5 Literary Cookbooks to Make You Feel Like You’re in Your Favorite Book!

5 Literary Cookbooks

Many readers dream of being able to travel into their favorite book–or at least dream of being able to try the food! Below we review five literary cookbooks that will take readers from Middle-Earth to Regency England.

Star Divider

The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook by Kate MacDonald, Evi Abeler

Anne of Green Gables Cookbook

This book is charmingly illustrated with aptly-named recipes that correspond key moments in the story from Diana’s raspberry cordial mishap to Anne’s liniment cake. There are quotes from the Anne books scattered throughout, so readers know which lines inspired each recipe. Regrettably, however, there is no information on cooking history and only a brief biography of L. M. Montgomery at the end. I wanted to see fun facts about cooking in Anne’s time, even if the recipes are modernized for convenience.

The recipes look easy to make and generally require common ingredients, which is nice. However, perhaps because the book is geared towards children, many of the recipes seem pretty standard, like egg salad sandwiches, shepherd’s pie, and macaroni and cheese. There is nothing I could not already easily make without this book; even the raspberry cordial recipe is just raspberry lemonade.

I did appreciate the cooking tips at the beginning of the book, which make it–along with the simplicity of the recipes–a wonderful gift for children. I do not see myself purchasing a copy, however, since the recipes are so standard that I can already do most of them.

smaller star divider

Dinner with Mr. Darcy by Pen Vogler

Dinner with Mr. Darcy

This book is a delightful foray into the dining and cooking of Austen’s time. I loved the interludes explaining things like when meal times were taken or how tables were set, as well as the notes about how many of these conventions changed during Austen’s own life. The recipes are really interesting as many are probably not meals most would cook or eat today. Many of the meals are very meat-heavy, however, which is not really appealing to me. So any recipes I try out will likely be from the dessert and tea sections.

smaller star divider

The Little Women Cookbook by Wini Moranville

Wini Moranville clearly appreciates Alcott’s work and attempts to offer a cookbook that acknowledges Alcott’s beloved book while also providing recipes for authentic period dishes–thankfully updated for the modern cook. Recipes are mostly based on actual meals and food mentioned in Little Women. But other recipes are those found in the “receipt” book Meg consulted, or recipes that would have been common at the time. The result is that readers will feel confident that they are really experiencing something akin to what diners in the 1860s would have.

Fascinating historical facts and explanations intersperse the book, making it an interesting read for fans of Little Women, even if an individual does not feel like making any of the recipes. For example, Moranville illuminates readers as to the nature of the “messes” Meg cooked for Beth; discusses how the Marches, though poor, managed to afford lobster; and explains what a blacmange is. Other historical notes explain why Louisa May Alcott’s work was filled with apples, or talk about how her father was what we would now call a vegan. Moranville ends up answering questions about Little Women and its author that readers may not have even known to ask.

Easy-to-make recipes paired with full menu suggestions make this a cookbook that I actually use. I have tried the apple orchard chicken, the pickled lime cookies, the Dijon mustard, and the hot milk sponge cake–and I make the sponge cake regularly. I intend to try more recipes since they have all been delicious!

smaller star divider

The Secret Garden Cookbook: Inspiring Recipes from the Magical World of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden by Amy Cotler

This beautifully-illustrated cookbook was precisely the type of book I wished to find after reading The Little Women Cookbook. Period dishes are paired with explanations of how food would have been prepared during Mary Lennox’s time. The author also clearly explains the different types of food that might have been available in the countryside versus the city, and how people of different social classes might have eaten. There is even a section on recipes that were imported from or inspired by the British presence in India. Many of the recipes look delicious, and I have bookmarked a few to try out in the future.

smaller star divider

An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery by Chris-Rachael Oseland

I have to admit that I was expecting more recipes directly inspired by Middle-earth, so I ended up merely flipping through this book and not cooking anything. The dishes are mainly English countryside Victorian fare that J. R. R. Tolkien might have eaten. I was not particularly interested in recipes for things like steak and ale pie, venison cobbler, porter cake, and Yorkshire pudding, however, so maybe I am not the target audience for this book. Also, there are similar recipes in here as contained in The Secret Garden Cookbook–and I thought The Secret Garden Cookbook was superior. I did appreciate the historical notes about cooking and food in Tolkien’s day, however.

