Victober 2021

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Victober is upon us. Last year I so enjoyed participating in the Victorian-themed reading challenge that I plan to do so again this year. I haven’t decided the books or stories yet, but if you have ideas feel free to share them in the comments.

What is Victober? Victorian October is about reading Victorian literature all month long. It was created by co-hosts Katie at Books and ThingsKate Howe and Lucy the Reader. So, for the purposes of this challenge, the definition of Victorian literature is a book written or published by a British or Irish writer, or a writer residing in Britain or Ireland, in the years 1837-1901. But I’ve decided to only read books that I own or can access from the library or Project Gutenberg. This means that I’ll alter the challenge slightly to suit my needs.

Will you participate?

THE HOSTS

Katie, Books and Things
Kate Howe
Lucy the Reader

THE 2021 CHALLENGES

1. Kate’s challenge: Read a Victorian sensation novel
2. Katie’s challenge: Read a Victorian book set in the countryside AND/OR the city
3. Lucy’s challenge: Read a Victorian book with a female main character
4. Group challenge: Read a popular Victorian book you haven’t yet read (how you define popular is up to you – could be popular now, popular on Booktube, popular in the Victorian period itself)
5. Bonus challenge: Read aloud a section of a Victorian work, or have it read aloud to you (ie, by a friend or an audiobook)

THE READALONG

Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell

Gothic Tales includes the following shorter works:
Disappearances
The Old Nurse’s Story

The Squire’s Story
The Poor Clare
The Doom of the Griffiths
Lois the Witch
The Crooked Branch
Curious, If True
The Grey Woman

Happy Reading!

xoxo, Jane

August 2021 Wrap-Up

Gari Melchers (1860-1932) Woman Reading by a Window

Hello, friends! Welcome to autumn, my all-time favorite season. I hope September finds you well.

My August reading consisted of wonderful, unputdownable books and some romantic poetry.

I listened to Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne. Audible’s version is performed by a full cast. I have no words! This is one of the funnest, most wonderful books I’ve read in a long time. I only regret that I didn’t read Jules Verne years earlier. The entire time I felt as if I too was on the adventurous race with Phileas Fogg and Passepartout. Have you read it?

Classic Love Poems by Audible is narrated by the fabulous, dreamy Richard Armitage. I won’t lie, I picked this poetry book solely because it’s narrated by Richard Armitage (aka Mr. Thornton and Sir Guy).

Elegance: The Beauty of French Fashion by Megan Hess is another one of her lovely, illustrated books. Megan Hess writes about fashion (and other non-fashion subjects) but her books always include her dreamy illustrations. I enjoyed learning about French fashions, but mostly loved what a gorgeous book I was holding in my hands. I wrote more about Megan Hess’s other books here and here.

I have a new favorite romance author, Kylie Scott. I read, back-to-back, her following books: Pause, Repeat and Lick. The books are not just plot-driven, but heavy on the emotions between the main characters. Steamy, slow-burn types of stories, if you will. Just perfect for what I look for in a romance novel. Thank you, Ms. Scott!

What’s next for September reading? I would like to re-read The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. I want to see if I can find similarities between the main characters in The Yellow Wallpaper and The Victorian Chaise-Longue.

xoxo, Jane

PS. I’m on Instagram where I post about books and tea. You should stop by and say hi.

New Book: The Literature Book by DK

I’m really enjoying my new book, The Literature Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained by DK. I love this book which is no surprise because I enjoy all the books published by DK. (Love DK!!!)

I would describe this book as bite-sized summaries and analysis of literature from 3000 BCE to present day (literally to present day: it ends with an analysis of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.). It’s not meant for helping you study. It’s just an introduction to literature for book lovers.

There are illustrations, author bios, charts, graphics and timelines to pore over. Also, since I’m a huge history buff, I appreciate the in-depth historical features. I’ve always thought studying literature should include reviewing the historical context stories are placed in. If you are a literature/history nerd like me, then this book is for you. If you are looking for something to help you pass an exam, this book is not for you. The Literature Book is for browsing, inspiration and fun learning.

