Victober Wrap Up
I knew starting out in October, as well as when I was preparing, that getting all seven of these books read was going to be a huge challenge. I was very correct in my assumption.
Some books I have started and will not finish. This is because I was either not enjoying them, which was causing me not to want to read anything else, or I started and just did not complete them in October.
Some books I watched the adaptation or started watching the adaptation hoping to get to read the books this month.
As you will read, I was all over the place, in October, with my reading and adaptation watching so this blog post may be a little all over the place as well.
The first book I completed, although I did have a bit of a head start on it (Bronte Book Club,) was “Shirley” by Charlotte Bronte. It was a fast read throughout most of the book. Slow in a few parts. I will reread it again in the future as there were bits I did get a bit confused on and I think a reread would iron out a lot of those issues. I could also focus a lot more on the characters in the reread. I did love the theme of industrialization in this book. I am noticing it is a theme I seem to like in Victorian literature. This was my first Charlotte Bronte novel and I really did not think anything else could top it. That changed later in the month.
Next, I started “Kim” by Rudyard Kipling. I was so confused by what was going on that I decided to watch the one adaptation I could find on Amazon Prime. It was the “Shirley Temple’s Story Book: Kim” from 1960. It was only about 45 minutes long. I found it very boring and slow even at only 45 minutes. It was helped me follow the book a bit more, but because of not liking the movie and the book I did not read for almost two weeks. I really hope I finish it one day, but it will be a very long time before I pick it up again. Also, I feel the cobra will be important throughout the book and that was not in the movie, which I found interesting. I am only a third of the way through the book though, so I could be very wrong. I am going to rent the audiobook from the library and see if maybe a different format will work better for me with this book. The library also got in the 1950’s edition of “Kim.” Maybe watching a different movie adaptation will also enrich my experience.
“Jane Eyre” has been on my “to be read” pile for 10 years now. I have several books that are a spinoff of “Jane Eyre” that I have received and did not want to read them until I had read “Jane Eyre.” I loved this book so much. It is probably on my top 10 favourite books I have ever read. Now to be fair, I had read the first couple of chapters back in high school and had enjoyed that much of it. I had a teacher tell me based on that info I would like “Wuthering Heights” even more. Not even close. “Wuthering Heights” still sits at the bottom while “Jane Eyre” has risen to the top. What I think I enjoyed most about reading “Jane Eyre” was that even though I had seen a movie adaptation earlier in the month, I still felt the spookier bits in this book. The descriptions, especially of nature were captivating. There was also a lot more to the story that will enhance my understanding of the movie adaptations the next time I watch them. I also, watched or attempted to watch 5 movie adaptions of “Jane Eyre.” The only one I was not able to complete was the version with George C. Scott. The only one I didn’t enjoy that I finished was the one with Timothy Dalton. He has never been an actor I enjoy, and I think that is why I did not enjoy the movie as much as others. I also enjoyed the 2011 and 1996 versions. My only advice is I tried watching the 2011 version while reading the book. Even though it is creatively different it can be confusing if you do not know the story well or at all. The 2006 version was my absolute favourite. It will probably be the one I re-watch the most.
What a joy and a surprise “North and South” by Elizabeth Gaskell was. I watched the BBC mini series a few months ago not realizing, at the time, it was based on a book. Once I discovered the mini series, I knew I had to read it. I flew through the book; it was so enjoyable, and I had a very hard time putting it down. It will be a book I read several times in my life. Again, it has a very strong presence of industrialization, which I have really been seeking when choosing books. Elizabeth Gaskell wrote another book featuring industrialization called “Mary Barton.” I cannot wait to read it soon. I found “North and South” very easy to tell the characters apart. I find in classics, a lot of last names sound the same or there are a million Smith’s or another surname and I just cannot keep who is who straight and I just tend to focus on the very main characters. With “North and South” it was very clear, as was the plot. I would recommend this book to someone who is new to classics for this reason, as well as because the language is very easy to read and understand.
With “Middlemarch” I watched 5 of the episodes of the BBC mini series. At the beginning of the mini series I was very involved in what was going on. Since finishing episode 5 I have not finished because I was losing interest in some of the stories or not caring about others and just wanting to skip over them which I would hate to do. I did not get to read “Middlemarch” this month, but I am making a goal to read a chapter a week and see if I can spread it out and try to enjoy myself. I feel if I try to cram this book I will end up not finishing it and not wanting to return to it. I also feel with all of the people that having seen part of the mini series I will have an easier time understanding and following along with what is happening, as there are a lot of moving parts.
Lastly, “Wives and Daughters” was a read along with the group. I have started the book, but I know I will not finish it by the end of October, but hopefully just a few days after. I have started the first of four episodes in the 1999 BBC miniseries and I am enjoying it so far. If the writing is anything like Elizabeth Gaskell’s other work, I am going to love it and have a hard time putting it down.
Update: Since writing this at the end of October, I unfortunately had to delay posting until December. Several reasons. Mainly time. But I finished “Wives and Daughters” along with the BBC miniseries and loved both of them. I was worried about how thick it was; but it was hard to put down. It was not what I was expecting at all and a book I will return to in the future. It is hard to pick which Gaskell book I enjoyed more only because they are vastly different. Also, I am still trying to finish “Kim,” but it feels like torture and I am having a hard time paying attention for any length of time. Lastly, with “Middlemarch” I think I will start reading it sometime in late summer of next year and then finish it next Victober.