Monday, July 16, 2012

Well, this is quite the book.  Let me begin with a few confessions of my own.  I have never read the "Little House" books, nor was I a fan of the show.  Top that with the fact that I seldom read celeb autobiographies.  But. considering that Alison Arngrim, Nellie, will be at Pinecrest Historical Village on August 11, and we are vending books for her, I figured I better get up to speed quickly.

This book is good.  The title refers to the character she played on the TV series, but could easily be applied to her personal life, which was,  well...a bitch.  That seems to be the case with a lot of stars, and they tell their tales in such angst laden prose that the book pages themselves feel weighed down with sorrow.

Arngrim's book is different.  No kid should have to endure what she did, but her style is so fresh and friendly that we just know she is OK despite it all.  At least that's what I want to think.  "Little House" was her escape and, apparently, her salvation.  While many other stars would be moaning about being forever associated with a particular character, Arngrim is forever grateful for growing up in the nurturing, but demanding world on the prairie. 

You know what?  Before August 11th, I plan to read at least one Wilder book, and watch a couple episodes of the show.  After reading Alison's book (yup, I plan to be on a first name basis with her by the time we meet up for dinner the night before her event)  I decided that I will give her a copy of The Family Fang. That book kept coming to mind as she related family stories. 

I also started At Home by Bill Bryson.  In this book, he roams from room to room in his old, Victorian house and relates the history of various objects in each room.  Sounds boring, but it is anything but.  For example, I bet you didn't know early sellers of flour and other baking goods often used fillers such a plaster of Paris to stretch their commodities.  Tea leaves were mixed with dirt, and early loos were situated such that people could gather around and talk, or play board games while an individual was "occupied."  Such fun.  As Bryson is know to do, he takes many, many sidetrips sharing history along the way.  The bathroom provides the occasion for the history of hygiene,the bedroom for an account of sex, death and sleep, the kitchen for a discussion of nutrition and the spice trade showing how each has figured in the evolution of private life. 

I'm not a history reader.  In fact, century numbers continue to give me trouble.  Is this the 20th or the 21st?  But if Billy Bryson had been my history professor, I might have declared myself a history major and had a very useful life spending my days looking over my shoulder.

Thanks for stopping.

Acousticfest this Saturday...11-9...Washington Park.  Music...Friends...Fun...Food