On Recording a Reading History

Commonplace Book Blog

A question posed at the recent “L.M. Montgomery and Reading” conference gave me cause to reflect on my own reading. The question followed an address – I believe it was the keynote by Emily Woster. Why, the questioner wondered, did Montgomery not keep a record in one place of all her reading?

The question was speculative, but engaging, and piqued my interest. Why indeed?

In the preceding address, as well as throughout the conference, we heard about the many ways in which Montgomery documented her own reading: she used numerous literary allusions and quotations in her fiction, wrote about and reflected upon books she’d read in her journals, and peppered many of her letters with discussions about books with her correspondents.

She read widely and prolifically, and some would say indiscriminately. For someone who has made it a point to preserve so many other important records, why didn’t she in…

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