Do you read books by DK?

Happy Reading!

xoxo, Jane

The Occasional Weekly Recap

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Hello, how are you on this sunny Saturday morning? By sunny, I mean that the sun is streaming through my windows. Like you, I’m mostly housebound. Though I feel very privileged for having a patio and plan to do some reading out there later this morning.

I’m currently reading Square Haunting. I love it so much that I feel overwhelmed and am reading a little at a time. It’s almost as if I don’t want the book to end…do you ever feel like that too?

Grab your cup of tea (or coffee) and keep on reading:

January, February and March 2020 Wrap-Up Part II

Small Moments of Happiness: March 2020

Thursday Reading Links #52

Pairing books with tea (The Mistress of Spices)

January, February and March 2020 Wrap-Up Part III

xoxo, Jane

 

January, February and March 2020 Wrap-Up Part III

Fragonard,_The_Reader
Read more about this lovely painting.

I read Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen for the very first time. It was so good! Of course, I kept picturing Hugh Grant and Professor Snape. I’m sure you know the plot so I won’t rehash it here, but I felt the anguish the two older Dashwood sisters and their mother must have had to relocate from the only home they’ve known to a small cottage, further away. Jane Austen must have keenly felt the unfairness of the inheriting system. I also really loved John’s awful wife. There is something to be said for mean characters. They are so entertaining. And laughable. You can read it for free here.

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The Little(r) Museums of Paris by Emma Jacobs is just what it says it is. A book about the smaller, lesser-known museums of Paris, plus it comes with illustrations. It’s really cute. One of the museums it mentions is Musée de Cluny – Musée National du Moyan Âge (National Museum of the Middle Ages). I have visited this museum before. It was part of a pass we bought from our hotel, but I’d never heard of it. When we stepped into the museum, I almost lost my mind from joy. This is the museum where the long lost unicorn tapestries are housed. This museum is a must-visit if you are in Paris. The author also gives the histories of the buildings the museums are housed in. This being Paris, you can imagine how fascinating those stories are.

Tea with Mr. Rochester by Frances Towers is a collection of short stories initially published in 1949, after the author passed away. The book I own is a loving re-issue by Persephone Books. The stories are not intertwined with each other, but they do have one thing in common: love. The stories featured are about unrequited love, young love, and happy-we-found-each-other love. For those who love a good cry, there is a love story about a soldier departing for World War I (and this being England, not coming back alive) and leaving a girl broken-hearted for the rest of her life. That story still haunts me.

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Not a book, but I also read the most recent issue of The Persephone Biannually. The magazine features articles about the books they publish, the history behind their famous endpapers and essays about their authors. I normally do not enjoy literary magazines, but this one is the exception.

And if you’re in the mood, here is Part I and Part II.

xoxo, Jane

Thursday Reading Links #52

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Discovered this wall during a social distancing walk.

Dear April,

Please be nicer to us. March was a bear.

xoxo, Jane

Congratulations, You’re Moving In with A Reader! Cute read.

A wonderful article about Maria Branwell, mother of the extraordinary Brontës.

Wild goats take over Welsh town amid coronavirus lockdown. There are pictures! The pictures will certainly make you smile.

A Bookstore of One’s Own. The New York Times on Persephone Books. (There may be a paywall.)

A nighttime routine for a better sleep. Which I’m sure we all need right now.

Thank you for stopping by. Be well, friends! xoxo, Jane

 

Things I love about reading books

Persephone Books
My beloved Persephone books.

Last week I wrote about things I notice when reading books. Today, let’s talk about what we love about reading books. Here is my list, but please chime in below with your list.

  1. Getting lost in a new world.
  2. Learning a new culture or country.
  3. Becoming reacquainted with an old character in a book series.
  4. Laughing out loud at the funny parts.
  5. Getting to know the author.
  6. Beautiful covers.
  7. Sumptuous illustrations.
  8. Falling in love with a dashing hero.
  9. Grabbing inspiration from the kick-ass heroine.
  10. The happily ever after.

What do you love about reading?

xoxo, Jane