Easy Reading about American Pioneer Life

I scraped through the desert of inspiration to find out something to write about, and hit on the idea of introducing my nonexistent readers to a piece of culture that was just about ubiquitous when I was coming up but that I'm sure is absolutely unknown here.

When I was a child, there was a popular television series called Little House on the Prairie, which was a sort of idealised and dramatic portrayal of life on the wilderness frontier. It was actually based on a series of children's books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter, which tell the story of Wilder's life, starting with childhood in a little house miles from nowhere.

The first book in the series is called Little House in the Big Woods (link goes to a .pdf). The language is simple, this being a children's book, and doesn't hide much deep meaning in its prose. Non-native readers shouldn't have too much difficult getting through it. It teaches a lot about the lives of American pioneers, and should really impress on modern readers how much luxury we take for granted. Life was hard work in those days. It also wasn't complicated by information overload or any of the decadent pleasures we take for granted nowadays. In a way, people were better for it. (In other ways, of course, they weren't.)

Most of the book describes what life was like growing and hunting all of their own food and making almost everything they needed with their own hands. It also includes a chapter about the father's gun, which is a national phobia in Japan, there never having been many bears and panthers lurking in the woods nearby human houses here as there were in Wisconsin. There's also a passage about a father beating hell out of his son with a stick, which is probably going to be disagreeable to modern audiences in most countries.

So that's my recommendation for this week. It's enlightening, and you don't need a TOEIC score of 700 to get through it.