Author Erin Blakemore has written a book that speaks to the heart of every girl who sat on her porch lost in a good book. The Heroine's Bookshelf: Life Lessons, from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder is the perfect gift to give the woman who has been a life-long lover of books, and it would be great for teen girls as well.
I will have my review of the book, as well as a giveaway courtesy of Ms. Blakemore and Harper Perennial, tomorrow.
Today, Ms. Blakemore writes about some interesting things she learned during her research of the book.
From the Heroic Vaults
One of the most frustrating things about research is the knowledge that it can't all be used. Sure, it all goes somewhere, and there's nothing better than knowing your material, but it was downright painful for me to leave out some of my favorite letters, diary entries, and quotes from the women I got to know while writing The Heroine's Bookshelf.
Here are a few moments I wish I could have shared:
Colette's hair: Somehow I ended up doing a lot of research on Colette's legendary hair. It came from a simple statement that when she married her icky first husband, Willy, she had braids that went to her ankles. Was this possible? I wanted to know! I found out that not only was it possible, but that she chopped it all off at his request a few years later. He was having an affair with an actress and thought Colette might look like her if she cut off her tresses. Ew.
Louisa May Alcott's journals: Louisa May Alcott's dad was a noted Transcendentalist and all-around unreliable guy, but he could be counted on to keep copious notes about his children (he was a pioneer in early child education). When Louisa wrote journals as a kid, he and his wife, Abba, left notes in the margins. What a weird, amazing record of a family.
Charlotte Brontë's letters: I do quote from one important letter in the life of Charlotte Brontë, but I found myself fascinated by her other correspondence while writing the book. She didn't get out much, but when she did she made fast friendships that came to life on the page. Charlotte's letters are funny, sad, and incisive. I wonder what she would think about today's instantaneous communication.
Erin Blakemore learned to drool over Darcy and cry over Little Women in suburban San Diego, California. These days, her inner heroine loves roller derby, running her own business, and hiking in her adopted hometown of Boulder, Colorado. Erin’s debut book,The Heroine’s Bookshelf, won the Colorado Book Award for Nonfiction-General and is now in paperback from Harper Perennial. Learn more about the book at http://theheroinesbookshelf.com
erin blakemore | author of "the heroine's bookshelf" | theheroinesbookshelf.com