The Power of the Written Word

I. Love. Books. Fiction, non-fiction, travel, adventure, sci-fi, food, fitness, and the list goes on… the printed word has always been incredibly important to me. My mother taught me to read before I was four and I never looked back. Never have I been so influenced, so enraptured, so utterly hopelessly completely in love with a book, though, as I am with my “Little House” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I have had this set of books for almost as long as I can remember and I have read them countless times through.

The books, however, had been packed up in a box for far too long — so long, in fact, that I had no idea where this box was. I thought it was in a particular closet but was proven wrong last year when I dug through said closet in search of my beloved books.

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Only the most cherished books on the planet.

It turned out, I discovered a few weeks ago, that my boyfriend had moved this box (and a few others containing most of my books from my childhood) to his parents’ attic in New Hampshire. And now we have finally been reunited. My books are safe and sound in my apartment and I am devouring them for probably the 27th time.

I know that these books are technically fiction loosely based on Laura’s life. In my mind, though, every word written in these books is exactly how things happened, lo, those one hundred plus years ago. I certainly can’t remember conversations I had with my parents when I was five but I know deep down in my heart that Laura could. And did. And she wrote them all down much later in life and published the best books ever written.

When I was a kid my favorite was On the Banks of Plum Creek. The Ingallses lived in a sod-roofed house (hole!) dug out of a hillside; Mary and Laura attended school for the first time in their lives (at ages 9 and 8, respectively); Laura met the evil Nellie Oleson (who reminded me all too much of a group of Mean Girls I grew up with). As an adult I am partial to Farmer Boy, the story of a year in Laura’s future husband Almanzo’s life in upstate — and I do mean UPSTATE — New York. As much as I love the writings of Ruth Reichl, Julia Child, and James Beard, none of them has anything on Laura. The best food porn of all time is contained in Farmer Boy. Read it.

  

If you want to read the whole series but aren’t sure of the order in which the books are meant to be read, I found this handy list in Little House on the Prairie. I was probably just either side of ten when I wrote it:

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Apparently I’ve been a crazy list-maker for even longer than I realized.

And for the love of all that is holy (namely this set of books), PLEASE do not ever. ever. ever. mention that TV series named after one of these books to me. Thank you.

 

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