A Grown Woman’s Tribute to Little House on the Prairie

By Jennifer Albers-Smith

If any of you happened to use Google on February 10, you would have seen the customized home page for Laura Ingalls Wilder’s birthday. Dead for 58 years, her name is still synonymous with Westward Expansion and the nineteenth century prairie. All these years later, her literature continues to have a life of its own. After all, few go through childhood without reading Little House on the Prairie.

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I loved the Little House books as a child (and now as an adult) and read them all several times. Her writing took me to another time and place, a place that I found fascinating, especially during a time when the game Oregon Trail was immensely popular on floppy disk.  And don’t forget the Little House TV series! When my parents and I traveled West on a two-week vacation, we stopped along the way at some of the places the Ingalls family stopped; we even saw the giant wagon ruts in Wyoming.

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True Confessions of a Jane Austen Fan Girl

By Jennifer Albers-Smith

From the moment I read Pride and Prejudice in high school, I was hooked. I love Jane Austen’s novels, particularly Pride and Prejudice, with Sense and Sensibility coming in a distant second. I have read P&P over 10 times, watched multiple mini-series and movie adaptations, joined the Jane Austen Society of North America, and, still, I just can’t get enough.

Recently, I went to a library book sale in my hometown, and was browsing the adult fiction section. My sister happened across two books that had “Mr. Darcy” as part of the title, grabbed them, and handed them over. Of course, I purchased them and read them both the same week. One, Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange, was pretty good – better than most JA fan fiction novels. The other, though, left me completely bereft after reading – Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman by Maria Hamilton. I loved it. The first thing I did after finishing it was look to see if there was a sequel.

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