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BarbaraJean

BarbaraJean

Joined May 2016

READ ALL THE THINGS! www.goodreads.com/barbarajanette www.commonplacehope.wordpress.com
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BarbaraJean
BookSpinBingo | Untitled
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Here‘s my #BookSpinBingo board for October… only missing my IRL book club pick for the month since that‘s being finalized tonight! @TheAromaofBooks - because of the way I set up my list, on my board, Free Space Mountain has become Unread BookSpin Mountain. 😂 I‘m excited for this month of reading, and ever-optimistic about a bingo!

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! Good luck with that mountain of unread spins!! 😂 4d
33 likes1 comment
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BarbaraJean
Not the End of the World | Kate Atkinson
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Mehso-so

Another short story collection finished this week… another mixed bag of reactions! I disliked the first few stories, loved several in the middle, and am on the fence about the rest. I did love the little connections between the stories as well as the hints of magical realism, which become more pronounced as the stories progress. This was my August #DoubleSpin.

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BarbaraJean
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Mehso-so

I‘m not sure if this was a re-read or not. 😂 I could‘ve sworn I‘d read this. I remember listening to the audiobook—pre-Goodreads or annual reading lists, so I can‘t verify that! But I saw Three Thousand Years of Longing recently, discovered it was based on the title short story, picked the book off my shelf to glance through, and I had absolutely NO recollection of the story. So I read the whole book. And I didn‘t remember any of it. 🤷🏻‍♀️ ⤵️

BarbaraJean These are interesting little fairy tales, each with a slightly different take on the traditional tropes. They‘re beautifully written, but as with most short story collections, I liked some much more than others (“The Eldest Princess” was my favorite, and the title story was slow, but thought-provoking). Somewhere between a So-So and a pick for me. (edited) 5d
28 likes1 comment
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BarbaraJean
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Today at lunch, I finished the last of the multiple books I‘ve had going for the past couple weeks. I planned to come home tonight after a get-together with friends and dig into one of the four books in the pile above. But my reading plans have been delightfully hijacked because my friend lent me her brand-new copy of The Golden Enclaves, which she just finished on audio. 😁🎉💜 I‘m starting it right now!!

Laughterhp Oo I‘m jealous!! 6d
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BarbaraJean
Seraphina | Rachel Hartman
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Pickpick

Oh, I just loved this YA fantasy. It‘s an interesting take on dragons: many are living within human society while in their human form, but of course there‘s anti-dragon prejudice and an uneasy peace between the two races. The main character is relatable and likable, and I really enjoyed the palace intrigue and the emphasis on music. Looking forward to picking up the second book. This was my September #BookSpin.

37 likes1 stack add
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BarbaraJean
People of the Book | Geraldine Brooks
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Pickpick

This was excellent. I‘ve been hearing resounding praise of Brooks for years. I‘m glad my August #BookSpin prompted me to finally pick this off the TBR shelf. It traces the journey of an illuminated manuscript back in time, interweaving the story of the expert called upon to restore the book in 1996 Sarajevo. There was so much fascinating history here—I loved the glimpses of each era and the people whose (often-harsh) lives the narrative explores.

41 likes1 stack add
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BarbaraJean
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Pickpick

This was a low pick for me. It was fascinating & a bit quirky, a family saga with interwoven timelines gradually revealing the secrets of the past—and a mysterious book at the heart of it all. Following the family through its lost history was interesting, but I didn‘t connect with it as much as I wanted to. The characters felt a bit distant. The settings were so rich & vivid, though—I‘d love to see a film adaptation! This was my June #DoubleSpin.

monalyisha Did you read her other one? (I loved that one, so I‘m wondering if it‘s her writing you‘re not blown away by or just this specific book.) 1w
BarbaraJean @monalyisha I haven‘t read her other one—hadn‘t heard of it! Honestly I think it‘s just this specific book. I can‘t think of any issues I had with the writing, just a sense of disconnection with the book overall. I wasn‘t turned off to her as a writer, and I‘d be interested to see how I feel about this other one. 1w
45 likes2 comments
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BarbaraJean
Crossing to Safety | Wallace Stegner
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Pickpick

I read this months ago for #rememberingjenny, and I loved it. It‘s quiet and slow and thoughtful, almost a meditation on a friendship between two couples. The characters felt so true to life—at times thoroughly familiar but also so often unknowable, in the same way it‘s so difficult to completely know even those we are closest to. Such a lovely book.

Ruthiella I really enjoyed this book too. I don‘t remember Jenny specifically talking about it, but the she read so much! I got so many recommendations from her and the podcast. 💔 (edited) 1w
38 likes1 comment
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BarbaraJean
Spinning | Tillie Walden
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October #BookSpin list! 🎉🎃🎉

I‘ve racked up a few unread Spins this year, so this month I decided to populate slots 21-25 with those that are still lingering unread. Maybe the added #BookSpinBingo motivation will help! The rest of my #BookSpin list is a combo of October-y TBRs and books to complete some challenge prompts I‘m trying to finish up (sometimes with more than one option per slot).

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 1w
30 likes1 comment
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BarbaraJean
Help Wanted | Allison B Hanson
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The Litsy Events Team does a great job of getting the word out on buddy reads, swaps, reading challenges and more! Happy to repost this for @LitsyEvents

❗️ANNOUNCEMENT ❗️

@litsyevents is looking for more volunteers to help post events that are happening on Litsy. If you are interested please send an email to LitsyEvents at gmail dot com

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BarbaraJean
Mistress Pat | L.M. Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Mistress Pat discussion- part 5

Did you like the book? Why or why not?

Is there anything else that stands out for you about the Pat books or about Pat as a character?

Anything else you‘d like to discuss from Mistress Pat?

