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BarbaraJean

BarbaraJean

Joined May 2016

READ ALL THE THINGS! www.goodreads.com/barbarajanette www.commonplacehope.wordpress.com
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The Wanderers by Meg Howrey
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The Essential Rilke by Galway Kinnell, Hannah Liebmann
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Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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BarbaraJean
Jane of Lantern Hill | L M Montgomery
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What are some of your favorite quotes or scenes from Jane of Lantern Hill?

Where does this one rank for you in the LMM canon?

Several of you have mentioned this as an old favorite (or a new favorite)—what makes it a favorite for you?

#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead

sblbooks Jane was my favorite LM Montgomery novel ,next to the Anne of Green Gables series. I enjoyed Jane's time with her father on Lantern Hill the best. The quote from question 3 was the best.👇 13h
Blaire I‘m not doing this read along but for a certain period of time this was the only book my family had on tape and we listened to it on multiple road trips and I adored it. Seeing the title brings back many good memories 12h
BarbaraJean @sblbooks This whole buddy read is making me reevaluate my rankings of LLM's books! The Blue Castle has always been my favorite, and that hasn't changed... but my second-place spot for the Emily books has been complicated by this re-read. Jane is just slightly below Anne (well, the first book anyway), but not much... and I don't know where to put Emily anymore!! @Blaire I love that your family listened to this on road trips--what lovely memories! 8h
Daisey I don‘t remember reading this one before, and I don‘t think any will ever replace Anne as my favorite. However, Jane has joined this group of wonderful characters, and I‘m not really sure I could rank them. 6h
21 likes4 comments
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BarbaraJean
Jane of Lantern Hill | L M Montgomery
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Like Jane with the Bible, many people are turned off to certain books (or more to the point, religion) because of a bad experience in how they were introduced to it.

Whether it‘s a certain book or something larger like religion—have you had an experience that turned you off to something, that you later re-evaluated and found you connected with after all?

#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead

sblbooks This is a great quote. Poor Jane was so traumatized by her grandmother, berating her every time she made a mistake. It's no wonder she felt that way. I'm thankful I never had that situation. I love that her dad introduced her to Bible reading in a whole new way. 13h
BarbaraJean @sblbooks I loved the whole passage following this quote where he talks about all the “corking stories“ and “'human' human nature“ that are in the Bible! And then the whole series of gorgeous quotes that really highlights the beautiful literature that's in the Bible. It was such a lovely moment, and for me, demonstrated how often people get turned off to faith/God because of some awful misrepresentation like Jane had from her grandmother. 8h
19 likes2 comments
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BarbaraJean
Jane of Lantern Hill | L M Montgomery
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What do you think of Jane as a protagonist?
She‘s not as prone to scrapes as Anne, her independence comes much more gradually than Valancy, and she‘s far more practical than Emily. What attracts you to Jane?

#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead

Bkwrm7 I like Jane's helping nature and enjoyment of gaining competence as she learns how to do things although occasionally she felt maybe just a little too perfect and capable. 14h
julieclair I love her positive attitude, and her true desire to learn the skills necessary to make a house into a welcoming home. 14h
sblbooks I love Jane, she is less dramatic than other protagonist. She starts out very timid, due to her upbringing. I love how grows throughout the novel. 13h
BarbaraJean @sblbooks I did so love her growth throughout the book! I loved seeing her learn to stand up for herself, finding her own inner strength. @Bkwrm7 She does seem a little too capable, too often! I would have actually loved to see a few mishaps in the kitchen--more than the one or two tiny pitfalls we are shown. 8h
Daisey I agree with @sblbooks that Jane seems less dramatic than other Montgomery protagonists and I think this helps me better connect to her in some ways. I also appreciated that she did have so much growth in this story. 6h
18 likes5 comments
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BarbaraJean
Jane of Lantern Hill | L M Montgomery
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This book has several of LMM‘s common themes: the overbearing family who doesn‘t understand, the orphaned or isolated child who finds a new home, a quarrel/misunderstanding between lovers, childhood antics, joy in the natural world.
Are you drawn to these themes in fiction?
In reading Jane, did you see LMM developing these themes further or differently than in other LMM books we‘ve read? Or did you find them repetitive?

#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead

Bkwrm7 I'm definitely drawn to some of these themes which is part of why I come back to Montgomery over and over again. Childhood antics, joy in the natural world and found family are some that I generally enjoy. Quarreling lovers I could take or leave though. 14h
julieclair Like @Bkwrm7 , I really enjoy the childhood antics and joy in the natural world. I find these themes to be so uplifting. They are a good contrast to the more challenging themes in many of the books I read. 14h
sblbooks I too, enjoy the childhood Antics and joy of the natural world in Montgomery's novels. Orphan is a buzzword for me.😊 13h
BarbaraJean @Bkwrm7 @julieclair @sblbooks I love the childhood antics in LMM's books & in fiction in general. What's interesting is I'm not particularly drawn to nature writing, but I LOVE the way LMM describes natural beauty as well as how it's such a deep love for her characters. In this novel, I noticed how the rural setting is such a contrast between the controlling grandmother in the city, and the freedom of Lantern Hill (and how Jane thrives there!). (edited) 8h
Daisey I love the joy and humor that always seems to find its way into Montgomery‘s books, as well as the way she describes the natural world. 6h
13 likes5 comments
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BarbaraJean
The Wanderers | Meg Howrey
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“Mireille knew right away that it wasn‘t going to be funny. It was going to be one of those things that take a while before you stop feeling sick about them, and will never go away, but wash up continually in memory form to embarrass you in the middle of something completely unrelated.”

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BarbaraJean
Jane of Lantern Hill | L M Montgomery
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Just a little reminder: the #KindredSpiritsBuddyRead discussion for Jane of Lantern Hill will be this coming Saturday, May 28th. I‘ll plan to post questions mid-morning Pacific time—feel free to jump in when you are able! Then our book for June will be Magic for Marigold (another Montgomery I haven‘t yet read!)

