Laura Ingalls Wilder Archive

“A Big Book for People to Wander Inside”: the Appeal of Writers’ Houses

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I’m fascinated by writers’ homes and museums, regularly drawn to them, though visiting them I often feel restless, as if something is missing. After all, what do buildings full of photos and objects, dioramas and paintings and film clips and clothing, have to do with great writers or favorite

Looking for Anne of Green Gables in Prince Edward Island

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In June of 2008, I took an “Anne-tastic” tour, as one website put it, of Prince Edward Island, home of Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables. This summer, on another June day, I head back to PEI.

Review: LITTLE: NOVELS by Emily Anderson

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Little: Novels Emily Anderson BlazeVOX, August 2015 158 pp; $20 Buy: paperback The vogue for erasure poems continues, which is good news. Done skillfully, the erasure poem encompasses what Samuel Johnson called “the two most engaging powers of an author: new things are made familiar, and familiar things are

Laura Ingalls Wilder and Samuel Worthen Ingalls: Discovering the Roots of Favorite Childhood Books in Cuba, NY

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When my daughter was little, we went on a tour of Laura Ingalls Wilder sites in Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Missouri. It was an endless round of log houses, sod houses, dugouts, old churches, schoolhouses, post offices, banks, jails, and depots, hand-dug wells and pump organs, replica

Deep Valley Homecoming and Laurapalooza: Keeping Classic Children’s Literature Alive

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In a ballroom in Mankato, MN one June evening, a murder mystery unfolds called “Betsy and Tacy Go Downton.” Each table is supposed to cast our votes for whodunit: a character from Maud Hart Lovelace’s charming Betsy-Tacy books, which take place at the turn of the twentieth century? Or

On the Trail of L. Frank Baum

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Many people’s notions of Kansas, my home state—which once issued license plates that said “Land of Ahs”— come straight from The Wizard of Oz. A pen-pal from Ohio once told me that she envisioned Kansas as a beautiful, colorful place bisected by roads made of pure gold. I had to

Writers with Responsibilities: Ode to the Late Bloomers

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Julia Child didn’t start cooking until she was close to forty and I didn’t either. For me it wasn’t the Le Cordon Blue School, but a need to finally be heard. I found my voice after my fourth child was born. I stopped telling tales at the bus stop

Pioneer Girl

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Pioneer Girl Bich Minh Nguyen Viking Adult, February 2014 $26.95 304 pages Genre: literary mystery With reference to: Little House on the Prairie And: immigrant lit & ethnic lit And: restlessness vs. belonging Also: Manifest Destiny & Utopia Concerning: Lee Lien, jobless English PhD And: a (possibly) very well-travelled

STEAL THIS STUFF: What Writers Can Learn from Over the Rhine

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Okay Writers. If you’ve been tucked safely away from Great Music over the last two decades, you may be new to the “aggressively beautiful” music of Over the Rhine. Today, the husband/wife duo Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist are invading my column, not just because they’re critically acclaimed songwriters—but because,