Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Gaskell Reading Challenge

After much soul searching, I am finally ready to commit to the Gaskell Reading Challenge hosted by GaskellBlog.com. I have never quite developed a passion for Gaskell, probably due to the fact that my first exposure to her was The Life of Charlotte Bronte, which bored me to tears when I read it as a teenager. Nevertheless, being, at the time, determined to conquer the Victorian canon, I went on to read Wives and Daughters, Ruth, and Cranford, none of which captured my imagination the way the Brontes, Dickens, or (particularly) Elliott did, and, quite frankly, I pretty much forgot about these books until I began blogging and discovered the huge interest in Gaskell amongst Janeites. So perhaps I missed something as a teenager? Very likely. I am already partway through a reread of Cranford, which I have found very amusing, if a bit scattered, and as the commitment for this challenge is "a minimum of two works", I figured it behooved me to give Gaskell another go. I do not know if I will manage more than the minimum, as I'm already feeling overextended in this pre-baby half of the year, but if I become enthralled there is no saying what may happen. The big question is, after Cranford, what shall I read nest? Suggestions are not only welcome but encouraged. What is your favorite Gaskell novel?


  1. You HAVE to read North and South. It's one of my all time favorites!

  2. Thanks Felicia! I have seen the film (at the urging of a certain Richard Armitage fan that I believe we both know), and so I know that it should certainly be a good one.

  3. Thank you for joining, Alexa!

    The minimum is two, but only one has to be a novel so you could always sneak in a short story or even an essay if June comes along too fast. ;)

    I agree with Felicia, North and South is a great choice. It made my admiration for Mr. Thornton even greater and and I like that we really get to know Margaret's character more as well.

    I really enjoyed The Moorland Cottage-- the group read for it starts next month. It's a lovely romance with a moral undertone similar to that of Mansfield Park.reat drama in it too.

    May I ask, when is the baby due? :)

  4. My pleasure, Katherine! I am very tempted towards the group reads, as long as I can keep up with them!

    Of course you may ask! My due date is June 10th, and I just learned this evening that I'm having a girl. I'm so excited!

  5. A girl! Yay! No doubt she'll grow up to be a Janeite. :) Have you and your husband decided on a name?

  6. I hope so Katherine! As both my husband and I were very rebellious, I have to imagine that at some point she'll probably reject Jane, just to irritate me, but I have confidence she'll find her way back home. As her name will be Eliza (for both Elizabeth Bennet and Eliza Doolittle), she's kind of saddled with the heritage.