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BarbaraJean
The Wanderers | Meg Howrey
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“Prime is skittish about using language borrowed from the military, and mixes acronyms with a kind of high-minded verbiage, noun-to-verb mashups, and the stray Latinate pun. The mindless totalitarian-speak predicted in dystopian fiction was not the future. Big Brother had gone artisanal.”

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BarbaraJean
The Wanderers | Meg Howrey
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“…there is nothing to be gained by showing James “Boone” Cross anything other than what Helen privately refers to as PIG: Polite, Interested, Good humored. Helen is perturbed, a little uncomfortable, but she can get PIG to fly in much more adverse conditions.”

😂Yesterday, I as I tried to decide which book to read next—this line sold me on this one. Today, during an annoying meeting with my boss, I kept thinking, “PIG. PIG will get me through…”😏

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BarbaraJean
Jane of Lantern Hill | L M Montgomery
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Pickpick

Oh, Jane was a delight! So many classic L.M. Montgomery themes: the overbearing relatives who don‘t understand the delightful child in their care, the romantic quarrel/misunderstanding, quirky and lovable supporting characters in a rural setting, and lovely descriptions of PEI‘s natural beauty. And of course the ending was not surprising, but I loved it all the same! Looking forward to the #KindredSpiritsBuddyRead discussion next Saturday!

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BarbaraJean
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Pickpick

This was a lovely meditation on memory, aging, and grief. My April #BookSpin pick, it was timely as my mom passed away at the beginning of April. I found so much that was relatable as L‘Engle reflected on her mother‘s decline and eventual passing. The family memories she narrates are lovely—some sweet, some impressive, and some hilarious—something I found true of my own mother as family & friends shared memories of her over the past couple months.

tpixie So sorry for your loss. 🌺💝 1w
BarbaraJean @tpixie Thank you, Teri! 💜 5d
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BarbaraJean
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Pickpick

I loved this so much. I had a copy from the library and intended to use it through Lent, but ended up renewing it multiple times because it was such a comfort for my soul, through Lent and beyond. The prayers collected here capture well these past few years of upheaval, and while they don‘t expressly deal with grief, they helped me during the difficult weeks leading up to and following my mom‘s passing. I‘ll be buying a copy for my own shelf.

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BarbaraJean
Jane of Lantern Hill | L M Montgomery
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“She liked a candle better than a lamp. It went out so graciously…the thin trail of smoke… the smoldering wick, giving one wild little wink at you before it left you in the dark.”

#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead

kspenmoll Happy Litsyversary!! 6 yrs! Love this quote. 1w
BarbaraJean @kspenmoll Thank you! It‘s been a great 6 years! Well, maybe not so great in the world outside, but here on Litsy anyway! 1w
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BarbaraJean
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Mehso-so

I‘m so far behind on writing reviews, it‘s ridiculous—but I was reminded of this one when I finished reading Passing today. Similar themes, but a very different book. I was fascinated to learn more about Belle da Costa Greene, personal librarian to J.P. Morgan, but I was disappointed in the book overall. The writing felt too bland & the characterization too gossipy/sensational. That said, I was impressed that Marie Benedict sought out ⤵️

BarbaraJean (Continued) …a Black woman co-author who could speak to Belle‘s experience and understand Belle in ways a white woman could not. I do think I‘m going to seek out a biography of Belle to fill in the history that felt overly sensationalized here! (edited) 1w
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BarbaraJean
The Reading List: A Novel | Sara Nisha Adams
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Pickpick

This was a sweet bookish novel… at times sadder than I expected, but still such a huggable story. I‘m kind of a sucker for books focused on libraries, or books about books… or books about how unlikely friendships and personal growth can spring from shared reading… and this was all of the above. Some of the minor plot lines could have been developed a little further, but still—a fun debut novel and a great #BookSpin pick for May!

SilversReviews I LOVED this book. 😀 1w
JamieArc I‘m a sucker for unlikely friendships/intergenerational friendships and a community coming together for a cause, so I loved this one. It helped during a pandemic reading slump. 1w
kspenmoll Nice review! 1w
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 7d
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BarbaraJean
Passing | Nella Larsen
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Pickpick

Wow. This is short but powerful. Set during the Harlem Renaissance, it follows the aftermath of a chance encounter between two childhood friends—Black women originally from Chicago, one of whom is now passing as white. The emotional & psychological intensity packed into this brief novella is thought-provoking & compelling. So glad this was on my #NewYearWhoDis list from @Blaire ! This was my February #DoubleSpin (took me long enough to get to it!)

Tamra Have you seen the film? I enjoyed it as well. 😄 1w
BarbaraJean @Tamra I haven‘t yet! I‘m planning to, though. I wanted to read the book first, even though that usually makes me disappointed in the movie… 🤷🏻‍♀️ 1w
Tamra @BarbaraJean I thought it was pretty well done, but I read the book many years ago so I can‘t speak to the differences. I hope you like it! 1w
TheAromaofBooks Great progress!! 7d
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BarbaraJean
Jane of Lantern Hill | L M Montgomery
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“Jane did not understand all dad said, but she put it all away in her mind to grow up to. All her life she was to have recurring flashes of insight when she recalled something dad had said.”

#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead

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BarbaraJean
Jane of Lantern Hill | L M Montgomery
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“The Bible is a wonderful book, my Jane. Full of corking good stories and the greatest poetry in the world. Full of the most amazingly human ‘human nature.‘ Full of incredible, ageless wisdom and truth and beauty and common sense.”

#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead

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BarbaraJean
Jane of Lantern Hill | L M Montgomery
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“The Snowbeams thought it was great fun when Jane named all her kitchen utensils. The teakettle that always danced on the stove when it was coming to a boil was Tipsy, the frying pan was Mr. Muffet, the dishpan was Polly, the stew pan was Timothy, the double boiler was Booties, the rolling pin was Tillie Tid.”

