Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A momentous day in literary history

Today is the birthday of both Charles Dickens (1812) and Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867). Truly a great day for literature, only surpassed by November 29, birthday of Madeline L'Engle, Louisa May Alcott, AND C.S. Lewis.


Dickens is certainly one of my favorite authors. His masterful use of setting and above all his characters have endeared him to me. If I had to, if I were forced to choose favorites among his books I would choose Our Mutual Friend, Bleak House, and A Tale of Two Cities. (If you know who I just paraphrased, virtual chocolate is yours.) There are a few of his books I'm not as keen on: Great Expectations because Estella annoys me more than I can possibly convey online and Oliver Twist just because. But most of his books are familiar friends. His verbosity is intimidating but when you move beyond that you find a word of enchantment open to you.

Laura Ingalls Wilder

My earliest memory of books is bound up with Little House in the Big Woods. I was about four. My father had tried to read Wind in the Willows to me but I was still a bit too young for it. (Unfortunately that early experience has left me cold where Wind in the Willows in concerned. I try to like it, I really do, but somehow it never quite works.) At any rate, he gave up on it and read Little House to me instead. And that I loved. Here was Laura, in some ways so like me (dark haired and little) and her adventures. I couldn't get enough of them. I read them voraciously for years and even after they stopped being my favorite books I would re-read them once in awhile. I haven't recently, partly because they are still boxed up from our move this summer, but I still remember them fondly.

Carrie, Mary and Laura. Not sure of the year.

Source for pictures: Wikipedia

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