BarbaraJean Pat is both relatable and frustrating for me. As a person, her fear of/resistance to change, and her constant choice of the known (home) over the unknown (absolutely anything else!) are things I relate to in some ways, but not to the extreme to which Pat takes it. As a character, she frustrates me because she's SO passive. Things happen TO her. Such a contrast to Valancy in The Blue Castle--things happen to Valancy and she DOES something! 2w
lauraisntwilder I loved both books, but not necessarily because of Pat. She's fine, but it's almost like she's a blank space for readers to imagine filling. 2w
lauraisntwilder I wish Judy had gotten to go to Ireland. I had a feeling she wouldn't go, but I was still disappointed--even if she wasn't! 2w
BarbaraJean @lauraisntwilder I think you‘re onto something there. I loved the comfort of both books, but I think a lot of that comes from Judy and the descriptions of the setting. I did love little girl Pat, but with grown-up Pat, I think we‘re told about her personality more than we see it. And I also really wish Judy had gone to Ireland! I wanted to hear all her stories of the trip! 2w
23 likes4 comments
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BarbaraJean
Mistress Pat | L.M. Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Mistress Pat discussion - part 4

How did you feel about the ending: was it contrived, inevitable, satisfying, rushed?

Further questions are under a spoiler tag in the comments 😊

BarbaraJean Do you get the sense that Pat chose Hilary as a last resort? Or is it that her eyes were finally opened to how she felt about him?

Is he a substitute for Silver Bush, or is he the only one who can help her come to terms with its loss?
2w
BarbaraJean One of my frustrations with the ending is how rushed and tacked-on it feels. My mind wants to fill in all of the motivations and romantic resolutions that are barely hinted at or left out completely. I could have been fine with the plot choices LMM made (even though they feel contrived), if she had only fleshed out the ending a bit more. I do think that the crisis prompts realization and better self-knowledge for Pat, but I have to assume that. 2w
lauraisntwilder I was SO disappointed that Pat didn't choose Hilary until Silver Bush burned down. I can't BELIEVE the house actually burned down. It was too much! Pat never had to grow or change and burning the house just removed the barrier between her and her future. 2w
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BarbaraJean @lauraisntwilder Oh, absolutely—their reunion is robbed of the depth it would‘ve had if Pat had actually chosen him without Silver Bush being taken from her. Even if it hadn‘t burned down, it had already been diminished for Pat by Sid bringing May into the house. And of course Judy‘s death. Sometimes everything has to be stripped away before we see what really matters, but it didn‘t read like that to me. It felt like the only option left to her. 2w
BarbaraJean @lauraisntwilder It also felt like LMM wrote herself into a corner with Pat and didn‘t know how to get out of it. I do think LMM could have taken the very same circumstances, fleshed out the conclusion, and given us something more convincing, with actual growth on Pat‘s part. And I would have accepted it better. But it‘s all so sudden and rushed. 2w
lauraisntwilder @BarbaraJean It is rushed. I totally agree. Another interesting thing about the ending, based on Pat being 5 when the WWI armistice was signed, this book ends after Canada had entered WWII. It was published in 1935 though, so LMM was writing the future. I'm glad Jingle, Sid, and Joe didn't have to go to war! 2w
BarbaraJean @lauraisntwilder Oh, that is fascinating! It would certainly change the dynamic of the book if WWII had entered into the narrative. Maybe Sid wouldn‘t have married May Binnie if he‘d gone off to war… 😆 2w
10 likes7 comments
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BarbaraJean
Mistress Pat | L.M. Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Mistress Pat discussion - part 3

What did you think about May Binnie and the Binnie clan, and the way they are characterized in Mistress Pat?

Are they just Josie Pye and the Pye clan 2.0? Or is there more to it than that?

BarbaraJean I haaaaated May Binnie in Pat of Silver Bush and didn‘t like her any better here. She has some particularly awful, catty, petty moments, but I also couldn‘t help thinking that she just didn‘t *fit* at Silver Bush with its traditions & old-fashioned ways. Her personality & her family weren‘t a good fit for Pat & the Silver Bush family, but honestly, she probably wouldn‘t have been so bad if given her own new, modern home to do with as she pleased. 2w
10 likes1 comment
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BarbaraJean
Mistress Pat | L.M. Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Mistress Pat discussion- part 2

I saw SO many similarities here with other LMM books—just a few listed above. Were there others you noticed?

Did these similarities endear you to the Pat books, or did they feel too same-y?

What did you like or dislike about the way these themes and plot devices were handled in the Pat books?

BarbaraJean Some of these worked for me and others didn't. I don't think I'll ever get tired of LMM's descriptions of home & nature, or of characters who love both so deeply. Pat takes it to an extreme, but still. I also liked the way her relationship with David Kirk was handled here...it was like all the good things about Dean without the creepy possessiveness & childhood grooming. I could have done without Pat's repeated “fickleness“ with beaux, though! 2w
10 likes1 comment
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BarbaraJean
Mistress Pat | L.M. Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Mistress Pat discussion - part 1

We have several new (or newly fleshed out) characters in Mistress Pat: Tillytuck, Cuddles/Rae, Suzanne and David Kirk.

What did you think of these characters?

How do they affect the narrative? How do they affect Pat?

BarbaraJean I loved Rae & how she became a confidante for Pat, almost filling Bets' role. I also loved Suzanne & wanted more of her friendship with Pat (after their connection/misunderstanding, we don‘t get much of Suzanne actually on the page). And I really liked David & wanted to see more of him as well--to read some scenes of those evenings at the Long House, when it becomes such a refuge for Pat. The Kirks draw Pat out a bit, and I wanted more of that! 2w
lauraisntwilder I loved Rae and Tillytuck. I loved both these books, but the first one was too light on dialogue. Having these two characters actually talking helped it feel more real and grounded, so Judy wasn't the only one talking. 2w
11 likes2 comments
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BarbaraJean
Among the Shadows | L. M. Montgomery
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October is swiftly approaching!😱 For October‘s #KindredSpiritsBuddyRead, we‘ll read Among the Shadows, a collection of LMM‘s short stories (subtitled “Tales from the Darker Side”). I can‘t find a library copy, so if you‘re in the same boat and want to join in the buddy read, here‘s the Table of Contents. Lots of the stories are in the public domain & are available online or in other collections. Looking forward to diving into these stories!

