The title of this post is rather misleading…because my oldest book is certainly not my favourite. That honour goes to the wonderful book “Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery.
One fine Friday morning thirteen years ago, while I was browsing through the Library of my Sunday School (I was in Kuwait at the time, which may explain why Sunday school needed to be attended on a Friday), I stumbled upon a rather forlorn-looking book.
The book had the picture of a young girl waiting on the steps with a carpet bag in hand. At first glance, it seemed to me that the book was a prosy sort, one that preached at you, with old-English words. Back then, I had a horror of books like Emma and Pride and Prejudice, which for some reason, always seemed to be the embodiment of a strict teacher to me. When I peered inside the book, it was all yellowing and musty with tiny letters like ants. You know the kind… it seemed as if it has sat there for years and years.
I could take my pick of any two books at the library as my reading material for the week. I had already taken my pick of an Archie comic and since I could not find anything better that this one, I decided to take Anne of Green Gables as well.
Back home, I polished off the Archie comic in a cinch. Then I had ‘Anne of Green Gables’ to look forward to…something I did not relish. Hesitantly, I opened the book….and started to read….and was hooked. In The book opened a window to Avonlea and its residents, their pet prejudices and generally, about the busybodies of a little village, in the first chapter.
Chapter 2, enter Anne. From here onwards the book became un-putdownable. I actually spent the entire night devouring the book (in spite of being in Class X and preparing for my Board exams). The scene where I burst out laughing was when Anne crashed her slate on Gilbert’s head for calling her ‘carrot-top’. Around 3am, I heard my Dad coming out of his room. If he were to see the light in my room at 3 in the morning, that would have been it for me. With great sorrow, I decided to go to sleep then.
Ever since, I have been an ardent fan of Anne Shirley and have publicised the book to all in my friends’ circle.
Anyway, to make a long story short, from then onwards I kept browsing book stores and garage sales for Anne of Green Gables – to make it my own. Then, 10 years ago, I found it at a roadside sale. Now it adorns by bedside bookshelf and is my comfort read, despite being a mature 27-year-old with a baby.
I also found the sequels to the book at the same sale – Anne of Avonlea, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne of the Island, Anne’s House of Dreams, and Anne of Ingleside. Everyone of these books is as lovable as the very first taste I had of Anne Shirley, the temperamental red-head.
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