Saturday, April 30, 2011
A sad, strange, interesting book. Set in the years directly following the Civil War, this book follows the life of Molly Petree, an orphan of the war. We meet Molly on May 13, 1872, her thirteenth birthday, and at that time she is living under the care of her uncle at his estate, Agate Hill, in North Carolina. Molly’s life is chronicled through letters, journals and court records, found and researched in the present day by a young woman whose father and his partner have purchased Agate Hill to refurbish as a bed and breakfast. We are introduced to high and low society through the people Molly meets in the Carolinas and Virginia, those who drift in and out of her life and those who become her family.
I often found that while reading this book I felt a little on edge, and while I found the conclusion to be fairly complete and satisfying I wanted something more from the book as a whole than what I got. I know I liked this book, in a certain way, but I also struggled to decide what I thought it lacked. I’m still not sure.
The last volume of Emily, this book is darker than the rest. I think Montgomery channeled her own feelings of isolation in this one – being a writer, especially a female writer, around the turn of the last century, and living in a small country town had to have its hardships. Emily marries later in life than the norm at the time, with preceding years filled with the joy of publication juxtaposed against personal hardships, much like Montgomery’s own life. I always feel relieved at the end of the book because Montgomery chose to create a happy ending for her alter ego…I have a feeling that she was tempted not to do so.
I knew better than to start another of her series, but I did it anyway. I actually re-read the Emily series more that I do the Anne series, probably once every other year or so, because they are my favorite of Montgomery’s books.
Emily is sent to live with her stern Aunt Elizabeth, kind Aunt Laura and “simple” Cousin Jimmy on New Moon Farm after her father dies. Certainly the standard Montgomery structure – orphan is sent to live with older adults/relatives, finds herself revels in the beauty of an old-fashioned Prince Edward Island farm, makes friends – is followed with the Emily series, but there is something about the character of Emily that draws me in every time. Emily is a writer, so part of the charm of the Emily books are the chapters devoted to her diary entries, which are hilarious when she is younger and touching and heart-rending as she grows.
This series is supposedly the most autobiographical of Montgomery’s works, and there is a slightly darker edge to it than the others. Emily can be obsessive, obstinate and wildly dramatic. And, always, always she is unrelentingly devoted to words and creating the best work with what she knows and what she sees.
Once I get going with one of Montgomery’s books, I have to finish the series. This is the second volume of the King family, the end of the tale started in The Story Girl. We get the satisfaction of learning more about each character, watching them grow and mature a bit, and also get a hint of what the future holds for each of them.
Every time I read The Story Girl I am reminded why this is one of L. M. Montgomery’s favorite of her own books. It combines the arch of the wonder of childhood play – all the games and worlds and dramas created and inhabited by children as they stretch their imaginations together – along with the prosaic and stable background of old family traditions and narrative. The King family of Prince Edward Island is introduced by newcomers Beverly and Felix, two boys shipped to their father’s people for a time while he works a stint in another country. The new cousins meet siblings Dan, Felicity and Cecily, the hired boy Peter, and their other cousin, Sara Stanley, the Story Girl herself. Sara has a gift of weaving a spell with her voice and storytelling skill, and all the old histories of the family are introduced through her tales, as well as stories of ancient mythology, Native American heritage and fairy tales.
This is just a sweet, beautiful book…it makes me miss things I’ve never experienced, as strange as I know that sounds.
Friday, April 29, 2011
Landon received Koko on Call (Chuggington) and The Chugger Championship (Chuggington) for Easter, both are by Michael Anthony Steele. We have already read both of them a couple of times.
Koko on Call (Chuggington), 24 pages
The Chugger Championship (Chuggington), 24 pages
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
I sought out this title after seeing a short interview with the author on The Daily Show. The interview took place during the protests in Madison Wisconsin over the union-busting bill proposed by the Governor and Republican legislature. In the interview, Klein described how disasters, such as the current recession and Hurricane Katrina are used by political and corporatist entities to advance their agendas: i.e., while People are disoriented, rush in and pass new rules. The book is a very detailed treatise documenting how economic shock therapy has been forced on countries and economies from Chile in 1973 to Russia in 1991, to most recently Iraq. The ‘shock therapy! is based on Milton Friedman's free market doctrines, but often incorporating forceful suppresion of local populations and resulting in throwing thousands into Poverty for decades. Klein is a journalist, not an economist: the work is billed as investigative journalism. I don't have a sufficient breath of understanding of economics or history to judge the theory as presented, but if even half of the examples described in the treatise are true, it’s no wonder much of lhe rest of the world looks at the U.S., IMF, and western capitalism and our offers of aid’ wilh great skepticism. I intend to look up some reviews of this work. Published in 2oo7. 466 Pages, with 6o Pages of notes.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Senator Steelman is at the height of his political success - the lead candidate in the race for president - when he is given the news that his heart is failing and he will be dead within months. Overnight his life is changed. Gone are the political ambitions to be replaced by a new awareness of the importance of family and a simpler life. Then, quite unexpectedly Steelman is given the chance for a cure. The dilemma? He must rely on treatment at a Russian hospital facility in space. This is the same type of facility that Steelman blocked when NASA sought funding for one for the United States several years earlier. What will he do? What would you do? A thought-provoking title. 20 p.
Friday, April 1, 2011
Things are not right in Martha's Vineyard. The property taxes are escalating, bodies are piling up and a rooster is crowing like CRAZY! How do all the pieces of this puzzle fit together? Check out this eighth installment in the Victoria Trumbull Mystery series to find out. It will be available in my office for the taking on Monday. A quick read. 250 pg.