😂 I just can‘t. Timothy the stew pan! 🤣

#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead

kspenmoll Now I want to read this- ! 1w
BarbaraJean @kspenmoll It‘s really a delight. Right up there with Anne of Green Gables in a lot of ways! 1w
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BarbaraJean
Anne of Green Gables | L. M. Montgomery
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I found this fascinating—an article on why Anne of Green Gables was banned in Soviet-controlled Poland: https://www.transpositions.co.uk/banning-anne-why-the-soviets-were-afraid-of-ann...

I love the idea that Anne inspired hope and resistance against an authoritarian regime. 👩🏻‍🦰💚 A couple of quotes in the comments! ⤵️ #KindredSpiritsBuddyRead

BarbaraJean “If you were compiling a list of novels banned for being dangerous and encouraging dissent, Lucy Maud Montgomery‘s charming children‘s classic Anne of Green Gables might not seem an obvious choice. Yet for several years during the Soviet control of Poland, Montgomery‘s novel was banned as a ‘subversive‘ book that was feared by the authoritarian regime because it was seen as inspiring hope and resistance to authority.” 2w
BarbaraJean “…the authorities banned the book when they realised its importance to the Polish resistance effort. But copies produced by the dissident samizdat press continued to circulate. By drawing on the collective resource of individually memorised passages and preserved pages, the defiant samizdat movement was able to continue to distribute illegal copies of the cherished book.” Reminds me of Fahrenheit 451! 2w
LeahBergen 😮😮 2w
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Tamra I can see why! Anne thinks for herself. 2w
julieclair This is fascinating! Thanks for sharing. 2w
AvidReader25 What an incredible story! I never knew that. 2w
TheAromaofBooks What a cool story!!! 2w
Jerdencon So interesting!!! 2w
JazzFeathers Wow!!!!!! 1w
JenlovesJT47 That is so interesting! I‘m sending this to my sister. But I couldn‘t think of a better series of books to read when times are tough and you need a distraction, and the best way I can describe it is reading these books is like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket in front of the fire with steaming hot chocolate (if you like that sort of thing). It makes you feel cozy and safe. So glad we‘re reading all of her books now! I needed it. ❤️ 5d
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BarbaraJean
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I‘m excited about the #MiddleGradeMay readathon this weekend! I‘ll be reading from the above choices—or maybe some others depending on my mood. 😁

I like the idea of reading the three across the bottom…with a midnight & magic theme! Especially because Midnight Magic is my May #DoubleSpin. Door in the Wall may help me to a #BookSpinBingo, though, and Akata Woman will need to go back to the library soon, so I‘ll just see where my reading takes me!

SpeculativeFemale I absolutely LOVED Akata Woman. One of my favorites of what I've read so far this year, for sure. 2w
megnews Great line up! 2w
42 likes2 comments
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BarbaraJean
Jane of Lantern Hill | L M Montgomery
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Just a little reminder that the #KindredSpiritsBuddyRead is reading Jane of Lantern Hill in May. This will be the first time I‘ve read it and I‘m really looking forward to reading & discussing with you all! We‘ll discuss on May 28—read at your own pace & share your thoughts as you go!

All are welcome to join! I‘ve tagged participants from last month—please let me know if you‘d like to be added or removed from the tag list for this month. 😊

quietjenn So excited for this one! I started it yesterday and had to stop myself from gulping down the whole thing. 4w
TheAromaofBooks Yay!! I was going to read this one a chapter a day but realized I would never be able to stick with it, so I'm just going to read it all in one go later this month. It's an old favorite but it has been at least 10 years since I read so I'm quite excited to revisit. 4w
Jerdencon I still have to finish last months but am looking forward to this one! 3w
JenlovesJT47 I‘m in! 🙋🏻‍♀️ 3w
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BarbaraJean
Spinning Around | Catherine Jinks
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I‘m excited about my May #BookSpin picks—it‘s a nice balance between new to the TBR and not-so-new 😆
📖🔄 The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams - this was an impulse library checkout last week.
🔄🔄 Midnight Magic by Avi - this has been on my TBR shelf since 2014. It‘s a library discard that I bought at a library book sale while on my honeymoon!

I still have to set up my #BookSpinBingo board, but I‘m looking forward to these!

Centique Those are both beautiful looking books 😍 3w
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BarbaraJean
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Here‘s how my April #BookSpinBngo finished up: no bingos, but I did finish both my #BookSpin and #DoubleSpin picks in the month they were drawn! 🎉

Favorites in April:
💜 Heartstopper Vol. 4
🙏🏼 A Rhythm of Prayer
👵🏻 The Summer of the Great-Grandmother

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! Fantastic month!!! 4w
32 likes1 comment
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BarbaraJean
Bingo Love | Tee Franklin
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#BookSpin list for May!

My list includes picks for #KindredSpiritsBuddyRead, #YABuddyRead, #MGBuddyRead, and several potential reads for the #MiddleGradeMay readathon. And of course the usual suspects that have been on the list for several months. 😆

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! I think we're all going to enjoy Jane more than we did Kilmeny! 😂 4w
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks Haha! I haven‘t read Jane before but from what I‘ve seen, I think your prediction will turn out to be completely accurate! 4w
TheAromaofBooks It's been a long time since I've read it, but it was one of my favorites growing up. I'm really excited about the reread. 4w
29 likes3 comments
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BarbaraJean
Kilmeny of the Orchard | L. M. Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead Discussion Part 4

Kilmeny is a short little novel, and everything wraps up quite neatly. Are there aspects of the story you‘d like to have seen developed a bit further? If so, where would you have liked to see the story deepened or expanded?

What are your overall thoughts on Kilmeny of the Orchard? Anything else you‘d like to discuss?

