she was a very observant of those around her and a very good judge of human character and had a knack for portraying it so well in her stories. I would recommend this book if you are interested in every small detail of what may have inspired the writing of Anne of Green Gables and details that surround her life. For me, I'm probably done with reading anything else about her. I'm just going to enjoy her stories and recommend them to every one I know and you know what, I think she would be happy with that

L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge

Reading Journal: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (audio)

Book Description:
"She'll have to go back."
Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert have decided to adopt an orphan. They want a nice sturdy boy to help Matthew with the farm chores. The orphanage sends a girl instead—a mischievous, talkative redhead who the Cuthberts are sure will be of no use at all. But as soon as Anne arrives at the snug white farmhouse called Green Gables, she knows she wants to stay forever. And the longer Anne stays, the harder it is for anyone to imagine Green Gables without her.

My thoughts:
After another read (actual a listen this time) through Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (narrated by Barbara Caruso), I am still just as enchanted with Anne as I was the first time I read about her. I love her imagination, her talkativeness, her drama, essentially I love her delight in everything. She is like a breath of fresh air!

One thing about listening to the story is that I could really listen to all the wonderful descriptions and imagine them in my own mind. With the film version of Anne of Green Gables I already have a picture in my mind that I can pull up, but when I actually listened to what she was describing I came up with a different picture in my mind.  Don't get me wrong I do enjoy the film, but the book is so much better!

Also while listening through it this time I was drawn to the special relationship that Anne had with Matthew. Unlike Marilla, he wasn't afraid to love Anne from the start and soon wasn't afraid to show it or tell her. Overall, his quiet love adds that little bit of extra perfectness to the the story.

As I have stated before, Anne's story has always been at the top of my list and and am loving that I can share my love of Anne with my daughter. My only problem now is that I can't wait until next year to delve into Anne of Avonlea, so I'm off to  have an appointment with my iPod Touch!

Here are some of my favorite Anne and Matthew moments:*

"It was dreadful of me to forget," said Anne apologetically, "but that was the afternoon I was trying to think of a name for Violet Vale and it crowded other things out. Matthew was so good. He never scolded a bit. He put the tea down himself and said we could wait awhile as well as not. And I told him a lovely fairy story while we were waiting, so he didn't find the time long at all. It was a beautiful fairy story, Marilla. I forgot the end of it, so I made up an end for it myself and Matthew said he couldn't tell where the join came in."  
SCROLL Pictures, Images and Photos
"Matthew, did you ever study geometry when you went to school?"  
"Well now, no, I didn't," said Matthew, coming out of his doze with a start.

"I wish you had," sighed Anne, "because then you'd be able to sympathize with me. You can't sympathize properly if you've never studied it. It is casting a cloud over my whole life. I'm such a dunce at it, Matthew."  
"Well now, I dunno," said Matthew soothingly. "I guess you're all right at anything. Mr. Phillips told me last week in Blair's store at Carmody that you was the smartest scholar in school and was making rapid progress. 'Rapid progress' was his very words. There's them as runs down Teddy Phillips and says he ain't much of a teacher, but I guess he's all right."
SCROLL Pictures, Images and Photos
"Oh, I know I'm a great trial to you, Marilla," said Anne repentantly. "I make so many mistakes. But then just think of all the mistakes I don't make, although I might. I'll get some sand and scrub up the spots before I go to school. Oh, Marilla, my heart was just set on going to that concert. I never was to a concert in my life, and when the other girls talk about them in school I feel so out of it. You didn't know just how I felt about it, but you see Matthew did. Matthew understands me, and it's so nice to be understood, Marilla."
SCROLL Pictures, Images and Photos

