Blathering about Books

It’s Saturday.  We’re planning an excursion to the library for story time shortly.  Daniel returned to day care on Thursday and happily, no more vomiting has occurred.  Maybe we’re finally out of the woods (knocks on wood, crosses fingers and toes).  Our week was still crazy and we found ourselves begging the universe to let us make it to Friday.  I think that extreme busyness will be the norm for the next few weeks unfortunately, but I’m resigned to it.  I think I need to find a place to do yoga or something that will help me relax.

There has been a lot of news about my favorite books from childhood recently, so indulge me:

Pride and Prejudice

Last week was the 200th anniversary of the publication of Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. When asked about my favorite book, P&P is my answer. I first read it when I was 13, plucking the book from my grandfather’s shelf of classics.  As a dutiful English major, I think I own 3 versions of it not including Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (how genius was that?).  I haven’t read it in several years and I’m almost afraid to do so, wondering if my perception of the book will have changed.  What if I find Lizzie insufferable now?  What if I find Mrs. Bennet to be sympathetic (doubtful)?  Do you find yourself avoiding revisiting certain old favorites in order to preserve the feeling, the impression?  A few links:

Little House on the Prairie

This series has been on my mind recently, possibly because JJiraffe has posted about reading it to her twins. The series was another childhood favorite of mine, and I have all the books, including the ones after the series as well as a biography.  I remember the kick in the stomach I felt when I read articles positing that the books’ quality was due more to Laura’s daughter’s involvement than Laura’s ability as a writer.  That in a way, they had been ghostwritten by Rose.  Thankfully, that perception seems to be shifting as further research has revealed that Laura was more than capable of writing the series and that while Rose was definitely involved, it was as an editor whose recommendations were not always taken by her stubborn mother.

Anne of Green Gables

I am a huge Anne of Green Gables fan.  Anne seemed like a kindred spirit from the moment I picked up the book.  Like Anne, I have red hair and I have always been incredibly flattered when people told me I reminded them of Anne in terms of personality.  For my friends’ little girls’ 1st birthdays, I’ve given copies of Anne of Green Gables to add to their libraries.  I reread the first book a few years ago and the storyline of her adoption was especially poignant to me reading it as an adult for whom family building was difficult.  As a child, I understood the adoption plot line and thought it was silly that the Avonlea residents had such bizarre stereotypes about orphans.  As an infertile adult, it hit me on a visceral level. The book is much sadder for me as an adult.

The big news this week was that some asshole decided to reprint the books with the cover picture of Anne as a blonde.  Um…what?  Anne’s red hair isn’t a feature that can be ignored.  It’s kind of a major plot point of the series.  It turns out that the edition was self-published on Amazon and after the outcry, it has been shelved.   I can only assume the publishers were idiots who had never read the books.  Another case of ginger discrimination thwarted.

And finally, ending on a funny note: Literary Types Find Love in the New York Times Review of Books.

 

 

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3 comments

  1. Are you secretly me? Because that’s my list of childhood favorites too (although I’ve extended my “childhood” up to when I got married at 20 because it was just before that I read P&P and got hooked on it).

    My spouse was pointing out that the hideously wrong cover for Anne of Green Gables is by far a minor literary tragedy in comparison to the things we do to try to get kids to read (especially the classics) where we have awful abridgments and retellings of classics like Shakespeare that are horrific and have teeny-bopper cover art.

    I’m debating whether to read more books to the kid that are longer or wait for her to discover them herself, because she HATES Harry Potter after having heard the audio books and demands it be turned off whenever it’s on. She only mildly dislikes Peter Pan so far, so that’s something.

    1. These were my childhood favorites too, and I’ve reread them all at least once as an adult. Ms. Future PharmD, maybe it’s different to hear an audiobook and have a parent read a book to you? My mom read the Little House on the Prairie books to my sister and me when I was 5&6 and my sister was 4&5, and we both have wonderful memories of that.

  2. I am so pleased you ended up posting about children’s books! I never got much interest in that project, sadly. Just too many people too busy reading to post about it, I suppose! But this is a great list and some very worthy titles. The red hair is definitely not ignorable. What were they thinking? There is this whole moral there – distinctive feature, not always appreciated by self or others, etc – you can’t take that away without losing many of the points.

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