Making Avonlea: L. M. Montgomery and Popular Culture, ed. by Irene Gammel

Making Avonlea

Information

Goodreads: Making Avonlea
Series: None
Age Category: Adult
Source: Library
Published: 2002

Official Summary

Since the publication of Anne of Green Gables in 1908, L.M. Montgomery and the world of Anne have propelled themselves into a global cultural phenomenon, popular not only in Canada, but in places as diverse as Japan, the United States, and Iran. Making Avonlea, the first study to focus on Montgomery and her characters as popular cultural icons, brings together twenty-three scholars from around the world to examine Montgomery’s work, its place in our imagination, and more specifically its myriad spin-offs including musicals, films, television series, t-shirts, dolls, and a tourist industry.

Invoking theories of popular culture, film, literature, drama, and tourism, the essayists probe the emotional attachment and loyalty of many generations of mostly female readers to Montgomery’s books while similarly scrutinizing the fierce controversies that surround these books and their author’s legacy in Canada. Twenty-five illustrations of theatre and film stills, artwork, and popular cultural artefacts, as well as snapshot pieces featuring personal reflections on Montgomery’s novels, are interwoven with scholarly essays to provide a complete picture of the Montgomery cultural phenomenon. Mythopoetics, erotic romance, and visual imagination are subjects of discussion, as is the commercial success of various television series and movies, musicals, and plays based on the Anne books. Scholars are equally concerned with the challenges and disputes that surround the translation of Montgomery’s work from print to screen as well as the growth of tourist sites and websites that have themselves moved Avonlea into new cultural landscapes. Making Avonlea allows the reader to travel to these sites and to consider Canada’s most enduring literary figures and celebrity author in light of their status as international icons almost one hundred years after they first arrived on the scene.

Star Divider

Review

With its broad focus on everything from interpretations of Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon to film analyses, descriptions of doll-making, and explorations of Japanese Anne clubs, Making Avonlea is a fascinating look at how Montgomery’s work has been received, reinterpreted, and commodified. The essays range from scholarly critiques to personal confession, with each writer bringing their unique perspective to a field that they hope will continue to find acceptance in the broader scholarly community. However, despite the academic emphasis, the collection will also appeal to a more popular audience; any fan of Anne’s will be intrigued by the new viewpoints raised, and encouraged to look at Montgomery’s writings (and their reincarnations) with fresh eyes.

Like any collected work, Making Avonlea contains essays that vary in quality and interest. For my part, I found several of the analyses of Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon lacking–though this did not surprise me. I remain convinced that the “publish or perish” mentality in higher academia has led to a wealth of sub-par publications, which often do not seem to have any real point (observing things in a literary work, but not saying why it matters) or that seem to be far-fetched theories in an attempt to say something new. This is true of many publications, not just this one.

So, for instance, I was intrigued by Irene Gammel’s “Safe Pleasures for Girls: L. M. Montgomery’s Erotic Landscapes” and its argument that Montgomery subversively represents reader desire in her works. However, I started to question how far the argument can really go when Gammel writes that Emily’s sexual awakening occurs at Priest Pond and experiences menstruation in the Pink Room, as represented by what Gammel calls “Montgomery’s complex literary cryptogram for menstrual symptoms,” i.e. Emily’s “cold perspiration, anxiety, terror, horror, panic, and a none-too-subtle Gothic vision of a ‘bleeding nun'” (123). I am not sure that anxiety and terror are the most obvious symptoms of menstruation. Had Emily experienced cramps, bloating, backache, a headache, or fatigue, I would be more convinced that she is on her period, and not just experiencing an overactive imagination.

In the same vein, while I find it interesting for Gammel to argue that, “Wyther Grange signal the heroine’s entrance into fertility… ‘Grange’ (=grain) evokes the ancient fertility rites,” (123) I tend to be skeptical of criticism where we have to read too much into the work. Yes, the text can support the argument since the evidence is there. But…isn’t it a bit much to start linking Emily’s visit (where, it is true, she does grow up, does have a weirdly sexual encounter with a grown man, and does learn about sex from her female relatives) with fertility rituals? I tend to be a bit old-school with my literary criticism preferences, and I dislike when scholars seem to need to reach to prove their cleverness with unlikely allusions and assertions. An analysis of Emily’s experiences and how she emerges from them with new knowledge and less innocence is sufficient for me.

