In the Bookcase

6/30/2021

Closing out the 2021 Louisa May Alcott reading challenge

Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge


Readers and fellow challenge-participants,

The time has come to close down the 2021 Louisa May Alcott reading challenge. We're done!


Did you read everything on your Alcott challenge list?

The first thing I crossed off my Alcott booklist was something quick, a children's book actually: Amy's Story <-- check out my review... This little gem branches right off from Little Women itself, like a little bonus story about our favorite 4 sisters. Next, I dived into Louisa and the Country Bachelor, a intriguing murder mystery that Louisa May Alcott solves (it's all fictional, of course), but I found the characters of the Alcott family to be very true to life. I finished my booklist off with a treat from the grand American authoress herself, volume #3 of Aunt's Jo's Scrap-bag, called Cupid and Chow Chow, a delightful symphony of short stories geared towards children.

For me, that was a blissful month of reading!






What did you read this month?


THANK YOU to EVERYONE who participated in the reading challenge. I appreciate you all for making this a fun and spectacular reading month. By the way, if you haven't finished your posts or reviews about the LMA books you got to read this month, that's okay — the link-up widget will still be open a few more days for any last words on the subject that you might have to share.


Now in closing, I'll give you all some words of wisdom, from our literary friend...


"Human minds are more full of mysteries than any written book and more changeable than the cloud shapes in the air."
- Louisa May Alcott


See you next June! Or, perhaps in November & December... I'll be hosting the annual Literary Christmas reading challenge!


Signing off from the LMA challenge for this year,








If you'd like to learn more about the Louisa May Alcott reading challenge, visit this link to start at the beginning.





6/29/2021

Book Review: Chow Chow and Cupid

Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge


Cupid and Chow Chow by Louisa May Alcott (4 star review)


Cupid and Chow Chow
Aunt Jo's Scrap Bag #3
by Louisa May Alcott

209 pages // published in 1873 // collection of children's stories




BOOK DESCRIPTION

First published in 1896, this book contains volume III of "Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag", a six-volume collection of classic children's stories by American author Louisa May Alcott (1832 - 1888). Alcott was an American short story writer, novelist, and poet most famous for writing the novel "Little Women", as well as its sequels "Little Men" and "Jo's Boys". She grew up in New England and became associated with numerous notable intellectuals of her time, including Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Henry David Thoreau. This charming collection is perfect for young children and would make for ideal bedtime reading material.




My Review


4 Star Rating


A fine collection of short stories penned by Louisa May Alcott.

Cupid and Chow-Chow: A kind-hearted boy and a naughty little girl. To be, or not to be? "Chow-chow was very quick at spying out the weaknesses of her friends and alarmingly frank in proclaiming her discoveries."

Huckleberry: Our protagonist herein befriends a stray dog and "named him Huckleberry on the spot." It's a cute, heartwarming story. But beware that the last couple of pages may rip your heart, as they did mine.

Nelly's Hospital: A beautiful story of the kindness of one girl for the injured and broken.

Grandma's Team: How a grandma never misses a church service in twenty years, thanks to her family's efforts.

Fairy Pinafores: Easily one of my top favorites of this collection. A Cinderella-inspired story, wherein our beloved Fairy Godmother is in need of a new task, now that Cinderella's fate is taken care of. Such a charming story!!

Mamma's Plot: A quaint story of how to work-around the strict rules at the girls' school. Mamma knows how to make her Kitty feel better.

Kate's Choice: Beautiful!! This is one I think we should all read every once in a while and remember to spend time with our loved ones while we can. As it states, "joy seldom kills"; in fact it's quite the opposite. We should all make Kate's choice.

The Moss People: Another little fairy tale-esque story. With a fun, quirky, and imaginative plot, I'm sure many young readers will enjoy this one too. I loved the name of 'Marnie' for our little heroine.

What Fanny Heard: In a similar to The Moss People, only this time it's the flowers that come to life and speak our heroine in this story. Lovely.

A Marine Merry-making: Very reminiscent of a particular chapter of 'Alice in Wonderland' wherein an undersea quadrille takes place. This one is a fabulous plot with a comical romance at the heart of it.


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6/25/2021

Book Review: Louisa and the Country Bachelor

Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge


Louisa and the Country Bachelor by Anna Maclean (5 star review)


Louisa and the Country Bachelor
Louisa May Alcott Mystery #2
by Anna Maclean

282 pages // published in 2005 // historical mystery




BOOK DESCRIPTION

Gentle Reader,

In 1855, even though I was still the unknown "Louy" Alcott, I had started to reap some of the rewards of my labors. Under a pen name, I had sold a couple of my "blood and thunder" romance stories and a collection of children's fables, but Little Women was just the germ of an idea. I wish I could have said that much for murder ...

