September 18, 2017
A whole year gone: Three books to feed your Laura Ingalls Wilder obsession before her sesquicentennial is over
by Susan Rella
If, like me, you were so traumatized by the episode of Little House on the Prairie where Mary went blind that you remembered it every time you got soap in your eyes for the next twenty years, or you hated Nellie Oleson so hard and yet were still jealous of her perfect curls, or you cried for days when Michael “Pa” Landon died, even though Highway to Heaven was not a good show, then this post is for you. Because what if we told you that there’s not one, not two, but three new books of or pertaining to Laura Ingalls Wilder a-comin’?
That’s right. Mosey on over to your local bookstore and hitch your wagon (sorry; can’t stop), because, as Laurie Hertzel reports in the Star-Tribune, before 2017 ends we’ll have this harvest of (literary) friends:
- Pioneer Girl Perspectives (edited by Nancy Tystad Koupal, South Dakota Historical Society Press)— Following up on LIW’s surprise bestselling autobiography (published in 2014), this essay collection rounds up a handful of LIW experts to both give readers a perspective on the world at the time Wilder was writing her books and offer a view in microcosm of her personal and family life.
- The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder (Marta McDowell, Timber Press, on sale 9/20)— This one takes the “world at large” of Wilder’s life and times a step further — McDowell looks in depth at the flora and fauna of the various locations where the Wilder family lived;
- Caroline (Sarah Miller, William Morrow, on sale 9/19)— To give fiction readers something to sink their teeth into, this is a retelling of Little House on the Prairie by Ma Ingalls, which we never knew we absolutely needed oh goodness yes.
So why in the name of Pa’s everloving good head of hair is there so much interest in Wilders in 2017? It turns out 2017 is the author’s 150th birthday. But you all already knew that, because we covered that less than two months ago. And if you can’t remember a story about Half-Pint being cast in one hundred percent cream butter, why are you even here?
Susan Rella is the managing editor at Melville House, and a former bookseller.