New Facebook discussion group on Louisa May Alcott — come join us! Plus, more sneak peaks at the Little Women BBC series

In a collaboration between the Louisa May Alcott Society and Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House, a new Facebook discussion group has been created. It is called Louisa May Alcott: A Group for Fans, Readers, & Scholars.

I hope you will all join in on the discussion!

Here’s a tease as to what is available in this group — pictures from the new Little Women series on BBC One:

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More pictures are promised — visit Louisa May Alcott: A Group for Fans, Readers, & Scholars and join!

Be sure and visit the Louisa May Alcott Society website as well — membership for one year is only $10 (best $10 I’ve spent in a long while!)

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Air dates for “Little Women” in America on Masterpiece Theatre announced!

Here is Orchard House’s announcement regarding the airing of “Little Women” on Masterpiece Theatre (taken from a December 7, 2017 Facebook post):

“Now and then, in this work-a-day world, things do happen in the delightful story-book fashion, and what a comfort that is.” from Little Women, “Pleasant Meadows.” It’s true! Thrilled to share that the new adaptation of Little Women will air Sundays, May 13 & 20, 2018 at 8/7c on Masterpiece on PBS! To our friends around the world, you may even catch it sooner during the holiday season (lucky!). This series will release on DVD, too. Delightful, indeed!

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Air dates announced for Little Women on the BBC!

For all you lucky souls who get BBC One, the air dates have been announced for the three-part Little Women series! Continue reading

Little Women Anthology announced for 2018 — looking for submissions

Pink Umbrella Books, a Phoenix-based micropublisher is currently accepting submissions for a Little Women Anthology in honor of the upcoming 2018 150th anniversary of its publication.

Here are details from their website:

from the Houghton Library, Harvard University

Pink Umbrella Books is pleased to honor the beloved children’s classic with an original anthology. We invite writers around the world to submit their best previously unpublished creative nonfiction inspired by Alcott’s novel (memoir, essay, literary journalism and everything in between) for consideration. We welcome pieces between 500 – 7,000 words that speak to the life and legacy of Little Women. Have you made a pilgrimage to Orchard House? Are you turning into your Marmee? Did you jilt a “perfect” (Italian and musical) suitor? Maybe you met the modern Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy—but in a Karachi slum. Perhaps you’re a nurse with a Beth story, or you just want to—literarily, rather than literally—wrench the clothespin off Amy’s upturned nose. Whatever the story, we want to hear from you.

We’ll be accepting your Little Women-inspired submissions at submissions@pinkumbrellabooks.com through March 1st, 2018. Please include a brief bio of no more than 200 words along with your work. Multiple submissions are accepted, and entry is free and open to all. Authors selected for inclusion will receive 2 copies of the anthology upon publication. Nonfiction in any style is welcome—however, we value authentic, vivid work, and, just like Jo, we prefer “good strong words that mean something.”

For more information, visit the Pink Umbrella Books website.

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As the Masterpiece Theater production of Little Women approaches, a key question is posed

We just passed the 149th anniversary of the publication
of part one of Little Women.

Happy Anniversary!

And we have an exciting year ahead of us, particularly with the three-part Masterpiece Theater production of Little Women coming up in the Spring (with Jan Turnquist, Executive Director of Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House acting as consultant!).

In anticipation, the producers put together a podcast of various women answering the all-important question: What does Little Women mean to you? Continue reading

Rambling about “Little Women”

My commute to work is one hour or more each way so I have to do something to entertain myself. I tend to have what I call “brain dumps” while driving and when I do, I whip out my phone and turn on the Dragon app. Then I dictate what I’m thinking. A good portion of my writing is done in this fashion.

Today I had such a “brain dump” so I thought I’d share it with you. I’ve been enjoying the Much Ado about Little Women blog and realized I’d love to write more often about what I think about Little Women.

So here goes!

Thoughts on Chapter 42, “Alone”

I have written before about this, my favorite chapter.. The most nuanced and grown-up chapter in the book, it shows Jo’s willingness to allow grief to reshape her. Consumed with honoring her dead sister Jo was determined to follow to the letter of the law Beth’s exhortation on taking care of the family by renouncing her writing ambition. Marmee’s wisdom however led Jo to understand why she found this so difficult to do—it simply wasn’t in her makeup to do what Beth had instructed. She could not be Beth and needed to find her own way to care for the family while remaining true to herself.

