Wednesday, December 26, 2018

My 2019 Reading Challenge Goals

Another new year is coming in and I've cleared the entire 2019 calendar for reading...

Ha! I wish! Really, though. I've been very purposeful about letting go of commitments the past couple months so I can start off the new year ready to focus on myself a little. As a wife and a homeschooling mom of 9, I've been approaching a big landslide of burnout the last couple years and it's finally come! This year, I purpose to focus on improving my physical health, as well as my mind, with lots of creative pursuits mixed in. In short, I'm staying home. Forever.

I've looked over several awesome reading challenges out there and have settled on those below. Mt. TBR is threatening an eruption and I've got to get ahead of it!

This challenge takes place right here at Belle's Library. You may read any book published during or about the Victorian era. Prizes will be given quarterly. Read more at the link above.

This challenge requires us to read a minimum of four books and offers bingo cards, checklists, and more.

This challenge has us reading the Bible and marking off a checklist as we finish each book.

This challenge can be done two ways: choose to read strictly from the Georgian era, or also add in the Regency bit at the end. That's what I'll be doing.

This is a set-it-yourself challenge that runs for 5 years. Commit to reading at least 50 classics in 5 years. You can see my list here: The Classics Club.

The Classics Club

2023 update: It's been five years since I started  The Classics Club, a challenge to read 50 classics in five years. While I didn't read all 50 from this particular list, I've definitely gone above and beyond my 50 overall since December 2018. I am ready to start this challenge over again with a start date of November 13, 2023 and ending November 13, 2028. This time through I will add titles to the list when I finish classics that are not on the list already. I will define "classic" as a book published prior to 1970. Those I've read prior to this second round commitment will be marked in red; those underlined, red (or blue if linked to a review), and in bold are ones I've read since beginning this second round of the challenge; those crossed out are ones I started and abandoned or decided not to start after reading reviews. 

I'm starting with 67 read

18/50 read for commitment since 11/2023


Abbott, Edwin: Flatland

Achebe, Chinua: Things Fall Apart

Adams, Richard: Watership Down

Aeschylus: Oresteia

Albee, Edward: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Alcott, Louisa May: Jo’s Boys, Little Men, Little Women

Allende, Isabel: The House of the Spirits, Stories of Eva Luna

Amis, Martin: London Fields

Anaya, Rudolfo: Bless Me, Ultima

Anderson, Sherwood: Winesburg, Ohio

Angelou, Maya: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Anonymous: Beowulf, One Thousand and One Nights

Apuleius, Lucius:  The Golden Ass

Aristophanes: Lysistrata

Aristophanes: The Frogs

Aristotle: Nichomachean Ethics

Arlt, Robert: The Seven Madmen

Arnow, Harriette: The Dollmaker

Atwood, Margaret: Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin, A Handmaid’s Tale

Austen, Jane: Emma, Mansfield Park, Northanger AbbeyPersuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, The Beautifull Cassandra

Azuela, Mariano: The Underdogs

Baldwin, James: Giovanni’s Room, Go Tell it on the Mountain

Balzac, Honore: The Black Sheep, Eugenie Grandet

Barrie, J.M.: Peter Pan

Baum, L. Frank: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Beckett, Samuel: Waiting for Godot

Bellamy, Edward: Looking Backward

Bellow, Saul: The Adventures of Augie March, Henderson the Rain King, Seize the Day

Bengtsson, Frans G.: The Long Ships

Bennett, Alan: The Uncommon Reader

Bernstein, Hilda: The World that was Ours

Boccaccio, Giovanni: The Decameron

Borges, Jorge Luis: The Aleph, Ficciones

Bradbury, Ray: Fahrenheit 451, The Illustrated Man, The Martian Chronicles

Braddon, Mary Elizabeth: Lady Audley’s Secret

Bronte, Anne: Agnes Grey, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Bronte, Charlotte: Jane Eyre, The Professor, Shirley, Villette

