Tag Archive for 'little house series'

Recent Excursions In Print and Film

I just finished reading the last of the Little House books a couple of minutes ago, and it’s hard to express how much I enjoyed re-reading that series. It’s been so many years since I last read them; I thought going into it that maybe I’d just enjoy the nostalgia of reading them, but I don’t think that covers it. I also thought that, since I remembered liking the earlier ones more than the later ones when I was younger, that it might be that way this time, too. But, somehow, in getting older, I loved them all just as much or more than I did when I read them as a little girl. Certainly the earlier ones had a similar effect on me as they did when I was little–I was always fascinated of the descriptions of how their day-to-day tasks were done and what sorts of things they ate and such. The books made me every bit as hungry as before. (I still desperately want to taste the candy they made by pouring fresh, hot maple syrup over clean, cold snow.) But I think, being older, that I found more to relate to and appreciate in the later books than I did when I was younger. And, oh, I did so love reading about Almanzo courting her. He could practically give Mr. Darcy a run for his money, but Almanzo Wilder’s got the definite advantage of having been real on his side.

Ahem.

I also finished reading The Princess Bride just yesterday after an aborted attempt to read it a few years ago. The book was certainly enjoyable, but I do think I quite like many of the changes Goldman made when adapting it for the screen. Not that, you know, my love for the movie has any biasing effect on me. Oh, no.

Speaking of films and biases, I also watched the remake of The Lion in Winter last night. Now, I’m quite sure that my adoration of love for the original blinds me somewhat to the good points in the newer version, but it’s difficult to have Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close uttering the exact lines Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn gave such fire to and not be at least a little disappointed. The newer version, of course, has much more impressive sets and costumes and background shots, but, for the most part, I felt like the actors’ deliveries lacked the dangerous edge of the original. Somehow it just doesn’t work when King Henry tells King Phillip, “Use all your voices. When I bellow, bellow back,” in a congenial, smiling manner. I mean, hello. You have to bellow in the first place, Henry.

Although the two leads seemed a lot softer and affectionate than in the original film, there were some aspects of the newer one I appreciated. I felt like the portrayal of Geoffrey, the middle son, was more believable in this film, even if he doesn’t quite come across as the thing of wheels and gears that his father accuses him of being. I felt that the interpretation of Richard was okay–not great but not bad either, just different. And I thought that, as King Phillip, Jonathan Rhys Meyers handled the Richard/Phillip scene with Henry better than Dalton had, but that may be my appreciation for JRM and his, um, ability to do scary-crazy sneaking in somewhere. The John in this version was, well, John but with the addition of crying. No, sobbing. Seriously. There was one whole scene where he was just sobbing so heavily in the background that it distracted from Henry’s speech. Strangeness, really.

I’d had high hopes at the beginning, when they showed a sequence entirely unlike the original, in which Eleanor was shown (in armor!) alongside Richard and Geoffrey as they fought a civil war against Henry. They showed Henry ordering her capture, letting the boys go, and then the initial imprisonment of Eleanor. I was getting excited. …And then we picked up the word-for-word execution of the original screenplay but, for the most part, without the verve and barbs that made me so love the 1968 version. Ah, well. It’s what happens. 😉

Books Everywhere

Maybe I’ve been reading too much when I come to a Little House book chapter entitled “A Knife in the Dark” and immediately think, “Hey, isn’t there a chapter called that in Fellowship of the Ring, too?” (Yes, there is.)

Waterfalls, Research, and Little Houses

Tonight I discovered that walking through Cascadilla Gorge just before seven o’clock at this time of year produces perfect, slanted golden light on the waterfall just beyond the College Avenue bridge. Or, as a little girl who was there at the same time as I was put it: “Ooo, look! Doesn’t it look like gold?” I must remember to put my camera in my backpack so that I have it for my hikes walks home.

Research is trying at the moment. I’d go into more detail, but chances are that it would degenerate into the sort of angst-ridden frustrations that I probably don’t want displayed for all the world to see. But I think things will improve. I have to hope.

Still haven’t achieved full unpacking. I’ve reached the point where I’ve stalled with the end in sight and just can’t quite find the energy to handle the last odds and ends. Maybe that’ll pick up once I get around to buying my desk. In the meantime, I can make do.

I’m definitely enjoying the swanky new apartment, and I don’t much mind having it all to myself for the moment either. Mark, you’ll be pleased to know that I have got the gas stove working, and I didn’t even have to explode anything in order to do so. Let the cooking commence!

When my mother and sister came up with my dresser, they brought along the Little House boxset I was given when I was seven or so. My mother and I used to read the books aloud to one another in turns when I was younger, and I was a great fan of the series, as well as the Rocky Ridge series that was published in the 90s. I’ve been re-reading the Little House books in the evenings before bed and have finished the first four. I’m pleased to find that I still enjoy them very much, and have just as much–or more–awe of the achievements of early American pioneer families as I did when I was young. Also, the books have retained their ability to make me incredibly hungry thanks to their descriptions of meals the families eat. If I don’t bake some cornbread soon, I may go crazy. No, really.

Poking around the Internet inquiring after Little House and Rocky Ridge information for those of you unfamiliar with the stories has revealed to me that someone has written an additional Little House book that takes place between On The Banks Of Plum Creek, which I just finished, and By The Shores Of Silver Lake, which I’m about to start. I’m not quite sure how I feel about this. I’ve always been kind of iffy about people unrelated to Laura Ingalls Wilder writing about the lives of her relatives (although I was able to put this aside for the Rocky Ridge books because the author was very close to Rose Wilder). Maybe I’ll see if the library has a copy once I’ve finished re-reading the original books. In the meantime, I’m overdue for some relaxation today.