BarbaraJean I picked up this collection for free a while back, and it has a lot of the short stories from Among the Shadows. It's $1.99 on Kindle right now: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BBIT1BO/ref=kinw_myk_ro_title
You can probably find the stories elsewhere as well, though!
2w
LeahBergen Thanks! I‘ve read this book so I‘ll be sitting this month out. 2w
quietjenn I'm intrigued, having read relatively free of LMM's short stories. And I've definitely been missing regular doses of her, by skipping the Pat books these last few months. 2w
julieclair Thanks for the heads up. After reading this, I checked my library‘s website, and found one (!) copy in the whole state-wide system. It‘s coming from a county I‘ve never even heard of. (But wherever it is, I‘m grateful for their library!😃) 2w
BarbaraJean @LeahBergen Thanks for the heads up—I‘ll skip you out of the tag list for this one. @quietjenn Hope you can join in! I do love some LMM on the regular. 😊 @julieclair Yeah, my county library system has a total of 0️⃣ copies. I‘ll be borrowing from a friend! Much gratefulness for that previously-unknown county that has a copy!! 2w
28 likes5 comments
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BarbaraJean
Zoo City | Lauren Beukes
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I used to live walking distance from two Little Free Libraries, and have been sad about losing the opportunity to wander past them on my daily walk. Yesterday I spotted one while driving home, so I took a different route on my walk today to check it out. It‘s so cute! There‘s even a little bench to sit on & rest or read for a while. ☺️ I picked up the tagged book from my GR TBR, and I‘m looking forward to visiting this charming spot more often!

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks So pretty 🧡📚 2w
42 likes1 comment
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BarbaraJean
Anne of Avonlea | L.M. Montgomery
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Another historical reading list… my mom wrote this one up, in October 1991. I DO remember a lot of these—so many favorites here! Anne of Avonlea & Anne of the Island, George MacDonald‘s Light Princess, Just Like Always (I remember LOVING that book), and some favorites by Jean Little. And I can‘t forget Miss Bianca and Jean Fritz! October 1991 was a good reading month.☺️ Also note how my mom got tired of adding up # of pages & just wrote “lots” 😂

LeahBergen I love this! 🥰 2w
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BarbaraJean
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I came across several relics of the past this afternoon, including this summer reading list from 1991, when I was 13. It runs to 55 titles over three pages, and I have little to no recollection of any of the books on the list, other than Sideways Stories from Wayside School which shows up at number 50 😆 Any of these ring a bell for anyone else?!

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BarbaraJean
Mistress Pat | L.M. Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead reminder: our discussion of Mistress Pat is next week. I‘ll post questions mid-morning Pacific Time.

And, our October read will be a short story collection, Among the Shadows. I‘ve had a hard time tracking down a copy and am borrowing one from a friend—so if you‘re interested in this one, you may have to do some hunting for the book. I‘ll post a Table of Contents so people can find the stories elsewhere if needed.

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BarbaraJean
Enduring Love | Ian McEwan
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This pic showed up in my FB memories today… a stack of books purchased at my favorite local used bookstore at their annual Labor Day Fire Sale. This was from 7 years ago. Guess how many of these I‘ve read in those seven years? Yep. 0️⃣

I mean, “Forty Thousand Sublime and Beautiful Thoughts” isn‘t a reading book, it‘s a flip-through pretty-on-the-shelf book, but I have no excuse for the others. 🙈

wanderinglynn I have books I bought 20 years ago that still sit on my shelf I read. 😆😆😆 1mo
AnneCecilie I‘m right there with you @wanderinglynn 😊 1mo
jlhammar Yup, I can definitely relate! Kristin Lavransdatter is so good. Great that you have it on hand for when you‘re ready. 1mo
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rachelk I do that all the time! 1mo
BarbaraJean @wanderinglynn @AnneCecilie That‘s encouraging! Because also still sitting on my TBR shelf are the two optional books for the Philosophy/Literature classes I took during my college semester abroad. In 1996. I will read them someday!! 1mo
wanderinglynn @AnneCecilie 🙌🏻 @BarbaraJean Because book collecting is a different hobby from reading 😉😆 1mo
BarbaraJean @jlhammar One of these days I will get to it! It‘s supposedly been high on my list for a while. 🙃 My college Medieval Lit professor highly recommended it, and she has very good taste! (edited) 1mo
BarbaraJean @wanderinglynn Absolutely! Related but different!! 1mo
LeahBergen 😆😆 I‘m guilty of this, too! 1mo
lauraisntwilder I have that same edition of Kristin Lavransdatter and I haven't read mine either! 1mo
BarbaraJean @lauraisntwilder Yesssss! Buddy read?! Because I don‘t have enough other books cued up… 😂 1mo
lauraisntwilder @BarbaraJean That would be fun, but it is huge! 4w
BarbaraJean @lauraisntwilder I‘ve been thinking of tackling it next year. I‘m toying with the idea of challenging myself to read a chunkster a month over the year, and including this one. I‘ll have to tag you if/when I get to it, and see if your reading list allows for it! 3w
lauraisntwilder @BarbaraJean Yes, please do! 3w
41 likes14 comments
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BarbaraJean
Seraphina | Rachel Hartman
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Yay for #BookSpin day! My BookSpin is tagged, and even though I buried it at the bottom of the list because I want to prioritize books from my own shelves… my #DoubleSpin ended up landing on the one slot I allotted to a library hold. 😆 I‘m excited about the #BookSpinBingo possibilities, and maybe I‘ll even catch up on some past months‘ spins. (Ah, the optimism at the beginning of the month…😂)

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! Looks great!! 1mo
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BarbaraJean
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Another low reading month. I‘m still unpacking & organizing from our move in July, which has kicked my summer reading to the curb. I did finish June‘s #DoubleSpin, though! Favorite this month is tagged—I 💜Becky Chambers and I 💜Mosscap & Dex. I had two re-reads for book groups, but I didn‘t mind. It was a delight revisiting Pat of Silver Bush for #KindredSpiritsBuddyRead and Nation for my IRL book group. I had forgotten just how GOOD Nation is.