Bronte, Emily: Wuthering Heights

Brooks, Terry: The Sword of Shannara

Brown, William Wells: Clotel; or The President's Daughter

Browning, Elizabeth Barrett: Aurora Leigh

Buck, Pearl S.: The Good Earth

Bulgakov, Mikhail: The Master and Margarita

Buchan, John: The Thirty-Nine Steps---Read in 2023

Bunyan, John: Pilgrim’s Progress

Burgess, Anthony: A Clockwork Orange

Burke, Edmund: A Philosophical Enquiry

Burnett, Frances Hodgson: A Little Princess, The Making of a Marchioness, The Secret Garden, The Shuttle

Burney, Frances: Evelina

Burns, Olive: Cold Sassy Tree

Burroughs, Edgar Rice: Tarzan of the Apes

Butler, Samuel: Erewhon, The Way of All Flesh

Byron, Lord: Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Don Juan, Manfred


Calvino, Italo: If on a Winter’s Night a Stranger, Italian Folktales

Camus, Albert: The Fall, The Plague, The Stranger

Carroll, Lewis: Alice in Wonderland

Cather, Willa: Death Comes for the Archbishop, My Antonia, O Pioneers!, Sapphira and the Slave Girl, Shadows on the Rock, The Song of the Lark

Chaucer, Geoffrey: The Canterbury Tales

Chekhov, Anton: The Cherry Orchard, Three Sisters, Uncle Vanya

Chopin, Kate: The Awakening, Desiree’s Baby

Coetzee, J.M: Youth

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor: Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Colette:  Chéri, Gigi, Sido

Collins, Wilkie: Armadale, The Moonstone, No Name, The Woman in White

Collodi, Carlo: The Adventures of Pinocchio

Confucius: Analects

Conrad, Joseph: Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim

Cooper, James Fenimore: The Deerslayer, The Last of the Mohicans, The Pathfinder

Crane, Stephen: Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, The Red Badge of Courage


Dante: The Divine Comedy

Darwin, Charles: The Origin of Species

de Cervantes, Miguel: Don Quixote

de Crevecoeur, J. Hector St. John: Letters from an American Farmer

de Laclos, Choderlos: Dangerous Liaisons

de Quincy, Thomas: Confessions of an English Opium Eater

de Sade, Marquis: The 120 Days of Sodom

de Saint-Exupery, Antoine: The Little Prince

Defoe, Daniel: Moll Flanders, Robinson Crusoe, Roxana

Descartes, Rene: Meditations on First Philosophy

Dickens, Charles: Barnaby Rudge, Bleak House, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Dombey and Son, Great Expectations, Hard Times, Little Dorrit, Martin Chuzzlewit, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity Shop, Oliver Twist, Our Mutual Friend, The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick club, A Tale of Two Cities

Dickens, Monica: The Winds of Heaven

Dickenson, Emily: The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson

Djebar, Assie: Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade

Dorr, David: Colored Man Round the World

Dostoevesky, Fyodor: The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, Notes from the Underground

Douglass, Frederick: My Bondage and My Freedom, A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan: The Complete Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Lost World

Dreiser, Theodore: An American Tragedy, Sister Carrie

Du Maurier, Daphne: My Cousin Rachel, Rebecca

Dumas, Alexandre: The Black Tulip, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Man in the Iron Mask, The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, The Vicomte de Bragelonne

Durak, Mary: Kings in Grass Castles


Eco, Umberto: The Name of the Rose

Edgeworth, Maria: Belinda, Castle Rackrent

Eliot, George: Adam Bede, Daniel Deronda, Middlemarch, The Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, The Lifted Veil

Eliot, T.S.: The Complete Poems, Murder in the Cathedral, The Waste Land

Ellison, Ralph: The Invisible Man

Emerson, Ralph Waldo: Essays, Self-Reliance and Other Essays

Endo, Shusako, The Sea and Poison

Equiano, Olaudah: The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano

Euripedes: Electra, Medea, Orestes


Faulkner, William: Absalom, Absalom!; As I Lay Dying; The Hamlet, The Town, and The Mansion; Light in August; Sanctuary; The Sound and the Fury

Faulks, Sebastian: Birdsong

Ferrier, Susan: Marriage

Fielding, Henry: Joseph Andrews, Shamela, Tom Jones

Fitzgerald, F. Scott: The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby, The Last Tycoon, Tales of the Jazz Age, Tender is the Night, This Side of Paradise

