Reading round-up: August 2017

Last month I read:

  1. Rilla of Ingleside by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  2. The Chamber by John Grisham
  3. Word by Word: the Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper
  4. Rainbow Valley by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  5. The Rainmaker by John Grisham
  6. Emily of New Moon by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  7. Lucy Maud Montgomery: the Gift of Wings by Mary Henley Rubio
  8. Emily Climbs by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  9. Emily’s Quest by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  10. Redwall by Brian Jacques

August was, like July, mostly concerned with making my way through the Lucy Maud Montgomery canon. In July I read the first six Anne books; in August I finished up with the Blythes (excepting the short stories in The Road to Yesterday, which I am currently in the middle of) with Rainbow Valley and Rilla of Ingleside, though I accidentally read them out of order. I also made it through the three books of the Emily series — and though it’s too soon to tell how well they will stand up to re-reading, I have to say that as a protagonist I may well like Emily more than Anne!

In between, John Grisham provided a welcome palate-cleanser — you can’t get much further removed from LMM than Grisham, I think. The Chamber was the better of the two; it was quite difficult to put down, and while the ending was very different from what I was expecting, it was also satisfying, albeit in a sad kind of way.

My two non-fiction reads were Mary Henley Rubio’s excellent biography of Montgomery — more on which here — and Kory Stamper’s book on dictionaries.  I’ve been reading Kory’s blog, Harmless Drudgery, for a few years now and I was pretty excited to get my hands on Word by Word. I wasn’t disappointed; it’s erudite, snarky, deeply fascinating, and — although I suppose by this point it’s likely too late — it made me want to be a lexicographer when I grow up.

The last book on the list is the one that doesn’t fit with any particular reading pattern: Redwall. I saw it on display at the library, remembered that one of my brothers had devoured the whole series when he was a pre-teen, and snagged it to see what the fuss was about. Redwall is set in a vaguely medieval-era abbey run by — wait for it — mice, and the first book concerns itself with Redwall Abbey’s defense against the fierce bilge rat Cluny the Scourge — I know, right? — and his evil army of vermin, and the raising up of Matthias, a mouse in the bold tradition of Martin the Warrior (also a mouse). Does this sound a bit silly? It’s not. It’s awesome. With apologies to John Grisham, Redwall was easily the most gripping thing I read in August and if I ever get through Lucy Maud Montgomery I will be diving in to the rest of the series… all 22 books. The big question, though: do I read them in published order, or in the order of internal chronology? Time will tell…

On to September!

4 thoughts on “Reading round-up: August 2017

  1. How interesting! I’ve been meaning to try the Anne books, though I have to overcome a vague but strong memory of disliking them as a young person. It’s never occurred to me to read Grisham; those were always “Dad books” in our house!
    Oh man Redwall. I did devour those in middle school. They get a bit repetitive though. See if you can find a book without somebody biting their lip till it bleeds. Still, awfully fun. And the food!!!!! I still remember the food…


    • I love the Anne books — I always have done, and I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve read some of them (Anne of the Island in particular). They’re sweet and lovely, but not saccharine, which saves them. At the very least, you should consider reading them for their status as major cultural touchstones in English Canada.

      I’m a Grisham fan, although I only started reading him within the last couple of years. They can be a bit uneven; the good ones are really good, the not-so-good ones are a bit meh. I suppose when you have published as much as he has there’s room for some variance! If you’re interested I would start with The Firm or The Runaway Jury as good introductions.


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