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BarbaraJean
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September #BookSpin! I‘ve got a few next-in-a-series titles here, plenty of the usual suspects from my own shelves, and a couple of library options… maybe I‘ll actually read more than one from my list this month (unlike August 🙈)

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 1mo
27 likes1 comment
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BarbaraJean
Persuasion | Jane Austen
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Discussing the recent Netflix adaptation of Persuasion with friends… 😂

julesG Your explanation is the best so far. 1mo
LeahBergen 😆😆 1mo
CarolynM 👏👏👏 1mo
batsy Ahahahaha! Yes, spot on. 1mo
Chelleo I see that now! 😂😂😂 1mo
37 likes5 comments
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BarbaraJean
People of the Book | Geraldine Brooks
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Can I just say how much I love it when I go to start a new book and realize I have the perfect book-to-bookmark pairing? 😍

Ruthiella I love it when that happens too! 😃 1mo
Saknicole I have the same bookmark! 1mo
BarbaraJean @Ruthiella It good to know other people share this bookmark quirk! 😆 @Saknicole It's so pretty! I received it in a Litsy swap a few years ago! 1mo
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BarbaraJean
Pat of Silver Bush | L.M. Montgomery
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This is uncanny. I knew my first reading of this was around this time in 2020, but I had no idea it was almost to the day! #KindredSpiritsBuddyRead

LeahBergen Weird! 😮 1mo
28 likes1 comment
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BarbaraJean
Pat of Silver Bush | L.M. Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Pat of Silver Bush discussion- part 6

Did you enjoy this book? What did you like or dislike?
Will you continue on to read Mistress Pat?
Is there anything else you‘d like to discuss about Pat of Silver Bush?

Daisey I had hoped to fit this in this month, but I have not had a chance to reread it. It‘s also not one I remember fondly, so I don‘t know that I‘ll make time to catch up next month either. I will be curious to read the discussion. 1mo
BarbaraJean @Daisey Totally understand! I really enjoyed the re-read, but it makes sense why these two aren‘t everyone‘s cup of tea. Hopefully you can jump back in for October! 1mo
julieclair I was disappointed that I didn‘t get to read this one this month. (Although August is not yet over…. hope springs eternal!) For September, will Mistress Pat work as a stand-alone? Or should I really read this one first? 1mo
lauraisntwilder I loved this book. It isn't perfect, but I went in with zero expectations and enjoyed just going with the flow and feeling like I was in the kitchen with Judy. I will definitely read the next one. 1mo
BarbaraJean @julieclair You'll probably want to read this first. It's not that you'll miss something as far as plot, because it's so episodic, but it really does set up the characters. And you still have three more days left in August! 😆 @lauraisntwilder Me too. This was my second read, but I loved its coziness the first time and again this time around. I really want Judy in my life for a chat and a “liddle bite“ before bed or when I've had a bad day! 1mo
20 likes5 comments
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BarbaraJean
Pat of Silver Bush | L.M. Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Pat of Silver Bush discussion - part 5

In this book, the places themselves almost act as characters within the narrative. There are many beloved places described here—from Silver Bush itself, to the Secret Field, the Hill of the Mist, Happiness, and Jordan. Do you have beloved places in your life that have acted as “characters” in your own story?

BarbaraJean I don't have a sense of groundedness in a specific place like Pat does (by the time I was 9 I'd lived in 5 different houses), but I have such nostalgia for certain places that have played an important role in my life. For me, having limited time in a place has often made that place more meaningful to me. My beloved places evoke memories of very dear times and people. But for Pat, it's her long association with a place that makes it so dear to her. 1mo
TheAromaofBooks Although I've lived in several different houses, I've been in the same county all my life, so this region is definitely my place, with many little spots that are special to me. 1mo
12 likes2 comments
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BarbaraJean
Pat of Silver Bush | L.M. Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Pat of Silver Bush discussion part 4

Love of home and resistance to change are two fairly obvious themes throughout Pat of Silver Bush. Did you resonate with these themes as presented here in the book? Why or why not?

BarbaraJean I definitely resonate with Pat's resistance to change--but for me it's not nearly so extreme! And I think mine springs from a very different place. My family moved from England to California when I was nine. Looking back, I think such a huge move, followed by a change of schools one year later, was a big contributor to my general difficulty with change. The love of home theme is more foreign to me, not having had as long a history in one place. 1mo
TheAromaofBooks My parents decided to sell the house we grew up in when I was in college (I'm the oldest, so all my siblings were still home) and it was emotionally devastating for everyone, despite the fact that we were building a house on my grandparents' land only 2 miles away. So I actually did understand Pat's terror of something happening to Silver Bush. You get to know property as a child in a way you never do as an adult. I just felt like Pat never ⬇ 1mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) realized that family/people are more important than places. If her family had moved west, they would still have been together and still had each other. I did see where Pat was coming from, she just was so over-the-top obsessed that it made it difficult for me to really connect to her. 1mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks I hear you on the people vs. places disconnect. Pat personifies Silver Bush so much that it becomes a member of the family to her! It could well have been healthy for her to move West & be forced to confront that misplaced priority. Except her family would've no doubt handled it so poorly that it would be very difficult for her to get to a healthy resolution. The obsession with home is a HUGE issue in how LMM chose to portray Pat. 1mo
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BarbaraJean
Pat of Silver Bush | L.M. Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Pat of Silver Bush discussion part 3

At least from the reader‘s perspective, we see very little of the parents; Judy is a much larger presence in the home and in Pat‘s life. What do you think about the family dynamics within the Gardiner clan? Whether parent/child or sibling relationships—how do these contribute to Pat‘s character?

