I so, so wish that I had read L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables for the first time when I was eleven, not when I was twenty-three. Not that I at all regret reading Anne of Green Gables this week; however, while turning the pages of this wonderful book, I could only imagine how much my younger self would have loved this book. Anne is one of those characters that I would have longed to have as a friend, whose way of speaking I would have imitated, in so far that I probably would have started giving names to vegetation.
When I started this project, when I started reading the 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up, it was precisely for moments likes these ones. There were too many books, I thought to myself as I flicked through the physical 1001 Children’s Books book, that as a children’s book enthusiast I really should have read. This is definitely one of them. And the part that annoys me the most, is that I have owned a copy of Anne of Green Gables for years – I don’t know how I obtained it, but I must have gotten a second hand copy at some point, and I must have been quite young, as it has ‘Georgina Paech’ written on the title page in my mum’s handwriting. Why on earth, for the past ten years, did I never think to pick it up from the shelf and start reading it?
There are quite a few books that I have accumulated somehow or another that I have never read, that are considered children’s classics. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, for example. I have two copies of the latter, and have never even attempted to read either of them. Black Beauty is another example. The Three Musketeers The Swiss Family Robinson, The Water Babies, A Tale of Two Cities… I realised a couple of years ago that I had only ever read the abridged version of Little Women (although when I was reading it (and rereading it) I did not realise it was abridged, as I probably didn’t know what abridged meant).
All these titles sadden me, as the only reason I probably didn’t read them was I couldn’t remember when they had first appeared on my bookshelves, and a brand new shiny book chosen from the bookshop or given to me as a gift was more exciting than one already on my shelf. I think this is a fault I continue to make. I will try as quickly as possible to fix this terrible mistake, and delve into all these delicious titles. But first, I must finish Anne of Green Gables. Oh, I don’t want to finish it though, I do love Anne so terribly…