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Author of the Month: Louisa May Alcott

Welcome to the first edition of "Author of the Month!" This month, my featured author is Louisa May Alcott. Enjoy!

Most know Louisa May Alcott simply as the author of the timeless classic, Little Women, yet she was so much more. She wrote several other novels, including some books for adults, and many short stories and articles. She was also a suffragette, as well as an abolitionist.

Born on November 29, 1832 in Germantown, Pennsylvania, Louisa May Alcott was one of many children. The relationships she had with her sisters would later influence her greatest work, Little Women. The Alcott's moved numerous times before settling in Concord, Massachusetts in a home they called "Orchard House." Her father, Amos Bronson Alcott, taught her and her siblings at home. As a young adult, she worked as a teacher and a nurse, while writing on the side.

Before publishing Little Women, Louisa wrote articles, short stories, poems, and thrillers that were moderately successful. She often wrote under a pen name in these instances. She decided to write a story inspired by herself and her sisters, and thus Little Women was born. It was published in 1868 and was a success. Upon the book's success, she wrote the sequels Good Wives, Jo's Boys, and Little Men, among other stories for young adults. She also wrote novels for adults, such as Work, and A Modern Mephistopheles, as well as some romance novels she'd written as a young adult and were published after her success. Most of her stories are inspired by her life with her siblings, and are full of morals and faith.

Louisa May Alcott died from a stroke on March 6, 1888. She was buried in Sleepy Hollow cemetery on a hill is that is called "Author's Ridge." Her childhood home, Orchard House, was turned into a museum. Fans of the novelist and history buffs alike can visit the home in Concord, Massachusetts year round. (For more information on opening and closing dates as well as pricing, click here.)

To this day, Louisa May Alcott's classic novels continue to warm our hearts and teach us the basic things of this life, showing us that "life and love are precious when both are in full bloom." She is not only a timeless author, but also a great inspiration to many.

-Miranda Atchley

Book of the Week #61 "Forget Me Not"

by Amber Stokes

Elizabeth Lawson never knew she had a brother. Her parents died when she was little and her neighbor, Sarah Anne, began raising her. Now in 1885, Elizabeth is eighteen, and Sarah Anne has decided to tell her about her older brother Jacob, who had already left home by the time Elizabeth was born. Angry with Sarah Anne and curious about the older brother she's never known, Elizabeth leaves for Virginia City, where Jacob moved to when he left home. On her journey, Elizabeth falls into a creek and is swept away by the current. Passing by with his horse named Liberty, David finds and rescues Elizabeth, taking her to his cabin to rest until she wakes up. When Elizabeth awakens the next day and tells David of her plans to find her brother, David doesn't think she should go alone and goes with her. When they arrive, they meet Joe Clifton, who works for Jacob and is smitten with Elizabeth. This puts David's nose out of joint, who finds himself falling for Elizabeth. When they arrive in the city, something feels off at Jacob's home with his wife Annabelle. Soon David learns Jacob's secret, which he knows will devastate Elizabeth. Yet he also has a secret.

This was a neat story. It really kept me guessing through the whole reading about numerous things. What was David's secret? What was Jacob's secret? Who was Elizabeth going to choose? The characters were likeable and I'm interested in reading more about them in the next book, Bleeding Heart. Elizabeth seemed like a sweetheart and I liked her and David together.

I think one of the most interesting parts was the diversity in this story. Whenever I think of the Wild West, I usually just think of cowboys, pioneers and saloon girls. But in Forget Me Not, we see other cultures, like people of Cornish decent and Jews. I think that was a really neat thing to incorporate.

I like how the title plays in this story too. Forget-me-not flowers play a role in the story, as well as the feeling of being forgotten. 

All in all Forget Me Not is a nice story that fans of historical fiction, Westerns in particular, will enjoy.

I give this book a 4 out 5.

Emma Read-Along

Amber is hosting a read-along of Emma! I'm really looking forward to this. I've been itching for another read-along and am jumping at the chance to read another Jane Austen classic.

The details:
  • Week 1 ~ Read Vol. I: Ch. 1-14
  • Week 2 ~ Finish Vol. I // read Vol. II: Ch. 1-10
  • Week 3 ~ Finish Vol. II // read Vol. III: Ch. 1-6
  • Week 4 ~ Finish Vol. III
  • Week 1 Discussion: October 9th
  • Week 2 Discussion: October 16th
  • Week 3 Discussion: October 23rd
  • Week 4 Discussion: October 30th
Join us! It's going to be a lot of fun.

-Miranda Atchley

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

The TBR, or to-be-read, list grows every day, doesn't it? Let's face facts; we'll be adding new books to our stacks for the rest of our lives. And I am okay with that. I will never run out of things to read. Fall, for so many reasons, is the perfect season. One of such reason is those days when you can curl up in front of a window with a good book and warm cup of tea as the rain falls from a cloudy grey sky. Those are some of the best days. Here are some books I would love to read on a rainy day this fall.