BarbaraJean I wanted to see more interactions between Pat and her mother. There seemed to be a sweet relationship there, but we see so little of it. Pat's relationship with Sid made me sad as the book went on. They have a lovely comradeship early on that just falls by the wayside. It made me mad when he told others about the Secret Field & didn't understand why that was such a big deal to Pat. And his not appreciating Jingle the way Pat did made me sad, too! 1mo
TheAromaofBooks It's weird because this is such a domestic story, yet I felt like we didn't get to know the family at all. I was a few chapters in before I even knew which names were actually siblings, because Montgomery didn't do her usual “character sketches“ introducing the household. I also felt like we were TOLD that Pat and Sid were close way more than we actually saw it - what we saw was Sid blowing her off and not really understanding her. 1mo
TheAromaofBooks I also would have liked to have seen more with Pat and her mother. Her mother seems so gentle and kind and seems like she would have been a strong influence for Pat, but we rarely hear from her directly. 1mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks Yep, the family really are flat characters (until Rae/formerly Cuddles is developed in Mistress Pat). That really underlines your point about Pat's attachment to place over people. And you're spot on about showing vs. telling with Sid--I think it applies to Pat's mother as well. We're told about Sid and Pat's closeness, and we're told about how important Pat's mother is to her, but the actual interactions are almost all off-page. 1mo
TheAromaofBooks I would have loved more scenes of Pat and Sid talking and doing things together - I feel like they hardly even have a conversation on-page. I think that would also have done a lot to change the emotional impact of Sid's actions in Mistress Pat as well. 1mo
12 likes5 comments
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BarbaraJean
Pat of Silver Bush | L.M. Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Pat of Silver Bush discussion part 2

Judy, Sid, May Binnie, Jingle, Bets—there are some wonderful supporting characters here. Which are your favorites? I won‘t ask how they contribute to Pat‘s growth, since, well… she doesn‘t change much. But what roles do these supporting characters play within the story?

lauraisntwilder I loved Judy and Jingle. In many ways, this was Judy's book. I laughed out loud at her stories several times. But Jingle! I wish I could see the dollhouse he made for Pat. He was such a sweet soul and I loved how easily the Gardiner family made room for him at Silver Bush. 1mo
BarbaraJean @lauraisntwilder I love Judy so, so much. At home, she's the one who really “gets“ Pat. I love when she discovers Pat is being punished by everyone not speaking to her... and she will. not. have. it. She sees how cruel that is to a girl like Pat! And Jingle!! Yes!! I love how he is able to draw Pat out of herself a bit, and gives her a kindred spirit who appreciates beauty the way she does. 1mo
TheAromaofBooks I did somewhat think this book should have been called Judy of Silver Bush 😂 I really wanted more of Judy's story!! I did find it weird that when the family was thinking of moving west, she wouldn't even consider moving with them - in a way, she's like Pat; she loves her people, but I sometimes felt like she loved Silver Bush and the Island more. @lauraisntwilder 1mo
TheAromaofBooks I also loved Bets!! She was so good for Pat. I think this story would have been so much stronger if Bets had lived and she and Pat had gone on to do the adventures they were talking about. I felt like Bets was the only person Pat was willing to leave Silver Bush for, even temporarily. 1mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks I would read the HECK out of Judy of Silver Bush!! I was also baffled by the fact that she wouldn't even think about moving with the family. You're right, maybe she had a little over-attachment to place, like Pat.😆 I just can't imagine her not going in order to help smooth the way for Pat. And YES about Bets. Can you imagine if they had been able to go to Queen's together? That could have been such a time of growth for Pat. 1mo
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BarbaraJean
Pat of Silver Bush | L.M. Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Pat of Silver Bush Discussion part 1

One of the main criticisms of the book is that Pat herself is a completely static character. What do you think of Pat? Did you find her likable or frustrating or somewhere in between?

BarbaraJean I understand the frustration over Pat's obsession with keeping EVERYTHING the same, but to be honest, I loved her. Her love of beauty is so connected to her love of home, and I loved seeing the world through her eyes. I was more frustrated with how her family completely fails to prepare her for any kind of change, by excluding her from discussions about changes to come, to the extent of keeping key info from her and making changes behind her back. 1mo
LeahBergen I‘m late to this discussion as I‘m still reading the book. Holidays always throw me off my reading schedule. 😆😆 1mo
BarbaraJean @LeahBergen I hear you on that--my usual summer reading has taken a hit this year, although it's more due to the lack of a holiday and the addition of moving house! Feel free to dive in whenever you finish. 😊 1mo
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BarbaraJean
Pat of Silver Bush | L.M. Montgomery
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I feel like I‘ve been SO MIA on Litsy and with my reading in general this month, BUT… I am still planning on discussing Pat of Silver Bush on Saturday! Hoping everyone can join in. I‘m definitely looking forward to hearing what we all have to say about Pat!!

This is a busy weekend for me, so questions won‘t be posted til late afternoon on Saturday (Pacific Time). Jump in and discuss when you are able!

#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead

AnneCecilie I‘ve finished and have waited to post my review until after the discussion. I‘ll jump in when I can 1mo
lauraisntwilder I just finished! Looking forward to discussing. 😊 1mo
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BarbaraJean
Pat of Silver Bush | L.M. Montgomery
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She had an endless store of weird yarns of ghosts & “rale nice murders”… Pat‘s favorite one was a horrible tale of a murdered man who was found in pieces about the house…an arm in the garret…a head in the cellar…a hambone in a pot in the pantry. “It gives me such a lovely shudder, Judy.”