Bkwrm7 All I could think while listening to this one is that it seemed exactly like something Anne or Diana would have written for their Story Club. Full of melodrama with a complete lack of nuance. Seeing what Eric and Kilmeny's life was like upon their return would have perhaps added some depth - assuming it wasn't depicted as all sunshine and roses. Some exploration of the difficulties Kilmeny would have faced adjusting could have been interesting. (edited) 1mo
BarbaraJean @Bkwrm7 YES! Except Eric would have been named Perceval or Horatio or something “romantic.“ Eric seems far too prosaic for the Story Club. 😉 I agree it would deepen the story to see them navigate Kilmeny's entry into the world beyond Lindsay (or just beyond her family circle!). It's entirely too optimistic to assume once her muteness was cured she'd automatically be able to be comfortable outside the very limited world she'd had up to that point. 1mo
Bkwrm7 @BarbaraJean 🤣 Excellent point. Simple Eric as a name would never have done! 1mo
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quietjenn Ha, I love those thoughts, @Bkwrm7 and @BarbaraJean - I totally see it! This felt a bit “first draft“ to me and I found it pretty slight and a bit forgettable. Seeing more of the “after“ may have flushed things out, but really I'd prefer something a little more nuanced and developed. 1mo
TheAromaofBooks I think in many ways, this story just is what it is... I would love to see things from Kilmeny's perspective, and to see her say no to Eric not because of her muteness but because she hasn't experienced the world more widely yet. So in other words, I'd love to see this entire story rewritten 😂 4w
BarbaraJean @quietjenn “Slight” and “first draft” feel like very accurate descriptors! It really felt like one of her short stories to me. And I feel rather “meh” about most of her short stories. 😆 @TheAromaofBooks 😂😂 There are some kernels of ideas there that would be really interesting to explore in a complete rewrite! 4w
AvidReader25 I got halfway through and just didn‘t feel invested in it! It did feel like a first draft. 4w
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BarbaraJean
Kilmeny of the Orchard | L. M. Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead Discussion Part 3

There are some problematic elements in the story, both in its portrayal of Neil Gordon and of Kilmeny‘s disability. Do we just chalk these up to “an earlier time,” or is there more to be said here?

The story seems to communicate that there are inherited traits and consequences of your heritage that just can‘t be escaped. Do you agree with this idea at all?

Bkwrm7 Not everyone in earlier times was racist or ableist and this story very much is. The way Neil Gordon's Italian ancestry is described and depicted was horrifying - I mean, this could be used a textbook example of stereotypes and racism. I know we've seen racist things in some of Montgomery's other works, often as asides, but here - like in Tannis of the Flats - the racism is central to the story and I just couldn't get beyond it. 1mo
BarbaraJean @Bkwrm7 I was kind of able to set aside the racism & ableism while reading, but as I thought about discussing the book, I found both very troubling. The racist nature vs. nurture thread was so awful, and the family curse theory of Kilmeny's muteness really underlines that deterministic idea of heritage. Except the young innocent white girl's disability can of course be quickly cured while the swarthy, coarse, passionate Italian is irredeemable. 🙄 1mo
sblbooks No, I don't agree with that idea. Unfortunately back in the day many did. (and some still do) That doesn't make it right. Like everyone else said, both storylines were problematic for sure. 1mo
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quietjenn This book is certainly one that I think, “man, that's messed up“ the more I think about it. Not the most eloquent insight, I know, but there you go. 1mo
TheAromaofBooks I've never read this one with the intention of discussing it before, so I think I've always just been more along the “earlier times“ lines with a shrug, more or less. Reading it this time, perhaps more objectively as I was thinking about what I actually do and don't like about this, the racism struck me a lot more than it has in the past. Montgomery definitely believed in nature over nurture, and in fairness in this era eugenics was considered ⬇ 4w
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) somewhat valid science and was gaining traction. I don't know if Montgomery studied the topic per se, but many educated people of the day believed in eugenics as a natural next-step to Darwin's evolutionary theories. So terrible, yes, but I also don't think it was far out of line of many common beliefs of the time. 4w
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BarbaraJean
Kilmeny of the Orchard | L. M. Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead Discussion Part 2

There are fairy-tale tropes throughout the story, with Kilmeny as the innocent young girl rescued by the romantic hero. Does the fairy-tale feel enhance or diminish the story for you?
How did you feel about the romance between Eric and Kilmeny? Endearing and sweet? Over-idealized? A little problematic?

BarbaraJean I wasn‘t as bothered by the setup of the young man out to woo the sheltered, innocent girl who has literally never seen a man outside her family circle, because it felt like a fairy tale rather than realistic romance. Some of the other paternalistic love stories we've read by LMM have felt problematic for me, but this one felt softer—muted a bit by the fairy tale vibes. I did find the romance a little over-idealized, though! 1mo
Daisey @BarbaraJean I very much agree with your thoughts. I wasn‘t really bothered by the setup and knew what to expect early on, but it was all just a bit too simple and idealistic. 1mo
Bkwrm7 The romance felt icky to me like many of her others. It really bothered me that there was no happy ending until Kilmeny's muteness was “healed.“ Maybe if I had thought about it like a fairy tale as you say here while I was reading it, it wouldn't have bothered me as much. As it was, I just saw a lot of the same things Montgomery has elsewhere: a man who finds a girl he can mold into the perfect wife. Yick. 1mo
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sblbooks Over idealized a bit problematic. I wish Kilmeny had not been "healed" I don't mind fairytales, but just not what it's supposed to be a realistic book. 1mo
quietjenn The fairy tale quality for me felt most pronounced and effective in the way that it feels very enchanted when Eric for stumbles upon Kilmeny and how he keeps things a secret initially, because he doesn't want to break the magic of that. The other elements I was less fond of. The romance didn't feel as squicky to me here as it has in other books, but it's also not one I'm going to rhapsodize over! 1mo
TheAromaofBooks I do think the simplicity of the story lends itself to that fairy tale feel. And even though Kilmeny being “healed“ in the end grates on me, in a way that also fits the fairy tale vibe, sort of being “rescued“ from an enchantment. This is never going to be my favorite Montgomery, but it's one of her first stories and I think she was still finding her romantic footing. 4w
LeahBergen I definitely felt this had a pronounced fairy tale element. From the very start it felt like one of the overly dramatic and romantic tales which Anne Shirley wrote as a child. Reading it this way made me enjoy it for what it was! 😆 4w
15 likes7 comments
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BarbaraJean
Kilmeny of the Orchard | L. M. Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Kilmeny of the Orchard Discussion Part 1

Unlike L. M. Montgomery‘s other novels, Kilmeny is told from the perspective of the male lead. How did this impact your experience of the story?
How would the story be different if it were narrated from Kilmeny‘s perspective?

