When I was rereading Shirley, a lot of footnotes reminded me how often older authors were well-versed in literary works to be constantly referencing all their works, and this caused the list of Little Women literary references to mind, and then Tarissa’s Alcott Reading Challenge reminded me again.
I thought I’d found a list, I’m pretty sure I did, but I guess it wasn’t comprehensive so I made my own? Back in 2017, I’d posted all the literary references I’d collected in various posts, but I’m going to compile them and put them in a page on here like with my Classics Club list. I need to see if I can remember to compile lists from other author’s works like this as well.
I’d like to read some things off this list as part of the challenge as well as re-read some actual Alcott works.
I know I re-read Old-Fashioned Girl recently, but I’ve been meaning to reread the Little Women, Little Men, Jo’s Boys trilogy as well as the Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom duo. And maybe A Long Fatal Love Chase. I’d like to get pretty copies of all these, so we shall see what I get too.
Finish A Fine Romance. I am going to keep this after all.
Read Factfulness and return to my dad.
Read Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth.
Reread Emma. I’m reading this as part of the Enchanted Bookclub.
Catch Up on The Silent Bells by ND Wilson serial.
Read the state history I borrowed from Papau and return.
Make inroads into The Idiot (aim for end of July).
- Maybe On Writing Well.
- Other fiction possibilities
Maybe the other to Corfu books
A classic heavy month. I didn’t read many books, but most of the ones I read or at least finished this month were classics.
Villette by Charlotte Brontë. I finished this this month. I enjoyed rereading this in a readalong well enough. But the self-indulgently emotionally tumultousness in this style of Romanticism (or maybe just Romanticism period) is not my thing. I was quite over Lucy’s frequently self-imposed (and seemingly rather enjoyed) sufferings and smugness.
And So I Began to Read: Books That Have Influenced Me by Faith Cook. A family friend gave this to me. I found it interesting, but she only mentioned religious books which I’ve little interest it, theological works I mean.
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot. I wrote my extremely flattering in this post.
Can You Forgive Her by Anthony Trollope. Definitely a Trollope fangirl. I though I might have enjoyed this more than some of the Barchester Chronicles. So now I have the luxury of enjoying the rest of the series.
Shirley by Charlotte Brontë. I started this as the next book in the same group as Villette. But oh, I forgot just how much I loved this, in the kind of love that makes me want to hold it close and not share too much. Someone in the group mentioned how Charlotte wrote more in the realism style rather than Romantic (Romantic proper, it is still romantic, of the still-waters run deep kind that I absolutely adore).
I was inspired to write this post after seeing some mentions of Gene Stratton-Porter novels on Instagram (its very rare to see).
I remember hearing about these novels as a preteen, Freckles first although I think Girl of the Limberlost is the most famous. I think I skimmed Freckles and then Mom assigned me Girl of the Limberlost, not sure.
Geneva Stratton-Porter was an Indiana native who used her novels to try to interest the public in nature and nature preservation. Indiana has a state park where she lived, and I think perhaps Loblolly marsh, which is near, might be what’s left of the Limberlost (it sounds like the swamp was drained from what I can read, so maybe this is just a connected or revitalized swamp). I’d like to visit there someday.
I’ve also read Laddie (set in Indiana, but not Limberlost, I think fictionalized novel bio tribute about her brother), The Harvester (also Limberlost), and Keeper of the Bees (set in California). I’ve reread the first and the last. I think the the latter two are my favorite, but I haven’t reread The Harvester.
The sentimental emotionalism was more suited to my teenage and early twenties temperament, but they are definitely worth reading and some one less cynical would still appreciate some of the emotionalism.
I’ve also read At the Foot of the Rainbow which I greatly disliked seeing as how I rated in one-star.
I think she wrote several more that I’ve not read, but Freckles, Girl of the Limberlost, Laddie, and Keeper of the Bees are the best known (and successful I think or at least the first three maybe), and I also recommend The Harvester.
I remember my sister telling me the synopsis on this story oh, a decade ago, so I knew the siblings died, I couldn’t remember anything much else, just vague things like there was a love interest. I didn’t have any connotation of the author then, and her name didn’t stick. Years later I read Silas Marner and disliked it, and then years after that I read Middlemarch which I liked which inspired me to then read Amos Barton (disliked), Adam Bede (liked), and Daniel Deronda (liked).
I’m not sure when that I learned she wrote Mill on the Floss as well. I was not inspired with a desire to read it immediately. A few years ago, I got barely into it but didn’t perservere. I’ve had it on my newest Classic Club list (see tab above), and included it on my most recent spin list and it was chosen.
