A Haven for Vee

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Two Books

Oh no! This is terrible! And it was. Really.

Let me back up. Last week I was shopping at Amazon, when I realized that I needed a little something extra to get my free shipping. You know, spend an extra ten dollars to save four. I decided that I would purchase that nice little book I gave to Suzanne as part of her winning the Mennonite Girls Can Cook cookbook contest. It was déjà vu all over again as that's what had happened when I was ordering Suzanne's books. I had needed a little something to get me over that limit then, too.

So I ordered the little something extra and it arrived in timely fashion and I sat right down to read it and I was not four paragraphs in before I realized oh-oh. Oh-oh.² Lots of language. Lots of quirky characters. Lots of oh.dear.me.what.have.I.done.

And so I have laughed and cringed my way through it. I think the most mortifying thing about it is that there's a character who blogs.

People don't take my skills seriously, but there's an art to it. There really is. When I was on a roll, I used to update my blogs eight, sometimes twelve hours a day. That's eight or twelve hours of writing. Stephen King is probably one of the only other guys who writes that much... p.8

In some not too noticeable ways, I'm a reasonably confident guy. Sure, I'm not into socializing and dating and whatnot, but I do write a couple of blogs. I form opinions and I write about them... p52

When you spend all day, every day, on the Internet you develop an image of yourself in relation to the world. You know what I mean? It's like your looks or lack of them are manageable. Because you focus on other people and no one can see you and if you make the odd crack about yourself, well, that's just you being human and relatable. p.238

Every now and then I have felt that the author knew a little too much about blogger types, me included. I mean I always feel as if I'm doing something when blogging just as this character does. Suzanne even emailed asking me just what it was about this book that made me think to give it to her. Oh, I'd responded blithely, I read about it *here.*

Now I ask you, wouldn't you want to read a book with this blurby little bit on the back cover?

Prudence Burns, a well-intentioned New Yorker full of back-to-the-land ideals, just inherited Woefield Farm—thirty acres of scrubland, dilapidated buildings, and one half-sheared sheep...

Somehow I got it into my head that H to W was going to be 2011's The Enchanted Barn, an old story by Grace Livingston Hill about reclaiming a barn for a home. Hill's writing is lyrical and genteel and, well, quaint. This is one of my favorite passages from TEB:

She decided to decorate first. The great hamper of flowers was forthwith brought into the barn, and the chauffeur set to work twining ropes and sprays of smilax and asparagus fern over doorways and pictures and trailing it like a vine about the stone chimney. Then came the flowers: pots of tall, starry lilies, great, heavyheaded, exquisite-breathed roses, pink, white, yellow, and crimson...
Forthwith is such a lovely, old-fashioned word. There were lots of words that began with that letter in H*ome to Woefield.


So you may be thinking that I don't recommend this book to you. I don't. Not in good conscience. Not if you shy from language that makes you want to wash your own mouth out with soap.

You may be thinking that I slammed the covers shut and didn't read another word. Oh no. I have a unique philosophy about reading and literature and dramas, etc. I've shared it all *before.* I take the C.S. Lewis approach. I very much enjoyed the book.

It was the shame of having gifted it to someone else that I didn't enjoy. So, on that note, my sincere apologies to Suzanne.

Edited to Add: For Suzanne's take on this, read comment #26. Ohhh, too funny!


  1. My mother and I use to share books quite often and sometimes when she gave me one to read all the "language" had been scratched out. I guess she didn't want to soil my mind. I smile when I think of it and almost want to do the same when I share books with others. Ha!

  2. Oh my, that is disappointing. The cover tease makes it sound like a Hill book doesn't it. I picked up a mystery by Danielle Steele once and couldn't get past the 2nd chapter for the language and content. I sold it in a yard sale. I told the buyer it was to smutty for me and she said "Oh, I like smutty!" :-0 Sold!! Have a great day Vee! Pamela

  3. I don't read a lot of those kind of books either, but if I like the story I would keep on reading. I have been so busy getting my plarn items ready for the charity picnic in August I have missed visiting and missed a lot of great posts. Keep on writing, I love it.

  4. I really enjoyed the honesty of this post Vee, the book does give off the impression that it might indeed be a good gift. Fair play to you reading it through, your philosophy is a good one. Big hugs, Margie.

  5. Great for you, that you can allow yourself to read "outside the lines," as it were! Good grief, we'd have to never read zillions of books, if we had to be *totally proper at all times.* -grin- And what fun would that be??????

    But even though I'll read anything, that lovely old fashioned sounding book (The Enchanted Barn) sounds quite delicious too. :-)

    But no, I won't try the "F loaded" one. I don't really need that. >,-)

    Oh and Amazon still makes one pay shipping? Many places do not, anymore. I was wondering if Amazon would be forced to get rid of allll shipping costs, soon? Another "Sign of the Times"... Of the badddddddd economy?


  6. I often feel the way you do and now I rarely offer my books to another. . just in case they can't see passed some of the vocabulary.
    OH. .I wanted to say. .if you feel inlcined to renovate an old shack I'll bring the "great, heavyheaded, exquisite-breathed roses." I love that phrase.

