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L.M. Montgomery is well know for her Anne of Green Gables series, but I have recently begun reading some of her less known works.  She produced quite a collection.  Last year I read Jane of Lantern Hill (a charming read, with a heart warming ending), and just now finished The Blue Castle.  What a great book!  It has somewhat of a somber tone, but hope lurks around each bend in the storyline.  It is the story of a young, unmarried woman destined for a lifetime of loneliness and sadness (homely looks and a rigid mother are the backdrop for this gals less than satisfying life).  She copes with the darkness of her days by fantasizing about life in her imaginary “blue castle”.  Ironically, a grim diagnosis from a doctor leads this woman down a path to brighter days.   How many days she has left to soak up this new found joy is always in question, but it’s well worth it to see her story through to the end.

 

Books mentioned in this post:

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

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A couple of years ago I saw the Hallmark channel movie “The Magic of Ordinary Days”, and loved it!  Many months later I got my hands on a copy of the book and loved that even more.

Pregnant by a man who won’t acknowledge that the child is his, Olivia’s father arranges for her to marry a man she has never met.  She leaves behind her life in the city, her family, and her pursuits of an education to become the wife of a farmer in rural Colorado.  There she learns to find joy and love in the unexpected.

A subplot in the book is Olivia’s relationship with two women who live at a Japanese internment camp in the area.  I don’t know much about this era in our nation’s history, so I found this aspect of the story to be very interesting and eye opening.

I highly recommend this heartwarming book.

Books mentioned in this post:

The Magic of Ordinary Days by Ann Howard Creel

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Tonight PBS is showing a documentary based on the book Half the Sky.  Knowing that it is waiting for me on my DVR has me reflecting on my experience with the book.   I love books.  I love a good story and how it can draw you in, capturing your heart, your imagination, or your funny bone.  As much as I enjoy a good book, however, I can’t say that I’ve read one that has changed my life.  That is, until I read Half the Sky.  Once I started, I had a very hard time putting it down.  Emotionally, it was a very challenging experience.  Some of the stories are horrific, and left me sobbing on more than one occasion.  But there were also stories of hope and redemption, which kept me moving though the pages.  After I read the final page, I closed the book and put it on a shelf in my room.  The stories stuck with me though, they changed me.  I started to develop a passion for things I used to only think about in passing.  My outlook, my perspective on life shifted dramatically.  I was reminded that to be born a woman in this country is a blessing in in of itself, and that to truly enjoy those blessings I must open my eyes and my heart to suffering that is unimaginable to me.  Reading the book prompted me to become a sponsor for Women for Women International, an organization that I have come to respect greatly.  I highly recommend this book, and encourage you to find out more at the Half the Sky website.

Books mentioned in this post:

Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

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I’ve been crying for the past half hour thanks to this:

It took me a while to really get into it, but once I got to the halfway mark, I had a really hard time putting it down (my children needed to be fed and educated, so I had to put it down once in a while).  What a beautiful story!  The maturing of the main character, the vivid descriptions of nature, unforgettable characters, Miss Alice, the last page and a half!  I’m ready to start back at the beginning and experience it all over again! Basically, I loved it.

Books mentioned in this post:

Christy by Catherine Marshall

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I love children’s books.  As a mother and teacher, there’s a natural affinity I suppose.  I love how a few well said words, and some nicely done illustrations can stir a life long affection for the characters and stories of our youth.  I love how I get excited when I see a childhood favorite of mine, eager to share it with my own children.

Such a fun story! My Dad used to read it to my siblings and I, and now it sits on my own children’s bookshelf.

I love how a book meant for children can bring tears to my eyes, stirring my heart with it’s beauty and simplicity.

This is such a beautiful and sentimental book. A favorite of mine.

I love how tales meant for children can teach me, and grow me, and touch me.

These stories have done so much for me on my journey of faith.

Kids of all ages, pick one up and enjoy!

Books Mentioned in this Post:

Septimus Bean And His Amazing Machine by Janet Quin-Harkin

All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

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I love books, but I especially love used books.  The texture and smell of a vintage hardcover; the history of where it came from, who owned it before me; it’s all very romantic!

One of my favorite things is a set of vintage Jane Austen books that my siblings gave me for my birthday one year.  The covers are worn and faded, some of the pages are beginning to come loose, signs of the aging process mark the inside.  They’re beautiful!

I’ll admit to grumbling my way through Emma (I’m yet to finish it), and I’ve avoided Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey (for fear of being disappointed), but I adore Sense and Sensibility, and highly enjoyed Pride and Prejudice.  My absolute favorite, however, is Persuasion. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but it’s one of my favorite stories.  Even though I know the ending, I wonder with anxious anticipation all the way through  if Captain Wentworth still loves Anne or not.  Then, finally, the letter!  It’s such a delicious ending.

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