Monday, January 13, 2020

2020 Victorian Reading Challenge


Becky at Becky's Book Reviews is hosting another Victorian Reading Challenge and the way she's organized it is so fun and interesting I can't pass it up. There are two levels: the basic level is quarterly, just read one Victorian every three months -- easy peasy! The advanced level is still pretty easy, with eleven themed months and one bonus theme. And there's a lot of flexibility with the months, which is great since so many Victorians are real doorstoppers.

Here are the themes and some possible books that would fit the challenge:



JANUARY/FEBRUARY: Journeys and Travels: The Time Machine by H. G. Wells (can also count this as my Genre Classic for the Back to the Classics Challenge).




FEBRUARY/MARCH: Love and Marriage: Man and Wife by Wilkie Collins. Sounds super-dramatic and sensationalist, which is always fun.



MARCH/APRIL: Second Chances. Maybe Daniel Deronda by George Eliot (I can also count this for my Abandoned Classic for the Back to the Classics Challenge). I got stuck about halfway through, maybe I should watch the miniseries and it will inspire me to actually finish the book. Or Les Miserables if I can finish it in time.



APRIL/MAY: Names as Titles: Victorian authors named a lot of books after people! Maybe Basil by Wilkie Collins or a bunch of others by Mary Elizabeth Braddon. There's also The Real Charlotte (also from my Back to the Classics list!)


MAY/JUNE: Long Title or Long Subtitle. How about Harry Heathcote of Gangoil: A Tale of Australian Bushlife ? That's a long title, even for Anthony Trollope. There's also The Struggles of Brown, Jones and Robinson by One of the Firm and The Golden Lion of Grandpere. All of these are fairly obscure and there's not a single decent cover image online for any of them. At least they're all fairly short for Trollope.




JUNE/JULY: Adaptations. The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy. There's a movie adaptation with Rufus Sewell, need I say more?


JULY/AUGUST: Favorite Authors, New-to-Me Titles.  Probably Elizabeth Gaskell, there are a few novellas and minor works that I haven't read yet.


AUGUST/SEPTEMBER: Back to School: I didn't have many Victorians assigned in college and high school, which is why I've been reading so many as an adult. My choices are pretty limited so I'd have to go with Jane Eyre or Great Expectations. Or maybe The Awakening by Kate Chopin -- I didn't read it in school but I think it should be included in school curriculum.





SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER: Crime or True Crime. There are so many great nonfiction books that fulfill this category. I've been meaning to read The Five by Hallie Rubenhold.




OCTOBER/NOVEMBER: Home and Family. Period Piece by Gwen Raverat, a memoir of her Victorian childhood (she was a granddaughter of Dickens); also A London Family, an omnibus by Molly Hughes. I've read the first volume but never got around to finishing the last two. I meant to read both of these last year for the TBR Pile Challenge but didn't finish that one either.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER: Comfort Reads. Pretty much anything by Anthony Trollope fits this category, or maybe Mrs. Oliphant. I loved Miss Marjoribanks and would love to read more in her Carlingford series.


SUPER-BONUS: Bearded Authors. How to choose? I think Trollope has the most impressive beard of the Victorians. Maybe that's a good month to read his biography.


Anthony Trollope
Anyone else signing up for this challenge? What other Victorian novels and novelists do you recommend? And which novelist has the best beard?

10 comments:

  1. This is a really fun idea. I'm not participating, but Becky put a great spin on the reading challenge.
    Side note: I'm happy to learn there is a film version for The Woodlanders. That is always a treat after reading the book.

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    1. I know nothing about The Woodlanders and am tempted to read it and watch the movie right away!

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  2. I am not in the challenge but have chosen The Prime Minister by Anthony Trollope as my current read. Already by page 50 he has introduced several intriguing characters to us, including a young man who wants to marry a certain young lady. Love his novels.

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    1. LOVE Trollope! I'm currently rereading The American Senator with an online Trollope group. Trollope rarely disappoints, I only wish there were more than 47 novels.

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  3. I love the bearded author category, ha! :D

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    1. They took beards pretty seriously in those days!

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  4. Trollope's beard is indeed impressive!

    I am not participating but I am excited about the two Wilkie Collins' titles you chose. I haven't read either and want to know your opinion on them.

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    1. I don't know anything about those two except there was a TV adaptation of Basil from the late 1990s starring Christian Slater. He sounds terribly miscast so it could be awful, I will have to try and track down a copy.

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  5. So glad you're joining in the challenge! I love that you made a list of books ;) I haven't done that yet. Just a vague idea of what I'll be reading!

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  6. If I had time I would love to do this challenge! Maybe another year... You can't go wrong with reading The Five. It is such a fascinating and insightful book. One of my favorites from last year.

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