Starting this month‘s #KindredSpiritsBuddyRead & finding it hilarious that Judy thinks it‘s appropriate to tell 6-year-old Pat stories about dismembered bodies⤵️

BarbaraJean (Cont‘d) … but somehow Pat is too young to hear about pregnancy, and must be told that babies are found in the parsley bed. 🤦🏻‍♀️ 2mo
AnneCecilie I‘m almost finished with this, and I would have loved to spend even more time than we do with 6 yr old Pat. 2mo
BarbaraJean @AnneCecilie I just love those early chapters! I understand how much Pat loves Silver Bush—those descriptions of the fields and the home and the family make me want to live there and to have a “liddle bite” before bed, in the kitchen with Judy! 2mo
AnneCecilie I know. And as a creature of habit, I am so there when Pat says she doesn‘t like changes. I don‘t like them either. And there‘s also something in the way Montgomery writes kids that I love, the way they see and experience the world 2mo
BarbaraJean @AnneCecilie I‘m with you there—I feel for Pat in her resistance to change! And I just love the way Pat sees the natural world and her home. I think her love for home blinds her a bit to a lot of other experiences, but it also heightens her attentiveness to the beauty around her. 1mo
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BarbaraJean
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Pickpick

Another hug of a book from Becky Chambers. I loved this—it picks up just where we left off, with Dex and Mosscap venturing into society to seek answers to Mosscap‘s question of what humans need. This felt a lot like Psalm for the Wild-Built: reflective and thought-provoking and comforting and affirming. Becky Chambers somehow always knows just what I need to read. (I mean, that dedication! 💜)

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BarbaraJean
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Pickpick

This was a delight—an honest, vulnerable, funny memoir advocating the principle that proximity (and vulnerability) breeds empathy. He weaves in some serious conversations about racism in the U.S.—both his own experiences and brief sketches from history. And his own story is relatable and a joy to read. I really enjoyed both his voice and his message.

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BarbaraJean
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“…one must always be mindful of the thin line between righteous indignation and self-righteousness. Work for social change, he warned, could breed in one a dangerous arrogance disguised as holy impatience. Related to this, he said, ‘Never hate evil more than you love the good. . . . you will become a damn good hater! And the world has enough of that kind of activist.‘”

(—Or N. Rose, recalling an interview with William Sloane Coffin)

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BarbaraJean
The Great Troll War | Jasper Fforde
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Pickpick

I liked this conclusion to the Last Dragonslayer series. It‘s very Ffordean, all the way down to his own cameo as a fantasy writer brought in to imagine the villain‘s plans, since fantasy writers can always come up with something bigger and bolder than anyone else could imagine. 😂 It‘s a bit light on emotional connection/depth for me, which is the same criticism I had with the previous book. But it‘s a fun YA novel in true Ffordean style.

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BarbaraJean
Helium | Rudy Francisco
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Mehso-so

I‘m a little torn on this one. I loved the first section. I found the poems in the second section kind of mediocre and eye-roll-y at times, then the rest of the book was a mixed bag—some fantastic poems and some just okay. Overall, I think Francisco is a young poet with a lot of promise. I‘m interested in hearing him read his work—he‘s a spoken word poet, so I feel like I‘m missing something by only experiencing his poems on the page.

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BarbaraJean
People of the Book | Geraldine Brooks
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I‘m excited about this month‘s #BookSpin and #DoubleSpin picks—I got one selection from each half of my list: one specific book, and one shelf to pick from as the mood strikes. People of the Book is my BookSpin pick, and the DoubleSpin landed on this shelf of fiction choices. There are certainly some chunksters on this shelf, and I probably won‘t end up going for Count of Monte Cristo, but I have a lot of great options!

SilversReviews This was a good one!! 2mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 2mo
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BarbaraJean
Pat of Silver Bush | L.M. Montgomery
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Next up for the #KindredSpiritsBuddyRead: Pat of Silver Bush and Mistress Pat. I first read these in 2020–they were such lovely comfort reads that I decided I needed to re-read Anne… and thus the #KindredSpiritsBuddyRead was born. 😊 I‘m looking forward to re-reading even though it hasn‘t been that long!

All are welcome to join in—we‘ll discuss Pat on August 28th & Mistress Pat on Sept. 24. Let me know if you‘re not tagged & would like to be!

lauraisntwilder My copies are on their way. Can you add me? Thank you! 2mo
BarbaraJean @lauraisntwilder Absolutely! Excited to have you join in! 2mo
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BarbaraJean
A Tangled Web | Lucy Maud Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - A Tangled Web Discussion, Part 6

Did you like the book overall? Why or why not?

Does the closing of the novel ruin it for you? We‘ve touched on this before, but I‘ll ask it again in light of this ending: how do you respond to or handle problematic content such as this in older books?

BarbaraJean I was so mad at the last few paragraphs because I'd enjoyed the rest of the book so much. I decided that I'm going to pretend the novel closes on the line “Really the pea soup was sublime.“ In some cases, content like this is so pervasive I'm ready to pitch the whole thing (i.e. Tannis of the Flats). But here, it could be lifted right out without affecting the rest of the book, so I don't have a problem with overlooking (but not excusing) it. 2mo
TheAromaofBooks I feel the exact same way. The whole story with the Sams was always one of my least-favorite threads in the book anyway, and then the closing paragraphs just... what even. I actually felt like there wasn't a whole lot of problematic stuff in the rest of the book, which made that ending all the more jarring.

Overall, I enjoyed this book more on this reread than I did when I was younger. I connected more to some of the lost hopes and missed ⬇
2mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) dreams - not that my life has been a waste or anything, but when you get to your middle-aged years you start to realize that you just don't have time to do all the things you dreamed about doing, and not all relationships are going to work the way you think they are, so I felt that more now than I did back when I was 20. This won't ever be my favorite Montgomery, but I do like it. 2mo
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BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks It really did feel like the ending came out of nowhere, so it really pulled me out of the narrative. Like you said, it was even more jarring because of how unexpected it was. Not like I was expecting the Sams to be “woke“ but... yeah. And I'm with you, I connected a lot to those missed opportunity/unfulfilled dream storylines as well, and appreciated that LMM kind of advocated accepting what was lost and moving forward. 2mo
AnneCecilie I liked it, but it‘s not even close to being a favourite of Montgomery‘s books. The end came a little sudden, but it‘s not the first time she has done that, it‘s almost as if she gets tired of writing the story and just ends it. 2mo
quietjenn That ending line is just so jarring! It did sort of ruin things the first time I read this book. This time around, I'm a little more sanguine about it since it really doesn't fit with everything else (the way the prejudice dominates in Tanis), so I can more conveniently just pretend that it ends a wee bit earlier. 2mo
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BarbaraJean
A Tangled Web | Lucy Maud Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - A Tangled Web Discussion, part 5

One of the common threads I saw between several storylines was the contrast between dreams & reality: it‘s revealed that what characters longed for is quite different than they‘d made it out to be.

