VICTOBER TBR

Along with being the spookiest time of the year October is also for reading all things Victorian. One of my bookish goals this year was to read more classics since I used to read a lot more of them before I had kids. And my oldest is ten so its been a DECADE since I read more than one classic in a year. I already participated in #Classicsathon this year but when I heard about this readathon I couldn’t pass up another opportunity to read some more classics. To make sure that what I picked to read was truly Victorian I looked up this list on Goodreads and I was surprised by how many of these I already own. Also, just because I didn’t know what the actual definition of Victorian literature was, it is a book that was written when Queen Victoria reigned, 1837-1901. Most of the popular classics that we think of were written in this time so this is a pretty easy readathon to take part in. There are five challenges for this readathon and two group plays by Oscar Wilde. I don’t think I will be participating in the group read but if you want to know more about it and all the readathon info here is the link to the Goodreads group.

General Challenge: Read by candlelight

This is an easy one and one that can be done throughout the month

Lucy’s Challenge: Read an underrated Victorian book from the same year as your favorite Victorian classic

*This one I’m bending this challenge a little because my favorite classic is Little Women which was written in the Victorian era but I can’t find anything underrated that I want to read from that year. So I just decided to pick any underrated Victorian novel and that would be a good substitute.

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When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the north of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of the local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man, John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction.

Katie’s challenge: Read a Victorian book under 250 pages and/or over 500 pages

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A young governess falls in love with her employer in this classic coming-of-age tale set in nineteenth-century England.

Kate’s challenge: Reread a Victorian book

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Generations of readers young and old, male and female, have fallen in love with the March sisters of Louisa May Alcott’s most popular and enduring novel, Little Women. Here are talented tomboy and author-to-be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic, spoiled Amy, united in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Civil War.

Ange’s challenge: Read a book by a Victorian female author (bonus: one that’s new to you)

*I can’t believe I’ve never read this book!!

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An unpolished and devastating epic of childhood playmates who grow into soul mates, Wuthering Heights revolves around the willfully childish Catherine and the dark Heathcliff, who, in the words of Charlotte Bronte, “exemplifies the effects which a life of continued injustice and hard usage may produce on a naturally perverse, vindictive, and inexorable disposition.” Heathcliff and Cathy believe they’re destines to love each other forever. But when cruelty and snobbery separate them, their untamed emotions literally consume them.

Set amid the wild and stormy Yorkshire moors, Wuthering Heights is widely regarded as the most original tale of thwarted desire and heartbreak in the English language.

 

I would love to read all four of these books this month but realistically I will be happy if I can get through one of these. I also want to read all my thrillers I have planned so we will see how much I am able to actually to read by the end of the month.

~Cassie

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

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Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: December 1817

Pages: 236

Genre: Classic, Romance

Rating: 5/5

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Northanger Abby is about Catherine who goes on vacation with her neighbors, the Allen’s, to Bath and while there she meets some new people. One is a family friend of her brother, the Thorpe’s , and the other is the Tilney family. In the Thorpe’s she finds a close friend, Isabella and her aggressive older brother, John. In the Tilney’s she meets Henry and his sister Eleanor. The story follows along with Catherine’s adventures with all four of these new friends. The latter part of the novel is about Catherine traveling with the Tilney’s to have an extended visit at their home, Northanger Abbey.

I went into this book not really knowing what it was about and I was pleasantly surprised to realize that it was a sweet little romance. Catherine and Henry were so cute together and it is always fun to read a classic and be reminded of how different things were then between men and women. But at the same time there are so many things that are similar. The feeling of having a crush and being excited to see them are universal throughout history. Also universal is how frustrating and annoying an aggressive male can be who thinks that there is no way that you won’t like him. Another theme of this book is friendship. It was interesting to see how Catherine’s friendship with Isabella developed through the story especially in comparison to her friendship with Eleanor.

Some people describe Northanger Abbey as being gothic and creepy. There are definitely some veins of that throughout the story (mostly towards the end) but I don’t think there is enough to qualify as such. However, it probably was considered gothic at the time it was written, the late 1700’s. I have previously read two other Jane Austen books before but I think this one has to be my favorite. I plan on reading more of course but I really enjoyed the character of Catherine a lot. I also liked how Austen chose to write this book with a satirical approach. A lot of the commentary she made on social issues and on relationships  still pertain to now.

Austen has given us a coming of age contemporary romance that I think translates very well into our world  today. If you enjoy romance and are hesitant to pick up a classic I highly recommend this book to you. Not only is it short but it is very well written and has all the drama you could need.

~Cassie

#Classicsathon wrap up

This was a successful month of reading for me. I was able to read a lot of books and five of them were classics. If you remember the only goal of #Classicsathon was to read one classic during the month of August. All of the classics are on the shorter side but I’m still happy to have been able to read more than a few of them.