BarbaraJean The POV was initially jarring; I didn't expect a male voice. But it made sense narratively, to hear Kilmeny's backstory as it's revealed to Eric, and understand his thoughts & intentions. However, I'm fascinated by LMM's decision to write a story about a girl who is mute, and literally mute that character's voice by telling the story through the male lead. I'd love to read Kilmeny's perspective, esp. as she becomes aware of her feelings for Eric. 1mo
Bkwrm7 Kilmeny feels like little more than a cipher so it's hard to say what the story would have been like from her perspective. And honestly, I'm not sure Montgomery had the chops to write a main character so far outside her personal experience. I didn't love Eric as a narrator, but this was the least favorite of the buddy reads we've done by a lot so it's hard for me to separate his character from the plot and other problems with the book. 1mo
Daisey I completely understand the narrative reasons for telling the story from Eric‘s perspective, but I‘m still very curious about Montgomery‘s choice to do so. I think the emotional power of the story might have been better from Kilmeny‘s perspective, and I think it would have been fascinating as a story from both perspectives. 1mo
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BarbaraJean @Bkwrm7 Agreed, I don't think LMM could have made it work from Kilmeny's perspective. But as @Daisey said, it would have been fascinating from both perspectives. I would have liked to see more of Kilmeny's internal life. I don't think it would have mitigated the ableism, especially in the story's too-convenient conclusion, but it certainly would have provided more depth and nuance to the story. 1mo
sblbooks I too would have liked to see kilmeny's perspective. This is definitely a product of its time, with the ableism. @BarbaraJean you made a great point about the all too convenient conclusion. I was not a fan of that. 1mo
quietjenn It was definitely unexpected, having the male narrative voice for this one. That, plus much of the story itself, really makes Kilmeny the object and not a protagonist - not exactly what I expect (or want, honestly) from Montgomery. Like others, I would definitely be curious about the story from Kilmeny's perspective. 1mo
TheAromaofBooks @quietjenn I think you are spot-on about Eric's narration making Kilmeny an object more than a protagonist. She definitely feels like someone where things happen TO her instead of her making things happen in her life, and that's emphasized by Eric's narrow perspective. I don't necessarily think my issue is that Eric is a *male* narrator, but just that he isn't as interesting as the main character. 4w
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BarbaraJean
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“One morning at breakfast Ida and Edna had a quarrel [that]…grew so heated that Ida threw a glass of water across the table at Edna. Edna rose, dripping, stalked into the music room, sat down at the piano and played and sang, loudly and nasally, “_Jesus_ loves me, this I know…”
This scene delights me so much that I‘ve put versions of it into almost every book I‘ve written, and have had, with reluctance, to delete it.”

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BarbaraJean
Time of Green Magic | Hilary McKay
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The two things I always want more of are also the two things I never need more of. And I came home tonight to find two boxes on my doorstep, containing both of those things: books and tea.

Birthday money + Book Outlet sale/coupon + Adagio Teas sale/coupon + retail therapy = the above.

This goes a long way toward erasing the progress I‘ve made on my TBR so far this year. And yet I‘m not sorry. 😂

tpixie They say book buying & book reading are two different hobbies, both which bring joy. Sounds like that may be the same with tea! Enjoy! 💙 📚 📚 🫖 🫖 💙 1mo
BarbaraJean @tpixie Ha! You may be right about that. 😊 It‘s just so cozy to think about the reading and tea-drinking possibilities ahead! At least I don‘t have to cull my tea shelf like I do my books… once it‘s consumed it‘s gone! 1mo
tpixie @BarbaraJean good point about the consumable tea 🫖. I bought my daughter a subscription from Plum Deluxe Teas. They are great but it will take us a while to get through them all! 1mo
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BarbaraJean
Weather: A novel | Jenny Offill
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Mehso-so

Finished this last night, and I was disappointed. I don‘t mind books that are light on plot if there‘s good character development, and I don‘t mind lack of character development if the ideas are interesting & well-explored, but this didn‘t seem to do any of the above. I enjoyed the writing—short almost journal-like paragraphs, wry humor—but I feel like there must have been something more that I missed. At least I finished my April #DoubleSpin!

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 1mo
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BarbaraJean
Kilmeny of the Orchard | L. M. Montgomery
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Pickpick

This is an L.M. Montgomery I‘d never read before, and while I enjoyed it, it‘s clear why it‘s not one of the ones everyone raves about. It‘s a sweet old-fashioned love story, but a bit overly simplistic and the ending wraps things up a little too neatly. Still, it was a nice, light, escapist read!

Our #KindredSpiritsBuddyRead discussion for this one will be next weekend. 😊🌳🎻 I‘ll post questions late on Saturday, April 30.

Jerdencon I need to catch up on this one! 1mo
TheAromaofBooks Great review!! I just always think of this one as “tidy“ - it lacks some of the depth and thoughtfulness of many of her other books, but it's still a relaxing little read. 1mo
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BarbaraJean
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“But God, if he is God, if he is worth believing in, is a loving God who will not abandon or forget the smallest atom of his creation. And that includes… everybody, everybody without exception.”

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BarbaraJean
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“I‘m much more use to family and friends when I‘m not physically and spiritually depleted than when I spend my energies as though they were unlimited. They are not. The time at the typewriter and the time at the brook refresh me and put me into a much more workable perspective.”