"Well now, I was proud of her and I did tell her so 'fore she went upstairs," said Matthew.
SCROLL Pictures, Images and Photos
Matthew had declared to her his conviction that she "would beat the whole Island." That, Anne felt, was something it would be foolish to hope for even in the wildest dreams. But she did hope fervently that she would be among the first ten at least, so that she might see Matthew's kindly brown eyes gleam with pride in her achievement.
SCROLL Pictures, Images and Photos
"If I had been the boy you sent for," said Anne wistfully, "I'd be able to help you so much now and spare you in a hundred ways. I could find it in my heart to wish I had been, just for that." "Well now, I'd rather have you than a dozen boys, Anne," said Matthew patting her hand. "Just mind you that—rather than a dozen boys. Well now, I guess it wasn't a boy that took the Avery scholarship, was it? It was a girl—my girl—my girl that I'm proud
*I'm sorry I don't have page numbers since my book has been lent out, but you can check out the free version here.

L. M. Montgomery Reading ChallengeReading to Know - Book Club  
A big thank you to Carrie at Reading to Know for hosting the L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page

•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Peter Duck - Exodus Books

Peter Duck by Arthur Ransome
She saw Peter Duck swing the mallet and strike the belaying-pin out of the link. Four fathom of chain flew with a roar through the hawse-hole. There was a crash of breaking wood and a tremendous splash, as the anchor, with Black Jake upon it, dropped, smashed the dinghy and plunged to the bottom of the harbour. p. 62

A Non-Nature Mom's Guide to Winter Nature Study

I have a confession to make. I am a complete failure at nature study. Honestly, my idea of the perfect nature study is sitting outside on a very warm, dry, beautiful Oregon day and reading a book about nature, such as,  A Girl of the Limberlost!

Don't get me wrong--I long to do nature study and I even get inspired, but after one or two attempts I just give it up. (And yes, I have tried using the Outdoor Hour Challenges from the Handbook of Nature Study blog.) I have more excuses for why not to do it than why to do it, such as:
  • Where do I go?
  • I live in Oregon and it rains all the time thus it is...
  • Too muddy--we don't have the proper foot gear for mud or...
  • It's too cold--we don't have the proper clothing or....
  • Finally, the sun came out and the trees and flowers are in bloom. Let's go explore--Achoo!!!!! Sniff, sniff!! Where is my allergy medicine???
I'm sure you get the picture, plus all those books sitting by by bed are so much more enticing than the outdoors any day. Since reading outside doesn't count what is a non-nature mom to do to get her kids interested in nature? A couple of years ago we started Apologia's Exploring Creation With Zoology 1 and I accidentally hit on a nature study project that we have been successful in.

In the book it is recommended to make a bird feeder and attract birds to your backyard. Well, I seriously doubted we would have any come since where we live is a residential area (Imagine my shock the first morning after we moved to this neighborhood I woke up to a crow cawing vs. junco's twittering prettily in the trees of our old neighborhood). Anyway, I went out and bought a cheap bird feeder and some bird feed and put it out and lo and behold after a week or two we began to attract birds to our backyard!

Our bird feeders as of Monday morning.
This started a new love in our house for all things birds. We were also reading Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Burgess, which dovetailed nicely with with the Apologia book and the birds that were coming to our feeders. The kids began to watch for new birds and then would look them up in the bird book and even began to draw them. We also relied on the All About Birds website to help us out when our bird books didn't give enough information. I also noticed that the bird watching wasn't limited to our backyard, but also when we went out the kids were looking for birds.

Oregon Junco
Later we added a suet feeder and a finch feeder with thistle seed. We see a lot of Goldfinches, House Finches, Oregon Junco, and even some Black-capped Chickadee. In the summer we have seen Western Tanagers and even had hummingbirds visit and we don't even have a hummingbird feeder!

If you look in the top of the picture you can see a (blurry) House Finch.
There is so much out about birds, I found it easy to just strew books around and the kids did most of their learning on their own. They took old Audubon Songbird calendars given to them by my mom and fought over them for a while and cut them apart, glued the pictures onto nice paper, and wrote down information about the birds.  They also like to browse through the Birds and Blooms Magazine. I have even seen my daughter get out Handbook of Nature Study!

Resources we use .

