Currently Reading - April 25, 2020

Currently Reading: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Reader: Alyisha Wasilewski

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Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Format: Audiobook

Bibliographic Citation: Alcott, L.M. (1868; 2011). Little Women (K. Reading, Narr.) [Audiobook]. Random House Audio Publishing Group: Listening Library.


  • What's it about?: Four sisters (Meg, Jo, Beth, & Amy) grow up in pastoral Massachusetts amidst the backdrop of the American Civil War.

  • What inspired you to pick it up? I’ve worked in libraries, & specifically in Children’s Services, for the past ten years with aspirations of becoming a Children’s Librarian. And yet, I’ve somehow never read this classic text! With the popularity of the new film adaptation (directed by Greta Gerwig, with an illustrious cast including Emma Watson (Hermoine, Harry Potter), James Norton (Sydney Chambers, Grantchester), Meryl Streep, Saoirse Ronan, & Timothee Chalamet), I figured it was high time! I can’t wait until I’m done & I can finally watch the movie! I won’t let myself without having intimate knowledge of the book for comparison.

  • Favorite quote (so far)? “I like good strong words that mean something.”

  • Have you learned anything new? I can’t think of a singular, standout example...but I was happy to come across an example of the word “champing.” I learned recently that the phrase is “champing at the bit” not “chomping at the bit” (as I always thought) -- & it blew my mind!

  • Are you liking it? Honestly, I’m not sure. It’s a bit didactic. Even Louisa May Alcott called it “moral pap for the young.” Sometimes, I find myself pleasurably compelled by the daily rituals of the March family, and especially by the slow, earnest (& hopefully romantic!) development of Jo & Laurie’s relationship...but other times, I find myself rolling my eyes in the midst of a sermon about the value of hard work, faith, or the great importance of modesty.

  • Other comments: Just that I can’t wait to see how Jo is portrayed in the film! She identifies more with the masculine spirit than the feminine, and a cornerstone of her character is the way in which she’s always flouting expectations based on her gender. I’m eager to see how that translates in 2020.

  • Where can I find it? If you want the exact version that I’m currently listening to (narrated by Kate Reading), you’ll have to place a hold on another library’s copy, to be filled when interlibrary loan services resume. However, if you just want to read/listen to Little Women, there are a ton of great options! There are copies in various formats (audiobook, e-book) available through both Hoopla and Libby. Unfortunately, the print copies of the book owned by the Ames Free Library are currently checked-out -- but you can still place a hold & reserve your spot on the waiting list!
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