Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I need books like I need air. I'd rather read than just about anything else. I have a pretty strong stomach and like variety and read all sorts of things. Some things are more worth while than others. Some keep you thinking and wondering and considering. Mrs. Bybee, my 10th grade honors Enlish teacher would always say the mark of a good book was how long it kept you thinking after you'd finished the last page.

I'm just finishing a series of books that are young adult classics of American literature. It's the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. With each one I read, I feel like I've just enjoyed a rich journey through the history of settling the American West as well as through the values, faith, fortitude, hard work and joy so readily cherished then and, hopefully, now. I feel like a better person for having read every chapter of each book. I see the imperfections of good people trying to do their best. I see the moments of poverty and lack. I see the incredible gratitude for even the smallest things. I see the pleasure of working the land and feeling the wind in your face. I see the gentle parents and vivacious children and the typical dilemmas of family and community life. I was touched by the traditions of courtship and felt all the more grateful for my good husband.

Most of all, I long to be a better person now after having read the books. Can you say that about all the books you read? Sometimes yes; sometimes, no. If I could be half as diligent as these remarkable settlers, great things would come of my life. They were smart and witty, as well as well educated in both book learning and land learning. The books are full of reference to specific passages of scripture and how they wove them into the fabric of their lives, from their patch work quilts to their patchwork fields.

My Patriarchal Blessing admonishes me to always read from the best of books. This great series undoubtedly fits that criteria. I'm {almost} ready to pick up and move West!