Saturday, December 24, 2011

Victorian Challenge 2012

Sorry for the double posting, but I accidentally clicked on publish instead of save as a draft.  Oh well.

I didn't mean to sign up for more challenges, but I love the Victorians, how could I resist?  This challenge, hosted by Laura at Laura's Reviews, is pretty easy by my standards:  two to six Victorian novels (or adaptations) are to be read, watched, or listened to.  I have stacks of Victorian novels on the TBR shelves, and quite a few in the DVD cabinet I still haven't watched.  I could easily complete this challenge by watching BBC adaptations alone, but that would be cheating.

According to my Goodreads 2011 list, I read seven Victorian novels this past year (strictly counting anything that was published in Victorian England; I'm not counting authors from any other country, so that means Zola is out).  Here's what I read:
  • Reuben Sachs by Amy Levy
  • Villette by Charlotte Bronte
  • Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens
  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
Plus I read half of Daniel Deronda by George Eliot before I got distracted.   So I think I can easily watch, read, or listen to six Victorians next year.  Here's my tentative list:

1.  Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens -- already signed up for a group read for this one.

2.  Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens -- there's going to be a lot of Dickens obsession next year as it's the 200th anniversary of his birth.  Two Dickens doorstoppers in one year would be quite an achievement.

3.  The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy -- I'm hoping to get this on audiobook.  I've heard the version narrated by Alan Rickman is brilliant.

4.  Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope -- I loved Barchester Towers and it's been a whole year since I finished it, so it's time for more Trollope.

5.  The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith -- I've heard this is hilarious.  Plus I'm intrigued to read something by a writer named Weedon. And it's really short, a nice change from most of those Victorian chunksters.

6.  The Odd Women OR New Grub Street by George Gissing -- I've read a lot of good things about Gissing and got both of these last years from Paperback Swap.  I'd like to expand beyond Dickens, Trollope, and Hardy.

Besides these six novels, I own BBC adaptations of The Barchester Chronicles (starring Alan Rickman!), Daniel Deronda, and He Knew He Was Right.  Plus, I know with the Dickens bicentenary there are two new adaptations of Great Expectations coming to TV and theaters.   Maybe I'll even make it to Galveston for Dickens on the Strand next December!


  1. Interesting list. I had an unhappy interlude with Trollope this year, but I usually enjoy the Victorians. I'm planning to read more Gaskell this year! Good luck with the challenge, and Happy Holidays!

  2. I really hope you like Return of the Native!

  3. Col -- I've only read three Trollopes so far. I've loved The Way We Live Now and Barchester Towers, and The Warden was pretty good -- I've heard it's the least good of the series, but it's kind of necessary to get the setup of Barchester.

    Gaskell is wonderful, my favorites are Wives & Daughters and North and South. Cranford's good but it's a little slow.

    Amanda -- I am determined to give Hardy another try. And I adore Rickman, so I'm going to request the audio via ILL.

  4. There are only a few challenges I usually sign up for but you never know, this one would fit in with my reading plans. And thanks to your recommendation I've picked up an Everyman's Library edition of The Old Wives' Tale from 1966.

    Enjoy making those reading lists and Merry Christmas!

  5. Hmmm. I could do this one, and I could definitely do the one below. That's kind of horrible in a good way!

    I hope you have a happy holiday and a very happy new year. It's been nice to meet you this year.

    PS In my humble opinion, Alan Rickman would be delicious reading the phone book, but he was a perfect Slope. :)

  6. I loved North and South! I am now listening to it on audio and enjoying that as well. Love your new list--I'd like to read Trollope next year and have even pulled out The Warden in anticipation. Sounds like a fun challenge!

  7. This challenge and the other one you mention would fit very well with my reading and with my TBR pile. I didn't try any challenges this year, and now suddenly I find myself wanting to try all these.

    Dickens on the Strand is such fun, like a family-friendly Mardi Gras (I'm in Houston but take every chance I can to get to Galveston).

  8. Darlene -- I can't tell you how many times I've recommended The Old Wives' Tale. It was just wonderful and I'm so sad it's neglected. I've just gotten another Arnold Bennett, Anna of the Five Towns, via Paperback Swap, so I hope it's just as good.

    Audrey -- thanks for reading my blog! And I'm hoping to watch Rickman in Barchester Towers this week, maybe even tonight as my mother's visiting. She's the one who got me interested in Trollope in the first place so it should be fun to watch together.

    Danielle -- ooh, North and South on audio! I hope the reader is good. I've heard Richard Armitage who plays John Thornton also narrates audiobooks, but I haven't listened to any of them.

    LIsa -- I'm dying to go Galveston this year, but I'm also hoping to do the Jane Austen society meeting which is in New York! I hope I can squeeze in both!

  9. I think you'll really enjoy Diary of a Nobody. If you think Weedon is a good name what about Lupin as a male character?!

  10. Anything with Alan Rickman is automatically fantastic, don't you think? :)

    Even though I have a love/hate relationship with Dickens, I am excited for all the focus on his work this coming year. I have plans to read three of this books this year. I also ordered a book about his life and world (it should get here tomorrow-can't wait to look through it).

    (I love the Victorians. They might be my favorite!)

  11. Katrina -- I've heard Diary of a Nobody is very silly, which might be a nice change from the melodrama of some of the Victorians. And I think Lupin is a great name!

    Allie -- I agree, if Rickman narrated an audiobook of the English dictionary I would listen to it!


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