I'm not totally sure why, but recently I have bee feeling a bit guilty about the number of "classics" that I've never actually read. I own many, often picked up in charity shops like many in my book collection, but most of them still sit in my "to be read" pile.
Rather than feel bad about it I decided to do something about it recently and am therefore making myself alternate between classics and more modern books. Having looked at my bookshelf I realised that they all appear to be in alphabetical order by author, so starting at the beginning I found myself reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
Now this is a book that I think I read an abridged version of whilst in school. Certainly I knew some of the background to it, but not the whole story. Little Women is the story of the four March sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy – and their lives as they travel from being girls to women. Written in the 1860s the sisters in the book are said to be based on Alcott's own sisters with herself being the model for boyish aspiring author Jo. All the sisters' characters really do come alive on the page and give a womderful insight into what life must have been like in America for young women at this time.
Initially the book was written in two volumes – the first entitled Little Women, or Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy – whilst the second was simply known as "Part Second". When the books were published here in England the second volume became Good Wives. Whilst these two books became the best known of Alcott's work she also wrote Little Men and Jo's Boys which appear to be much harder to find copies of at present. I will keep looking though.
A review of Good Wives will follow shortly!