10: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Forever on my TBR.

9: Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
This book has sat on my shelf un-read for an embarrassingly long time.

8: Dracula by Bram Stoker
Last year I read Frankenstein during October, and I think I'd like to at least try reading Dracula for the sake of Halloween.

7: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
I bought a copy of this at a used bookstore a few months ago and would like to start reading it soon.

6: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
I've been meaning to read this book forever. I've started reading it before, but it's gotten pushed aside because of other books. Fall seems like a nice time to read this book and so maybe this will be the season I finally read it.

5: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
I have the free public domain copy of this on my Kindle. Hopefully I can get to it this fall.

4: Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Collection by Arthur Conan Doyle
I've never read any of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, but Rachel McMillan's Herringford and Watts Mysteries has made me want to. I downloaded this collection on my Kindle, so I'm looking forward to reading it.

3: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
I've checked this book out from the library in my quest to read the classics. Hopefully I can read this one this fall.

2: Bleeding Heart by Amber Stokes
I just finished reading Forget Me Not over the weekend and it is a really good story. I really want to read Bleeding Heart this fall.

1: Emma by Jane Austen
This was on my Spring TBR, and I still haven't read it. But, Amber is hosting a read-along of it, so I'm finally going to read it!

Thanks for stopping by today. What books are on your TBR this fall?

-Miranda Atchley

A Bookish Tag

I saw this tag on Kara's blog. I thought it sounded like fun, so I decided to do the tag, too! If you'd like, feel free to answer the questions in this tag in the comment section.

A Bookish Tag

What book is on your nightstand right now?
1984, The Grapes of Wrath

What was the last truly great book you read?
I really enjoyed A Lesson in Love and Murder, and The Ringmaster's Wife. I also loved The Blue Castle. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was a good read, too.

If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be? And what would you want to know?
I'd love to meet L.M. Montgomery and Louisa May Alcott, because those two are my favorites. C.S. Lewis is also a favorite, and I would love to meet him, because I just have feeling that he was a comforting presence to be around, sort of like a grandfather, you know? Does that sound weird?

What books might someone be surprised are on your shelf?
I'm not really sure. I read a pretty wide variety of books, and I think most people that know me realize that. Maybe A Million Little Pieces? That's not something I typically read, and I haven't read it yet. (I got it at the library's book sale for $1.)

How do you organize your personal library?
By the author's last name. I would lose my mind if I were to store my books any other way.

What book have you always meant to read and haven't gotten around to yet? Anything you feel embarrassed never to have read?
Jane Eyre. One day, I will finally read this book.

Disappointed, overrated, just not good: which book did you feel you were supposed to like, but didn't? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?
Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase was pretty disappointing. The plot sounded like a neat idea, but it got lost behind bad characters and way too much unnecessary cursing. The Sugar Queen also sort of disappointed me. I didn't like the cursing here and there and the heavy romance moments. I did like Josey and Adam, though, so I skipped over the parts I didn't like to see what would happen to them. I also like the magical surrealism and the winter setting.

What kind of stories are you drawn to? Any you steer clear of?
I love historical fiction and the classics. More specifically, books about strong characters that defy the odds. Those are the books that really stick with me. I steer clear of any book that is just too sad, or any romance that's too hot and heavy.

What book would you require the president to read?
To Kill A Mockingbird comes to mind. It's a book that definitely makes people think. The Bible is always great for the president, too.

What do you plan to read next?
I plan to read Emma when Amber hosts the read-along for it.

Thanks for stopping by today, readers and friends. Have a great weekend.

-Miranda Atchley

An Ode To Autumn

Autumn is my favorite time of the year. I love having sixty degree days after a long hot summer. To me, there's nothing like those fall days when there's a steady and light drizzle of rain falling from a cloudy grey sky. They're the best days to pull out your favorite book or movie and just relax. And the leaves... Oh! I think the leaves are the best part. Seeing those lovely shades of crimson, gold, russet, and sometimes burgundy hanging off the trees gives me the queer ache. I love seeing pumpkins appear on front steps and in our food. And there's that distinct hint of melancholy that's so sweet, you can't be sad about it.

Fall is simply the best.

Thanks for stopping by A Real Writer's Life today. Happy first day of autumn! I hope it's a wonderful season for you all.

-Miranda Atchley

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Songs

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

I do like music, but it's hard for me to pick favorites, especially since my music taste varies upon my mood. But these are some of the most played songs on my iPod and ones that I've been listening to for a long time, and that I really love.

9: Hydra by Showbread

8: Backwards by Merriment

7: I Can See It In Your Eyes by The Like

6: When We Were Young by Sucre

5: I Could Be There For You by Eisley

4: Cedar Branches by Rising Fawn

3: Tonight, Tonight by The Smashing Pumpkins

2: Smarter by Eisley

1: Lost Connection With The Head by Showbread

What are some of your favorite songs, readers and friends?