Monday, December 30, 2013

2014 Reading Challenges: Victorian

The Two Sisters, 1889, Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Host: Becky's Book Reviews
Title: Victorian Reading Challenge
Duration: Jan - Dec 2014
# of books: my goal is 6 to 9

What I read:

1) The Eustace Diamonds. Anthony Trollope. 1873. 794 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
2) A Rogue's Life. Wilkie Collins. 1856. 159 pages. [Source: Book I bought]
3) Phineas Redux. Anthony Trollope. 1874. 768 pages. [Source: Book I bought]
4) Melisande. E. Nesbit. Illustrated by P.J. Lynch. 1901/1988/1999. Candlewick. 48 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
5) Stepping Heavenward. Mrs. Elizabeth Prentiss. 1869/1998. Barbour Books. 352 pages. [Source: Bought]  
6) The Prime Minister. Anthony Trollope. 1876. 864 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]  
7) The Law and the Lady. Wilkie Collins. 1875. 430 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
8) The Duke's Children. Anthony Trollope. 1880. 560 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
9) The Belton Estate. Anthony Trollope. 1866/1993. Penguin. 432 pages. [Source: Bought]
10) No Name. Wilkie Collins. 1862/1998. Oxford University Press. 748 pages.
11) North and South. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1854-1855. 452 pages. [Source: Bought]
12) To Say Nothing of the Dog. Connie Willis. 1998. Bantam. 493 pages. [Source: Bought]
13) A Tale of Two Cities. Charles Dickens. 1854/2003. Bantam Classics. 382 pages. [Source: Bought]
14) Black Beauty. Anna Sewell. 1877. 245 pages. [Source: Bought]
15) Stand There! She Shouted: The Invincible Photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. 2014. Candlewick. 80 pages. [Source: Review copy]
16) Is He Popenjoy? Anthony Trollope. 1878/1993. Penguin. 632 pages. [Source: Bought]
17 A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens. 1843. 96 pages. [Source: Bought] 
18) Jane Eyre. Charlotte Bronte. 1847.  300 pages. [Source: Own]
19) The Story of the Treasure Seekers. E. Nesbit. 1899. Puffin. 250 pages. [Source: Bought]
20)  Lark Rise to Candleford. Flora Thompson. 1943. 537 pages. [Source: Bought]

What I recommend to fellow participants, perhaps those new to Victorian literature!

One of the first books I'd recommend is Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat. It is wonderful. It is funny. It is short! Plus if you like his style, there are a handful more books to read including Three Men on the Bummel.

Another one I'm quick to recommend is George MacDonald's The Light Princess. For anyone who enjoys fairy tales or spins on fairy tales, this one is a MUST. It is charming in all the right ways. And it's a very quick read. For those who think that Victorian literature means heavy literature, think again!!!

The Dead Witness: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Detective Stories. Edited by Michael Sims. I'm recommending this collection of Victorian short stories because one can pick and choose and skim. It's not a book you'd have to feel obligated to read cover to cover. I'm recommending it to those with a love of mysteries and detective fiction, obviously. I really enjoyed this one when I read it, read a lot of new-to-me authors.

For those that really want a movie to watch along with what they read...I recommend North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, The Warden and Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope. I love, love, love the adaptation of North and South with Richard Armitage!!! And The Barchester Chronicles are very, very fun!!!

And my list would not be complete, could not be complete without a mention of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte!

My long, long, list of potential reads:

Bearded Victorians I hope to read in 2014:

Anthony Trollope
I'd love to finish the Palliser series:
  • The Eustace Diamonds (1873)
  • Phineas Redux (1874)
  • The Prime Minister (1876)
  • The Duke's Children (1880)
I'm really tempted to reread some Trollope favorites:
  • Lady Anna (1874)
  • He Knew He Was Right (1879)
Charles Dickens
I am torn between wanting to read Dickens chronologically which would mean reading Sketches by Boz (1836) before beginning Pickwick Papers (1837)...OR just indulging in a rereading of my favorites, which would mean Our Mutual Friend (1864-5) and possibly Bleak House (1852-3)...OR randomly tackling those I haven't read yet, which would mean Martin Chuzzlewit (1843-4), or A Tale of Two Cities (1859).

Wilkie Collins
I'd love to read:
  • The Law and the Lady (1875)
  • No Name (1862)
  • The Dead Secret (1856)
I'd really love to reread:
  • Armadale (1866)
  • Man and Wife (1870)
  • The Woman in White (1860)
Women Authors
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (1847)
  • Shirley by Charlotte Bronte (1849)
  • Vilette by Charlotte Bronte (1853)
  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (1854-5)
  • Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell (1863)
  • Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (1865)
  • Adam Bede by George Eliot (1859)
  • Miss Marjoribanks by Margaret Oliphant (1866)
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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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:

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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.

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