Flaubert, Gustav: Madame Bovary

Ford, Ford Madox: The Good Soldier, Parade’s End

Forster, E.M.: Howards End, Passage to India, A Room With a View, Where Angels Fear to Tread

Fowles, John: The Collector, The French Lieutenant’s Woman

Frank, Anne: The Diary of Anne Frank

Frank, Pat: Alas, Babylon

Franklin, Benjamin: 1726 Journal, Autobiography

Franklin, Miles: My Brilliant Career

Freud, Sigmund: The Interpretation of Dreams

Frost, Robert: Collected Poems, New Hampshire


Gaines, Ernest: A Lesson Before Dying

Gaskell, Elizabeth: Cranford, Mary Barton, North and South, Sylvia’s Lovers, Wives and Daughters

Gibbons, Stella: Cold Comfort Farm

Ginsberg, Allen: Howl and Other Poems

Glaspell, Susan: Fidelity

Goethe, Johann: Faust, The Sorrows of Young Werther and Selected Writings

Gogol, Nikolai: Dead Souls, The Overcoast

Golding, William: Lord of the Flies

Gordon, Lucie Duff: Letters from Egypt

Greene, Graham: Brighton Rock, A Burnt-Out Case, The End of the Affair, The Heart of the Matter, The Third Man, Travels with My Aunt

Grossmith, George and Weedon: The Diary of a Nobody


Haggard, H. R.: King Solomon’s Mines

Hamilton, Edith: Mythology

Hammett, Dashiel: The Dain Curse, The Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man

Hamsun, Knut: Growth of the Soil, Hunger

Hansberry, Lorraine: A Raisin in the Sun

Hardy, Thomas: Desperate Remedies, Far From the Madding Crowd, Jude the Obscure, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Return of the Native, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, The Woodlanders

Hartley, L. P.: Eustace and Hilda, The Go-Between

Hawthorne, Nathaniel: The Blithedale Romance, The House of the Seven Gables, The Scarlet Letter

Heller, Joseph: Catch-22

Hellman, Lillian: The Little Foxes

Hemingway, Ernest: A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Moveable Feast, The Old Man and the Sea, The Sun Also Rises, To Have and to Have Not

Henry, O: Collected Stories

Herbert, Xavier: Capricornia, Poor Fellow My Country

Hesse, Hermann: Siddhartha, Hesse, Hermann: Steppenwolf

Holtby, Winifred: South Riding

Homer: The Iliad, The Odyssey

Horace: Satires

Hugo, Victor: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Les Miserables

Hume, David: A Treatise of Human Nature

Hurston, Zora Neale: Dust Tracks on a Road, Their Eyes Were Watching God

Huxley, Aldous: Antic Hay, Brave New World


Ibsen, Henrick: A Doll’s House, An Enemy of the People, The Master Builder

Imlay, Gilbert: The Emigrants

Irving, John: A Prayer for Owen Meany, The World According to Garp

Irving, Washington: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Rip Van Winkle

Ishiguro, Kazuo: Never Let Me Go, The Remains of the Day


James, Henry: The Ambassadors, The Aspern Papers, The Bostonians, Daisy Miller, The Golden Bowl, The Portrait of a Lady, The Wings of the Dove, The Turn of the Screw, Washington Square, What Maisie Knew

Jerome, Jerome K: Three Men in a Boat

Jewett, Sarah Orne: The Country of the Pointed Firs

Johnson, Samuel: Dictionary of the English Language, The History of Rasselas, The Idler, The Plays of William Shakespeare

Jonson, Ben: The Alchemist, Bartholomew Fair, Volpone

Joyce, James: The Dubliners, Finnegans Wake, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses


Kafka, Franz: The Metamorphosis, The Trial, In the Penal Colony

Kawabata, Yasunari: Snow Country

Keats, John: Complete Poems

Keller, Helen: The Story of My Life

Kempe, Margery: The Book of Margery Kempe

Kerouac, Jack: On the Road

Kesey, Ken: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Kipling, Rudyard: Kim, The Man Who Would Be King

