Kicking off the Green Gables Readalong with the Book that Started it All!

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You may or may not know, that one of my reading goals for 2015 was to host a Green Gables Readalong, which is challenging everyone to read (or reread in many cases) the entire collection written by Lucy Maud Montgomery. One book from the collection each month, for the next eight months. Full details can be found here. Up first was the book that started it all and what many people call one of the best Canadian novels of our time, Anne of Green Gables.

I read Anne of Green Gables as a child, then again as an adult (in 2010) and now I’ve revisited it again in 2015. Surprisingly, this is the only book I think I’ve read three times in my life and I can honestly say, that I’ve yet to tire of Anne Shirley’s audacity and dramatic flare. It seems odd to share the premise of the book, especially when it’s a book that’s sold 50 million copies and anyone that has any interest in this blog will likely know the plot of Anne of Green Gables. So rather than writing a review of my thoughts on the book (don’t worry, reviews will come for future books in the collection), I’m going to share with you things that surprised me in my third revisit to this book.

1. I thought that Marilla Cuthbert was mean – As I noted above, the last time I read this book was only five years ago, so I’m surprised I was so off base with this, but when I opened up the book, I had ill will towards Marilla. Automatically, I thought “here’s grumpy and strict Marilla”, but in rereading the book, I had a completely different approach to her character. I found her to be sympathetic, loving and encouraging of Anne. Sure, she thinks Anne’s elaborate imagination needs to be reigned in, but this time in reading, I felt like her tongue and imagination were actually IMG_8933qualities Marilla admired about Anne. She knows that these qualities help make Anne unique and make her stand out. She had strength, patience and continuously encourages Anne to be more, to do more. I’d never thought I’d see the day in which I’d rank Marilla Cuthbert as my second favourite character in this book, but that’s what she became.

2. Matthew Cuthbert – I cried as a child. I cried when I was 25. I knew it was coming. I mentally prepared myself. I still cried.

3. Anne’s progression – Weirdly enough, I didn’t remember that Anne goes from age eleven to sixteen in this novel. I felt like every time a new chapter started, three weeks had passed, seasons had changed and milestones had happened. This happens in many novels, time passes, chunks of things are missing, but for some reason, I felt like since there were so many books in the series, we were going to get to spend more time with childhood Anne. I’m not necessarily complaining, I just enjoyed the hijinks of Anne as a child. Her temper, her obsession with puffed sleeves, her need to have any other colour hair. She had such antics as a child and as she grows older, she becomes more focused on her stories, less focused on sharing her thoughts in fear of laughter and odd looks. It was sad to see her grow up in a way, because her innocence begins to fade. That being said, I did admire her desire to step up when her family needed her and to own her mistakes (Gilbert Blythe).

4.  The responsibility of raising Anne – I don’t remember ever feeling that there was such a divide in the “raising” of Anne, but there were two occasions in the book where Marilla and Matthew acknowledge that it is Marilla that is raising Anne. And I get it. It was written in 1908. It seems obvious that Marilla would be the one raising Anne, but is that really the case? Anne relied just as much on Matthew as she did Marilla and even though, he doesn’t technically take part in the punishing of Anne or maintaining her ongoings, his support and involvement are very present. I found these passages really interesting to read, because I feel as if both brother and sister raised Anne in helping to make her the strong, smart and independent woman she becomes. Thoughts? Did anyone else feel the same way?

5. Gilbert Blythe is a gem – Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Gilbert was a few years older than Anne, so maybe he knew better than to tease Anne at his age, but man does he ever pay the price of a harmless prank. FIVE YEARS. Five years is the amount of time that poor boy puts up with the silent treatment. I get it. She felt harmed by his nasty comment, but to keep a grudge for five years seems a bit much. And the crazy thing is, is that Gilbert always seems ready to mend it. To apologize. To smile. To extend a helping hand. Sure, he’s clearly in love with her, but I admired his constant willingness to try to make amends.

These were some of the things that popped out for me in reading Anne of Green Gables. What about you? Were there any new discoveries? Were there any fond memories? Share with me below in the comments and remember to join the online conversations by using the hashtag #GreenGablesReadalong on all your social media channels.

