Friday, September 19, 2008

18th and 19th Century Women Writers' Reading Challenge


This reading challenge will be for all of 2009. Sign ups may begin early, but reading should not.

How many books? No fewer than four. No more than twelve. For example, you might want to read two books by authors from the eighteenth century (1700-1799) and two books by authors from the nineteenth century (1800-1899). Or you might want to read six books by authors from the 18th century, and six books by authors from the 19th century. You get the idea. Me being the *perfectionist* I am would stress the balance between the two. But I *know* that may be just me. So you may read in whatever proportion you like.

What books are allowed? If they're written by a woman who lived and wrote from 1700 to 1900, then they count. What books don't count...if an author was born during this time period, but didn't publish anything until the next century. Post-1900 books are NOT allowed. There is a small loophole here. If a book was written during these two centuries 1700-1900 and was not published until after the author's death...and that publication date just happened to be in the 1900s or 2000s...then that would count.

Here is a place where you can get ideas, but be careful, the list includes some authors who won't count. (See above.)

Celebration of Women Writers 1801-1900
Celebration of Women Writers 1701-1800

Timeframe...January 1rst 2009 to December 29th 2009

Overlaps with other challenges allowed.

My reading list:

18th century: Fanny Burney (Evelina, Cecilia) Ann Radcliffe (The Italian, The Romance of the Forest) Charlotte Lennox (The Female Quixote)
19th century: Elizabeth Gaskell (Ruth--if I can track down a copy!--Mary Barton, North and South, Cranford, Sylvia's Lovers) the Bronte sisters (maybe) Charlotte Mary Yonge (The Daisy Chain--if I can track down a copy!) Margaret Oliphant (Hester, Miss Majoribanks--if I can track down copies)

Participants so far:

Me, Becky
Whiney (could be Whitney or Whit who joined last year too.)
Susan (Just Books)
Cowgirl in the City
The Land of Rozz
Wandeca Reads
Jules' Book Reviews
Aneca's World
Ana O.
Sharon C.

Fleur Fisher
Ex Libris
Ms. Alex
Miss Daisy Anne

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Susan 11:00 PM  

Sign me up! So that's two challenges by you already for next year - 42, and now this one. Do you ever sleep? Do you dream up interesting, fun, do-able challenges in your sleep? All I can say is, between you and Carl and everyone else, my life is filled with wonderful goals of reading more!!

Anonymous,  7:07 AM  

Sign me up also. I have never done a reading challenge before. I think I can proably handle this one.

Kim 6:40 PM  

I want to be a part of this challenge also. But oh darn! E.M. Delafield (Diary of a Provincial Lady) doesn't count!! :( Was born in the 1800's but didn't publish anything until the 1900's. I have that book sitting on in my tbr pile where it has been for several years. I guess I need to get busy to find some different authors!

Lizzy Siddal 3:45 PM  

I'm only half-way through this year's challenge but no matter. I'm in for next year as well.

Anonymous,  10:03 AM  

I'm only half way through this years challenge also, but oh well I'm in for 2009 too.

Kim 12:58 AM  

My post/list is up. Here is a link!

Colleen 4:30 PM  

I would like to sign up for this challenge. 19th century lit. is my favorite. I certainly love an excuse to read some I haven't read. I'll definitely have George Eliot in there. Maybe Elizabeth Gaskell...I'm excited! I will comment again when my post is up. Great idea!

Anonymous,  11:57 PM  

Count me in too! I've been meaning to read Middlemarch for ages now

Kitty 9:11 PM  

I'm not finished with my 2008 challenge list yet, but I love this period, so I'm in for 2009, too. I'm not sure of my choices yet, but should have something posted soon.

KyleeJ 12:58 PM  

Sign me up please.

KyleeJ 4:03 PM  

The correct link to my new blog page is


Sandra 6:00 PM  

I'd like to do this one. And such a nice badge too. Thank you.

Marina 11:26 PM  

I'd like to join... not sure which authors I'll read, but will get the list up sometime in the next two months. Here's the link where that will go:

Lynda 9:26 AM  

Sign me up too - I'll be thinking of some books to read and will post them on my book blog when I do:

Cowgirl in the City 11:11 AM  

Yes, Sign me up!

