LMA Reading Challenge 2019 Wrap Up

To say that June did not end how I hoped and planned for it to here on Reviews From the Stacks would be an understatement. I will make a wrap-up post for the entire month soon, but today I am wrapping up the Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge 2019.

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The Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge is hosted annually at In The Bookcase. To participate, just make a list of LMA-related books you want to read at the beginning of June, and tackle it throughout the month! You can make posts along the way as often as you would like, and link them up at the challenge headquarters.

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My Reading Challenge List

  1. Good Wives – physical copy, abridged
  2. We Alcotts by Aileen Fisher – physical copy
  3. Aunt Jo’s Scrap Bag – ebook short story collection
  4. Rose in Bloom – ebook novella
  5. Flower Fables – ebook short story collection
  6. Super Goal: finish rereading Little Women – physical copy

See my announcement/sign-up post for more on each of these works and my plans for the challenge.

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Challenge Wrap Up

Completed works:

  1. Flower Fables
  2. Rose in Bloom

Other works partially read:

  1. Aunt Jo’s Scrap Bag
  2. Little Women (reread)

Needless to say, there is a significant difference in the list that I set out to complete and the list of what I actually read. However, I refuse to be too disappointed. I know I say it fairly often, but this month was kind of crazy and full of adjustments. There are always things going on outside of work, and this month some of those things had sudden deadlines which prevented me from spending as much time reading and blogging as I would have liked. Anyways, isn’t that the point of a challenge: to push yourself to do something which is not easy and may or may not be attainable? This month, reading even five LMA books was more than I could achieve. I still had fun reading what I could, and I appreciate the extra push to keep reading even when life got busy.

Neither Flower Fables nor Rose in Bloom ended up being exactly what I expected, but I adored both of them in turn. Flower Fables is an adorable collection of fairy tales – literally, short moral stories told by fairies. Reading this as an adult was surprisingly fun, especially as I am someone who does not enjoy reading fantasy. On the one hand, everything was overly simplistic and childish, but on the other, the characters and stories are intensely innocent and pure. It provided a balm to the effects of postmodern (or post-postmodern?) society. Rose in Bloom, on the other hand, drew me in with Alcott’s undeniably beautiful writing. I had plenty of criticisms for the story in its first section, and a few of these lingered through the length of the book, but overall I was enchanted by Alcott’s ability to make even the most mundane events beautiful. In this sequel to Eight Cousins, Rose is still a selfless and sweet girl, though now in her twenties and ready to make a living and find a husband. There was a lot in this book that I simply could not relate to, such as Rose’s status as an heiress, her unique relationship with her cousins, and her odd yet satisfactory responses to her suitors professing their love. She truly does her best to do what is best for everyone else, but from time to time this can seem a bit shallow. She rarely acts on her own emotions, which makes some of her actions feel a bit fake to me. In the end, however, I could not help being drawn in by her dedication to her family and friends and became as invested in her choices as if they were being made by a close friend. If I had read these books when I was younger, perhaps Flower Fables in elementary school and Rose in Bloom as a young teen, I think I would have enjoyed them more. As it is I did enjoy them, just not to the full extent possible.

I am so happy that I stumbled upon this reading challenge, and look forward to participating again next year! I may not have achieved all that I wanted this time around, but I am content with my participation. I loved hearing others’ thoughts on Alcott’s works and seeing some readers discover my favorites for the first time. In the near future, I hope to keep We Alcotts at the top of my TBR list. I am going to DNF Aunt Jo’s Scrap Bag for the moment though. Perhaps I will pick it back up again next year.

Until the next chapter,

Jana

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