A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Blue Castle

The Blue CastleHere's a book I took off the free shelf at the Springfield Main Library. I help myself to a few periodically, and usually return them once I've read them. I love to read and eat, but I'm always afraid I'll splatter a valuable book, so these throwaways comprise my usual lunchtime reading.

The Blue Castle is the story of mousy old maid Valancy Stirling. She's misdiagnosed with a fatal heart disease, and the belief that she's going to die soon gives her the courage to break out of her stifling existence.

The "blue castle" which gives this book its name is the fantasy place Valancy has created in her imagination. She spends more time in her blue castle than she does in the prim and ugly house she's trapped in with her uptight mother and icky Cousin Stickles. The castle is located in Spain, and has a rotating band of suitors, whose looks and personalities change as Valancy matures. Of course, by the end of the book, Valancy has found a real blue castle, complete with a cool guy who has a couple of enchanting secrets of his own.

I love these sweet g-rated stories from between the wars. But I'm accumulating so many old books that I don't have enough shelves to put them in, or even enough walls to put shelves up against if I did have them. So I made up a pile the other day of books I hadn't ever even paid for, and consequently shouldn't feel bad about giving away again.

Just out of curiosity, though, since I'm a book cataloger and know exactly how to determine the value of a book, I took this one upstairs to my loft and checked it out online. That's when I realized that "L.M. Montgomery" was Lucy Maud...author of the "Anne of Green Gables" stories. Better still, this was a first edition (1926), worth between $250 and $450.

It's wasn't a library discard, just a book someone had stuck on the shelf. So there's no way to trace the former owner. I guess I'll just have to hang onto it. Maybe loan it out to a trusted friend--but only on the condition that no messy food is consumed around it.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love The Blue Castle ^^ Barney is by far my favourite of LMM's heroes. Gilbert's a real bore compared to him *hides from fangirls pucking tomatoes at her*
I also love the fairy-tale way the story is told... such a sweet fantasy ^^

7:12 PM  

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