Once again it was a slow start and then I left oft and it looked like it was going to be another fail, but then I picked it up again and got really absorbed. There was just so much going on and Victorian authors seem to often have a way of showing everyone’s humanity and idiosyncrasies that is just hilarious and unique.
Eliot does have a way of writing characters I’m ambivalent towards (yet that doesn’t necessarily mean I will dislike the novel), but this novel seemed a bit extreme in that way. The mother seemed to be barely mentally competent, the father a blustering selfish fool he seemed kindly enough at first but later! If he can’t forgive, I can’t forgive what he put his family through. Tom I had more respect for except for how he took up the petty revenge and visited it on innocent people. The aunts’ idiocy and selfishness were interesting but very repetitive (there was a LOT of repetition which is something that I don’t remember from Eliot’s other works and which eventually made this tiring towards then end). I took Maggie to be the main character and the good one.
Towards the beginning and then end tons of things keep happening and new characters and angles are introduced, but the same character flaws show up in the main family characters with very little variation except maybe to be more extreme, and the same types of mistakes and wrongs are done and no one learns a thing. The father assumes all he does is right and that everything wrong that happens to him is someone else’s fault and puts that fault on an innocent person because that person was connected to someone he saw as wronging him. The mother becomes more mentally feeble. Tom, while he does mature in responsibility becomes even more narrow thinking and blinded and prejudiced and self-righteous and takes up his father’s prejudice and hatred and focuses it more on the innocent person.
And well, I kept thinking Maggie was the heroine and would eventually act like it, and I also thought that there would be some satisfying love section before the sorrow (despite the fact that nothing was getting resolved and more and more complications added unnecessary by the characters).
Why I kept thinking this in the face of the evidence is beyond me. Maggie only passively let things happen (nonaction action which drives me insane) and then reacted at the final hour to the supreme hurt of everyone whether they were wrong or right or a mix of both. And submitted for all the wrong reasons to her family and their wrongdoing and sacrificed other people while she called it “right.” I think she had some sort of superficially self-abnegation idolatry complex. With the major climax with Stephen (there are several, it was rather exhausting), I finally lost patience with her and her stupid, twisted woe is me, I must sacrifice myself sermons. Sorry, lady, if you really felt that way, you’d never have let it get to this point. It’s almost like she wanted to have some sort of self victory to let it get this far then break it off . . . and too bad about the other people and their feelings!
This was about 6 chapters to the end, I lightly skimmed over the rest I couldn’t stand to read anymore, disgusted with everything and everyone and not remotely sad that Maggie died, more like, fine kill off the wretched heroine, sacrifice her brother (she sacrifices everyone she says loves, so it is fitting) and end this monstrosity.
I thereupon immediately texted my sister telling her my opinions and asked her if she’d liked it (she seemed shocked at the ending from my memory but she was drawn to sorrowful types of books, especially then). She told me, no, why did I think it took her so long to read other Eliot novels?! (She usually led on lots of literature, but I think I was the one that brought up Eliot, guess I know why now). She also said something about the chronological order of the books, s0 I looked up all the Eliot novels.
Scenes of Clerical Life, 1857 (Amos Barton in this short story collection, I’ve included this with the novels since I’ve read Amos Barton)
Adam Bede, 1859
The Mill on the Floss, 1860
Silas Marner, 1861
Felix Holt, the Radical, 1866
Daniel Deronda, 1876
The Mill on the Floss, after Adam Bede (but I did enjoy that one, at least it interested me, I think most of the characters irritated me too). I guess she gave her characters a bit more brains and some of them agency after that, although again, I don’t think all the characters in Adam Bede were like that. I know often her characters infuriated me, but usually I enjoyed the reading experience and didn’t want to throw it against the wall.
Don’t start your Eliot reading with either of those though (Adam Bede is quite the experience, not so near much action as Mill on the Floss, but oh my stars the action, its DARK), unless you like this sort of thing. I’d start with Middlemarch.
To sum up, I assumed Mill on the Floss was sad, of the type where the characters have all the promise of happiness and suddenly it is cut off (again, not sure why I thought that). Instead, it reminded me of Ethan Frome in that the sorrows were all self-inflicted and piled on in a way that made it ludicrous, not sad.
And Maggie made me think of making this, I couldn’t get the phrasing to express quite what I meant, but settled on this:
The Foundling by Georgette Heyer. I still have a few Heyers left that I’m going to save.
Just Patty and When Patty Went to College by Jean Webster. Fluffy, light reads.
I then went on a Robin McKinley binge.