Instagram Favourites: The Book Nerd Edition

Recently I had a conversation with a friend about our favourite social media platforms and not surprisingly, Instagram has moved to the top of the list for me. Since I’m always on the hunt for new and fun Instagram accounts that showcase books, Canadian literature and their love of reading in a fun and visual way, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favourite accounts with all of you. So below are six accounts that I think you should be following and double tapping on a consistent basis, so check them out below. I welcome all of you to share your favourite  accounts or links to your own IG accounts in the comments below!

paper trail diary - instagram

If you love books, zines and homemade cards, you need to follow the papertaildiary IG account. Jessica really takes you behind the scenes with beautiful and visual images of her creative life.

Emily Hoven - Instagram

I’m a new follower of emilyhoven’s account and it really doesn’t get more Canadian than this IG account. Books, Giller Prize winners and beautiful Canadian scenery; what more could you ask for?

Jason V Purcell - Instagram

Jason will tell you that I’m the biggest fan of Jason. Why you ask? He genuinely loves Canadian literature and it shows in the beautiful images he shares on his IG account jasonvpurcell. He’s also a bit of babe. I’ve told him so and he should not be surprised by this comment.

Lena Dunham - Instagram

I’m including lenadunham’s IG account, because not only do you get behind the scenes look at HBO’s Girls and images of her dog, but she also suggest lots of great reads. They aren’t always the current bestselling books, but it just goes to show that Lena clearly understands great literature.

Strand Bookstore - Instagram

I was actually inspired to create this entire post because of the strandbookstore account. They always show so many great behind the scene shots of author signings and they’re really great at utilizing the video function to suggest recommendations from their knowledgable staff.

one more page blog - instagram

OneMorePageBlog is a new blogger in my world and I always enjoy reading her book reviews, so it’s no surprise that I’m a huge fan of her IG account, which also features fun and creative ways to showcase books.

RandomHouseCa - Instagram

I call this shameless plug #1, because I’m one of the people that operates the randomhouseca IG account BUT I had to share the link because we love finding fun ways to share our love of reading and all the wonderful books we publish every single day.

reederreads - instagram

and here is shameless plug #2. I’m sharing my own account, because I want to connect with YOU. So click the picture above, hit the follow button and we can be friends.

kthx.

If You Love Jane Austen, This is THE Book to Own!

IMG_8743“Oh! I am delighted with the book! I should like to spend my whole life reading it.” ~ Northanger Abbey 

There are so many of you out there just like me who love Jane Austen. Recently, I even heard the term “Austeniana” to describe the massive amounts of people that flood to Austen’s work and memorabilia. So when I saw the recently published Jane Austen Cover to Cover on display in so many peoples offices at work, I brought it home to check out over the holidays. On a Thursday evening, with nothing on the go, I ended up spending hours looking at the past 200 years of Jane Austen covers and learning the origins of how her work was originally published.

As the book notes in the introduction,

The covers gathered in this volume represent two hundred years of publication, interpretation, marketing, and misapprehensions of Jane Austen’s works., but underneath the variety of images one thing remains the same: the text that left the pen of a woman in Hampshire, England, two centuries ago.

200 years ago, publishing was much different than it is today. In 1795, authors had a variety of options when it came to getting published. You could choose to publish on commission, meaning that the publisher made all arrangements, design, production, etc. This could be beneficial to the author if their book was a success in terms of compensation, but if the book didn’t perform as expected, many times authors would have to pay their publisher for costs. The other option was selling the copyright of your book to the publisher, which was common for most authors as it guaranteed payment, but it was only that one payment that they author would receive for their work. Nothing more, nothing less.

The only book for which Austen sold the copyright was Pride and Prejudice. Thomas Egerton paid 110 pounds for the copyright. She never received another payment for what would become one of the most popular novels in history.

After having learned her lesson, Austen got much smarter about publishing her work and began self-publishing (in a sense) her work by finding smarter and more cost effective ways to share her writing.

In 1832,o-PRIDEANDPREJUDICE4-570-2

no reciprocal copyright law bound the United Sates and the United Kingdom, copyright was not violated with these publications.