My favorite parts of the collection were the essays that did not focus on the books, but on the adaptations and products linked to the works. It is fascinating to see how Montgomery’s writings have spawned a bunch of industries, turning P.E.I. into a tourist destination designed to please fans who mistakenly think Anne is real (or conflate her with her author), creating copyright disputes and fights for “authenticity” when mass producing Anne products, and even inspiring an Avonlea section of a Japanese theme park. Some of these essays seem more like observations than analyses–or observations with a few sentences tacked on the end, in a half-hearted attempt to link the observations to some nebulous broader theme. But the questions they raise about Anne’s popularity, how she has been received by fans, and how others seek to capitalize on or manipulate fans’ enthusiasm are ones that will haunt readers as they consider their own place in the ever-expanding world of Anne.

Overall, Making Avonlea is both an enjoyable and an engrossing read. Anyone interested in Montgomery’s writing, popular culture, or, of course, Anne will want to check this out. The many incarnations of Anne may surprise even the most avid of fans!

One Classic Book I Would Change the Ending To: Anne of Green Gables (Spoilers!)

Classic Remarks

WHAT IS CLASSIC REMARKS?

Classic Remarks is a meme hosted here at Pages Unbound that poses questions each Friday about classic literature and asks participants to engage in ongoing discussions surrounding not only themes in the novels but also questions about canon formation, the “timelessness” of literature, and modes of interpretation.

HOW CAN I PARTICIPATE?

Leave your link to your post on your own blog in the comments below. And feel free to comment with your thoughts even if you are not officially participating with a full post!

You can find more information and the list of weekly prompts here.

(Readers who like past prompts but missed them have also answered them on their blog later and linked back to us at Pages Unbound, so feel free to do that, too!)

THIS WEEK’S PROMPT:

 If you could change the ending of one classic book, what would it be and why?

Star Divider

Spoilers for the end of Anne of Green Gables!

Anne of Green Gables is one of my very, very favorite books, and I generally think it’s perfection. I’ve read it at least 20 times, and each time I think it was better than the last.

So why would I change something about the ending? If you’ve read the book, you’ve probably guess: I would stop Matthew from dying!

Matthew is really a shining star of a character. He’s quiet and incredibly awkward around women, but that makes his staunch support of Anne and her imagination and her talkative nature all the more heartwarming. I love seeing Marilla gently chide him for “encouraging” Anne by listening to her ridiculous stories. I love his faith in Anne, and how he knows she’s smart and an excellent student. I love when he gathers up his courage to finally get Anne a more stylish dress (and his painfully awkward scene at the store trying to order the materials, only to end up leaving with an absurd amount of brown sugar is one of my favorite in the book!).

Matthew, basically, is just what Anne needs. Or what she needs to balance out Marilla, who has stricter ideas about how to raise a child (and she’s right some of the time if not all of the time). You can tell how much Matthew loves Anne and how much she loves Matthew, so when he dies at the end of the book, it’s simply heartbreaking. I want to keep him around!

And L. M. Montgomery is on my side here. I think she and I both recognize that he had to die at some point. That just kind of feels right to the story, and the heartbreak is something that does add to the book, even while it saddens readers. But Montgomery implies she would have at least delayed his death (I believe if she’d known how well the book would sell and that she’d have the chance to write Anne a whole series):

“Many people have told me that they regretted Matthew’s death in Green Gables. I regret it myself,” wrote Lucy Maud Montgomery in her autobiography, The Alpine Path. “If I had the book to write over again, I would spare Matthew for several years. But when I wrote it, I thought he must die, that there might be a necessity for self-sacrifice on Anne’s part, so poor Matthew joined the long procession of ghosts that haunt my literary past.”

anneofgreengables.com

So, yes, I would love to seen an end of Anne of Green Gables where Matthew gets several more happy years to watch Anne grow up.