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The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This is the sweetest children’s book.  The adventure part of the story is perfect for kids and all the deeper meanings that can be read into the Little Prince are perfect for adults. I wasn’t expecting the end of this book to deal with grief and it brought me to tears.

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The Pearl by John Steinbeck

This book follows the story of Kino, his wife Juana and their baby boy. One day Kino finds a massive pearl and the book is all about the things that happen to them afterward. I liked the insight into how the poor people like Kino lived versus how the rich people in the village lived. The Pearl also perfectly captures the dark side of wealth, privilege, and greed. I was not prepared for how dark this book was and wow that ending was something that I never saw coming.

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Oz: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Eric Shanower

Unfortunately, I didn’t like this graphic novel adaptation of The Wizard of Oz. This is adapted from the book series and not the movie so I did find it interesting the differences between the two. I was previously only familiar with the movie and I have to say that I like that version the best. Although I do want to give the actual book a try in the future and see if my opinion changes. The writing in this graphic novel was pretty juvenile and I would have to take breaks while reading because I could feel myself getting annoyed. Also, the art in this was not the best. When the action scenes were happening it was hard to see what was happening because of how dark it was. (Very reminiscent of the Battle of Winterfell.) The art was also gothic and dark compared to how young the writing was. I definitely would have appreciated the art more if there wasn’t such a disconnect with the writing.

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Animal Farm by George Orwell

While reading this book I was reminded of how dangerous it is to have a leader with unchecked power.  In Animal Farm there is a saying, “Four legs bad. Two legs good.” To translate that to today it would be “Republicans bad. Democrats good.” This book also reminds us that while someone might start off with a better way of doing things, if they are in the position where no one is making sure that they are doing right by their people it will never end well. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and history has consistently proven that true time and time again.

~Cassie

 

#Classicsathon

August is the start of the #Classicsathon and I am happy to be participating this year. This is a super chill readathon meant to give some love to classics. This readathon was started by lucythereader over on Youtube and I will leave the link to her announcement video right here if you want some more information. The only challenge is to read at least one book. I feel like this couldn’t have come at a better time for me because of my current slump. I’m also currently reading a classic as part of my Fox Book Club so I know that I will for sure win this readathon.  I did go through and pick some books off my shelf and from my library that I hope to read this month and I will be sharing them below. Most of them are on the smaller side so I hope I can knock a few of these off my list.

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Dashing young Edmond Dantès has everything. He is engaged to a beautiful woman, is about to become the captain of a ship, and is well liked by almost everyone. But his perfect life is shattered when he is framed by a jealous rival and thrown into a dark prison cell for 14 years.

The greatest tale of betrayal, adventure, and revenge ever written, The Count of Monte Cristo continues to dazzle readers with its thrilling and memorable scenes, including Dantès’s miraculous escape from prison, his amazing discovery of a vast hidden treasure, and his transformation into the mysterious and wealthy Count of Monte Cristo—a man whose astonishing thirst for vengeance is as cruel as it is just.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

*This is the book that I am currently reading. I am almost half way through and really enjoying it. Unfortunately this is an abridged edition which I didn’t know when I bought it. I do appreciate the added notes and essays that give a better understanding of Dumas as well as what was happening historically during his life. I have decided that I won’t be rating this version since it is not the complete book and will hopefully pick up a beautiful edition sometime in the future to read.

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Moral allegory and spiritual autobiography, The Little Prince is the most translated book in the French language. With a timeless charm it tells the story of a little boy who leaves the safety of his own tiny planet to travel the universe, learning the vagaries of adult behaviour through a series of extraordinary encounters. His personal odyssey culminates in a voyage to Earth and further adventures.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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‘In one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop… There, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth, stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white’

The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright’s eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter becomes embroiled in the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his ‘charming’ friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons, and poison. Pursuing questions of identity and insanity along the paths and corridors of English country houses and the madhouse, The Woman in White is the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

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First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, the lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

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Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, situated on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before; of the intense relationship between the gypsy foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw; and how Catherine, forced to choose between passionate, tortured Heathcliff and gentle, well-bred Edgar Linton, surrendered to the expectations of her class. As Heathcliff’s bitterness and vengeance at his betrayal is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

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Like his father and grandfather before him, Kino is a poor diver, gathering pearls from the gulf beds that once brought great wealth to the kings of Spain and now provide Kino, Juana, and their infant son with meager subsistence. Then, on a day like any other, Kino emerges from the sea with a pearl as large as a sea gull’s egg, as “perfect as the moon.” With the pearl comes hope, the promise of comfort and of security…

A story of classic simplicity, based on a Mexican folk tale, The Pearl explores the secrets of man’s nature, greed, the darkest depths of evil, and the luminous possibilities of love.

The Pearl by John Steinbeck

~Cassie