Inspiration: the Little House books

I learned to read in first grade along with everyone else, but I didn’t begin to read to myself for fun until I was in the third grade, when I cut my literary teeth on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic series of Little House books. I have continued to re-read them throughout my lifetime.

Something that almost everyone who has re-read the books as an adult comments on is the changing perspective of the reader as the reader ages. As a child, the books are interesting, fun, exciting, and charming. As an adult you read between the lines and see the cold, malnutrition, boredom, repression, danger and poverty. You also get exasperated with Pa.

I have read other homesteading books, both fiction and nonfiction, but these books were my first and they gave me a taste for the genre. That taste certainly came through when I was writing Dark and Deep. A dominant theme in it, and in the sequels to come, are the difficulties that modern people have in adjusting to life in an unregulated wilderness–even people who are used to hunting, farming, fighting and off-gridding. Life in a small scale society is different in so many interesting ways.

If you haven’t read the Little House books for yourself, I highly recommend them. The first three books in the series are linked below. These are the three that are most closely concerned with the how-to of everyday life for pioneers. The rest of the series focuses more on the social and psychological issues of life on the frontier. Little House in the Big Woods describes life on an established smallholding. In Little House on the Prairie the Ingalls family go west in a covered wagon. Farmer Boy describes the established farm life of Almanzo Wilder, Laura’s husband-to-be. Enjoy!


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