Briana

Why Anne of Green Gables Speaks to Contemporary Readers (Classic Remarks)

Classic Remarks

WHAT IS CLASSIC REMARKS?

Classic Remarks is a meme hosted here at Pages Unbound that poses questions each Friday about classic literature and asks participants to engage in ongoing discussions surrounding not only themes in the novels but also questions about canon formation, the “timelessness” of literature, and modes of interpretation.

HOW CAN I PARTICIPATE?

Leave your link to your post on your own blog in the comments below. And feel free to comment with your thoughts even if you are not officially participating with a full post!

You can find more information and the list of weekly prompts here.

(Readers who like past prompts but missed them have also answered them on their blog later and linked back to us at Pages Unbound, so feel free to do that, too!)

THIS WEEK’S PROMPT:

Why do you think Anne of Green Gables still speaks to contemporary readers?

smaller star divider

Although L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables is set in the late 1800s on Prince Edward Island, I believe it speaks to readers today, readers from around the world and all walks of life, because many of the themes and Anne’s life experiences are, at their core, universal. While readers may never be an orphan or live on a farm or attend a one-room school or do half the things Anne does, her childhood struggles to make sense of world, fit in with others, and navigate relationships with others are things that readers can continue to understand and empathize with.

I’ve always thought Montgomery as a writer has a keen understanding of how it feels to be a child, and that understanding is what helps her characters come alive. One of the earlier scenes in Anne of Green Gables, for instance, involves Mrs. Rachel Lynde looking at Anne and calling her, straight to her face, homely. Mrs. Lynde hits on a particularly touchy point when she mentions Anne’s red hair, which Anne has never liked (and who can’t relate to having something about one’s appearance that one wishes to change?), but the heart of the matter — which Anne points out — is that these are cruel things Mrs. Lynde would never have said to another adult. Adults are worthy of respect; one might comment on a lady’s ugliness behind closed doors, but would never walk up to and tell her point blank that she isn’t pretty. Because Anne is a child, however, Mrs. Lynde, and initially Marilla, think they can say and do what they like to her; she’s not human enough to deserve the kindness and tact that adults do. THESE are the kinds of scenes that I think continue to speak to readers today, as readers can reflect on the times they were treated as less than simply because they were child and not adults.

Montgomery also skillfully conveys “little” issues that loom large to children. For instance, Anne has always hankered after the “puffed sleeves” that are in fashion in her day, but Marilla insists in dressing her in plain, sensible clothes. Anne is fairly good-natured about this and mostly limits herself to wistfully wishing for a more fashionable dress, but the feeling of wanting trendier clothing that one’s family can’t afford or one’s parents simply will not buy is relatable. (And Montgomery takes the theme even farther in Emily of New Moon, when Emily’s aunts force her to wear out-of-date and overly formal clothing to school, which makes her stand out and get mocked, prompting her to attempt to switch out the garments for something else on the way to school. I don’t know about other people, but I have vivid memories of being forced to wear ridiculous clothing by my parents because they thought it was the correct thing for the occasion, when it certainly was NOT. I can never read this scene without having flashbacks to some of the horrid, ridicule-inviting things I was forced to wear.)

These are the moments I think speak to readers today, Anne’s experience as a child and how that’s filled with innocence and wonder and possibility but also mistakes and punishments and bullying and disdain from some adults. I always say the book isn’t really about anything; it’s just about Anne’s life. But that’s what makes it inviting and timeless, what lets us see the little moments of our own lives in the little moments of Anne’s.

Briana

A Classic Book I Love for The Prose: Anne of Green Gables (Classic Remarks)

Classic Remarks

WHAT IS CLASSIC REMARKS?

Classic Remarks is a meme hosted here at Pages Unbound that poses questions each Friday about classic literature and asks participants to engage in ongoing discussions surrounding not only themes in the novels but also questions about canon formation, the “timelessness” of literature, and modes of interpretation.

HOW CAN I PARTICIPATE?

Leave your link to your post on your own blog in the comments below. And feel free to comment with your thoughts even if you are not officially participating with a full post!

You can find more information and the list of weekly prompts here.

