I love reading challenges. If you have any doubt about that, just click on the “2019 Challenge Headquarters” link at the top of this page. I’m already working on several personal challenges this year, and for the month of June I am adding another!
The Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge 2019 is hosted by the blog In the Bookcase. This is the second challenge I have participated in that is hosted here, the other being last year’s A Literary Christmas reading challenge. This one is a pretty simple challenge: make a list of books by or about Louisa May Alcott that you want to read (or re-read), and post about it! A post announcing your reading list for the challenge and a wrap-up post at the end are the only requirements, but other posts throughout the month on the subject are encouraged and may be linked up on the hosts site, too. The sign up page/homepage for the challenge is here. I love the flexibility to make my own list for this challenge. If you’ve read my last few posts, you know that I’m in a bit of a busy period where it is difficult to get through much, so setting my own list allows me to choose however many books I think I can finish in the time given. Also, she wrote so much, and I look forward to reading post by other bloggers who participate and use an entirely different set of books! Since I have already read several of Alcott’s novels, I appreciate being able to use some lesser known works, and not having to stick with the popular ones that I have already read.
Louisa May Alcott has been one of my favorite authors since middle school. My grandmother gave my mom a box full of her novels, and I devoured them. We have very early editions of most of them, including a few first editions, and there is something very special about reading a book from the late 1800s. Initially, though, they were special just because they came from my grandma’s library, which in my mind at the time could have been magical and nearly was sacred; a tiny cathedral of knowledge, entertainment, history, and familial heritage, tucked away in a stuffy corner upstairs. When I began to read and truly enjoy the books, I felt a new connection develop with my mom, grandma, and any other relatives who had read these books before me and enjoyed them as well as I.
That said, I own two Alcott-related books which I have not read: an abridged version of Good Wives, and a work titled We Alcotts. We Alcotts is written by Aileen Fisher, and tells the story of the Alcott family through the voice of the mother from Little Women. I’ve heard it called “narrative nonfiction,” so I am not entirely sure what to expect when I get around to reading it!
I also discovered recently that a lot of Alcott’s works are available for free in the Kindle store! I’ll admit reading on a Kindle does not have nearly the experience that a physical copy of the first edition does, but it is still the whole story and that is really all that matters. So if you’ve ever considered reading Alcott’s work but aren’t quite sure about it, and you have a Kindle, then this would be a great way to start! You could also see what works your local library has (yes, I will shamelessly plug the public library every chance I get).
My Official Reading List for the 2019 Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge:
- Good Wives – physical copy, abridged
- We Alcotts by Aileen Fisher – physical copy – This is a rather long book, and since my copy is old it will not leave my house, so I probably will not finish this, but I’ll at least read part of it.
- Aunt Jo’s Scrap Bag – ebook short story – I’m not entirely sure whether this is a single short story or a short story collection. Either way, I’m reading it!
- Rose in Bloom – ebook short story/novella? – This is supposed to be a sequel to Eight Cousins, which I read years ago and only remember pieces of. Hopefully, it’s enough to get me through this story, but if not, I guess I’ll just have to reread Eight Cousins!
- Flower Fables – ebook short story collection
- Super Goal: finish rereading Little Women – physical copy
I can’t wait for June, and the official start of this reading challenge! If you have any interest in Alcott or similar classics, I hope you’ll join us!
Also, one last plug for the public library. The one I work at started sign-ups for the annual Summer Reading program last week, and we have things going on for all ages all summer long! There will be craft programs, fandom-themed programs, local art showings, animal programs, and more! Every library is different, but I highly recommend every book lover head to their local library soon to see what they will be doing this summer! Chances are, there will be something fun for you or at least for someone you know. Stop in to pick up an events calendar, browse the collection, breathe in the smell of old[er] books, maybe even say hi to your librarian and have an actual conversation with them. I promise, none (that I know of) will bite (unless you do first). Libraries do so much to support the community, from encouraging early literacy and providing opportunities for children to practice young social skills, to research assistance, tutoring, free computer use, and more! In turn, they need to be supported by the community as well, so that they can see what the specific community needs and wants.
Until the next chapter,