Visiting Avonlea

Well, I said October would be a month of Anne Shirley, and the best place to start is definitely the books.

Just part of the collection

Just part of the collection

I was going to go through and tell you about all of them individually, but considering that this shelf is just part of the collection that could take a while. I’m going to do us all a favour and limit myself to just a few of my favourites.

These copies started it all. When I was about nine I got these two as gifts from different relatives. It was like they both had decided it was time is I was initiated into the club or something. I am eternally grateful to them, it really was the perfect time in my life to meet Anne.

The beginning

The beginning

The more I think about it the more I realize what a profound impact Anne Shirley and her world have had on my life. My interests in knitting, sewing, quilting, canning, this list goes on and on, could probably be traced back to all that time I spent immersed in Avonlea life. In an effort to mimic that life as best I could I have accumulated various instructional books like Green Gables Knits, The Anne of Green Gables Treasury, and the Anne of Green Gables Cookbook. I remember when I was 14 I invited some friends over and served an entire multiple-course meal using only recipes from the Cookbook – including such highlights as Diana’s ‘Splendid Lettuce Salad’, ‘Anne’s Liniment Cake’ minus the liniment, and Raspberry Cordial of course!

Living the life

Living the life

L.M. Montgomery is a pretty big player in Canadian literature. In the past few years I’ve been able to purchase several anthologies of academic essays about Anne and Montgomery and their world from various university presses (including my one from own alma mater, I’m proud to say). After reading these I’ve come to the conclusion that if you’ve loved something as a child it’s probably best to avoid looking at it through an academic frame. While all the essays are excellent pieces of writing that are well researched and back up all their claims, I really didn’t like what some of them had to say (for instance, there’s one that makes a pretty convincing argument for Anne actually suffering from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome!). Sometimes it’s best not to think about these things too much.

I have mixed feelings

I have mixed feelings about these

I think my absolute favourite, the one I go to the most these days, is The Annotated Anne of Green Gables. It has the original text in the middle of the pages and the margins are full of  notes explain the historical context, describing the fashions, elaborating on the handicrafts the characters discuss (anyone else wonder about Mrs. Lynde’s cotton warp quilts?) and so much more.

The best of all worlds

The best of all worlds

Although I often take it off the shelf and read a chapter here and there it’s been a few years since I’ve actually read Anne of Green Gables cover-to-cover. Maybe it’s time to visit Avonlea again.

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