Venture Book Club {Anne of Green Gables}


Picked up some fresh flowers and an old favorite this morning.

A photo posted by Julianne Thompson (@jnjthomp) on

Going back to Green Gables over the last few weeks has been like visiting an old friend. I was so delighted when Sarah Shott’s kicked off her Venture Book Club with such a favorite. I didn’t see her post until close to the “deadline,” but I knew I could finish it quickly so I ran out to the library and picked up a copy. Not that I felt pressured to read it all to join in on the fun.

The list of books I have re-read is a short one, but one that includes The Anne series. I think my last re-read before this was in 2005. Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, plus a number of other works by Jane Austen, the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Awakening, and The Hobbit complete the list (I don’t think I’m forgetting any, although I’m not counting poetry or short stories).

Check out Sarah’s recap post and then see what she has in store for the next “Venture” here. I know she would love to have you join in!

Sarah was kind enough to throw out some discussion starters so I’ll jump right into those:

1. What kind of everyday adventures do you see in Anne’s life?
Anne takes pleasure in pretty much everything or, at the very least, tries to imagine some pleasure into ordinary, mundane things. Making a playhouse out in the woods with chipped tea cups and other things that would normally be thrown out is one example. Another instance that comes to mind is how she finds a friend in her reflection in a pane of glass on a bookcase, proof that nothing is too ordinary for our Anne.

2. How can we use Anne’s outlook to bring extra excitement and meaning to our everyday lives?
I, for one, could do with taking a page from Anne’s book when it comes to mornings. “‘I’m so glad my window looks east into the sunrising,’ said Anne, going over to Diana. ‘It’s so splendid to see the morning coming up over those long hills and glowing through those sharp fir tops. It’s new every morning, and I feel as if I washed my very soul in that bath of earliest sunshine.'”

Can you imagine being that excited about waking up in the same room every day? I do love to see the sunrise, but it is always the furthest thing from my mind upon being roused early in the morning by a toddler.

3. What was your favorite part?

It is truly a difficult thing to choose just one favorite part, but I think Anne & Diana’s tea party (although not the disastrous result) or the Lady of Shallot bit would take top billing in my opinion.

I think if it weren’t for a new book on the horizon for the Venture Book Club (and the rest of the Anne Series to be read and watched), I would be in the “depths of despair” over leaving Green Gables!

I am linking up to Sarah’s post for the Venture Book Club. Be sure to check it out and enter her giveaway for a super cute Anne of Green Gables quote print from Carrot Top Paper Shop.


An infographic of “Surprising Book Facts” has popped up in my Facebook newsfeed a few times during this National Literacy Month. Included with statistics showing a decline in literacy among the impoverished, imprisoned, and those over 8 years old, is this gem: “Reading for one hour per day in your chosen field will make you an international expert in 7 years.” Of course, the other statistics are incredibly revealing and powerful, but this one really stuck out to me. Reading has so much potential to open doors and expand horizons.

I learned this early on while reading fiction and nonfiction books as a child. Opening a book allowed me to step into other worlds and see things from other perspectives, as well as learn new things about the world I lived within. I read everything I could get my hands on. From flyleaf to flyleaf, no page in a book was left unread. I still try to read as much as I can, but lately the books I read the most are ones with repetitive titles featuring colors and animals, such as “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” or “Llama Llama Red Pajama.”

Yes, that is a copy of “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” Don’t worry, we have 2 more copies.

My efforts to surround my son with as many books as possible, and to encourage a love of reading in him has created a bit of a surplus in his book collection. Now a surplus in books in itself is not a bad thing, but these were mostly duplicates. Earlier this month, I took him to a Little Free Library to donate them.

I got the idea after attending my first meeting of the Northwest Arkansas Bloggers last month. It just so happened that at this meeting the group launched #NWARKCares, an initiative to bring awareness to causes right where we live using our collective voices on our blogs and social media. For the first month, our mission was to shine a light on literacy. I was so excited that I got busy going through all of our books right away and brought them to the Little Free Library of a fellow Northwest Arkansas blogger I met at the meeting. I had learned from her that children’s books were what the libraries needed the most. Looking at the date that these particular photos were taken, I see that I did all of this before September 3, and yet I’m just now getting to this post. At least it’s still September!

“The Legend of the Bluebonnet” and the only non-children’s book we brought, “Dreaming Cows”

Helping to grow Young Master Gray’s book collection (and creating some of those duplicates), is our subscription to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. When someone posted about the Imagination Library in one of my online mom’s groups, I thought it was too good to be true. One free book a month from birth up until 5 years of age?! Sign me up! I have heard from several moms that the program is not available in their area, but if it is available in your part of the United States, Canada, United Kingdom or Australia, then I highly recommend signing up. Simply fill out a form on the website to start receiving books about 6-8 weeks later. We have received the books while living in both Benton and Washington counties. If you live in either of these counties or in McDonald or Madison counties, you can contact Karen Bryant with the United Way of Northwest Arkansas with any questions you have about the program. Her email address is If you are passionate about childhood literacy and would like to help, please consider donating to Imagination Library. A donation of just $25 is all it takes to sponsor a child, and they will receive a book every month.

Some of the Imagination Library books we’ve collected so far. 

Other ways of getting involved and improving literacy in our community include:

  • Volunteering with the Ozark Literacy Council. You can tutor, be an ESL conversation partner, stuff envelopes or help with event planning.
  • Donate to a Little Free Library. Right now, if you buy the Little Free Library book for $25, you will get $150 worth of brand new books! 
  • Volunteer at your local library. For someone that loves reading, this won’t even feel like work!
  • Read to a child. Yep, it’s really as simple as that.

Before you go implement these ideas in your community, tell me, what was your favorite childhood book?