Monday, July 4, 2016

QUESTION OF THE MONTH: THE FIRST LOVE OF YOUR LITERARY LIFE

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's the first Monday of the month so it's time for the Question of the Month bloghop,  hosted by Michael D'Agostino of A Life Examined.

Michael's question for July is

“What was the first book (or book series) you really fell in love with?”

This question is an easy one for me, Michael, because my older sisters and I all fell in love with The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I think I was seven when I read the first book in the series, Little House In the Big Woods.



I love the details in the books. I learned about everything from churning butter to digging a well. I also liked the constancy of the relationships in the Ingalls family. They were portrayed as being very independent, but as taking care of each other.

I read The Little House books over and over. When I was pregnant with my daughter and very sick, those were the book that comforted me. I also read the entire series to each of my children.

As I grew older, more authors and researchers studied the Ingalls family and wrote about them. I have some interesting books with background on the family's travels and parts of their lives that Wilder skipped over or changed for the books.

One of my favorite books about the family is



The Ingalls family quite often didn't have enough to eat and when they did have food, they didn't enjoy much variety. It's no wonder that Wilder put a lot of emphasis on meals in her books. The cookbook explains how they really cooked their food, provides recipes, and discusses how cooking has changed. Even the names of some food items are different now. Ma Ingalls used "saleratus" to bake a cake. Do you know what that means?

If you read The Little House books to your children, please take into consideration that you'll have to explain some history and changes in the way we think. Ma comments more than one time that the only good Indian was a dead Indian--and she didn't mean people from India. 

I need to take a blogging break for a few days, or longer, so I can edit a book and do some work around my house. I'll see you soon, and I hope you join the Question of the Month Bloghop.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Laura Ingalls Wilder at a book signing.
She didn't start writing her books until she was in her sixties.
Her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, was already an established author.
She collaborated on the books with her mother and edited them quite heavily.



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60 comments:

  1. Oh yeah I did like the Little House books as a child

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    1. I'm glad you liked them, too. That means we both have good taste.

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  2. Hahaha that Indian comment surprised me. I'm fascinated by the change in what's acceptable over time.

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    1. Laura Ingalls Wilder grew up during the late 1800s, and she didn't start writing the books until the 1930s. It was a very different time. Of course, some people in the U.S. feel the same way now about Muslims. Prejudice never ends.

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  3. I picked the same series. They are a delight. Sadly, my girls aren't interested. They like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the like. But each to their own. At least I have the reading every once in a while when I can get them to put down their iPads.

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    1. I'm glad you chose them, too. Maybe you need to take away the iPads. My children, who are well into adulthood, have thanked me for not allowing Nintendo in the house.

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  4. Mine was a paperback book I picked out of the trash in an alleyway when we were on vacation one summer in New Orleans when I was about 9 or 10 years old. October Country by Ray Bradbury! I never knew people were so brilliant as to make up events and even worlds. I admire that ability to this day...but am still a creative non-fiction writer grounded in my real life. Imagination is not one of my strong suits, I guess--but I am a fan! :)

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    1. I think you have a great imagination. You're so creative. I'm shocked you don't know it.

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  5. This is a popular answer today. :) Little House in the Big Woods was my favorite out of the series. I still have that one. I need to collect the others.

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    1. My favorite is These Happy Golden Years.

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  6. Only read the first book of the series.
    I was a Black Stallion fan.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

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    1. Willy Dunne Wooters loves The Black Stallion.

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    1. A+ for you. Did you remember the answer from your childhood during the 1800s or did you Google it?

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  8. Believe it or not, my favorite book as a child was Irving Stone's "The Agony and the Ecstasy," the biography of Michelangelo. I think I read it five times.

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    1. I've never read anything by Irving Stone, but I've heard of him because Pat Conroy talked about how critical Irving Stone was of Pat's first book. Stone told Pat he would never sell books. I think Pat did okay.

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  9. I loved that series too. I have her annotated autobiography. I haven't spent time with it, but it's really pretty to look at.
    xo

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    1. I have the annotated book. I've been reading it a little at a time. I also have a copy of Pioneer Girl. I read it a couple of times, and I've been surprised to learn as I read the annotated book that some of the details in Pioneer Girl are not true.

