Tuesday, May 30, 2017


The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder was another title I picked up while visiting the Rocky Ridge Farm Laura Ingalls Wilder site. I debated whether I should even write this review since I've read and reviewed so many LIW-related titles lately, so I thought I'd make it a sort of "bonus review."

The letters themselves aren't of any particular literary quality or great writing in-and-of themselves. I skipped reading the larger-fonted headlines between a lot of the letters, but I did very much appreciate the editor's transitional sections and background/contextual information.

I found that the value in this book, like in many of the about-LIW books, is the insight it provides into this human being's life. Even if you're not a LIW/Little House fan or a writer, it's interesting to be able to study someone's life so intimately. And when you add what's written about Rose into the mix, you get insight into a mother-daughter relationship carried out in a particular time period. I find that fascinating. There have been few people (if any) who have been written about more than the Ingalls/Wilders, so the information just isn't available about most people.

So...I would recommend this book to all the bonnet-heads, of course, but also anyone interested in psychology and sociology-type topics as well.

Thanks for reading. Now back to your regularly scheduled historical book review blog post.

Friday, May 12, 2017


I purchased Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion after reading Diy MFA by Gabriela Pereira because she suggests reading short stories in your genre. Though the subtitle states the stories are about postwar love and reunion, don't expect all mushy, happy-ending stories. In many cases, the stories are heart breaking and don't involve the typical reunion of separated lovers as you might expect. Sometimes the reunion is with something or someone entirely different. 

The stories in Grand Central take place after World War II. As you might expect, Grand Central Terminal in New York is the setting for at least part of each story. All of the stories are connected as the characters encounter each other unknowingly in their own stories. It took me a few to catch on, but when I did, it was fun to look for the connections, and I just thought it was really cool.

The stories include characters related to WWII in numerous ways, so in that way, the idea of the war affecting real lives and real human beings is enforced. And sometimes the character's mate returning from the war wasn't a happy occasion. Lives went on as the war did, and people were changed,

It's hard to find the words to adequately describe these stories. I was moved by them all. The stories are made more special in that their authors are all women, bringing the female perspective (if imagined) to a war from which mainly male perspectives have been told.

As a writer, I should go back and read the stories again as more of the study tool for which I originally purchased the book, because I got so engrossed as I read them. Obviously they are good stories then and should be studied, right?

Each of the stories can be read within about a half an hour, so for each story individually, on a can't-put-it-down-scale of one for I couldn't even finish it to ten for I was up until the wee morning hours, I give them a nine. For the book as a whole, I give it a seven and three-quarters.

Source: Benjamin, Melanie, et al. (2014). Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion. Berkley Books: New York.