"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."

-C.S. Lewis

What we read has such an impact on us, and I am always on the lookout for something that will inspire me to be a better person. Here is a sampling of books that have been in the teetering stack sitting on top of what is rumored to be my bedside table.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Emily of New Moon, by L.M. Montgomery

   Over at the Reading to Know blog, there's an L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge for the month of January.  The idea behind the challenge is to read as much of LMM's works during the month of January.  I couldn't do that because of other obligations, so I've tweaked the challenge to suit my needs.  I'll be reading and reviewing at least 1 LMM book per month during 2016.  I've loved LMM's works since the 7th grade - I still have all the old copies I purchased with my allowance money down at the B. Dalton at the Inland Center Mall in San Bernardino.  Plus new copies that I keep in case of emergency - because what if in some awful future Rilla of Ingleside goes out of print, my copy is ruined, and then I can't read about the Blythe family's WWI saga?   What then, I ask you!

     I'm starting 2016 off with the big guns - the Emily series.  Now, I was reading Emily Climbs the very day I started dating the man I would later marry.  So the series will always have a soft spot in my heart.

    Reading Emily of New Moon, the first of the three-part series, has been such a joy this month.  I hadn't read it in several years, and reading it again has been like a beautiful homecoming.  For those who have been unfortunate enough to miss it thus far, it's the story of a young girl who goes to live with her mother's family after the death of her father.  

     Montgomery wrote this book in 1923, over ten years after her marriage to a Presbyterian minister who suffered from melancholia.  I think by this time in her life, she had a very deep sense not only of suffering, but also of perseverance and optimism.  Her experiences with reality are much more apparent in the Emily series than they are in the Anne series, most of which were written earlier in her life.

     Emily's story has a glorious depth to it  The heavy themes that are covered in just this one book are incredible, but Montgomery writes about them with an understanding that they are simply part of life in a fallen world. Loss of a loved one, traumatic brain injury, depression,  alcoholism, guilt - the list goes on!  But running through it all is this delightful love of God and family, plus that "heritage of fairyland" that is so pervasive in all Montgomery's works.  This book relates to real life and real people, and it's relevant almost 100 years after its initial publication.

      For those of us who know the book, there are such wonderful treats throughout it.  I smiled so many times while reading about the Wind Woman, Emily's letters to her father, Cousin Jimmy's poetry, the flash, candles in the New Moon windows, Ilse's temper, Perry's determination, Teddy's love of art, and Emily's great need to prove her worth to a loving yet often cynical family.  These are very real characters who get under your skin and stay with you as long as you let them.

     I could wax on forever, honestly.  Long story short - read this book if you haven't, revisit it if you have.  You won't regret it!