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  10. I never heard about these books, but then I grew up in a different country. I think I'll check them out next time I visit the library, even though I'm way past their target age. I'm curious. Thanks for the tip.

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    1. The books are probably more of a U.S. thing because the Ingalls family were pioneers.

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  11. To be fair, Ma probably meant people from India as well as Native Americans.
    This is a good question. I don't know mine. The only one I can remember is Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions. But that wasn't until after High School. So there has to be something I'm not remembering. Besides, Vonnegut is a great answer anyway so forget the actual answer.

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    1. Forgotten. I've never read Breakfast of Champions, but I've read some other Vonnegut. Great writer.

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  12. I loved Trixie Belden. My friend Anya always gave me her books to read. After we graduated from Trixie, we moved on to Flowers in the Attic. I had to hide those so my mom wouldn't find out...

    -andi

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    1. I never read Flowers in the Attic, but I've heard about it so I know why you hid it, naughty girl.

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  13. I can't remember if I actually read any of the books or just enjoyed the TV series, Janie, but there's certainly a warmth and constancy in the Ingalls family that you'd be hard-pressed to find in many homes today.

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    1. I didn't like the TV show because I'm such a die hard fan of the books. I didn't like the changes made for television. But it was a good family series, and I'm glad it was successful. Family life was very different then. They had to depend on each other.

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  14. My parents played cards twice a month with friends and they alternated between the two houses. One of their daughters was several years older than me and had the complete Nancy Drew series. I would sit cross-legged on the floor in total Nirvana reading the books. I started reading them when I was 8 (reading just 1 night a month) and finished them about 2 years later. I not only loved reading them but I wanted to be Nancy Drew.

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    1. You can call yourself Nancy Drew of the kitchen and solve recipe mysteries.

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  15. I adored those books as a child!

    My grandmother was a fourth grade teacher, and so from about the time I began reading up until middle school, she provided me with loads of good books. The Little House series, Anne of Green Gables (another huge favorite from my childhood!), the Narnia books, and I discovered Newberry award winners in middle school when I joined the gifted program. I could go on for hours about favorite books from when I was a kid. :)

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    1. I feel fortunate because I kept almost all my childhood books. I have so many, and I read most of them to my children.

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  16. I was a big Pippy Longstocking fan!

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    1. I liked Pippy, too. The best "Pippy" event for us was when my daughter started high school. At lunch on orientation day, the students who were involved in theater, which included my daughter, were dressed in costumes and worked as servers in the dining hall. The dance master braided my daughter's very long red hair and used a coat hanger to make the braids stick out on each side. Of course, she was dressed as Pippy. I wish I had a photo of her on that day. She was so cute.

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  17. This is a popular series. I remember the TV show, but I never read the books.

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    1. The books are much better than the show, but that's almost always true, whether books are made into a TV show or a movie.

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  18. Sounds like a very interesting series. What I found lovely was that Janie Junebug didn't start writing her books till she was in her sixties.

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    1. I think it's lovely that Janie Junebug is not yet sixty, so it's especially amazing that she wrote the books when she was in her sixties. Janie Junebug is also waiting for the royalty checks that so stupidly go to the heirs of Laura Ingall's Wilder's daughter, Rose Wilder Lane.

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  19. Charlotte's Web was my first love, but as far as books I read on my own it would be the Chronicles of Narnia. Enjoy your break.

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    1. I love Charlotte's Web: SOME PIG. It's so sad when Charlotte dies (uh-oh, spoiler). I didn't know about the Chronicles of Narnia until I was an adult. A friend gave me the entire set. My kids loved it when I read the books to them. I've been a Narnia fan since then. I wish I could say I'm enjoying my break, but it's way too hot to go out, and I'm battling migraines that make it difficult for me to edit. I went to the doctor to get medication for the migraines and the f*%$#@! pharmacy wouldn't fill it because supposedly it might interact badly with another medication I take. They want to tell the doctor about it. I said he already knew because he prescribed both meds. Oi!!!

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    2. That is crazy. It has been hot here as well, but I am sure it is worse there. Heat and headaches are about the worst combo I can think of. How you get to feeling better.