Expired and inapplicable copyright laws  have allowed for all of Austen’s work to now become public domain, allowing for a variety of publishers, covers and interpretations which we get to see in this book. What I found most fascinating is how the covers have changed to fit with the cultural trends and targeted readership throughout the years. For instance, the 1960 – 70’s were a hip time. The boring covers with only a portrait of a woman’t face weren’t going to cut it anymore. Publishers began revamping the covers to become more with the time and resulted in covers like this one from Campus Classics.

There were also many covers that were aimed at reaching a scholarly audience. Pictures of grand houses, and scenes that didn’t focus on the Elizabeth Bennett and Mark Darcy romance, but rather a scene depicting a moment pandp_harper_collins2009w1of departure. As the years passed and we started to see new a variety of films and YouTube channels, publishers had to get creative. For instance, check out how they rebranded Austen’s work to specifically target the Twilight fans . These were published by HarperTeen in 2009. I think my favourite thing about these versions were their tag lines. For instance, the Pride and Prejudice tagline reads “The Love that Started it All”‘. Sure.

Whatever your pleasure, you’ll see the growth and power of Jane Austen’s work in Jane Austen Cover to Cover. Covering the classic to  the modern editions, the movie-tie-in editions and a look at the variety of covers in other languages. This book has it all! I learned so many new and fun facts that I didn’t know before about Jane Austen by opening this collectors item. I also really enjoyed reading about the publishing facts spread throughout the book. Fun, smart and a book that will be on display at my house for a long time, this is one book that will be loved by all Janeites!

A Hands On Demonstration of the Kobo Aura H20

Seeing as how it’s January, the thought of reading on the beach seems like a far away dream. But let’s just pretend for a moment if you will, let’s pretend you’re about 100 pages into your new eBook on your Kobo and your weekend plans include a day at the beach. You pack your towels, your cold drinks and then you hit a road block. Do you bring your eReader? The one you spent $150 on to have it ruined when a dribble of water gets on it? No. Well lucky for you, this dilemma will no longer be an issue thanks to Kobo’s newest member of the family, the Kobo Aura H20.

Kobo Aura H2O is the first premium eReader that truly allows for worry-free eReading because of its waterproof** and dustproof design. It features an impressive extra-large, no-glare 6.8” Carta E Ink touchscreen that reads like print on paper – even in direct sunlight. Eyestrain is minimized in any light with the fully adjustable ComfortLight directing light at the page, not your eyes. Plus, with ClarityScreen+, Kobo Aura H2O provides a high definition reading experience, with crisp, clear text for easy and enjoyable reading.

I was fortunate to be sent a device to try it out and share the experience with all of you! Since I’m not keen on going out in the freezing water to demonstrate this to you and I sure as heck don’t feel comfortable testing this in the tub for all to see, I used my sink to showcase the wonder that is the Kobo Aura H20 and filmed it for you so you could see just how handy and durable the devise is – enjoy!

If you’re interested in purchasing a Kobo Aura H20, they are available for purchase at your local Chapters Indigo and/or you can purchase it online here for only $179.99. 

My thanks to Laura at Edelman for allowing me to try out this fun eReader!

Enter to Win a Gone Girl Prize Pack

Last summer, I finally caved and read Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. I wanted to read the book before the movie was released and I’m so glad I did, because both were impeccable. I’ll never forget the moment when I turned the page (if you’ve read the book, you know what page I’m talking about) and my mouth hung open. I’ve never been so shocked and haunted by a book before and when the movie was released, I feared that the movie wouldn’t capture that shock factor, but low and behold, it did. I saw the movie with someone that hadn’t read the book before and it was almost more fun watching their reaction then actually experiencing the film. That’s why I’m so excited to have the opportunity to not only give away a copy of the book, but also a copy of Blu-Ray DVD of Gone Girl thanks to my friends at Fox Home Entertainment.

Gone Girl Prize Pack

On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) reports that his beautiful wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick’s portrait of a blissful union begins t o crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife? 

Want to enter for your chance to win this AMAZING prize pack, it’s simple; click the image below or this link,

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BEST OF LUCK!