  7. Having said that. . .I often can't get passed the vocabulary myself. It is like I have an inner word counter and sometimes it hits the allowed amount quite quick. :)

  8. Ooops... Looked at 'The Enchanted Barn' review. I've read that!

    But my library can get me another of this author's stories (Aunt Crete's Emancipation), which also sounds quite old fashioned and delicious. :-)


  9. Well, the good thing is...
    We're all adults here, ya know. Some of the funniest books I've ever read had words that sailors would frown at. :)))
    Usually, you can google the name of the book and get a great idea of what's going on between the covers. heh heh....BOOK covers, that is..:)
    xoxo bj

  10. meant to add...love your pretty blog dress.

  11. I have not read either of those books. I usually read a review about a book before getting it, or sometimes rely on my gut instinct. However, I do have a hard time reading profanity laced ones. I liked what your other commentors had to say. And in all fairness, my parents never censored anything, nor will I. Have a great day..love your posts. Blessings

  12. There is a library in Livingston TX where the librarians have to be on the watch for a pastor of a small church and his wife. The couple visit the library armed with black sharpie pens and take it upon themselves to cross out words that they find objectionable.
    Fictional books now have such lurid storylines that most of my reading comes from the non fiction area or books written long ago, such as the ones by GL Hill.

  13. I'm smiling...about your shame over having gifted that book. I shared your post with Elmer this morning...since we often have books or movies we would like to recommend but just can't because of the language. They like to ruin a perfectly good story-line, by adding a little (or a lot) of smut.

    I haven't quite figured out how to use C.S. Lewis's method of suspending my beliefs in order to enjoy the arts. Good post, Vee.

  14. A most enchanting post...loved it!

  15. I'm smiling in sympathy here, Vee. I read books that contain bad language but somehow I can overlook it if the language is redeemed by the story. I go along with CS Lewis on this one.

    But I hesitate to recommend certain books to others because of that and understand your embarrassment.

    I read The Enchanted Barn years and years ago. It was one of my favorites. Then I saw it on someone's bookshelf, along with a zillion other GLH books. I took just the Enchanted Barn and reread it not long ago. I'm still charmed by the thought of converting a barn into a home.

  16. Foul language grates on me too, Vee. I wasn't raised that way and I didn't raise my kids that way, but it seems a lot of others did. I hear curses used as adjectives and adverbs all the time when I am out in public--even from the mouth of babes--and it saddens me! :(

    I'm sure you've heard of the famous "Adult" children's bedtime story that is all the rage right now with a "F" word in the title? It is supposed to be funny, yet I don't see the humor. To me is one more thing dumbing down America...the acceptance of bad language as being "normal." sigh.

    One of the best books I ever read was "The Road" by Cormac Mccarthy, yet I can't recommend it, as it has a very depressing and violent, even horrifying plot. The essence of what "hope" is, and the love of a father for his son, and the precious innocence of children really shines through that plot, however, and I could literally not put the book down until I read it to the end.

    I recently finished two books that were wonderful -- I'll have to blog about them soon!

  17. I'll read almost anything, but there are many that I wouldn't pass on to anyone else. It's a shame what the authors today think they have to include in their stories in order to sell them. I read GL Hill when I was young, my mother loved her books.

  18. Oh my....these things happen. Who woulda thunk it?

    At least it sounds like you enjoyed the story itself. Suzanne is such a sweetheart I am sure she totally understands.

  19. Hi Vee - sorry about the oops! on the book. I'm not fond of bad language, but I can take it better in a book than on the big screen where it's spoken at thousands of decibels. It just rankles my ears and sense of Christianity. The younger generation has heard everything and things that were tabu in my younger years have become mundane and ordinary these days. sigh...

    Lovely painting by your friend, Nita - I was immediately drawn to your post today! I'll have to go back and check on her again - I know the little winter painting you're speaking of - I love it, too!

    Have a wonderful week, my friend!

  20. I just kind of skip over the bad words if there are too many. Sometimes a bad word works well here and there!

  21. Love your new picture for the heading. Daylilies are one of my very most favorite flowers. The cultivars come in early spring, spring, late spring - same with summer and fall - blooming. You can enjoy them ALL summer!

    Oh, and I would definitely want to read a book with that message describing it. Anything about hobby farming always catches my interest. I'm glad, in spite of the language, that you enjoyed it.

  22. They sound like good books. I don't mind a few choice words here and there, but for the author to use them when not necessary get on my nerves.
    I feel the same way about comedians and movies, too!

  23. What matters the most is that you enjoyed your books. It is a disappointment to spend the time (and money) to read a book you didn't care for after you finished it. Great post Vee!

  24. Oh, no! Oh, well, it's entertaining the rest of us...
    And you know, I love Grace Livingston Hill, so I also really enjoyed that part of the post. Sometimes I imagine reading part of GLH's books aloud...love the language.

  25. I am glad you are one to share how you really feel. So many people tend to say what "I" want to hear rather than what's truly on their mind. I do hate being disappointed by a book, so I understand where you are coming from.
    Have a lovely week,

  26. OMIGOSH VEE!!!

    No need to apologize. I'm pretty sure I was laughing and cringing at all the same parts and I distinctly remember thinking, "Vee would be moritified!!!

    No need my friend. This is one of those cases where we learn not to trust the creative writing types who write blurbs for book jackets. HA. We're just going to maintain that it's all their fault!!!

    I'll take the C.S. Lewis approach also.

    Thanks Vee, you made my day.


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