Did you find this theme relatable? Were these realizations and reversals believable or did they feel contrived?

BarbaraJean I found this super relatable (which is why the theme stood out to me!). Joscelyn's fixation on Frank is basically every crush I ever had as a teenager. Except for the extremity of leaving Hugh on their wedding night... 😂 The length of her devotion to Frank felt too extreme, but her realization & reversal was perfect. With Gay, it took WAY too long for her to let go of Noel, and when she finally does have her realization it felt too convenient. 2mo
TheAromaofBooks I did think that the tendency to romanticize people/situations is pretty relatable. Margaret also did it with her house (although hers turned out to be true). Peter and Donna both did it with each other, had the blow up, and then came back together with a more realistic view of each other. I think Gay's realization about Noel was convenient, but I also think that she needed the jolt to make her realize that she had actually been over him for ⬇ 2mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) quite a while already - but admitting that also meant admitting that the entire clan was right and she was wrong, and I think subconsciously that made her hang onto Noel longer in her heart. 2mo
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BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks I love your point that the romanticizing -> blowup brought Peter & Donna into reality, and even strengthened their relationship in the end. Honestly, by the end theirs was one of the more realistic, honest relationships I've seen in LMM's fiction! And YES about Gay--one of the things I found so relatable was her reluctance/pride over admitting to others/herself that she was wrong about Noel & her feelings had changed toward Roger. 2mo
TheAromaofBooks I honestly felt for Gay quite a bit. I have a large, somewhat loud family that absolutely loves being up in one another's business (sometimes good sometimes bad haha) and I've gotten much better at accepting advice as I've gotten older, but when I was younger, having to admit that the family was right about something big and I was wrong... gah! Worst thing ever! 😂 2mo
quietjenn I think that this is a theme that is always relatable, because it's such a real facet of existence! And I so agree with your (@BarbaraJean) take on Joscelyn and Frank. Both a crush and cold feet are relatable, but letting that lead you to leaving your husband and being devoted to a dude you saw once in your life for literally years was just taking things too far! 2mo
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BarbaraJean
A Tangled Web | Lucy Maud Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - A Tangled Web Discussion, part 4

Which characters grow and change the most over the course of the book?

Do you think those changes were inevitable, or are they due to the “competition” over the jug?

TheAromaofBooks I think Gay was one of the characters who grew the most, and hers was definitely due indirectly to the jug because that is what kept Nan in town. I think Gay would have learned what Noel really was and would have grown into the more mature and thoughtful person she became even without the jug, but thankfully this speeded up the process and let her out of what would have been a pretty depressing marriage! 2mo
AnneCecilie I totally agree with @TheAromaofBooks. I‘m happy for Gay that she found of what Noel was like before it was too late. But at the same time Gay is the youngest of the main characters and 18 yr olds change more than almost 30 yr olds and older folks. 2mo
quietjenn I'll vote for Margaret, since it was Aunt Becky's legacy to her that allowed her to stand up for herself, acknowledge and get the thing that she's always wanted, and find happiness. And that was only possible with money. 2mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks Yes, I think Gay would have gone through similar changes, but it may have taken longer and been more painful. The wisdom of her mother to insist on a year's engagement, which coincided with Nan's visit because of the jug, really does save her from a bad marriage. So good job Nan, in the end! I would've liked to see how things played out for Nan later on, if Gay's response to her prompted any eventual growth in maturity for her. 2mo
BarbaraJean @AnneCecilie Great point that Gay's more likely to change than the older members of the clan who are set in their ways! For Joscelyn & Donna, it costs them more to change--or it takes more to prompt change since they've set expected patterns & behaviors within the clan. @quietjenn Yes, Margaret for sure! Hers was more of an external change--it's frustrating that her simple desire for a home & family is unreachable until she has money. 2mo
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BarbaraJean
A Tangled Web | Lucy Maud Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - A Tangled Web Discussion, part 3

What do you think Aunt Becky was up to with her will—was she just enjoying herself, poking fun at the clan, exercising her power as matriarch? Or did she mean for the clan to change or grow in some way?

Do you think her will accomplished its aim?

TheAromaofBooks I've actually always wondered this, and wondered who was actually supposed to get the jug. I'm honestly inclined to think she was just screwing with everybody one last time, but maybe she did hope that it would shake some people up!! 2mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks Oh, it kills me that we never find out who was supposed to get the jug! I think it's very fitting that the clan never finds out, but I still want to know! And I agree, I think she was just messing with the family--getting in her final digs at everyone. But how it pans out with the jug feels like the rest of her will: a lot of people are just annoyed and don't/can't change, but some people change in exactly the ways they needed. 2mo
AnneCecilie I think she was just having fun with the family for the last time just because she could. For the people who got what they wanted, the jug doesn‘t matter. 2mo
quietjenn I think she was stirring the pot and having a little fun, but would also have been pleased if it caused some of the clan to do some changing and growing. 2mo
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BarbaraJean
A Tangled Web | Lucy Maud Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - A Tangled Web Discussion, part 2

What did you think of Aunt Becky?

Meddlesome, petty, fond of ridiculing others… is she just another of LMM‘s awful old ladies, or does she have some redeeming qualities?

Is she amusing to you or irritating?

