It’s March in Michigan, and that means a few things:
Chilliness, with no white, sparkly snow to compensate.
If I were Anne of Green Gables, though, I might cast things in a more romantic light. “Gloom” would be translated as “a pearl gray day.” Cloud cover would be the same. Drizzles would probably be rendered into an opportunity to splash in puddles and watch the Scotch mist rise tenderly over the moors (or Madison St, SE, as is the case here).
She would also probably recommend a cuppa tea, lantern light, and a stack of books which make staying in a snug, inviting and appealing experience. Like Hygge but for early spring.
Before I get to this week’s preview of “Anne” (which, hint, will be more complicated and controversial than last week’s lovefest), I wanted to also preview my upcoming Instagram/Bookstagram account for kindred spirits everywhere:
The Bookseller’s Daughter
I’m super excited about this, as it honors my dad, the late, great Patron Saint of Booksellers. Abe Reimer.
His passion, vocation, gift to this world was placing the right book in the hands of the right person at the right time. That will be my framework as well for recommending books.
I will also have drink pairings!
Books paired with: various teas, hot cocoas, coffee, Prosecco, Raspberry Cordial, etc.
And, most of the time: Succulents. Because I can’t help myself. I have an addiction going here.
For now, here’s a sampling:
Three books perfect for these pearl gray, stay-snug, tea-beckoning days:
1. Granchester by James Runcie
It’s the Right Book Because: Coziness, thy name is Grantchester. Written by the son of the former archbishop of Canterbury, the book series (now five books, soon to be six) gives us the cute, young, jazz-loving, mystery-solving vicar Sidney Chambers, his gruff detective sidekick, a dog named Dickens, and a crazy-quaint English village in 1950 Cambridgeshire, in which he drives the ladies to distraction and solves various crimes.
Michael Pilgrim of The Daily Telegraph wrote: “…Victoria sponge with a tablespoon of battery acid.”
You are the Right Person If: You are a committed anglophile who loves any period British offering on PBS, adore cozy mysteries, and are fascinated by insights into the human condition. Bonus: Though not a “Christian book,” Sidney’s musings are deeply Christian, nonetheless.
It’s the Right Time When: It’s been overcast for days, weeks even, and you need your sunshine distilled via ink and paper.
Drink pairing: Tea, naturally. Preferably English.
2. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzaro
The Right Book: (From the EHS website) “…we know that spiritual maturity and emotional health are inseparable.”
The Right Person: If you want a true transformation of your past and present, an authentic, oh-so-real, “beneath the surface spiritual formation” that brings old wounds to the light and heals them in the power of Jesus Christ, this astonishing, life-altering book is for you.
The Right Time: If you’ve finished with “Jesus Calling,” and sense that God wants you to heal, grow and deepen your walk, it’s the right time for this illuminating, truth-telling book.
Drink Pairing: Coffee in the morning, or Sleepytime tea at night, or whenever you get the chance to go deep with this book or its companion devotional, which I HIGHLY recommend.
3. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
The Right Book: (From www.Ruthware.com) “When travel journalist Lo Blacklock is invited on a boutique luxury cruise around the Norwegian fjords, it seems like a dream career opportunity.But the trip takes a nightmarish turn when she wakes in the middle of the night to hear a body being thrown overboard – only to discover that no-one has been reported missing from the boat. How do you stop a killer, when no-one believes they exist?”
The Right Person: If you disliked the grittier, smuttier aspects of “Gone Girl” and “The Girl on the Train,” but love a twisty, turn-y, hold-your-breath-in-suspense page-turner, this book is for you. (Note: It’s not an Amish romance by any means, which is to say there are some connubial goings-on and violence. But waaay less than GG and GOTT. I bet the movie will be PG-13. Because there has GOT to be a movie!). Also for you if you like interesting, less common settings, which I do. A Scandinavian boutique luxury cruise ship? There SHALL be cold, dark, deep waters…
The Right Time: It’s 48 degrees outside, with just enough dribble and dampness to dissuade you from a walk. Plus, you’re in the mood for vicarious tension, trepidation, and thrills!
Drink Pairing: Glögg or Scandinavian mulled beverage, which may make you blush. You might be blushing already, after reading Cabin 10. Drink tea in a pinch.
There’s your sample preview of “The Bookseller’s Daughter. What do you think? Three more books with next week’s “Anne” review!
Which brings me to my review of Episode 2 of “Anne.”
1. I have to apologize to Kevin Sullivan. Why? Because though I have revered the first four hours of 1995’s AOGG, and adored the next four, I have always rejected the third installment because it is WILDLY OFF BOOK. I will now have to reframe that third installment the same way I am reframing Hour 3 of “Anne”: Anne of Green Gables Fantasy Fan Fiction. Because a whole lotta stuff happens here that maybe a fan would like to see happen, but did not occur at all in the book. Not at all. Maybe 3/4 of this episode was book-free. YIKES.
2. So, we find Green Gables in a tizzy, because Marilla finds her amethyst brooch too late: Anne has run away, back to the hellish orphanage in Nova Scotia. Heroic Matthew gallops down the PEI beach on his horse to catch her, but he’s too late. What follows is a frenzied, almost Odyssean search for his girl, who is in deep trouble, having decided to go it on her own and set forth for her roots near Halifax (aka the Big City). For both runaway and rescuer, this involves a train ride, a boat ride (which reminded me that another word for “orphan” is castaway), and some hustled rides with various strangers. Meanwhile, Marilla is in a tortuous regret. If she had believed Anne about the brooch, Anne would now be safe and sound in her bedroom at Green Gables…
3. “Does this reveal anything not already revealed in the book?” a stellar question from my friend and kindred spirit, Natalie. And after some soul searching, I don’t think it does…
4. These new additions to the story do bring us a couple of GORGEOUS, heart-stopping moments: When Matthew finds Anne he blurts out the words every orphan longs to hear: “she’s my daughter.” And also, when Marilla realizes Anne is back, and it’s SOOO obvious how much she already loves this peculiar girl, though she doesn’t choose to show it just yet. The acting by the three major characters, Amybeth McNulty’s scared, ambivalent Anne, R.H. Thompson’s awakening Matthew, and Geraldine James’ repressed though fiercely maternal Marilla, is nothing short of magnificent. But would they have been just as superb with Lucy Maud’s original source material? I think so.
5. It always bugged me that the word adoption is not used in the books and that the reader is never quite sure of the arrangement between Anne and her adoptive parents. Or are they just her loving custodial caregivers? In this episode, the Anne Fantasy comes to life when Marilla and Matthew ask Anne to take the last name Cuthbert and to sign her new name in the family Bible as a symbol of their “forever family.” Well, “forever family,” as Natalie points out, is a new phrase, which didn’t hit me right at all. BUT–this is a fantasy, after all. As such, I loved the finality and security of it all.
Well, let me have it then, Anne fans. Purists may go bananas. Or, they may buy my Anne Fantasy Fan Fiction explanation. Or, they may not care a whit about the book and just love all the renovated Anne splendor.
What do YOU think?
Are you prepared to buy into some serious revisions here? Or would you prefer, as I do in my heart of hearts, that all of this phenomenal writing and acting and filmmaking would reflect Maud’s original story?
I’d love to know your thoughts! Every comment on my blog from now until the Anne series has properly aired on Netflix (May 12) will be entered in a contest to win a fetching Anne of Green Gables art piece or frameable quote from my favorite Etsy shop, Carrot Top Paper Shop! So comment away, won’t you, Anne Internet Friends??
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