Thursday, November 27, 2014

Reading England 2015 Challenge


As usual, I have no business signing up for any challenges since I can't even write a decent blog post for two whole months, but o from Behold the Stars is hosting one that's so intriguing, I can't resist (and yes, I'm still signing up for the 2015 TBR Pile Challenge.  More on that later).

Anyway, it's a Reading England Challenge for 2015.  Basically, the idea is to read different books set in the different counties of England.  I have about ninety books on my TBR shelves that I've classified as Brit Lit, so there have to be some I can use, right?  

Details of the challenge are here, but I'm signing up for level 2, four to six counties. Here are some possible selections (and if I have the appropriate counties wrong, please let me know.) I'm also open to suggestions.

I'm trying to limit my choices to classic books.  Here's what I've come up with so far from the TBR shelves and other books on my radar:

Buckinghamshire:  Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson

Cornwall:  Frenchman's Creek by Daphne du Maurier
The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier


Cumbria: Lady Anna by Anthony Trollope

Devon:  A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy

Dorset: Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy

Kent: Aurora Floyd by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham

Lancashire:  Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
London:   New Grub Street by George Gissing
Liza of Lambeth by W. Somerset Maugham

Norfolk:  Armadale by Wilkie Collins

Somerset:  No Name by Wilkie Collins
The Belton Estate by Anthony Trollope
Aunts Aren't Gentlemen by P. G. Wodehouse

Yorkshire:  Sylvia’s Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell
Of course I have lots more books by Trollope on the TBR shelves, but a bunch of them are the Palliser novels which I think take place mostly in London, plus some Irish novels.  One could do an entire challenge of novels set in London, and I think the idea is to spread the reads out amongst various counties.  

Any other suggestions?  

15 comments:

  1. What a great idea! I love your list, lots of favourites there. It's interesting that I wouldn't have known where several of the books were set. Unless they're somewhere like Cornwall or Yorkshire or London, the settings don't often stand out.

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    1. I googled most of the locations by searching for "Novels set in Dorset" or whatever county I was looking for. I didn't want to read the novel synopses because I hate spoilers.

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  2. They should include Barsetshire for the challenge!

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  3. Glad you're joining! And thanks for the idea of Mary Barton for Lancashire - I missed that one :)

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    1. I know it's set in Manchester, so I just picked Lancashire. I think Manchester is technically in more than one county now.

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  4. I'm happy to see that you're joining the challenge too, Karen! It's my first challenge for the year. I sympathize with your dearth of blog posts. I've been feeling the same way. I need to get some of my drafts completed before they become mountains that seem too hard to climb.

    Happy English county reading!

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    1. I don't think I'll even bother going back to books I finished the past two months. It's too hard to remember that long ago!

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  5. I see you are going to travel a lot next year.... :))
    Mary Barton...I've been wanting to read this. Let me know your thoughts when you've read it. ;)

    P.S. Are you going to host another Back to the Classics challenge next year?

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    1. Still thinking about Back to the Classics, hardly any one has posted wrap-ups. Of course, there's another whole month to go! I need to post a reminder to see how many people are interested. I do have some great ideas for new categories!

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  6. Oooh, this is very tempting! I'll have to consider joining though next year I plan to focus on 19th century American classics.

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    1. 19th Century Americans. . . all I can think of is Hawthorne! I do have two books by Mark Twain on the TBR shelves and I'm really hoping to read at least one this year.

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  7. I suggest Arnold Bennett's Clayhanger series, set in the English Midlands, Stoke-on-Trent, sometimes known as 'the Potteries', but I think it's the Staffordshire area.

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    1. I've read The Old Wives' Tale, which I really loved, and Anna of the Five Towns, which was pretty good too. I also have The Grand Babylon Hotel but I think it's set in London. I'll have to look for the Clayhanger books, thanks!

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  8. Brilliant idea. I must read The House on the Strand.

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