Knowles, John: A Separate Peace

Lagerlöf, Selma: The Wonderful Adventures of Nils

Laski, Marghanita: Little Boy Lost

Laurence, Margaret: The Stone Angel

Lawrence, D.H.: Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Sons and Lovers, Women in Love

Lee, Harper: To Kill a Mockingbird

Lermontov, Mikhail: A Hero of Our Time

Leroux, Gaston: The Phantom of Opera

Lewis, M.G: The Monk

Lewis, Sinclair: Arrowsmith, Babbitt, Elmer Gantry, Main Street

Lindsay, Joan: Picnic at Hanging Rock

Locke, John: Second Treatise of Government

London, Jack: The Call of the Wild, The Sea Wolf, White Fang


Machiavelli, Niccolo: The Prince

Mackail, Denis: Greenery Street

Mailer, Norman: Armies of the Night, The Executioner’s Song, The Naked and the Dead

Malory, Sir Thomas: Le Morte d’Arthur

Mann, Thomas: Death in Venice, The Magic Mountain

Mansfield, Katherine: The Garden Party & Other Stories, The Montana Stories, Selected Stories

Markandaya, Kamala: Nectar in a Sieve

Marlowe, Christopher: Doctor Faustus

Marquez, Gabriel Garcia: Love in the Time of Cholera, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Marshall, H.E.: Our Island Story

Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels: The Communist Manifesto

Maturin, Charles: Melmoth the Wanderer

Maugham, W. Somerset: Of Human Bondage, The Painted Veil, The Razor’s Edge

Maupassant, Guy de: Bel-Ami, Selected Stories, Une Vie

McCullers, Carson: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Melville, Herman: Bartleby the Scrivener, Billy Budd, Moby Dick, Typee

Mill, John Stuart: Utilitarianism

Millay, Edna St. Vincent: Collected Poems

Miller, Arthur: All My Sons, The Crucible, Death of a Salesman, A View from the Bridge

Milton, John: Paradise Lost

Mishima, Yukio: The Sailor who fell from Grace with the Sea

Mitchell, David: Cloud Atlas

Mitchell, Margaret: Gone with the Wind

Moberg, Vilhelm: The Emigrants

Moliere: The Misanthrope

Montaigne, Michel de: Selected Essays

Montgomery, L.M.: Anne of Green Gables, Rilla of Ingleside

More, Thomas: Utopia

Morrison, Toni: Beloved, The Bluest Eye, Home, Jazz, The Song of Solomon, Sula

Muir, John: Writings on Nature

Mulisch, Harry: The Discovery of Heaven

Murakami, Haruki: Norwegian Wood


Nabokov, Vladimir: Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle, Lolita, Pale Fire, Pnin

Nesbit, E: The Enchanted Castle

Nichol, James W.: The Stone Angel

Nietzsche, Friedrich: Beyond Good and Evil, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Niland, D’Arcy: The Shiralee


O Henry: Collected Stories

O’Brien, Tim: The Things They Carried

O’Connor, Flannery: Everything that Rises must Converge, A Good Man is Hard to Find, Wise Blood

Orczy, Baroness: The Scarlet Pimpernel

Orwell, George: 1984, Animal Farm,  Homage to Catalonia

Ovid: Metamorphoses


Paine, Thomas: Common Sense

Pamuk, Orhan: My Name is Red

Panter-Downes, Mollie: One Fine Day

Pascal, Blaise: Pensées

Pasternak, Boris: Doctor Zhivago

Paton, Alan: Cry, the Beloved Country

Peake, Mervyn: The Gormenghast Trilogy

Pepys, Samuel: Diary of Samuel Pepys

Plath, Sylvia: Ariel, The Bell Jar, The Journals of Sylvia Plath

Plato: The Trial and Death of Socrates

Plutarch: Moralia, Parallel Lives

Poe, Edgar Allan: Collected Stories and Poems

Pope, Alexander: Dunciad, Eloisa to Abelard, An Essay on Criticism, An Essay on Man, The Rape of the Lock

Pound, Ezra: Personae: The Shorter Poems

Powell, Anthony: A Dance to the Music of Time

Proulx, Annie: The Shipping News

Proust, Marcel: Remembrance of Things Past, Swann’s Way

Pushkin, Alexander: The Bronze Horseman, Eugene Onegin, The Stone Guest, The Tales of Late Ivan Petrovich Belkin