I'll pick my books soon!

Anonymous,  9:02 PM  

Hi, I posted my list of books here:

The Land of Rozz 8:44 AM  

Please sign me up! I will put my list up before the challenge starts!

Anonymous,  9:15 AM  

Please sign me up for this challenge - looking forward to exploring everyone's lists to get some good ideas - my blog (and my book list when I get one) will be here:

Melanie 8:37 PM  

Please sign me up great challenge I have been trying to read more classics, and this will be a big help. I posted my selections I hope I followed the guidelines.

FYI: If you are unable to find a classic most are online for free.

Annette 10:26 PM  

Please count me in, I'm really looking forward to this.
When I put my list up check here

Leya 10:19 AM  

Becky, you can count me in! Sounds like fun! :D

My reading list is up:

Jules 12:14 PM  

Ohhh! This is a good challenge! I'm in

My list will be posted later in the month.


Vinagrinhos 3:06 AM  

This sounds like great fun! Please count me in. Here's my reading list:

Thanks for hosting it!

WhiteLady3 2:48 PM  

Has I have some female authors from this period on my TBR list, I think I can participate in this challenge. Count me in!

I have a blog on blogspot, but it's in portuguese, so it might be better to sign in with my LJ:

Anonymous,  9:03 PM  

I have been looking everywhere for an interesting book readers blog. I am so happy I found yours. I have never participated in a reading challenge and would love to give this a go. Please count me in!

My Cozy Book Nook 8:26 PM  

This will be my first official challenge and I am very much looking forward to it. I have so many female authors from this time period that I want to read, so this is the perfect challenge for me to "get my feet wet."

I will hopefully learn how to post my list on my website before January 1:

Thank you for hosting such a great challenge!

Anonymous,  3:25 AM  

This sounds like fun, I have a lot of books in my TBR that fit the pattern but I still have to choose which. I'll post the list later!
You can find me at my blog here:

Alex 7:49 AM  

This is a great ideia for a challenge. Count me in!:) I published my list here:

Unknown 7:01 AM  

I wish I had the talent to decorate my blog the way you do, Becky, but I do not have the hmtl (or whatever those letters are) skills. Sign me up. I belong to 18th-19th Century book group at Yahoo! Judy

Sharon C. 3:06 PM  

Please sign me up. I was looking for a challenge like this. Thank you for posting. I've already started my list. Visit me at:

Unknown 4:12 PM  

Hm, okay, I'm in. Not yet sure what I'll read, though. Most likely, it will be something by Austen and ...

Annette 4:08 PM  

May I be added to your list of participants?

Becky 10:50 PM  

MissDaisyAnne and everyone--I've updated the participants list. I know I neglected this task for the past few weeks--but life got in the way! That doesn't mean I wasn't glad to see you join. I was. I am. But I don't always update the list the very second someone joins. But I'll try to be a bit better in the future.

Tammy 7:25 PM  

I love this challenge, please include me! I've posted my list here.

Anonymous,  3:22 PM  

Please sign me up! My post about this challenge is at

Sandra 12:01 AM  

This is the sort of challenge I ought to do. I have not liked the one or two books in this category that I've read. I don't know whether it's the language, the limited subjects women wrote about then, or I just haven't read enough to get a taste for it. But I'm willing to try again so I'll come and link when I get a post done and decide on choices.

Jules 11:51 AM  

I signed up a while ago, but I finally created a list. Here it is;

one question, are books of poetry allowed? As in Emily Dickinson?

Sharon 11:59 AM  

I would like to join the challenge. I will be reading at least 4 books. I'll leave another comment when I've posted my list. Thanks!

Sharon 9:08 PM  

I've posted my list to my blog. Here's the link:

Smokey 1:14 PM  

I'm in and can't wait to start making my lists up.

Anonymous,  11:04 PM  

Count me in. I can't wait to get started!

Ms Alex 3:39 PM  

Please count me in!

Sandra 8:10 PM  

Finally got my post up about the challenge here:

Thank you.

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
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  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
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  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
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4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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