Saturday, 30 November 2013

Books I've Read: Victorians, Time Travelers, and a powerful Janeite tendency (Oct - Nov 2013)

Ever since I started keeping a list of all the novels, plays, and collections of poetry I've been reading, I found that it acts as a wonderful encouragement for reading more. Perhaps it's because of my eternal need to make lists combined with my desire to make everything bigger and better, but whatever the reason it's definitely interesting to look back on. My memory often doesn't play ball so the list serves as a great quick recap.

Like many others, I love knowing what other people have been reading, partly because I'm nosy, and partly because it often gives me ideas for things I might like to read. With this in mind I thought I'd share with you the books I've explored over the last two months. I'll probably make this a recurring feature on my blog - we shall see what happens there. So without further delay...

For purposes of research I've devoured quite a few texts set around the sixteenth century. We have Sacred Treason by James Forrester, and a delightful book called The Silent Woman, written by Edward Marston. However, most of the books I've read, I must confess, have been set - though not written - during the Victorian period. Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper is a personal favourite, which mixes youth and poverty in a thrilling tale that'll surely break your heart.

In this same category there's the Philippa Pearce classic Tom's Might Garden, which is wonderful and I should confess my shame that it's taken me this long to read it. I fully intend to seek out an adaptation to watch! Tales of Terror from the Tunnel's Mouth by Chris Priestley was also a thrill, and extremely disturbing even though it's a children's book!

It's thanks to a heavy workload filled with stuffy textbooks that I thought it was best to read lighter fiction, and, as you'll already be able to tell, children's and teenage fiction. With this we also have two books by Jacqueline Wilson: Queenie and Emerald Star. Wilson is the very reason I read and write - she took me through my childhood and teenage years, something for which I will always be eternally grateful. However, around the publication of Love Lessons I stopped reading her work - I was growing up. It was to be expected.  I've made a pact with myself though to catch up with her novels, and keep up to date with her work. You can expect to see her name mentioned frequently in these blogposts!

I finally got round to reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and the Chamber of Secrets! J.K. Rowling certainly has an interesting writing style, admirable. I'll look forward to reading the other four (I've already read the seventh).

The only other general fiction I've read over the last two months is Angels of Destruction by Keith Donohue. I've otherwise  been focusing on set texts for university. Shakespeare's works include Othello, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Twelfth Night. I've never been the biggest fan of Shakespeare and I can't say I ever will be, but some of his plays are reasonably interesting.

And, finally, it is here that I announce that I am great risk of becoming a Janeite. I've had to suppress this desire before, but now it's back and fighting hard. The delights of a new Jane Austen module at university has brought cause to read Northanger Abbey (my favourite of Austen favourites!), Sense and Sensibility (not a favourite!!), Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Emma. Next month I'll be rereading her other major novel, which I've previously enjoyed, so I'm looking forward to that one. My essay for the Austen assignment focused on Northanger Abbey so I've also been reading a lot of textbooks and essays about Austen. Let me tell you: this does nothing in helping me ease my desire to don Regency attire and attend great balls in Bath.

Speaking of great balls, I've, as ever, been reading lots of Byron. My current focuses just now lie around his wedding (for my dissertation) and his childhood, specifically his time spent around Mary Chaworth. Never could we have enough Byron...

The final of the books is Doctor Who: Winner Takes all by Jacqueline Raynor. I'd not read a Doctor Who novel in about four years, so this was a gripping delight, and one I' definitely recommend. Raynor really captures the essence of Eccleston's Doctor.

And there we have it! Seventeen novels over the last two months. I'll aim to beat that by the end of January, so do make sure you pop back to see if I've succeeded! For now, I'll leave you with images of some of my favourite covers from those mentioned above.

Amy x

The Silent Woman by Edward Marston
Doctor Who: Winner Takes All by Jacqueline Rayner
Emerald Star by Jacqueline Wilson
Jane Austen: The Life and Times of the World's Favourite Author by Charles Jennings