(Readers who like past prompts but missed them have also answered them on their blog later and linked back to us at Pages Unbound, so feel free to do that, too!)

THIS WEEK’S PROMPT:

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE AUSTEN HEROINE? OR HERO?

Star Divider

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

L. M. Montgomery is one of my favorite authors for many reasons, from her vision to her characters to her keen social observations, but I have also always been in love with her prose. When readers complain about overblown descriptions in novels, I always think about Montgomery’s writing and how she can describe anything and catch my interest– and also convince me she’s seen exactly what it is is she’s describing.

If I were to describe a tree or a flower, for instance, I’d probably end up rather hand-wavy and say it was tall or vibrant and maybe bother to specifically say it was a poplar or a daffodil. It turns out I don’t really know all that much about trees or flowers besides I think they’re nice. L. M. Montgomery, however, makes me believe she knows all about nature and truly loves it, and she makes me wish I were the same.

Here, for instance, is the beginning of a simple description of a garden. The prose is beautiful — I have always loved the phrase “old-fashioned flowers ran riot” — and I come away thinking Montgomery has seen a garden like this and truly enjoys it, not that she’s writing some throwaway description of some plants because she feels she has to:

The Barry garden was a bowery wilderness of flowers which would have delighted Anne’s heart at any time less fraught with destiny. It was encircled by huge old willows and tall firs, beneath which flourished flowers that loved the shade. Prim, right-angled paths neatly bordered with clamshells, intersected it like moist red ribbons and in the beds between old-fashioned flowers ran riot.

And here is another example, where Montgomery beautifully describes Anne, nature, and the effect that nature has on Anne:

Its beauty seemed to strike the child dumb. She leaned back in the buggy, her thin hands clasped before her, her face lifted rapturously to the white splendor above. Even when they had passed out and were driving down the long slope to Newbridge she never moved or spoke. Still with rapt face she gazed afar into the sunset west, with eyes that saw visions trooping splendidly across that glowing background. Through Newbridge, a bustling little village where dogs barked at them and small boys hooted and curious faces peered from the windows, they drove, still in silence. When three more miles had dropped away behind them the child had not spoken. She could keep silence, it was evident, as energetically as she could talk.

However, Montgomery’s prose is not all flowers and beauty and making me want to fall in love with the world as she sees it. Montgomery also has a remarkable talent for capturing different voices for each of her characters. For instance, here is the no-nonsense Mrs. Rachel Lynde:

“Well, of all things that ever were or will be!” ejaculated Mrs. Rachel when she was safely out in the lane. “It does really seem as if I must be dreaming. Well, I’m sorry for that poor young one and no mistake. Matthew and Marilla don’t know anything about children and they’ll expect him to be wiser and steadier that his own grandfather, if so be’s he ever had a grandfather, which is doubtful. It seems uncanny to think of a child at Green Gables somehow; there’s never been one there, for Matthew and Marilla were grown up when the new house was built—if they ever were children, which is hard to believe when one looks at them. I wouldn’t be in that orphan’s shoes for anything. My, but I pity him, that’s what.”

Compared to Anne gushing over her new dress with puffed sleeves:

“I don’t see how I’m going to eat breakfast,” said Anne rapturously. “Breakfast seems so commonplace at such an exciting moment. I’d rather feast my eyes on that dress. I’m so glad that puffed sleeves are still fashionable. It did seem to me that I’d never get over it if they went out before I had a dress with them. I’d never have felt quite satisfied, you see. It was lovely of Mrs. Lynde to give me the ribbon too. I feel that I ought to be a very good girl indeed. It’s at times like this I’m sorry I’m not a model little girl; and I always resolve that I will be in future. But somehow it’s hard to carry out your resolutions when irresistible temptations come. Still, I really will make an extra effort after this.”

Montgomery’s writing is so versatile. Often flowing and gorgeous, but sharp and biting when it needs to be. I can only aspire to one day write like her!

Briana

Rainbow Valley by L. M. Montgomery

Information

Goodreads: Rainbow Valley
Series: Anne of Green Gables #7
Source: Library
Published: 1919

Summary

A new minister and his family have moved into the manse.  The Meredith children, however, are motherless and their antics are scandalizing the neighborhood.  From playing in the Methodist graveyard to showing up to church without stockings, nothing seems beyond them.  The Blythe children, however, are always ready to play and Mrs. Dr. Blythe remains their staunch defender.