Choice of husbands

Part of remaining true to herself was to reject Laurie as a potential husband. In our love for Laurie we forget that he was not entirely supportive of Jo’s writing. Professor Bhaer, however, was. In fact, it was Jo’s poem about the four chests in the attic that touched his heart. He disapproved of Jo’s blood and thunder stories because he thought she was capable of better and inevitably, he was proven correct.

A new life

In allowing the creative process of grief to shape her future, Jo was able to realize a life that to her was very satisfying (even if some readers disagree). She could expand her world to help others, especially the boys she loved so dearly. She was able to start her own family. And in time, with acquired wisdom, she was able to write as she had desired.

This is why Little Women is such a satisfying read for me. Even though she resisted the idea of making Jo a married woman I think Louisa still revealed desires for herself through Jo. While I have yet to read Jo’s Boys, at least through Little Women and Little Men, Jo was free in a way that Louisa it was not. Jo did not impose the chains of duty upon herself as Louisa did.

Was it fair that Amy won the trip to Europe?

On another front, with regards to Amy getting the trip to Europe—I believe Amy deserved that trip. Unlike Jo who rendered her service to Aunt March in a begrudging way, complaining to her sisters about her aunt and clearly not enjoying her company, Amy in fact did enjoy being with Aunt March. That made Amy tmore agreeable companion. Jo felt entitled to that trip and that was wrong. While at first it appears unjust because of Jo’s service, it was the way that service was rendered that caused Amy to be chosen. There is something to be said about that verse from scripture, “God loves a cheerful giver.”

Lucky or gifted?

Like May, Amy was not just “lucky.” Calling her sister “lucky” betrayed Louisa’s/Jo’s resentment towards her sister’s natural ability to get along with others. Louisa/Jo had a lot of difficulty with casual niceties and small talk and people were put off by that. She couldn’t help being the way she was but to resent May/Amy because of her natural ability was unfair.

Who is the shy one?

Beth is often characterized as timid and shy but in many ways Jo was shy as well. Both sisters felt unworthy and in need of improvement, even redemption. Yet while Beth retreated from life, Jo pursued a better course, doing battle with her life like a warrior, determined to prove she was worthy. Beth died, and Jo lived.

What do you think?

Share your ramblings!

 

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Summer Reading Recommendation: The Courtship of Jo March

Trix Wilkins of the Much Ado about Little Women blog (an excellent blog, by the way, all about Little Women) has written a most intriguing re-imagining of Little Women with different endings for characters. In her description of the book she writes,

Set in the early 1870s, this re-imagining of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women is for all who have ever wondered how things might have worked out differently for the beloved March sisters – the life Beth might have led, the books Jo might have written, the friends they might have made, and the courtship that might have been…

Authoress Jo March has lost her elder sister Meg to matrimony. When the aristocratic Vaughns – elegant Kate, boisterous Fred, thoughtful Frank, and feisty Grace – re-enter their lives, it seems her younger sisters Beth and Amy, and even her closest friend Laurie, might soon follow suit.

Yet despite the efforts of her great-aunt March, Jo is determined not to give up her liberty for any mortal man. What else is a writer to do but secure music lessons for her dearest sister, and befriend aspirant journalist Tommy Chamberlain?

The Marches’ neighbor Theodore “Laurie” Laurence was born with looks, talent, and wealth – and Jo is convinced he has a promising future in which she has no part. He is as stubborn as Jo, and has loved her for as long as anyone can remember. But what will win a woman who won’t marry for love or money?

Wilkins is offering a sample thirty pages of the book free which you can order here. In reading those pages I was immediately caught up in the story. Wilkins does a fine job of imitating the voice of Louisa May Alcott; the characters feel true to their origins. Already in those thirty pages I saw clever ideas and insights into characters that made me want to read more. I will purchase the paperback version sometime this summer and then write a review. This is a perfect summer read, especially for those of us who can’t get enough of Little Women!

Here is all the purchasing information you will need for The Courtship of Jo March. Wilkins is giving away a special package with each book, both the e-book and the paperback.

And in the meantime, be sure and visit her blog, Much Ado about Little Women.

And speaking of blogs …

Tarissa’s In the Bookcase blog is running her annual June Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge. Be sure and visit her site — it’s easy and fun to participate. If I can get out from under with my current non-Alcott reading before the end of the month, I’ll chime in too!

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