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Showing posts from August, 2013

A Literary Founding Mother

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Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


It’s difficult to trace the exact moment I became a Bibliophile. Was it back in first grade when I could read Bread and Jam for Frances by myself? Or was it while following the pioneer adventures of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family? Maybe.

When my mother brought down her huge box of books she had kept from her own childhood, I knew an entire universe had just opened up to me. My favorite? Little Women. How I loved the spunky Jo March and her self-reliance! It was the only time this only child ever wanted sisters.


“She transformed the lives of women into something worthy of literature,” writes Susan Cheever on page 192 of American Bloomsbury. “Without even meaning to, Alcott exalted the everyday in women’s lives and gave it greatness.”

I was taken aback by how visiting Orchard House, Louisa May Alcott’s final family home in Concord, Massachusetts, affected me. First of all, it looked almost exactly like the March home in the 1994 movie starring Winona R…

Literary Tourism: My Trip to Concord

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Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


As many of you have probably guessed, I am an anglophile who loves English literature of all sorts. However, there is one time period (besides present day) of American writing history that I truly love. Some call it “The Golden Age of American Literature,” but it’s really the first period of great American writers. These are the days of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and most importantly for me, Louisa May Alcott.


They all lived in Concord, Massachusetts, for awhile at the same time, and their ideas and writing styles shaped our country’s psyche. From time to time, other literary greats joined their circle, including Herman Melville, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and even Edgar Allan Poe.


Concord is a tiny town tucked in the Massachusetts countryside, only about thirty minutes or so away from the bustle that is Boston, but worlds away from its frenetic energy. Nestled among woods and hills, it sits pretty much as it was when the T…

Bibliomania

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Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


AUGUST 12, 2013 UPDATE: I have just returned from a lovely vacation in the Boston, MA, area with three more books. I really couldn't help myself. I mean, I was at Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House (setting of Little Women), Nathaniel Hawthorne's famous House of the Seven Gables, and Henry David Thoreau's Walden Pond. What's a Bibliophile to do????? I will write more about my literary travel adventures soon, after my reassimilation back into work life. 

It's official. I'm a book addict. There must be a better word for that, something stronger than "bibliophile." Bibliophilia, maybe? Let's see. ((riffles through dictionary)). Nope. No such word according to Merriam-Webster, but I'm sure I saw it somewhere. Oh, well. Wait, here's one. "Bibliomania." It means "an extreme preoccupation with collecting books." Yes, that's it!


My on-deck circle, to borrow a phrase from baseball, now fills …