Monday, March 12, 2007

Switching Reading Gears

I had to take a break from The Ghost in the Little House and I figured what better way to do that than to curl up with my favorite Laura Ingalls Wilder title, The Long Winter. I'm already over halfway through it.

Wilder has a keen eye for detail, talking about the sounds of the raging blizzards and the frost on the nails in the roof of the store in town where they lived during that terrible winter. She paints an interesting picture of her future husband in this book too. Almanzo and Royal Wilder have a feed store in town and they are baching together. Almanzo, while only nineteen years old according to the book, is already on his way to being a smart farmer, having hauled his seed wheat all the way from home with him so that he can start off his future farm right.

I already know that Almanzo, along with Cap Garland will be the future heroes in this book, but I also know that I have to keep turning the pages. No matter how many times I read this book, I want to read it again as soon as it's over.


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Blogger Sadie said...

I've always enjoyed Long Winter, although it always leaves me with a sense of sadness. I know after that winter that Carrie will never be the same. Whatever illness she had was made worse by the winter of little food...and she carries it through the next books. Carrie always seemed so sweet and eager...I just loved her.

Out of all the books my favorite is probably Little Town. It's so jovial and happy. The relationship with Almanzo is begun in a wonderfully slow pace. The whirl of gaiety. Then again, I also love Happy Golden Years...even though I always cry when she leaves home. Every time...*LOL* It always saddens me that she has to 'haste to the wedding'...because I feel like her enjoyment of that short time left with her family is so abruptly cut off.

But you're right about the descriptions in Long Winter. When they are huddled around the fireplace for warmth. Stretching the sour dough until the last possible second. And Almanzo and Royal being reintroduced...Almanzo's ingenuity to bring ahead his wheat are always great. I also love their determination to get home with the wheat immediately instead of waiting out the next blizzard they KNOW is coming. Their dash for the town as the blizzard catches up with them...on the edge of my seat every time :)

LIW is wonderfully descriptive and captivates you with the people involved. All of her books are good reads...but I lvoe the later ones as she becomes a young intrigues me to watch her move from a young girl into a woman that wants to help care for her family.

1:20 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

Just last night I read a passage where Laura talks about Carrie's appearance. It does make you feel for her.

As I read through this book I can't imagine what it would be like to live that way. I have a problem if the electricity is out for 8 hours, never mind living in the conditions the pioneers did. The constant hard work during that long winter also sticks out to me. Pa hauling hay; Laura, Pa, and sometimes Mary and Ma twisting hay for fuel after the coal runs out; the continual grinding of the brown wheat for bread; and Ma having to find new ways to cook and create lighting.

I stayed up until 1:30 reading last night (bad me) and I am at the point where Almanzo and Cap are making their way back after buying the wheat, seeing the dark clouds blocking out the stars one by one.

I too love watching Laura mature. I might pick up reading the next one if I have the time, but there never seems to be enough time lately. I'm sure you know exactly what I'm talking about.

8:56 AM  
Blogger Sherry (aka) Gwanny said...


Just wanted you to know that I read your blog almost every time you make a new post. I am reading the books through you. You do an excellent job of keeping me turning the virtual pages of the Wilder books. Thanx for the great read.


9:40 AM  
Blogger Sadie said...

Yes, the twisting of the hay that tore up her hands so bad that the theme continues in the next book when Nellie re-enters her life. How Nellie's "lady-like" hands are so smooth and soft...and Laura's still carry the rough nature of hard work, and the callouses of wrapping hay.

I love how she struggles with wanting to be a lady, but hating to be lazy...and hating corsets ;)

I remember reading somewhere (It may have been in "Laura" or elsewhere) how food is such a resounding staple in her books...and how the absence, or abundance, of food is indicative of how well the family is faring. Like in long winter the absolute absence, how they treasure the last drop of the last bean soup they will have until the storms stop...and then into Golden Years when they have the abundant Christmas with "too many" bags of candy, and the cotton balls, and even oranges from Almanzo when he arrives. It is an interesting point, and very true...the Ingalls wealth, or lack thereof, is always introduced in the food. Even in the early books (the sugaring off at her grandparents in the "Big Woods" and her jealousy of the lemonade, etc at Nellie's party...). It makes you read all of those passages with the description of the meals differently.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

Thanks for checking this place out Gwanny. I'm glad you've enjoyed my litle ramblings. It is easy to talk about these books because I love them so much.


11:02 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

I remember that comment about the food too Sadie, but I don't recall which book it was either.

I think Laura made her character in the books very believeable. She does not try to make herself out to be perfectly good like her sister Mary; she lets the reader experience who she was, faults and all.

And while I know you didn't like Landon's TV version of her books, I can say that I felt one thing they did very well was portray the relationship between Laura and Nellie accurately.

11:10 AM  

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