By Trix Wilkins

It will be Day 4 of the Summer Conversations, and I remain much obliged for the lovely conversation with Orchard House staff in lieu of being there! Thank you for the wonderful reading tips, and I hope to dig into some of these titles soon 🙂

Orchard House reading list PIC
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Your reading list this summer – any Little Women related titles on it, and if so what?

There are indeed Little Women-related titles on the list! What is funny is that even the titles that are not so directly linked to Little Women are connected to folks here at Orchard House. A co-worker wrote a piece about Purity which made it sound so good that now I’d like to read it. Another co-worker recommended Call Me Zelda, and A Lowcountry Wedding was given to me by a yet another co-worker!

The others are more directly linked to the Alcotts. Sandy Petrulionis and Jeff Cramer will be presenting at the Summer Conversational Series, and Thoreau was a close friend of the Alcotts. Great Short Stories By American Women is a book we carry here in the Museum Store at Orchard House. It includes Transcendental Wild Oats by Louisa May Alcott as well as The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (another story recently recommended to me by a co-worker).

I always love reading Little Women, and particularly with a new film adaptation of this novel in the works, I’m excited to re-visit this classic! It promises to be a great summer!

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women List PIC

The timeless tale of four sisters – Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth – in Civil War New England. Though the Marches may be poor, their lives are rich with love and color as they play games, make friends, grapple with vices, learn from mistakes, nurse each other through sickness and disappointments, and get into all sorts of adventures…

Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott

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Rose Campbell returns home after two years of traveling around the world, and finds rather suddenly that she is surrounded by admirers. Bewildered by the tendency of men to quickly admire and court a beautiful woman with money, she discovers the worth of character that beautifies beyond the surface and the immediate, and that love can grow inexplicably out of deep respect.

Louisa May Alcott’s Civil War with an introduction by Jan Turnquist

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For the first time, Louisa May Alcott’s Civil War stories are published in a single collection. During the war she worked with home front relief organizations, served as an Army nurse, and wrote stories for popular journals such as Commonwealth and Atlantic Monthly. Features an introduction by Jan Turnquist, Director of the Orchard House.

March by Geraldine Brooks

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This novel tells the story of John March, the father away from his family in Little Women. An abolitionist and idealistic chaplain on the front lines of the Civil War, his faith in himself and the Union is tested when he learns that his side, too, is capable of barbarism and racism. As he recovers from illness, he must reassemble his shattered mind and body, and find a way to reconnect with his wife and daughters.

Thoreau in His Own Time edited by Sandra Harbert Petrulionis

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Petrulionis untangles Thoreau’s multiple identities by offering a wide range of nineteenth-century commentary as the opinions of those who knew him evolved over time. It was those who knew him personally who most prized Thoreau’s message, but even those who disparaged him respected his unabashed example of an unconventional life.

The Portable Thoreau edited by Jeffrey S. Cramer

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An updated edition of Thoreau’s most widely read works. Heedless of his friends’ advice, Thoreau determinedly pursued his own inner bent-that of a poet-philosopher-in prose and verse. This collection is for all interested in discovering Thoreau’s influential ideas about everything from environmentalism to limited government.

Great Short Stories By American Women edited by Candace Ward

US women stories PIC

Collection of 13 stories includes “Life in the Iron Mills” by Rebecca Harding Davis, “Transcendental Wild Oats” by Louisa May Alcott, Zora Neale Hurston’s “Sweat,” plus superb fiction by Kate Chopin, Willa Cather, Edith Wharton, many others.

One I’m adding to the list!

Justice calling PIC

In honor of the theme of Summer Conversations The Quest for Social Justice, I’m hoping to read The Justice Calling: where passion meets perseverance. Intrigued Lynne Hybels’ description: “As one seeking to live justly in places of deep brokenness and violent conflict, I am grateful for the thread that stitches this book together: the possibility and promise of persevering hope.”

P.S. A book for your thoughts…

Just a reminder there are two days to go for the Courtship of Jo March giveaway! Author Susan Bailey hopes to shed light on Elizabeth March’s long neglected story – and she’d love your help. Simply post your answers to one or more of the following questions, and you’ve just contributed to the making of a biography.

What would you most like to know about Elizabeth and why?

What do you know already about her?

Who is your favorite March sister is and why? (If Beth is not your favorite, why?)

Do you think Beth is a relevant character for modern readers and why or why not? What would make her more “real” to you?

Entries close on the last day of the Louisa May Alcott Summer Conversations Series, Noble Companions and Immortal Labors: The Alcotts, Thoreaus, and the Quest for Social Justice, July 20, 2017.

The Courtship of Jo March
Photograph courtesy of Greg Bridges

Trix Wilkins is the author of The Courtship of Jo March: a variation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, for all who have ever wondered how things might have worked out differently for the beloved March sisters. Available in paperback and an eBook package from $4.95. Other formats available from Kobo, Scribd, Apple, and Angus & Robertson. Sample chapters free to download here.

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