After a bleak winter in Boston investigating the murder of a close friend, I was badly in need of wholesome air and sunshine. To that end, my family --- mother Abba, father Bronson, and my sisters, Lizzie, May, and Anna, and I --- visited our cousins in Walpole, New Hampshire. But as soon as we arrived in the peaceful hamlet, we were confronted with tragedy: the death of Ernst Nooteboom, who purportedly fell into a ravine while hiking.

While his sister pointed her finger at the grocery store owner who coveted Ernst's land, I found no lack of other suspects with sinister motives. Despairing of the death of such a young man, I resolved to bring Ernst's murderer to justice.

Louisa May Alcott




My Review


5 Star Rating


A wonderful imagining to think about... What if Louisa May Alcott (destined to become a famed American authoress) solved crimes in her youth?! Yes, she would have had the aptitude for it, I must say.

I loved how the character of Louisa and her family are portrayed in this book. I feel like their family values and beliefs are clearly shown to the world. Louisa was definitely a runner, and I like how Anna Maclean has incorporated that into the story too. Louisa even has a running outfit, so that she doesn't have to be encumbered by layers of skirts. I also enjoyed hearing Louisa's thoughts as she formed ideas for her next stories. This created a well-rounded atmosphere for the plot, and adequately shows her writerly tendencies.

There is a quite a cast of characters in this book, one that rivals a good Agatha Christie whodunit, from the rich neighbors next door, to the poor immigrants in town, and Mr. Tupper who owns the general store. The characters are all rather intriguing, but my favorites are definitely Louisa and her sisters and parents. And Llew, who is a perfect substitute for fans of Little Women's Laurie.

Personally, I enjoyed this book much better than the first book in the series. I'm so glad I pressed on to try the sequel! A lovely mystery.

Recommended for: Adults
Suitable for: Ages 13 & up


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6/07/2021

Book Review: Amy's Story

Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge


Amy's Story by Susan Beth Pfeffer (5 star review)


Amy's Story
Portraits of Little Women series
by Susan Beth Pfeffer

212 pages // published in 1997 // historical fiction




BOOK DESCRIPTION

Beautiful Amy March, the youngest March sister, is a talented artist. Everyone praises her lifelike portraits. The one person she can’t draw is herself. So when a photographer’s studio opens in town, Amy is thrilled. Now her pretty blond curls and piercing blue eyes can be captured forever in a photograph. Except that a photograph costs quite a bit of money–more than she has, and more than her parents can give her. Amy thinks of a clever way to come up with the money . . . and soon she has enough. But she decides to spend her savings on a gift for her father–a gift that will warm his heart when he’s far away from home, and that ultimately gives Amy an unexpected gift in return.




My Review


5 Star Rating


A wonderful little story, inviting young readers into the Civil War-era world of Little Women. This story focuses on Amy, the artistic sister, soon to be eleven. She enjoys sketching whenever she can. The idea of having a photographer come to town is very exciting to her, and she aims to somehow obtain the necessary $5 needed to have her very important photograph taken. Things don't always go to plan though...

In this story, you'll meet all four of the March sisters, their parents, and even crabby Aunt March. The dialogue doesn't shy away from important discussions about the oncoming war, but describes it very well for young kids to grasp. All of the sisters want to contribute towards the war effort for their family.

A charming little story.


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6/01/2021

Tarissa's Louisa May Alcott reading challenge BOOKLIST!

Would you like to enjoy Miss Alcott's writings with me this June?


Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge
{Click here for the button code.}


Sign up HERE, if you haven't yet -- and that's where you find all the details of the challenge too.


“Human minds are more full of mysteries than any written book and more changeable than the cloud shapes in the air.”

- Louisa May Alcott


Not sure what to read for the challenge?
Check out my [List of published titles by Louisa May Alcott] for some literary inspiration this June.



// My own bookstack for the challenge... //

(click through my affiliate links to buy your own copies, if you're interested in these titles too. thanks!)



Something written by Miss Alcott's own hand...

Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag, Vol. III
(by L.M. Alcott, 1873)





A Little Women-inspired story for young readers...

Amy's Story
(by Susan Beth Pfeffer, 1997)





An Alcott-inspired mystery for adult readers...

Louisa and the Country Bachelor
(by Anna Maclean, 2005)






// Join the challenge... //

Click HERE to read all the details about the challenge.

After you come up with your booklist for the challenge, write up a post (on your blog, or your favorite social media, or comment below)... and add your link on the linky tool below.

All throughout June, submit your Louisa May Alcott blog or social media posts on the linky below. ANY and ALL of your posts about Miss Alcott are welcome.

If you decide to share a favorite quote, a book review, or any other thoughts... link up and take a look at some of the other participants' posts.

Thank you for joining us!





