Do you have a policy that you only give books as a gift if you have read them first? It’s a policy I totally believe in but have broken, um, pretty much every time I’ve given a book. It’s usually because I’m convinced a book is going to be good, but I haven’t had time to buy it for myself yet. (I know: The Library. Why don’t I USE IT MORE?) Or I’ve done it if I know the other reader and I have wildly different tastes. When it’s the former, I usually still feel happy with the gift once I have read the book. This week, I’m running into a bit of a panic, though. It’s not because I gifted a book I hadn’t read, but a version of the book I hadn’t read.
Have you seen this gorgeousness? The 100th Anniversary Edition of Anne of Green Gables? It’s quite pretty – a nice pale green background like Green Gables itself, or like the dresses Gilbert liked the best on Anne. Plus, it has the Gibson Girl model of Anne on the front, which actually is closer to Montgomery’s imaginings would have been than our dear Megan Follows (whom I love in the role, but I have to squint hard not to be bothered by her height as Anne was actually described as a “very tall girl”).
I gave this book to my niece Nola Serenity. I wrote inside, Dear Nola Serenity, I know three things for sure…
1. I love the name that we share. It’s hard to live up to, but it’s something everyone desires, and I love that.
2. I love Anne of Green Gables. It has defined much of who I am. And if you read it someday, you’ll be reading pieces of me.
4. I love you. And you never have to do anything but live for that to be true.
It’s not an exact quote, but it was something like that. And you can see how much the niece and the book mean to me. Imagine my appall while reading that very version (which I eventually bought for myself) to discover numerous oh so many typos. Oh So Many. Over became oven and every, ever. (Or vice versa). But the worst, the most appalling, is when Marilla became Mania not once or twice but THREE TIMES SO FAR.
I’m very sad. At least, I was very sad. And I think I’ll buy Nola a different version one day that at least doesn’t replace the heroine’s life-changing benefactress for a word that is also a psychiatric disorder. However, I might be reconciled to the version for myself if I can believe this review on Amazon. According to its author, this book is true to the version L.M. Montgomery herself would have read the first time she saw her book in printed form – typos and all. Does anyone know if this is true? Because somehow, I am reconciled to the mania if when I read it I am feasting my eyes on the very same printing errors poor Maud had to endure while trying not to let them ruin the joy of finally having her book.
I just gave a beautiful classic to a work friend. It’s all red and white. It practically falls open for comfortable reading, and it has gorgeous untrimmed edges to its soft, old-fashioned pages. But now I’m terribly afraid Sydney Carton will be replaced with swine or something, and I’ll be so distraught! I’m just going to have to get more strict with this policy.