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Book: The Secret Garden (my first e-book!)

August 15, 2010
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This is a childhood favorite. I have read this book many times, but I think I haven’t read it in at least 20 years, or maybe more (I’ve always liked rereading childhood favorites so it’s conceivable that I’d read it at 15).

This is a classic story, which I won’t bother to summarize. I know there are some modern controversy about the parts where Mary is still in India, and how the servants (“natives”) are treated and talked about. I don’t really want to go into any of that — to me, it’s just part of the story. Anyway, I absolutely LOVE this book and happily read it again recently when I was looking for something to load onto my iPod Touch to read using Stanza.

So, this post is mostly about two things. The e-reader experience, and what this book brought up for me, reading it as an adult.

First, the e-reader experience. I was surprised at how natural it felt and how much I enjoyed reading on the little iPod screen. I think a major part of the reason why I liked reading on the iPod was because it has the touch-technology and so turning the pages felt very natural — I was physically turning a page (it felt like) and I liked that. I also liked the display — it was well-lit and easy to read, and the Stanza software was very easy to use. I didn’t do anything with highlighting or making notes — but every once in awhile I inadvertently activated the highlighting function, and it looked easy to use.

Will I read another book on the iPod? Yes, definitely. I liked that I could just keep it in my purse and pull it out when I forgot my “real” book, and it remembered where I left off. The only thing I didn’t like was that this iPod has a short battery life. I don’t know what I need to do to fix that — get a better battery? I only get about 4 hours or less, which seems really short. I found some articles discussing how to increase battery life so I’ll try some of the tips.

Does this mean that I might get a larger e-reader later? Maybe. I’m kind of a less-technology-is-better sort of person and this works just fine for me. I like how easy it is and I like how small and light it is. That said, I’m flying to Nebraska next week and I’m thinking a Kindle would be handy right about now.

Now, about reading this book as an adult. Once we got to England (in the book) and Mary started exploring the gardens and meeting Ben Weatherstaff and the robin and of course Dickon, I was back in love with this book. The descriptions of the gardens and the animals was so vivid and evocative. And then of course the animals were adorable and irresistible, without getting all Disney-fied. Colin was just as disagreeable and mysterious as before, and then his transformation was just as inspirational and joyful. So I loved it completely all over again.

The “secret garden” was especially moving to me this time around, because I was so very much wanting a garden of our own. When I was in the middle of this book, we were debating whether to continue considering a townhouse, or if we wanted to focus only on single-family homes. Once I started reading about the beautiful overgrown garden and all the roses, and how much satisfaction Mary got from simply digging in the ground, I felt my heart swell a little and I knew that no matter what, we needed a real yard, even if it were only a small one. And then once we saw the yards of the houses we were considering (there were two that we were seriously considering — the house we ended up getting, and then a very similar one that was a fixer-upper), I knew I really wanted a real yard. I might not ever make a “secret garden” but perhaps there could be a secret corner or nook, with a nice seat and roses and a shady tree.

So after we made the offer on the house, I was trying not to get excited. But then I was reading the book and the descriptions were so lovely that when Terri came out of the doctor (we were at an appointment), I said to her, “I really hope we get that house. I really want that house and that yard.”

Then on the way home, we found out that we got the house!

So, now The Secret Garden will have a special place in my heart. I’m going to use the book as inspiration for at least one small part of the yard.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. August 16, 2010 7:34 am

    Your enthusiasm is wonderful Daphne! I can’t wait to see what you do with your garden.

    • August 16, 2010 6:05 pm

      I found the perfect corner for the ‘secret garden’ today… so very excited.

  2. August 16, 2010 4:27 pm

    Love that story. Perfect inspiration.

  3. August 16, 2010 5:47 pm

    can you believe ive never read this book? i have seen the hallmark hall of fame movie though and its great. if you ever see it at the library, grab it.

    • August 16, 2010 6:06 pm

      You need to read it! I just taped the 1949 version of it last night… haven’t seen the Hallmark one. I’m sure it will pop up…

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