I'm simply delighted to be spending my summer sifting through the writings of Louisa May Alcott. And I can't wait to see which books you're going to read for the challenge as well! Get your sign-up posts online NOW, link-up, and dive into those wonderful books you've chosen!


Tarissa


5/30/2021

Louisa May Alcott READING CHALLENGE 2021 Sign-ups!

Welcome to the 2021 edition of the Louisa May Alcott reading challenge!
Hosted by the blog In the Bookcase, yours truly.

Have you ever sampled a good story from the charming Miss Alcott?

Is it time for you to finally read (or re-read) Little Women & the sequels?

Would you like to enjoy Miss Alcott's writings with me this June?


Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge


// Who she is... //
Vintage hardbacks by Louisa May Alcott
Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888) is an American authoress who inspires me. During her lifetime in the 19th century, she penned pages upon pages, delighting young girls and womenfolk, both then and now. Aside from being a writer, she briefly spent time nursing on the battlefield, and otherwise throughout her life supporting reform movements such as women's education, women's suffrage, abolitionism, and temperance.

Alcott wrote over a dozen novels, alongside many short-story collections. Little Women is arguably the title of her most famous work, the story of 4 charming girls --- Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March --- growing up during hardships of the Civil War. Most readers can relate a close kinship to at least one of these blossoming characters --- through their pleasures, adventures, suitors, and life in general.

I cherish Miss Alcott's writings --- and although I've enjoyed a few books of hers throughout the last few years (of hosting this challenge!)... I still have much to discover about this hardy woman, her life, and her family. So I'm endeavoring this June to pick out a couple of good books written by or about this favorite lady-author of mine, and glean from the shining pages.

The challenge is now open and lasts through the whole month. You might like to take a moment to peruse (blogger/author) Susan Bailey's articles at Louisa May Alcott Is My Passion, where I have discovered many recommendations on suitable book titles. Also visit (another blogger/author) Trix Wilkins and her amazing articles about Miss Alcott's best-loved novel at Much Ado About Little Women.


Won't you join me in a good book?


LMA quote


// About this challenge... //


How to take part in the June reading challenge:

  • RIGHT NOW: Compile your list of Louisa May Alcott books that you would like to read, finish reading, or maybe re-read during June. Even books about L.M.A. (and the Alcott family) are welcome---biographies, fictionalized accounts of her life, etc. Your goal could be 1 book, 5 books, or short stories. To supply more options, you may decide to download audio book or e-books.


  • Write a blog post, or social media post explaining all about the books you want to read for this challenge. Goodreads, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, (etc.) posts are welcome, if that's you're preferred method. Grab the challenge button and include it in your post if possible, so that others can find the challenge too.

    * For those without blogs/social media: Tell us what you're reading in the COMMENTS SECTION below! This challenge is open to EVERYONE, and I hope any Alcott fans out there will find a way to participate.


  • Link up below! Every time you share an update or, say, a book review, add it to our ongoing linky. I'll be stopping by to see your progress! The linky is the main headquarters of this reading challenge, so that the other participants can follow everyone's progress just by taking a look at the list of all the posts.


  • Starting June 1st: Reading the books on your list! The challenge starts now and goes through June 30th. (You may begin reading at any point within this timeline.)


  • Browse through the other participants' blog posts, to see what everyone else is reading, and be sure to leave comments when you can. The only thing better than enjoying a good book, is enjoying it with like-minded friends!


  • Finally, when you have reached your goal, or by the time the challenge is ending:
    Tell us about what you accomplished over the course of the challenge. Include any closing thoughts, or what you think of Louisa May Alcott now that you've read more of her works, etc. I'll be very pleased to hear about what you think at the end of this challenge!




  • Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge
    {Click here for the button code.}


    Not sure what to read for the challenge?
    Check out my [List of published titles by Louisa May Alcott] for some literary inspiration this June.

    Vintage books by American authoress, Louisa May Alcott


    // Calendar of events... //

    May 30th ::: Sign-ups open. Tell everyone your reading plans for the challenge!

    June 1st ::: Start date. Get to reading!

    [all dates in between] ::: Read, review/talk about a book online if you like, repeat.

    June 30th ::: End date. Final overview and link-up!





    // Join the challenge... //

    After you come up with your booklist for the challenge, write up a post (on your blog, or your favorite social media, or comment below)... and add your link on the linky tool below.

    Submit your Louisa May Alcott blog or social media posts on the linky below. ANY and ALL of your posts about Miss Alcott are welcome.

    If you decide to share a favorite quote, a book review, or any other thoughts... link up and take a look at some of the other participants' posts.

    Thank you for joining us!




    I'm simply delighted to be spending my summer sifting through the writings of Louisa May Alcott. And I can't wait to see which books you're going to read for the challenge as well! Get your sign-up posts online NOW and link-up.