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BarbaraJean
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Sometimes unintentional trends emerge in my reading. In February, I read Crying in H Mart (a #NewYearWhoDis pick) and Kitchen, both focused on the loss of a mother. In early March, I read Wintering (my January #BookSpin and a #NYWD pick), on weathering times of difficulty & grief. In late March, my mother was placed on hospice, and she passed away two weeks ago. This trio of timely books so recently read has been an odd preparation & a comfort.⤵️

tpixie I‘m so sorry to learn of the loss of your mother. May your memories lift your heavy heart. 1mo
BarbaraJean (Cont‘d) The tagged book came up as my April #BookSpin… reading the description today, I‘m not sure if it‘s a timely read or if it‘s too soon. But I‘m picking it up today as I suspect it may be a comforting addition to the trio of books I read leading up to April. It‘s a blessing when the right books show up at the right time. 💜 1mo
BarbaraJean @tpixie Thank you so much, Teri! 💜 1mo
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tpixie @BarbaraJean you‘re welcome. And what a gift of coinkydinks these books have brought you! 1mo
DivineDiana I am sending you my condolences on the passing of your mother. I am glad that the power of books has given you some comfort. ❤️🙏🏻💐 1mo
CBee Sending condolences and love - I understand all too well 💔 1mo
Susanita I‘m so sorry. 😢 1mo
Librarybelle So sorry for your loss 1mo
xicanti I‘m so sorry about your mother. I‘m glad books have given you some comfort at this difficult time. 1mo
JessClark78 I‘m so sorry for your loss. 💔❤️ 1mo
Ruthiella Sorry to hear that. ❤️❤️ 1mo
EvieBee I‘m so sorry, Barb. 1mo
BarbaraJean @DivineDiana @Susanita @Librarybelle @xicanti @JessClark78 @Ruthiella @EvieBee Thank you all so much for your kind words! 💜 @CBee Hugs to you! 🤗 1mo
quietjenn I‘m sorry for your loss. Sending love and thank goodness for the books that come along right when you need them. 💙 1mo
CBee @BarbaraJean lots of hugs back ♥️♥️ 1mo
MaureenMc So very sorry for your loss. 💗 1mo
AnneCecilie I‘m so sorry 💔❤️ 1mo
Centique I am late to this news but feel so much for you and what you have been through. It is so hard losing a parent. I hope you feel loved and supported through this grieving time 💕 3w
BarbaraJean @Centique Thank you so much! There are so many who have been a support during this time—and I appreciate your kind thoughts and words.💜 2w
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BarbaraJean
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1. I‘m SO guilty of this. Library books & book club books end up taking priority since they have a deadline, and books I already own end up at the back of the line/bottom of the pile.
2. Tagged: it was optional reading for my study abroad semester in Florence, Italy. In 1996. It‘s traveled to & from Italy twice—once for the study abroad semester, once for a reunion trip when I planned to read it on the plane. Nope. Still on the TBR.😆
#two4tuesday

TheSpineView Thanks for playing! Happy reading! ❤📚❤ 2mo
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BarbaraJean
Kilmeny of the Orchard | L. M. Montgomery
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“…old George Wright is having the time of his life. His wife has gone to Charlottetown to visit her sister and he is his own boss for the first time since he was married, forty years ago. He‘s on a regular orgy, Aleck says. He smokes in the parlor and sits up till eleven o‘clock reading dime novels.”

Smoking in the parlor and reading dime novels = orgy😂
#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead

LeahBergen I thought this was funny, too. 😆 2mo
BarbaraJean @LeahBergen I read “orgy” and my eyebrows went way up… I‘m not sure what exactly I was expecting to find in the following sentence, but it definitely wasn‘t dime novels and smoking in the parlor! 2mo
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BarbaraJean
Kilmeny of the Orchard | L. M. Montgomery
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Hello #KindredSpiritsBuddyRead friends! I thought I‘d post the schedule for the rest of the year, along with a reminder that we‘re reading Kilmeny of the Orchard in April. It‘s a short one (144 pages / 19 chapters), so you‘ve got plenty of time to savor it before the discussion on April 30.

All are welcome—if you‘re not tagged and you‘d like to be, for this book or other months ahead, please let me know!

LeahBergen Thanks! I took a screenshot to remind me which months I‘ll be joining in. 😊 2mo
BarbaraJean @LeahBergen Yay! I look forward to you joining in! 2mo
AvidReader25 I screenshot it too! Thank you! 2mo
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TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! I actually printed this out for my reading bujo to keep track of where we are going!! I'm really excited about these!! 2mo
julieclair Please add me to the tag list. I‘d love to join in! 1mo
BarbaraJean @julieclair Will do! Great to have you! 1mo
julieclair Thank you! I‘m excited to join! 1mo
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BarbaraJean
Bingo Love | Tee Franklin
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Here‘s my #BookSpinBingo board for April (HOW is it already April?!).

I‘m excited about my spins this month:
📖🔄 The Summer of the Great-Grandmother by Madeleine L‘Engle
🔄🔄 Weather by Jenny Offill

I‘m hoping to finish both of those and maybe even catch up on two missed DoubleSpins from January and February. 🤞🏼Not sure if I‘ll manage a bingo (my April TBR is spread all over the board), but it‘s always fun to try!

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! Looks great!! 2mo
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BarbaraJean
We Dream of Space | Erin Entrada Kelly
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I read 5 books for #MiddleGradeMarchThroughTime, and really enjoyed the journey! I met da Vinci‘s assistant Salai in early 1500s Milan, I watched as Dutch children in the early 1900s worked to attract storks to their village, and I traveled with Rifka Nebrot as her family fled the Russian pogroms in 1919. I spent time on a kibbutz in Israel during the 1967 Six Days War, and saw the Challenger explosion through the eyes of middle-schoolers in 1986.

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BarbaraJean
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April #BookSpin list!

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 2mo
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BarbaraJean
Bingo! | Rosemary Wells
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TWO #BookSpin bingos in March, AND I completed both my BookSpin and #DoubleSpin picks! 🎉 It helped that it was #MiddleGradeMarch and my board was filled with quicker reads. 😁

Some great reads this month, but my favorite was re-reading The Blue Castle. Address Unknown was fascinating & thought-provoking, Wintering was lovely and timely, and I also really enjoyed my #MiddleGradeMarchThroughTime books (I‘ll have to post on those separately!)

