So my first book of 2018 was a kids book, and I didn’t even read it to one of my kids! My oldest read it on her own and I decided to give it a quick read last night for myself. I’ve been a big fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books ever since I read them in second grade. I still remember my second-grade teacher taking me to the bookcase in the school library and suggesting I read the series. (I also continue to be irked that she did not recommend them to me in chronological order but rather had me start with Little House on the Prairie.)
So, I went my entire childhood and most of my adult life thus far believing the Little House books were nonfiction. And then. I found them for my daughter in the “JFIC” section of the library. MY WORLD WAS UPENDED. Ok, not really, but I was disappointed. I felt like I had been lied to, which is kind of ridiculous, but I felt unsettled knowing the books were partly/mostly true but not knowing which parts! This was obviously not a pressing priority in my life, but I did kind of have in the back of my mind the desire to read more about Laura’s actual life and about the writing of the books. I happened upon Prairie Girl in the library one day, and so I checked it out — more for me than for my daughter, though she did read it first 🙂
On its own, the book isn’t amazing, but I did enjoy it. It’s nowhere near as engaging as Laura Ingalls Wilder’s own writing, but it is a very simple and approachable biography for a child and a great introduction to her biography for an adult. It very straightforwardly addresses tragic events (like the deaths of Laura’s infant brother and later her infant son), which seemed to go over well for my daughter. It helped put the fiction books into context for me and understand how Laura herself could say the “stories” were “true” without being works of nonfiction, and I learned a lot about her adult life. It seems strange, in a way, to think of adult Laura owing a car — in my mind she’s always the little girl in the covered wagon or the teen in a buggy with Almanzo, her suitor.
In any case, this is a lot of rambling today but I wanted to share my first book of the year! I got an overall positive feeling from the book and now I’m interested in reading a biography of hers written for adults rather than children.
On Saturday afternoon I had the great privilege of stepping away by myself for an hour to go to Historic Vienna’s Annual Used Book Sale and shop. Adam, though recovering from the flu, graciously indulged my love of books and watched Cinderella with the girls so I could go ALONE (thank you, thank you, thank you!). The girls acted like I’d been gone for ages when I got home, which is crazy but also really endearing. Who doesn’t enjoy being greeted with kisses and hugs and a chorus of, “Mommy, we missed you!”?
So, the books! I didn’t think their selection of children’s books was as good this year as it was last year, but I did pick up a Berenstain Bears book on strangers and a retelling of the story of King Midas. The kids were happy with that! From the kids section I also got some books for when the kids get older. My oldest is almost 5(!!!!!) and she reads, so I figure (not unlike me) that she’ll be into reading chapter books in the next year or so…SO I decided to prepare for when she’s begging for more books and I picked up three of the books in the Little House on the Prairie series. We already have one of them, so that should keep her busy when she’s about 7, right? I read them all in second grade and I not-so-secretly hope she loves them as much as I did. I wanted to become President one day so I could take us all back to covered wagon times…so we could live just like Laura Ingalls Wilder. HA.
For myself, I got a couple of classics: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque and Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Adam thinks I’m nuts, and I might be…We’ll see. I don’t typically read classics but I think I want to. Hopefully I like them as much as I like the idea of liking them. I also got Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. I tend not to pick up random fiction unless it’s been recommended to me or I’ve heard of it before, so I mostly just skimmed that section.
My REAL prize, though, which made the whole trip worth it (aside from the mere act of browsing through tons of old books) came from the “Grandma’s Attic” section of the sale, where they sell “old” or unique items: I got a complete boxed set of the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis! For only $8 🙂 I’ve read two C.S. Lewis books in the last year, and LOVED them, and it made me want to reread The Lion, the Witch, and Wardrobe — but who can just stop there? I’m SO excited to read the whole set!
Adam thinks he’s never going to see me because I’m going to be too busy reading… it’s a slight exaggeration, I think, but I do hope to be reading a lot soon! AND my local library has its used book sale this week! I’ll have to pop in there Friday while the kids are in school 🙂 Yay!