Monday was spin day for Classics Club Spin #14. I dutifully put together my list of twenty books. (See list here.) When the die was cast, No. 1 won and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott claimed that spot. So I shall be reading this classic book by an amazing American author by December 1st. As in the past I plan to blog updates throughout my reading.
When I was young, I think I was in 5th or 6th grade, I read an abridged version of Little Women in the Great Illustrated Classics series. It is only 240 pages and no doubt abridged so much making it accessible to young readers, maybe as young as eight. Only recently I put together my reading habits as a kid and realized all these classics I remember reading in elementary school were actually part of the Great Illustrated Classics series making me want to go back and reread the full version of the book now that I am an adult. Other classics I read as part of this series were Jane Eyre, David Copperfield, Pride and Prejudice, and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Now I have a chance to fall in love again with a book I've loved almost my whole life.
The version I shall be reading is published by the original publisher, Little, Brown, and Co. It has 502 pages. The author Anna Quindlen, said in the book's forward, "I won't temporize. Little Women changed my life. Up to that time, age 10, she had only read fairy tales where all of the characters were either good or bad; ugly or beautiful. "At the time Little Women seemed to me to be the first naturalistic work of imagination I had ever read."
Little Women has spoken to girls since its publication. It said to girls they didn't have to be girlish and care only about the home arts. They could be writers, or some other career, and they could use their skills to take care of themselves. Not exactly ground-breaking messages today, but in the 1850s it was unheard of. I have always loved Jo March and identified with her gumption. I also adored the whole March family, their closeness and bonds with each other and their neighbor Laurie. I look forward to jumping in.
I also have a copy of the audiobook version which I will listen to in part, a mix with my print book.
The audiobook I have was part of the free Sync download during the summer. It was published by Penguin Random House Audio Books and read by Kate Reading. I love listening to books so I'm sure I will enjoy the book in this format, too.