Like many little girls, I was a fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books, and have reread them as an adult, and introduced them to my children.
Pioneer Girl is the (until now), unpublished autobiography Wilder wrote for an adult audience. She took this raw material and turned it into the children’s series so many of us are familiar with. Her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, also used her mother’s life experiences as inspiration for her works of fiction.
Especially in recent years, there have been many questions as to the true authorship of the Little House series–was it actually Laura, or did her daughter Rose write most of it? The editor Pamela Smith Hill, addresses these questions, and gives much background information about the Wilder family, explaining how Wilder and Lane’s personal and professional lives coexisted and intertwined.
When I picked up my copy of Pioneer Girl at the library, I was shocked at the size and weight of it. It’s a huge book, and is absolutely packed with information, photos and drawings. The Little House books exclude years of the actual Wilder family’s lives, and this book fills in those gaps.
I’ve always really liked Garth Williams’ illustrations, but many of Helen Sewell’s 1935 illustrations are included in Pioneer Girl, and I found them charming as well. (They remind of me Lois Lenski’s illustrations from about the same time period). I think the cover is beautiful too–I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by the cover, but I’m a sucker for a gorgeous book.
I love history, and besides having an interest in Laura Ingalls Wilder, Pioneer Girl gives a snapshot of how settlers lived as they were establishing our country. The author also offers a free college course on the work and writing of Laura Ingalls Wilder. You can sign up for it here. (I’ve signed up!)The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up–this was a fantastic book, and although I haven’t implemented all of the principles Kondo discusses, the things I have done have been wonderful. Basically, she divides all possessions into several categories, and has an order to sort through them in. You go through every item and decide, does it bring me joy? Yes=keep, no=discard.
It made me realize that I needed to do something about the rag drawer in my kitchen. I always thought it was thrifty and frugal to reuse old socks, undershirts, towels, ect for rags. After reading Kondo’s book, I realized opening this drawer does not bring me joy, it grosses me out. Plus, I could easily fit 5 microfiber clothes into my kitchen towel drawer, and completely empty this rag drawer.
The thing standing in my way is my deep, dark fear of trash. I called my local Goodwill, and they confirmed that they accept clean, dry clothes for fabric recycling, so from now on, that is what I will do with the never ending parade of holey boy socks that our house generates.
It’s a really small thing, but what if everything in your house brought you joy? I didn’t realize how small things like sock rags were an irritation and stressor, until I wanted to get rid of them. I realize we all have to own necessary things like toilet plungers, that may not fill us with joy, but if our environment was 80% objects that brought us joy, think how calming and relaxing that would be. (Plus, my rag drawers was a horrible waste of storage space).
Kondo also recommends folding shirts into rectangles that fit into your drawers, and stacking them on end, rather than horizontally. I refolded my husband’s tee shirt drawer this way, and it makes the shirts so much easier to see and access. I also folded some of them back side up, if there was printing on the back, but not on the front, so that the pattern/print could be more easily identified while being folded and arranged in this way. Photos or diagrams would have been so helpful in the clothing section of the book, but I did manage to figure out what she was describing.
I also marked another Outlander book off the list. Dragonfly in Amber was much less graphic than Outlander, which I appreciated. As always, the storytelling is wonderful. I’m pretty concerned with the ending of the book, but since I know there are many more books in the series, I’m going with the assumption it will work out all right. (?????)I started and finished Unbroken in a day, I just couldn’t put it down. An amazing and beautiful story of the human spirit. Obviously, with any book about war, there were things that were very difficult to read, but so worth it.
Linking up with Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy–head over there for more great book recommendations!