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  20. Beverly Cleary's Henry Huggins books were favorites of mine. Her popular character Ramona was a spin-off from the Henry Huggins series.

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    1. I love Beverly Cleary's books. I think the first one I read was Mouse On A Motorcycle. The first chapter book my daughter read was Henry Huggins, or maybe the title was Henry and Ribsy.

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  21. For me it was Mother West Wind stories unless you count All About Dinosaurs.

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    1. I haven't heard of the Mother West Wind stories. I think a lot of kids love books about dinosaurs.

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  22. Great picture of Laura Ingalls Wilder! I too, enjoyed the Little House on the Prairie series. I didn't know about the cookbook. I may have to get that.

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    1. I have several good books about the real Laura Ingalls Wilder and her life as a child and an adult. She lived so many places, including Florida!

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  23. I love how we learn so much from reading, especially when we're reading for pleasure. Have fun editing!

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    1. I am enjoying the editing. It's an adorable children's chapter book.

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  24. I LOVED the Little House books as a child, and made sure to get them in hardcover when I grew up so I could pass along my original paperback set to my kids. We read through the series at bedtime, and they always laughed at how much Almanzo ate in Farmer Boy.

    I never watched the TV series because I didn't want to wreck my personal vision of the family. I've also read a lot of Laura's later writings, books about her, and other books by her daughter, and think she lived a rich, varied life. I'm so glad she wrote about so much of it.

    Oh, and congratulations on ghost-writing those books for her, Janie, long before you were even born while still being in your sixties. That's quite a feat, time travel being what it is(n't) and all that.

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    1. The TV show took too many liberties. I appreciate your congratulations. I have such a wide variety of talents. I didn't want to brag about my ability to time travel, but now that the secret is out . . .

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  25. Well, I didn't grow up here so the first book series that had my tiny heart pumping, was all in Spanish. It was a local kiddie series and its name would make no sense right now, so I'll move one lol.

    The one book that made me truly appreciate reading and was the first to stay with me for weeks, was El Alquimista. Better known as The Alchemist. I read it when I was eight years old, and to this day, I'd recommend it in a heart beat. :)

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  26. The first book I ever fell in love with was "The Wizard of Oz" which our teacher read to us, a chapter per day, in Grade 3. I put it on my Christmas list that year because I just HAD to have my own copy! I still have it, incidentally, all dog-eared and pages loose now with age. But I later loved the Little House on the Prairie books too and re-read the series many, many times.

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  27. Believe it or not, I, too was a HUGE fan of Little House on the Prarrie!! I also was a big fan of Anne of the Green Gables.

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  28. I loved the Little House in the Big Woods, but I never read the others. That cookbook looks super fun.

    I think my first favourite book series was either The Boxcar Children or Sweet Valley High, don't remember which ones I picked up first.

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  29. It'd be difficult, if not impossible, for me to pick the first book or series I fell in love with as a kid, because I read anything and everything, and loved it all. Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, all of the Louisa May Alcott books, the Five Little Pepper books, Honeybunch books, Mark Twain books, books about Lassie and Rin Tin Tin... and on and on. One of the best things my mother ever did for me is to encourage me to read without restrictions.

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  30. That's easy... Roald Dahl'sCharlie and the Great Glass Elevator, which, strangely enough, I read before the one about the chocolate factory.

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  31. My sister used to read those books as a child! The first love of my literary life were the Nancy Drew mysteries :)

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  32. Enjoy the blogging break. I never read those books. But they could be an interesting read. Take good care of yourself, Janie.

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  33. I remember a few of those as a kid. I recall enjoying them. Funny how much we forget, because that's all I remember - enjoying them - nothing else. Better a positive memory than no memory at all, I suppose.

    Hope you're enjoying that time away.

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  34. I had my head buried in the sand for far to long. Well, truth be told I was doing a lot of extra work for the IWSG this month and I'm just getting back to blogs. I have to admit, I love the series you have selected here. My sisters had these books and I always wanted to read them, but I never did for one reason or another. Her family has always interested me and I loved the TV series. One day I should look for this book series and read it. Thanks for reminding me of the series.

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  35. I was all about Judy Blume's Margaret and Sheila the Great!

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