The Little House Books

Last night I was having one of my now semi-regular bouts of insomnia. After trying for quite a while to relax and go back to sleep I gave up and decided on a bath and a book. I grabbed my well-loved copy of The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I have loved the Little House books since I was 7 years old. They were one of the first "big" books that I read. Wilder always captured my imagination with her somewhat autobiographical stories. Later I wondered if she was able to paint such vivid pictures because of "seeing out-loud" for her blind sister, Mary. I know there is some controversy when it comes to whether or not Laura or her daughter did a lot of the writing, but in most ways I don't really care. I just enjoy the books.

Growing up I only had the first two books and The Long Winter. I think for that reason I have a weird affinity for reading about a family that nearly starves during 7 months of blizzards in the Dakota Territory. See, when you put it that way you have to wonder about it being a children's book. In reality though it really has some beautiful moments and I feel like it does a good job of showing some of the hardships without being too depressing. I bought a boxed set while in college and have since read the series several times a year.

My favorite two books in the series are actually Farmer Boy (dealing with Almonzo's childhood in New York) and These Happy Golden Years. I love the story of Laura and Almonzo's romance in These Happy Golden years. I love the descriptions of food in Farmer Boy. Man, I would have loved to have been able to pull up a chair at the Wilder family supper table.

I also have The Little House Cookbook. The authentic recipes are fun to pore over. I have yet to make any of them. Perhaps that should be my next project.


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