Saturday, November 22, 2003

I found Louise Dickinson Rich's book We Took To The Woods at the library while looking for Living the Good Life. For some reason its cover is very familiar to me, although I'm sure I never read it before--perhaps it was one of those that I saw so often at my hometown library that I just assumed I had read it. But I'm very glad I've read it now, as it was a lovely little narrative of life in the Maine woods. It was published in 1942, but it is available through A Common Reader, and I enjoyed it more than any of my recent reads.

It's hard to imagine anyone nowadays living such a secluded life (at one point in the book, Mrs Rich describes her first trip to "the Outside" in over four years!), but it sounds fabulous. The family was not entirely cut off from civilization, although during the in-between seasons of spring and fall, when the ice over the lake between their home and the nearest market was too thin to drive over and too thick to run a boat through, sometimes got very long and boring. But in other seasons there were lumberjacks, hunters, and hikers and campers, as well as a few neighbors, all of whom were perfectly likely to drop in for dinner at a moment's notice.

Each chapter of the book is titled with a question commonly asked of the Riches about their life--How Do You Earn A Living? Don't You Get Bored? etc--and Mrs Rich answers them fully, warmly, and humorously to create a truly enjoyable read.

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