Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Reading England 2016 Reading Challenge


o at Behold the Stars is hosting another year of Reading England.  There are two reading challenge options and several different levels.  I know a few books I would like to read next year that are set in England; therefore, I will aim for level two.  Here are my choices:

Far From the Madding Crowd (Dorset/Wessex) - Thomas Hardy

North and South (Lancashire) - Elizabeth Gaskell

A Room of One's Own and/or Night and Day (London) - Virginia Woolf

Mansfield Park (North Hampshire) - Jane Austen, 

A Room With a View (Surrey) - E. M. Forster

The Time Machine  (near London) - H. G. Wells

A Clockwork Orange (future England) - Anthony Burgess

For rules on this reading challenge, go HERE.

21 comments:

  1. Emma is "better" (according to me and Harold Bloom) than Mansfield Park (although Vladimir Nabokov wrote a new analysis of MP), and my choice of a Dickens novel would be Bleak House, widely regarded as his masterpiece, but I haven't read enough Dickens to make a sensible choice; as for Hardy, I simply cannot warm up to the fellow.

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    1. Thank you, thank you! I've heard a lot of good about Bleak House.

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  2. Postscript:
    FYI --
    http://beyondeastrodredux.blogspot.com/2015/12/updated-and-revised-reading-england-2016.html

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  3. I just finished reading both Emma and Mansfield Park and I must say I prefer the former, although the latter has its merits as well. I think you'd really enjoy David Copperfield. It's a little bit different Dickens, so you probably won't overdose reading it, and it's quite charming as well. I haven't read Nicolas Nickleby yet. I find Forester weird but often in a good way and as for Woolf ..... well, I always enjoy her writing. I probably haven't been much help, but there you go! ;-)

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    1. Thank you very much. I can't imagine not overdosing on Dickens, especially with the size of David Copperfield; but I will take your word on it since I've not read it. Nonetheless, I look forward to reading it at some point.

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  4. A Room of One's Own is more like a long essay, so that's a pretty quick read. I like both Emma and Mansfield Park. I think Mansfield Park is more subtle and deeper than Emma, so it takes a bit more work on the part of the reader. Both are worthy reads though! I love, love, love David Copperfield and have read it multiple times. But alas, I have never gotten through NN. I just finished reading Howard's End by Forster and I have to say it turned me off to him. I think it might be the case that the movies made from his novels are better than the actual novels themselves. My 2 cents!

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    1. Thanks, Faith!

      Howards End was my first Forster, and then I watched the movie. I really loved Forster's writing style and I thought the movie was well done (keeping w/ the book). I guess I have to see with his other works how I feel about him.

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  5. In all honesty? I feel that you'd like Mansfield Park more than Emma. I think Mansfield Park is her least popular novel, but I believe it's underrated. It's quite good, but not in an entertaining way. I strongly recommend the Woolf, if for no other reason than that you are on a quest, and it is foundational.

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    1. I am definitely planning to read all the Austen's and Woolf's that I can. So thanks for your input.

      And I do understand what you mean. Good to know.

      Thanks!

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  6. Ha -- "good, but not in an entertaining way." Only you would know what that means! And maybe a lit professor. It doesn't sound like much of a sale otherwise. :P

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  7. Between the two, I found Emma to be more of a "Regency romance" page-turner, though Mansfield Park has just as good a plot and characters (if not better). Haven't read David Copperfield, but I really liked Nicholas Nickleby (depressing though).

    Far From the Madding Crowd is really good - I think you won't regret it! :)

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    1. Thanks, MH, for your thoughts.

      I cannot wait to read Far From the Madding Crowd.

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  8. I love watching these reading challenges that you participate in and your reading lists have greatly inspired me. I've read more classics in the last year than I probably did in the last 5 years:) It helps that many of the older texts are available online as a free pdf that I can read at work on my lunch breaks. I would love to do a reading challenge with my 10 year old daughter - do you know of anyone hosting a challenge aimed at that age range?

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    1. I don't know of any; however, if you can find a great reading list for her reading level, you can organize your own reading challenge with her. There are a lot of reading lists online for young people. Also, if you can get a copy of Susan Wise Bauer's The Well-Trained Mind, she extensive and very ambitious reading lists for children from K-12 that you can follow.

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    2. Thanks for the ideas!

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  9. I second Far From the Madding Crowd -- I read it this year and loved it (also a great movie adaptation came out this year!). I'd also recommend A Room With a View. By the way, Jane Austen's Emma actually takes place in Surrey -- Highbury is the name of the village, but it's actually fictional! I just finished rereading it and they mention several times that it takes place in Surrey.

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    1. Karen, I fell in love w/ the movie version, which is why I want to read the book. Glad to hear you liked it.

      The weird thing about Emma is that I checked two sources for the setting, and they named it as Highbury; but I suppose Surrey is just as fine. Like you said, "It's fictional."

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  10. I want to read one of the Dickens' books, so I pick one of those =) I want to read north and South, so maybe we can do them in book club! =)

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    1. I think N & S would be a great choice!

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  11. Oooooh, I just read North and South this year and loved it. And A Room with a View is one of my absolute favorite books.

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    1. Oh, good, b/c I am excited about reading them.

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