It’s not all that often that I’m willing to gush in public about a book that I am also willing to admit I haven’t read.
But this isn’t really public, right? I mean, it’s only the internet.
The book is The Heroine’s Bookshelf: Life Lessons from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder (accompanying website here), and I love it already. I love it so much that I want everybody here to read it, and then come over for chatter and pie, because nothing complements nostalgic and loving book talk like pie.
This book makes me think of Miss Osborne and her quest to catch up on all of the literary heroines she missed as a girl—Laura Ingalls Wilder and others, surely with more to come—and what a joy it’s been to her and to those around her (note: mostly me), watching her.
It makes me think of my own history with all the classic “girl books” (not to corroborate the infuriating assumption that girls in books have cooties, and might diminish the character of our delicate boys, because come on)—I read most of them during that especially voracious ten-to-thirteen period, and while I’m still a committed bookworm, I think there’s something extra special about the reading we do at that age. Then, I read like I meant it—the characters in the classics became a part of me like no other reading I’ve done. Ironically, I came to Jane slightly later in life—well into my teenage years, and in such a way that I don’t even count her in the same category as my old summer-vacation standbys. But perhaps she’s the beginning of a new category? Perhaps she’s (approximately) where my childhood heroines end (so to speak) and my grown-up heroines begin—Elizabeth Bennet and Co. as ushers into the era of Helene Hanff (as writer and character; sneaky!), Haven Kimmel (same; also this one), Julia Child (ditto), Ruby Lennox, Flora Poste (who might actually be in the wrong category, though I met her as an adult), and so many others. Perhaps they’re the connection to my best inner reader, and I intend to love and venerate them as such, just as I do the Anne Shirleys and the Caddie Woodlawns of my life.
In any case, I’m thrilled about this book, this collection and celebration of so many of the bookish ladies I’ve held dear over the years, and about the friendly discussions it’s sure to bring about. Let the chatter begin. (Also: pie.)Anne Shirley, Caddie Woodlawn, Erin Blakemore, Flora Poste, Haven Kimmel, Helene Hanff, Jane Austen, Julia Child, Laura Ingalls Wilder, pie, Ruby Lennox, The Heroine's Bookshelf on Wednesday, October 20, 2010 · 1 Comment »