To mark her birthday, here is a quote from Mary Henley Rubio’s Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings (TO: Doubleday – Random House, 2008): 181-2.
It’s a long quote, but a book-soaked one; I’ve broken the paragraph so that it displays more comfortably on the screen.
“One personal pleasure through the long, cold winter of 1914 was reading. Maud averaged at least a book a day.
She read new books her publishers sent her alongside her old favourites (which she read again and again).
On trips to Toronto, she purchased new books. She was an exceptionally fast reader, and blessed with a near-photographic memory.
On successive readings, she underlined her favourite passages in her books (some of which have survived) and made jottings of reactions into notebooks (which are often copied into her diary, although her notebooks themselves have not survived.)
To her, books were the centre of a cultured person’s life. Books were also a companion – one that an intellectual husband might have been.
She accumulated more and more books; when she cleaned the Leaskdale library one spring she counted 1,200.”
Mary Henley Rubio’s biography is wonderful if you have a serious interest in this writer; if you’re looking for a more wide-sweeping introduction, try Jane Urquhart’s L.M. Montgomery, more bookishness, try Elizabeth Waterston’s The Magic Island, more Anne-focussed work, try Irene Gammel’s Looking for Anne.
Isn’t it fun to read about a favourite author’s bookishness? Wouldn’t you like to read a book a day this winter?