BarbaraJean I'm so torn over how I feel about Aunt Becky. She knew just what everyone's most sensitive/shameful/embarrassing moments were, and gloried in using that to publicly goad & shame people. She loved having the power of being able to decide who got the jug, and that bothered me, too. But that obituary was HILARIOUS, and her chat with Joscelyn left me feeling much more positive--I think there was more to her we didn't really get to explore. 2mo
TheAromaofBooks I do think that she had good qualities as well. When she talked about her daughter who had died and how much she loved her - well, I think we were seeing the Aunt Becky who was kind of done with life and had nothing to lose by stressing everyone else out lol I would definitely read a prequel focused on her earlier life!! 2mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks I think you're absolutely right, she was just ready to go and stirring things up on the way out to amuse herself! I did love how she managed to give basically everyone the exact things they didn't want. 😂 And yet in a few cases, with the family members who aren't petty and grasping, she bestows exactly what is needed. I love that she gives Ambrosine the diamond ring. 2mo
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TheAromaofBooks I actually love the way Ambrosine gets the ring and loves it, how it just fulfills this perfect dream for her. Later in the story when she's wearing it to church and some of the clan are still grumbling about it and she's still just completely thrilled - love it! 2mo
AnneCecilie I didn‘t think much about her and I‘m not sure what to think. I‘m just glad that she‘s not in my life because I wouldn‘t want to have her as I family member. 2mo
quietjenn She's very much all of the above, but I err on the side of finding her very interesting and amusing. I did love that obituary and her scene with Joscelyn. 2mo
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BarbaraJean
A Tangled Web | Lucy Maud Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - A Tangled Web discussion, part 1

How did you feel about the large cast of characters—was it manageable or overwhelming?

Which storylines did you find most (or least!) compelling, and why?

Were there characters or subplots you‘d have liked to read more about?

BarbaraJean I was completely overwhelmed by everyone at Aunt Becky's “levee.“ I actually went back through that chapter and typed up notes on all the characters mentioned! Once LMM focused in on a smaller set of characters, I found it manageable. I was really impressed by how deftly she sketched out and developed so many characters. 2mo
BarbaraJean I loved the Brian Dark/Margaret storyline--such a sweet resolution. I loved that Margaret didn't have to have a marriage to realize her dreams. And I loved Hugh & Joscelyn. I wanted to shake her several times, but I could also relate a little! I definitely saw my younger self in that tendency to fall for and romanticize someone you barely know. And I'd read a whole book about Drowned John, or Aunt Becky when she was young! (edited) 2mo
TheAromaofBooks Even though it had been a long time since I read this one, the characters and their stories really came back to me as I was reading, so I didn't find them too confusing. I'm with you, I really love Margaret's story - I also thought it was funny that the guy she was going to marry also realized he didn't want marriage, either! I was so glad when Brian ended up in a good place - I hate the part where Cricket dies! 2mo
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BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks I was INFURIATED over Cricket!! And with Brian's aunt & uncle in general. So awful. And yes, it was hilarious when both Margaret and Penny are SO relieved to have the engagement broken off! 2mo
TheAromaofBooks I think that the scene with Cricket, the whole Sams and the statue thing, and the fact that you never actually find out who was supposed to get the jug are the reasons that I had somewhat negative vibes from past readings of this book. I had kind of forgotten how there were actually a bunch of characters and storylines that I really enjoyed and also found humorous, so it was fun to touch on those again. 2mo
AnneCecilie I‘m with you here, I was confused at Aunt Becky‘s levee. But maybe that‘s the point, because son is all the characters? When it was narrowed down, it was easier to follow the stories. I loved the Brian/ Margaret and how they both got what they wanted in the end. 2mo
quietjenn it was definitely overwhelming at the start! I found I gravitated to reading the Kindle version, so I could easily search for character names to remind me who was who. I agree that the Brian/Margaret storyline was a winner. I found many of the characters pretty interesting, even when I didn't like them. I'd totally read a story about the Aunt Becky and some of the older characters when they were younger. 2mo
quietjenn I'd also read one about/from Nan's perspective. In both my initial reading of this and in this one, I feel like she's cast as “the vamp“ and villainized and being a little irked by that, so her novel could be a lot fun. For the “romances,“ I really liked Peter and Donna's. (edited) 2mo
BarbaraJean @quietjenn I had this checked out on hoopla and I definitely used the search feature for character names! The clan makes so many judgments about Nan, but I wasn't bothered by it since it seemed confirmed by her actions over the course of the story (her history of awfulness toward Gay and then her blatant fiance-stealing!). It would be interesting to hear her side of it, though, to see her fleshed out into less of a one-note character. 2mo
12 likes9 comments
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BarbaraJean
A Tangled Web | Lucy Maud Montgomery
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead reminder: The discussion for A Tangled Web will be tomorrow—I‘ll post questions around mid-morning Pacific Time. Super looking forward to everyone‘s thoughts on this one!

Then for August and September, we‘ll be reading Pat of Silver Bush and Mistress Pat. All are welcome to join in! Just let me know if you‘d like to be tagged.

LeahBergen I fully intended to get to A Tangled Web this month but never did. 🙄 Count me in for Pat of Silver Bush and I‘ll try to do better. 😆😆 2mo
BarbaraJean @LeahBergen 😂 To paraphrase Anne, isn‘t it nice to think that Monday is a new month, with no unread Kindred Spirits books it it yet? 😆 2mo
BarbaraJean Aaaaaand, I forgot to tag anyone. Fixed! 😁 2mo
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LeahBergen Very apt! 🤣 2mo
julieclair @LeahBergen Ditto! This one sounded so good! I think I will not look at the discussion questions tomorrow. I will save them until I have finished the book. @BarbaraJean Thanks for hosting. I will plan to be more timely for Pat of Silverbush. 2mo
TheAromaofBooks Looking forward to chatting about Tangled Web. I've never read the Pat books. Like Emily, Mom told me they were “too depressing“ back when I was first into Montgomery and I've never picked them up 😂 But I think I'm ready to give them a go!! 2mo
BarbaraJean @LeahBergen @julieclair I look forward to having you join in for the Pat books! And Julie, I hope you enjoy Tangled Web...for me, it felt very different to Montgomery's other books, even though it has a lot of her familiar tropes. But I did really enjoy it. @TheAromaofBooks I remember you saying that about the Pat books! 😂 I don't think they're any more depressing than the Emily books at their bleakest. I'm interested to hear what you think! 2mo
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BarbaraJean
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Trying a little different approach to #BookSpin for August: about half of the list is a usual list of book titles, but for the other half I‘m listing specific TBR shelves to choose from, giving me a little more room for mood reading. Of course, I still have five past BookSpin/DoubleSpin picks to catch up on, so this may not make much of a difference…but I like the idea, so here goes!

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 2mo
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