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! Fantastic month!!! 2mo
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BarbaraJean
The Blue Castle | L. M. Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Blue Castle discussion part 6

Anything else you‘d like to discuss from The Blue Castle?

Favorite passages, favorite characters, favorite Stirling relative you love to hate? Favorite “John Foster” quote?

tenar My favorite genre is nature writing, so I found John Foster as dreamy & inspiring as Valancy did! 😅 It was cute when it said that Valancy was spreading the Foster “gospel”; she & Cissy wouldn‘t pick flowers in the wood because he had written, “The way to enjoy wood-flowers is to track them down to their remote haunts—gloat over them—and then leave them with backward glances, taking with us only the beguiling memory of their grace and fragrance.” 2mo
quietjenn I just want to mention how idyllic I found their Valancy and Barney's life on the island, post-marriage but pre-ending. And also, I love that LMM created a romantic hero named Barney Snaith, perhaps the most unromantic name I can imagine. 2mo
JenlovesJT47 Lol @quietjenn I was thinking the same thing !! 😂😂🤣 2mo
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LeahBergen Happy Birthday! ❤️📚❤️📚 2mo
BarbaraJean @tenar I've never been very interested in nature writing, but I love how John Foster offers Valancy such an outlet. And the descriptions of Mistawis--💜 Maybe there's some nature-writer-appreciation in me after all! @quietjenn YES!! I mean, Snaith?!? I had a professor who commented on a character named “Lurvy“ in Charlotte's Web--he said Brad Pitt wouldn't be seen as attractive if his name were Lurvy. But LMM makes it work for Barney Snaith! 2mo
BarbaraJean @Cathythoughts You are so sweet!! I will email you my address--thank you so much! I love having Litsy birthday buddies. 💕 I hope you had a lovely bookish birthday yourself! 📚 🎉 @LeahBergen Thank you!! 💜 2mo
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BarbaraJean
The Blue Castle | L. M. Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Blue Castle discussion part 5

“Valancy had long ago decided that she would rather offend God than Aunt Wellington, because God might forgive her but Aunt Wellington never would.”

There are some wonderfully hilarious situations, comments, and descriptions in this book. What are some of your favorites?

quietjenn There's a few, but what immediately leaps to mind was the anniversary party, i.e. “the time we first noticed poor Valancy was - a little - you understand?“ The entire way she releases on them after years is just delightful. 2mo
AnneCecilie I loved the way her family reacted when she stopped pleasing them. And the meetings they had. Her mother didn‘t approve of Valancy‘s reading early on so I never liked her. 2mo
JenlovesJT47 I loved it when her uncle stumbled upon them when the car broke down. And when she finally told them she was married, their reactions were hilarious! 2mo
BarbaraJean @quietjenn That whole dinner party is amazing! All the ridiculousness of the Stirling family is on display and Valancy revels in finally letting her internal commentary become external. I think my favorite line is when Uncle James asks Aunt Alberta where the dog bit her. When she replies: “A little below the Catholic church,“ Valancy laughs and says: “Is that a vital part?“ 😂 @JenlovesJT47 Oh, I love the car breakdown scene!! 2mo
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BarbaraJean
The Blue Castle | L. M. Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead discussion part 4

I love that LMM found refuge in writing Blue Castle. Reading it felt like a refuge to me—because it‘s a familiar, favorite read, but also because the narrative is full of humor, warmth, and of course a happy ending. The comfort I found was a fitting parallel to the comfort Valancy finds in her own Blue Castle.

Do you have a “Blue Castle”? Where have you found refuge & comfort during difficult times?

tenar Thank you for sharing these quotes! I felt the same way as you, and it‘s lovely to think LMM shared that feeling while writing it. 2mo
Jerdencon This was my first time reading it and it took a little bit to get into it but then I flew through it and it was so much fun! It was a nice escape from the heavier stuff I usually read. 2mo
quietjenn What wonderful quotes! Thanks so much for sharing them. I'm glad LMM had the refuge of writing this book as well. I do think I find it in reading beloved books - including this one - or certain go-to types of books that I find comforting. And also in throwing on episodes of a favorite tv show I've seen a million times already. 2mo
AnneCecilie I loved the quotes and I felt the same way while reading. Her books have been an escape for me over the last years. I also escape in other books and comforting series and movies. 2mo
BarbaraJean @quietjenn @AnneCecilie I also find comfort and escape in reading beloved books. There's something about familiar storylines that you know are going to turn out well! That was the main reason I was inspired to suggest this buddy read late in 2020--I knew I needed some LMM comfort in my life!! 2mo
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BarbaraJean
The Blue Castle | L. M. Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Blue Castle discussion part 3

Did the romance feel plausible to you, or was it contrived/too perfect? Or does it matter if it‘s all a little implausible?

Did any parts of the narrative surprise you?

tenar I didn‘t really judge the romance for plausibility while reading; it seemed plenty plausible within the world of the novel, I think.

This was my first read, and I rather smugly thought I had the storyline all figured out for quite a while. But Doc Redfern was a totally unexpected development for me, hah!
2mo
quietjenn I do think it's a bit contrived, but I still love it mightily! 😊 2mo
AnneCecilie I didn‘t think of its plausibility while reading but I did love the love story. Valancy is very clear on her feelings towards Barney. He came a little later to his realization, but he must have cared early on. Why else would he show at the party to make sure Valancy was okey and to get her out? I didn‘t see any of the surprises towards the end, what Barney was the writer and the son of a millionaire. (edited) 2mo
JenlovesJT47 I found it sweet and fairly believable. I loved how she wasn‘t afraid anymore and just went after what she wanted. 2mo
BarbaraJean @AnneCecilie It was all those surprises at the end that seemed a little contrived to me, but I'm with @quietjenn --all the coincidences may be a little too convenient, but I really don't care because I love it so much! @tenar I think that's key--it's plausible within the world LMM has created (and within its genre). But Redfern really does come out of left field, doesn't he?! 2mo
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BarbaraJean
The Blue Castle | L. M. Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Blue Castle discussion part 2

How did you feel about Valancy as a character? Did you find her likable initially?

