Thursday, December 2, 2010

Vic Lit 101

Searching for books to read in this challenge will be just as much fun as the actual reading of them. And since I am a sucker for a lovely book cover I will take my time to find just the right title/cover/theme combination to complete my Victorian Literature reading experience. A couple of authors that probably won't make the list are Jane Austen - too girly, and Thomas Hardy - too glum. I read Mayor of Casterbridge recently and whooee was that ever depressing. I didn't much like Tess either, so I'm not sure if I should give him another chance or what. But I may reconsider should I come across a convincing argument for another of his titles. There seems to be a fair bit of relationship drama and romance of the daytime soap variety in Victorian literature which kind of turns me off. Some preliminary research is probably in order before I commit to a book of interest, but that's how I roll anyway. And I'm not one to finish a book at all costs either; life is just too short to slog through a wordy tome that's not speaking to me on some level. I don't have to love it; I just want to at least appreciate it, otherwise I'm putting the book away and moving on. 

The really cool exciting Victorian era books I read this year  -Frankenstein, Dracula, Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde- are the kind I'd like to match with some new equally splendid titles for next year, hopefully bound within a handsome and lovely cover.  

Off the top of my head, a working list might look like this:

Island of Dr. Moreau - H. G. Wells (need to find)
The Invisible Man - H.G. Wells (need to find)
The Turn of the Screw - Henry James (already on my shelf) 
Gothic Tales - Elizabeth Gaskell (need to find)
Tales of Mystery and Imagination - Edgar Allen Poe (already on my shelf)
Middlemarch - George Eliot (have audiobook but not sure if it's too soap-ish)
Vilette - Charlotte Bronte (need to find and ditto)
The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson (ditto)
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (have audio book and ditto)

I want an absorbing story with old world settings, and customs, and characters. I want to be provoked and inspired and spooked and beguiled. I want to feel my neurons firing. I want a book that will draw me in and thrill me with its literary cunning. I want to sink into my reading chair and not resurface until I'm completely exhausted. I want an awesome reading experience, and I think the Victorians can do this for me.


BookQuoter said...

I hope you give Thomas Hardy's book Far from the Madding Crowd a try. I thought it was awesome.

I have heard about Woman in White by Wilkie Collins and might add it to my list. So far, I am thinking Middlemarch and Dracula also.

I am having fun already, you are so right.

Trish said...

I've pulled Far From the Madding Crowd off the shelf a couple of times because I so love the title, but then lose my nerve and put it back . . . I might finally give it a try this next year though.

Yes, Wilkie Collins! His books look good and Gothic, don't they? He's an author I know nothing about but would like to try. I'll probably add him to my list as well.

Nomad said...

Oliver Twist, Tom Sawyer, (just read it to R and was utterly charmed) how about Wuthering Heights, and Rebecca. Read Anna Karenina...would not go there....good heavens already get on with the story!!!! Good luck!
Nomad XOX

Trish said...

Wuthering Heights and Rebecca are definite possibilities. Oliver Twist and Tom Sawyer I've already read, and yeah, I hear you on Anna Karenina . . . gah!

Enbrethiliel said...


I'm doing this challenge, too. =)

One title we have in common is The Invisible Man. But you've already read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Dracula, which are on my list for next year.

Well, I might sneak in some Edgar Allan Poe, too. The Murders in the Rue Morgue has always seemed tantalising!

Trish said...

Sounds like we might have the same taste in books ;)

I'll be curious to hear how you like Dracula and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. They were good and creepy!

Avid_Reader said...

I'm planning on reading one of George Eliot's works for the challenge, too, and Middlemarch may be the one I go with.

I'm really looking forward seeing what everyone else reads!

Christina said...

Middlemarch is also on my list as well as some of Gaskell's books. Good luck with the challenge!

Trish said...

Eliot and Gaskell are authors I've never read, so I am quite curious to see whether I like them or not.

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I signed up for this challenge, too!!