Review

Rainbow Valley is classic Montgomery and everything enchanting.  The focus moves from Anne and her family to the Meredith children who, like Anne herself, tend to act first and think later.  Their innocent revelries are the cause of much consternation in the congregation.  Poor Miss Cornelia is not sure she will ever be able to face the Methodists again!  The combination of childhood joys, heartbreaks, and fancies, along with the gossip of the locals provides a perceptive look at life in a small town where nothing is ever dull and the tragedies of old maids are as great as the tragedies of queens.

Readers who miss the Anne of Green Gables days will delight in Rainbow Valley.  The manse children, though well-meaning, get up to all kinds of humorous high jinks.  Their desire to do good always seems to go awry in a way that is very reminiscent of our favorite redhead.  However, they distinguish themselves from Anne because their mishaps are often intentional–they simply do not understand the social mores of Glen St. Mary.  They go at life with vim and are confused when the staid old maids gossip as a result.

The gossip is, as always, both riveting and the target of Montgomery’s wit.  Montgomery makes small town trials and tragedies come alive, showing that passion is not confined to only higher segments of society.  But the gossip often centers around trivial matters when little else is happening.  Thus, the ladies of Glen St. Mary unconsciously couple stories of jilted lovers and vengeful wives with shocked whispers about the doings of the manse children, as if a childhood prank exists on the level of seriousness.  The ladies become a little humorous themselves even as they tell the silly doings of the children.

Rainbow Valley is sure to please any fan of L. M. Montgomery.  However, it also has much to recommend it to any casual reader.  It enters sympathetically into the world of childhood and brings readers back to the innocence of imagination.  But it also contains a keen wit and perceptive characterization as it charts the deaths, births, marriages, and courtings of Glen St. Mary.  The characters seem real, so real that leaving them feels like leaving friends.

5 stars

Anne of Ingleside by L. M. Montgomery

Information

Goodreads: Anne of Ingleside
Series: Anne #6

Source: Library
Published: 1939

Summary

Now married with five (and soon to be six) children, Anne Blythe finds that life never has a dull moment. Nan and Di struggle to make friends in school, Jem desperately wants a dog who will love him, and Walter dreams and writes poetry.  And whenever they need advice?  It’s Mummy who understands best.  Anne may no longer live in her House of Dreams, but she’s more than contented where she is.

Review

Anne of Ingleside is a treat because, well, any book that brings us more of Anne, her family, and P.E.I. cannot help but be.  Still, even I, as an avid L. M. Montgomery fan, must admit that the book feels a little uneven.  It moves between focusing on Anne, her dreams, and her worries about her relationship with Gilbert to focusing the fancies and tragedies of her children.  Is it a book about a midlife crisis or a book about childhood?  It’s a little hard to tell.

If I am honest with myself, I did not fully enjoy the chapters focusing on Anne’s brood.  Rainbow Valley is the book for that.  The children’s struggles with making friends or keeping a pet alive felt out of place when juxtaposed with Anne’s struggle to remove Gilbert’s overbearing aunt from their household and her worries that her husband might not find her interesting or attractive anymore.  I wanted this to be Anne’s book.  I wanted to see how she would navigate middle-age.  If the chapters on her children had focused more on Anne’s response to them, I might have enjoyed them more and I might have felt the narrative less uneven.

Many reviewers have criticized the book for depicting Anne as a happy housewife. I have no problem with this.  To say that the book deserves a low rating because Anne only writes sometimes and prefers to take care of her family is to rate it 1) based on modern ideals of what a woman’s life “should” look like and 2) based on a personal feeling that having a career is more important than having a family.  To me, feminism means respecting the choices of women when they say they are doing what makes them happy and fulfilled.  If Anne is happy and fulfilled as a housewife, we should support her, not criticize her as not being feminist enough.  (And, if you want a Montgomery heroine who does put her writing career first, there is always the Emily of New Moon trilogy.)