What about Cissy Gay and Roaring Abel? What do you think they add to the book?

tenar The section with Cissy and Abel was my favorite part of the book! I thought including Cissy‘s story and perspective grounded Valancy‘s own health plotline; it brought some seriousness and deep feeling to it when it could have been frivolous. Cissy and Abel also obviously served as a great transition period for Valancy and added to the overall commentary on respectability and appearances. I think the book wouldn‘t be the same without them! 2mo
Jerdencon I liked Valancy but her extremes were a bit much - from completely passive to the other side so quickly but I understood why… I was happy she was with Cissy and Abel and felt they “saved” Valency. 2mo
quietjenn I do like Valancy, but she was a bit hard to love at the beginning. I'd forgotten just how downtrodden and depressing her life was and it could be frustrating that she was just so passive. I loved Cissy and Abel both as characters in and of themselves and for the “excuse“ they gave Valancy to really step away from her family. 2mo
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AnneCecilie I loved Valancy. It was probably not an easy thing being unmarried and have no prospect to ever be at the age of 29. She is doing what she needs to do in order to keep the peace with everyone in the beginning, when she‘s told that she has less than a year to live there‘s no longer any need for that. Cissy and Abel weren‘t my favorite characters, but they did show that people aren‘t necessarily how you are told they are. (edited) 2mo
JenlovesJT47 I love it when she snaps out of her 29-year fog and starts standing up for herself and not caring what her family thinks. Her family was awful but hilarious nonetheless. Loved her older cousin and that she was supportive of her. Also loved Cissy and Abel. They all helped each other more than they could possibly know. 2mo
BarbaraJean @quietjenn I'd also forgotten how very bleak the beginning of this book is. @Jerdencon I could completely understand how Valancy had been worn down and dominated by her relatives, and actually found her more frustrating in retrospect; once she started standing up to her family, it bothered me that she'd had the spirit to do so before, but hadn't! @JenlovesJT47 Agreed - her family was so terrible but made for some hilarious situations. 2mo
BarbaraJean @AnneCecilie @JenlovesJT47 I loved how LMM provides such a strong critique of societal expectations; she just tears down that felt need to maintain certain appearances/behaviors only to please others. I love Valancy so much for her courage to act against those expectations in order to live the life she wants. @tenar YES! I love Cissy and Abel for how real they are--they're exactly what Valancy needs to establish herself outside those expectations. 2mo
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BarbaraJean
The Blue Castle | L. M. Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Blue Castle discussion part 1

What did you think of The Blue Castle compared to LMM‘s other books? What similarities or differences did you notice?

Are there any themes or ideas that stood out to you?

BarbaraJean Kicking off the discussion a little early, as I will be spending the day with my family. My mother is not well and the family is gathering this weekend to be with her. So if I‘m a little MIA in the discussion, that‘s why! I‘ll jump back in when I can. ☺️ 2mo
Jerdencon @BarbaraJean hope your mother feels better 🙏🏻 2mo
Jerdencon I enjoyed that this was an adult novel - while the descriptions of landscapes and scenery are usual LM Montgomery for me but the more grown up themes were there and no kids anywhere! 2mo
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quietjenn I hope things are okay with mother. As for the book, it definitely still feels like a Montgomery book and I think there are similar characters and situations as in her children's books. But no kids and no hijinks, which I appreciated (as much as I enjoy those in the other books). 2mo
AnneCecilie I hope everything is okay with your mother. As for the book, I loved this one. This is one of my favorites of her. It has all the escapism and coziness as her other books. 2mo
JenlovesJT47 I loved it because it‘s geared towards adults but still has that same warm and cozy vibe as her other books, and of course her beautiful descriptions about nature. Every now and then I think there‘s a little TOO much description in her books but she always paints a beautiful picture. Wish I had read this when I was in my 20s! I‘m so sorry about your mom, I hope you had an enjoyable time with your family. ❤️ 2mo
BarbaraJean @Jerdencon @quietjenn @AnneCecilie @JenlovesJT47 Thank you all for your well-wishes for my mother! It's been a rough week as she is now on hospice care. Although she's often confused (due to her dementia) and sometimes non-responsive, we had some really lovely family time last weekend. My cousins were able to bring her siblings, my uncle and aunt, to visit (which was a feat as they are 96 & 90!) and my mom had some sweet moments with both of them. 2mo
BarbaraJean @Jerdencon @quietjenn I also love that it's not a kids' book! @JenlovesJT47 It really does have the same feel as her others, but with more grown-up themes & a more mature main character. (I think this is also why House of Dreams was my favorite Anne book on my most recent re-read.) The theme of what makes a meaningful life stood out, which is better explored in an adult book. @AnneCecilie The cozy escapism was exactly what I needed right now! 2mo
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BarbaraJean
The Blue Castle | L. M. Montgomery
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Just a little reminder that the #KindredSpiritsBuddyRead discussion of The Blue Castle will be next weekend: Saturday, March 26th. I‘ll post questions around mid-day Pacific Time. Everyone is welcome—if you‘re not tagged and you‘d like to join the discussion, just let me know and I‘ll add you for this book!

This is my absolute favorite LMM novel, and I‘m so excited to discuss it! It‘s exactly the comfort read I need right now. 🥰

AnneCecilie I just finished this morning and I loved this one. 2mo
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BarbaraJean
Exhalation: Stories | Ted Chiang
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Pickpick

I read Ted Chiang‘s “Stories of Your Life and Others” several years back and was stunned by how good it was. This collection was just as good: thought-provoking, fascinating short stories that vary widely in tone and setting but all circle around questions that made me think deeply about life, technology, and our world in new ways. I read this back in January and loved it. Thank you, @Blaire for the fantastic #NewYearWhoDis pick!