The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. Loved this except, and this I notice is a trend with her, the jarring pace and way too convient climax. The pacing of most of this was slow and the mood mysterious and it blended really well. Then in speeds up 0 to 100 and suddenly everything is fixed lickety-split. Well if it was that easy, what was all the agony over? Also, how boring. And then tying up everything at the end in a neat little felt like a long postscript bow also didn’t fit the moody, mysteriousness of the couple. They had their moment, end it there, it fits.
The Door in the Hedge and Other Stories. This was a fun collection of short fantasy stories.
Rose Daughter. What. the. heck.
Chalice. Similar jarring pace ending to The Blue Sword. Everything is paced well and then the climax is absurdly fast and unexplainably easy.
Spindle’s End. I liked this one as well for part of it but again, weirdness. Except it wasn’t pace so much as went from fantasy to surrealism for a space of time. However it went back to fantasy at the very end.
And then I tried The Hero and the Crown. Again, really like the beginning. Then it started pacing too fast, hinted at a plot twist that added NOTHING good and that I HATED, AND then dived into surrealism and a way to convenient climax (actually there were a couple). And then delivered on the loathsome plot point. I was reading on my kindle so I couldn’t throw it against the wall. I just skimmed to the end I was so disgusted.
You know, people like magic because it’s you know, magical and mysterious, not boringly used to inexplicably end things super fast (also if it was that easy why did the complicated circumstances exist in the first place?)
Sense and Sensibility. I read this along with Hamlette’s readalong. I know The Enchanted Bookclub’s June pick is Emma, so I want to see if I can find a read-a-long to go with each Jane Austen novel now, it helps me think more deeply when reading. I’ve rewatched Elinor and Marianne Take Barton and I want to rewatch the two films this week (I think those are our least watched films, well maybe next to Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey). I’m hoping to go through all the JA books and then categorize the men into hero or villain or buffoon or loveable rogue or whatever categories I think I find. Maybe the women too, but I don’t think those are as many because they are the heroines and more likely to at least not be bad? Also, just less interesting to categorize like that, it’s more often a “who am I most like or unlike” (not usually flattering to moi) sort of category which I might do as well. We’ll see.
During March I’d started my goal of choosing movies from my list to watch during the weekend. But when life started happening really fast, that changed. I’d also like to get a tv for my apartment to really enjoy the experience. I’d have to finish setting up said apartment first, and its still a wreck. Anyway.
In March I watched:
It Was Always You (Hallmark). This was sweet. I feel like the last few years their non-Christmas ones have been better. Maybe because they aren’t trying to churn out so many.
Finished Wandavision. I think I may have already written about this.
Started Falcon and Winter Soldier. Eh. I haven’t finished it, I left my Disney+ expire and didn’t feel like signing in my Dad’s (turns out he’d accidentally gotten in for a short period!), I might skim finish it whenever more comes on it, and I get Disney+ again.
Tried Yellowstone. (I’m so dumb, it’s rated MA, so I don’t know why I was shocked; there is murder and mayhem and branding people (as in literally, like cattle) in the first episode, heck the episode starts with a gruesome horse scene, but I still tried episode two, and between those episodes especially two where it was obvious all this is just going to keep on exponentially and what I was looking up, I couldn’t justify and no longer desired to justify watching it).
Tried Once (or was that Feb?). Eh. I got bored half-way through the second episode.
The Lady Eve. Um, so I think you forgot to do an important step lady!!!!!
It Happened One Night. This was funny, but hey, why couldn’t you show them actually get together?!
In April I Watched
Emma 2009 (rewatch). It is just such a happy movie.
Failure to Launch. This is one I’d seen the preview for awhile ago, maybe on tv because this movie was older than I thought. It was also less funny than the preview and premise promised. I ended up skimming a lot of the second half until the end.
Instant Family. My youngest sister convinced my mom and I to watch this, since we watched all the movies we own over and over and couldn’t think of what to try on Disney+ and Amazon until my sister convinced us on this which she’d seen. It’s sweet and funny, and for a movie, surprisingly realistic about some of the challenges of adoption. It’s cheesy with some lazy cliché characters too, but the good far out weighs the bad. I was (and I’m not a crier) almost teary in parts. However, it’s one of those one and done movies I think for me. Or at least not a rewatch regularly favorite.
As Luck Would Have It. I’d seen a bit of the previews for this, and I though, oh they are SO copying Leap Year. But it wasn’t. I actually thought it was one of the more unique (for a Hallmark and a rom-com, let’s not raise expectations too high here). I really, really enjoyed it. For any Downton Abbey fans (not moi), Allen Leech is the lead(!).
I’m sure there are tons of Irish myths and stereotypes as apparently there are in Leap Year. But none of these are negative stereotypes, actually a lot are flattering. It’s not like its the old American view of Irish immigrants and old British view of the Irish.