Anne of Ingleside may, unfortunately, be the most lackluster of the Anne series.  It feels a little as if Montgomery’s heart were not in it.  Even a chapter in which the Ladies Aid gossips about the townsfolk feels somehow less ironic and witty than is Montgomery’s wont.  Still, any glimpse of Anne’s life is welcome to me.  I’m glad we get to see a little bit of it, even if the execution does not seem up to Montgomery’s usual standards.

Need more Montgomery?  Check out our infographic featuring some of her other books.


Today I’m joining in with the Anne of Green Gables series read-along hosted by Jane @ Greenish Bookshelf and Jackie @ Death by Tsundoku.  You can find the details here if you would like to read along, catch up with reading along, or join in with some of the bonus posts!

4 stars

Top 5 Things I Wish I Could Change About the Anne Series

Anne of Windy Poplars

Anne of Windy Poplars

Today I’m joining in (belatedly) with the Anne of Green Gables series read-along hosted by Jane @ Greenish Bookshelf and Jackie @ Death by Tsundoku.  You can find the details here if you would like to read along, catch up with reading along, or join in with some of the bonus posts!

Top 5 Things I Wish I Could Change About the Anne Series

(Spoilers Ahead for All Eight Books!)

The Treatment of Dora

I have written about this before, but I do not understand why Anne does not like Dora because–gasp!–Dora is a well-behaved child.  Apparently Dora is boring as a result and we do not need to hear much about her after Anne leaves Green Gables.  Poor Dora.

The End of Anne of Green Gables

You know the end.  The part where Matthew dies.  I cry every time.  This is potentially the worst death in all of literary history.

Rilla of Ingleside

Don’t get me wrong.  I love this book.  And I love Rilla and the way she grows when put to the test.  But watching Anne Blythe age and lose her spirit while her boys are off to war is the last thing I ever wanted.  Anne deserves better.  Her family deserves better.  It doesn’t help that my favorite character, Walter Blythe, dies.  Or that Una is left facing a lifetime alone.

The Fate of Jane Andrews

Why does everyone feel bad for Jane because she marries an old wealthy guy?  Maybe she wanted to marry him.  Maybe she loves him.  It does not seem right that Anne and Jane’s old acquaintances judge her for taking an opportunity Jane clearly wanted to take–for whatever reasons.

Anne’s Refusal to Apologize

Anne, think of all the years you could have had with Gilbert if you weren’t so stubborn!  You’re breaking my heart!

Not sure what to read after finishing Anne’s series?  Check out our flow chart with recommendations for L. M. Montgomery’s other works.

Classic Remarks: What Would You Do in Anne of Green Gables?

Classic Remarks

Classic Remarks is a meme that poses questions each Friday about classic literature and asks participants to engage in ongoing discussions surrounding not only themes in the novels but also questions about canon formation, the “timelessness” of literature, and modes of interpretation.  The schedule for 2017 is available now, if you would like to participate. We look forward to seeing your responses!


You’ve been dropped into L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.

What do you do first?

Anne of Green Gables

Although I love the characters L.M. Montgomery creates in the Anne series, I am also enchanted by her portrayal of Prince Edward Island. I know that life on the Island may not have entirely been idyllic in the late 1800s/early 1900s.  (Anne’s chores are sometimes noticeably glossed over in the books, unless she’s having a mishap baking cakes or such.) However, Montgomery still makes the Island sound like one of the most beautiful places on earth, and if I were plunked directly into Anne of Green Gables, I would start exploring it.

Anne is enraptured by the red soil and the beautiful flowering trees when she first heads to Green Gables with Matthew, so I like I’d like to start there, traveling down the White Way of Delight. I’d move on to see all the beautiful places where Anne spends her girlhood, from the Lake of Shining  Waters to the Dryad’s Bubble to Lover’s Lane.  I think walking around Anne’s haunts would be a well-spent day.

If I had more time in Avonlea, I’d love to see what events were happening.  Entertainment in the past seems so much different than our own today.  (People really went to recitals to hear children recite great poems of literature?) However, it also sounds charming. I think I’d enjoy going to a school concert or a church picnic, or whatever was happening that week, and hopefully there would be delicious homemade desserts!

If you are participating this week, please leave the link to your post in the comments.

Briana