I will admit we aren't going outside very much and we don't have any beautiful nature journals sitting around and Handbook of Nature Study sits unused (especially on my part), but attracting birds to our backyard has created and fostered a love of learning about birds in our house. Hopefully, it will lead us to make it outdoor and discover and learn about other parts of nature.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - A Little of This & That

1. Delani all tuckered out. 2. Pizza dough. 3. The working dryer!
4 & 5. New iPad!!!! 6. Delani's sweet note.
7. Working on Bible Memory.
8. An hour of fun at the gym.
9. Destini working on her cross-stitch project.

In my life this week…
We started off Monday trying to figure out what was wrong with our dryer (3). Shade went down to the appliance store and described what the dryer was doing and they told him that the motor had gone out. He came home and did some research and found out a new motor would be $140. He found a clip on YouTube that showed how to change the motor, which led to another clip that recommended to check the thermal fuse. Lo and behold, he took it out and the dryer started. So he went down and bought a new fuse and we now have a dryer that works. The best part is it only cost $14 to fix. Thank you, Jesus.

We also received our new iPad (4 & 5) this week. My husband was able to get this through his work's reward program that they offer. We are still figuring it out, but look forward to having fun with it.

I spent the rest of the week catching up with laundry. Other than that it was a typical week: errands, library and work on Tuesday, and church.

In our homeschool this week…
In history for Chantry and Destini we are reading about the Declaration of Independence and the beginning of the Revolutionary War. They have waited quite a while for this moment and it has finally arrived!

Destini and Caleb are still going strong with dictation using Spelling Wisdom Book 1 and Book 3. They seem to really enjoy this. Read more about how we do dictation here.

I have been trying to focus on reading books to Delani, and two of her favorites this week were The Mitten and the The Hat by Jan Brett.

Destini started a cross-stitch picture a couple of months ago and has been working on it very slowly(9). She is finally getting more confident and working on it by herself rather than having someone hanging over her shoulder and guiding her. She will be entering her project into the West Coast ACTS Student Convention in May.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
I have been trying to implement an "morning time" (7) and have really struggled. Mystie over at Simply Convivial posted this about morning time in her house which inspired me to keep working at it.

I am inspired by…
I just started reading Together: Growing Appetites for God by Carrie Ward and am absolutely loving it.  Very inspiring!

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
  • The girls went to the library
  • Destini had piano lessons
  • All the kids went to the gym for an hour of play. (8)

My favorite thing this week was…
Delani wrote a note (6) which she informed said, "I love my mom and she loves me."

What’s working/not working for us…
I had assigned Chantry John Adams: Independence Forever (Heroes of History) to himself and narrate for his biography. After listening to last week's narration, I realized that he wasn't doing a good job of reading it, so this week I read it aloud to him and he gave wonderful narrations. So we will continue this way for now, and as I have never read it it did pique my curiosity to know more! What was not working is now hopefully working!

Things I’m working on…
Dinners and going to bed earlier. As in the last couple of weeks the dinner part is going well, but getting to bed earlier just isn't happening!! I also have been working  ahead on some blog posts.

I’m reading…

Check out my Nightstand for January.

I’m cooking…
  • homemade pizza (2)
  • chuck roast & baked potatoes
  • chili
I’m grateful for…
A working dryer and family. We got together last Saturday with my in-laws and had dinner and dessert (we never lack in that department at a Starr gathering!) and then played Rook the rest of the evening. We had an absolute blast! The kids spent the evening playing. Sunday morning found Delani back to sleep after eating her cereal in the morning (1).

I’m praying for…
Wisdom and direction

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
Playing Rook with family.

I am linking up:

Homegrown Learners

Monday, January 21, 2013

What's On Your Nightstand - January

What's On Your Nightstand
February's Nightstand:

From my December post I read:
I am currently reading:
  • The Swiss Family Robinson - I had this on January's nightstand, but read so many other books that I didn't start this one early enough to get it finished for this month's nightstand.
I also read:
I listened to:

See what others have read over at 5 Minutes for Books.


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