Anyway, if you like fluffy rom-com’s in beautiful locations, I’d recommend. Hallmark didn’t put in any of their horrid plot-ploy misunderstandins/petty fights either to mar the peacefulness. Definitely watch again.
Breakup Bootcamp (Hallmark). I found this one enjoyable too. Did skip the silly fight part. People please come up with a better plot point than the secret then fight one.
Since I’m reading Harry Potter currently as I look over the future prompts, this one seemed especially apt and fun, definitely going to have a few from the HP world here. Unlike Hagrid, however, I prefer the cute or beautiful ones, no dragons for me!
- Pygmy puff (soft purple)
- Tiny owl like Pigwidgeon
- Unicorn (white with a silver horn)
- Pegasus (jet black)
- Phoenix (the Harry Potter version, not sure what the traditional myth version is like!)
- Cat like Crookshanks
- Another cat
- Another cat
- Another cat (I’m one of those born cat people, sorry, not sorry)
- Ok, probably a dog, maybe. Lots of loyal dog companions in books like in the Sutcliff novels.
Quick edit to add . . . I scheduled this post maybe a month before putting a deposit down on a puppy . . . whose name is Bjorn from a Rosemary Sutcliff book!
My number 11 is Mill on the Floss. I’ve borrowed it multiple times and started to read it one of those times. I’ll have to see if I can get in on Kindle and start sooner than I did for all my other spins.
I’m joining in the Classics Club spin #26, I put The Idiot on again, maybe if it gets picked this time I will finish since I’m at least 1/3 through.
- A Thomas Hardy novel
- Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
- Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
- Henry VI, Part 1
- Henry VI, Part 2
- Henry VI, Part 3
- House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
- Mill on the Floss by George Elliot
- O’ Pioneers and/or Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather
- 20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea or another novel by Jules Verne
- Richard III
- The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
- The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
- The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
- The Three Musketeers Alexander Dumas
- Walden by Henry Thoreau
So, I moved last Friday, and I just got internet today.
This past week has been my last full week at my job, I got a full-time long-term temp position that pays about 30% more (!) and after two weeks of training will be from home (!). The training starts next week.
All of this happened very quickly, and I’m still in a whirlwind. I didn’t finish all my March wrap up and April planning posts yet.
I think my family has hoarding tendencies, actually I think an extended family member or two are legitimate hoarders, I have shopaholic and hoarding tendencies, which I’m working on. I thought I was working on it better, but I think I counted oh, around 8 car/truck/suv loads of stuff plus I still have a couch coming from my brother.
Today I joined in a yard sale. I made some money, but I also took enough stuff to Goodwill to fill about 2 of their bins plus there is stuff I decided I’d keep and stuff I’d like to sell on Facebook marketplace. And of course the best way is what I’m going to try to do here on out: avoid spending money on too much stuff and avoid accepting gifts and given away items, that saves more money and waste anyway. Stuff, stuff, stuff.
And I still think I kept too much. Anyway, I’ve got some more things like trash bins and an iron and such to buy and then I think I might institute a more strict one in, one out rule and maybe some requirements of using yarn and craft items and skincare up before I move out of this place.
Try to keep my books borrowed from the library to 12. Try to keep any other borrowed books to far fewer. I’d say I succeeded, I got a Kindle and the limit on that is 5. Join an online book group, I’d like to join The Enchanted Book Club deluxe, maybe in March, depends on what they are reading. I didn’t join this one yet but I joined two read alongs.
- Work through important to reads and long held borrowed books:
- The Idiot
- War and Peace
- Dune? Maybe, if the movie is coming out in September, perhaps I could wait to start until Spring, but knowing me, I might not finish it time, and who knows, they could bump up the movie, since clearly its done if it was supposed to be out LAST September.
- House of Mirth
Looking for Transwonderland.Very good. The Shadow of the Wind. Good in literary merit, morally not so much, decadent. Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts. Hmm.
Hemingway Didn’t Say That.
- Wheel of Time
- I’d like to read one or two more classics besides those listed above from my Classics club list
- I’d also like to read one or two more books besides those listed above from another country, perhaps another mentioned on A Strong Sense of Place
- Fun potentials
- Ethel Lina White mysteries
- Mercedes Lackey fairytale retellings and fantasy
- Circe by Madeleine Miller
- Books to match my current study schedule (History, Logic, Geography, Civics, Christian Apologetics, World Religions). Genealogical reading should be on Ancestry.com, I don’t really need books for that subjects, its mainly to be building my tree.
I read 20 books this season and bought a Kindle.
I reread 7 novels
Read 4 nonfiction books (one about another country) and 1 nonfiction booklet
I read 1 graphic novel
I read 7 other new to me fiction books (one set in another country)