Pyle, Howard: The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, The Story of King Arthur and His Knights

Pym, Barbara: Excellent Women


Rabelais, Francois: Gargantua and Pantagruel

Radcliffe, Anne: The Italian, The Mysteries of Udolpho

Rand, Ayn: Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, We the Living

Remarque, Erich Maria: All Quiet on the Western Front

Rhys, Jean: Wide Sargasso Sea

Richardson, Henry Handel: The Fortunes of Richard Mahony

Richardson, Samuel: Clarissa, The History of Sir Charles Grandison, Pamela

Robinson, Marilynne: Gilead, Housekeeping

Rolland, Romaine: Jean-Christophe

Rossetti, Christina: The Goblin Market and Other Poems, In the Bleak Midwinter

Rostand, Edmond: Cyrano de Bergerac

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques: On the Social Contract

Rowson, Susanna: Charlotte Temple

Rushdie, Salman: Midnight’s Children


Salgari, Emilio: The Pirates of Malaysia

Salinger, J.D.: The Catcher in the Rye; Franny and Zooey; Nine Stories; Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction;

Sand, George: Consuelo

Sappho: Poems

Schreiner, Olive: The Story of an African Farm

Scott, Sir Walter: The Bride of Lammermoor, The Heart of Midlothian, Ivanhoe, The Lady of the Lake, Rob Roy, Waverly

Seneca, Letters from a Stoic

Seton, Anya: Katherine

Shakespeare, William: All’s Well That Ends Well, Antony and Cleopatra, As You Like It, The Comedy of Errors, Coriolanus, Cymbeline, Hamlet, Henry V, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Love’s Labor’s Lost, Macbeth, Measure for Measure, The Merchant of Venice, The Merry Wives of Windsor, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, Titus Andronicus, Trolius and Cressida, Twelfth Night, Two Gentlemen of Verona, A Winter’s Tale

Shaw, George Bernard: Major Barbara, Man and Superman, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Saint Joan

Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein

Shelley, Percy Bysshe: Collected Poems

Shikibu, Murasaki: The Tale of Genji

Shirer, William: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

Shonagon, Sei: The Pillow Book

Silko, Leslie Marmon: Ceremony

Sinclair, Upton: The Jungle

Smith, Betty: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Solzhenitsyn, Alexander: Cancer Ward, The First Circle, The Gulag Archipelago, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Sophocles: Antigone, Oedipus at Colonus, Oedipus Rex

Soseki, Natsume: Kokoro, Light and Darkness

Spark, Muriel: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Steinbeck, John: Cannery Row, East of Eden, The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, The Pearl, The Red Pony, Tortilla Flat, Travels with Charley in Search of America, The Winter of Our Discontent

Stendhal: The Charterhouse of Parma, The Red and the Black

Sterne, Laurence: The Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy

Stevenson, Robert Louis: Kidnapped, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Treasure Island

Stoker, Bram: Dracula

Stoppard, Tom: Rosencratz and Guildenstern are Dead

Stowe, Harriet Beecher: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Strachey, Julia: Cheerful Weather for the Wedding

Stratton-Porter, Gene: Freckles, A Girl of the Limberlost

Streatfield, Noel: Ballet Shoes, Saplings

Swift, Jonathon: Gulliver’s Travels


Tennyson, Alfred: Idylls of the King

Thackeray, William Makepeace: Vanity Fair

Thiong’o, Ngugi wa: A Grain of Wheat

Thomas, Brandon: Charley's Aunt

Thoreau, Henry David: Civil Disobedience, Walden

Tieck, Johann Ludwig: Wake not the Dead

Tolkien, J.R.R.: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings

Tolstoy, Leo: Anna Karenina, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, War and Peace

Trollope, Anthony: Barchester Towers, Doctor Thorne, Framley Parsonage, The Last Chronicle of Barset, The Small House at Allington, The Warden, The Way We Live Now

Truth, Sojourner: Narrative of Sojourner Truth

Turgenev, Ivan: Fathers and Sons, First Love

Twain, Mark: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, The Prince and the Pauper, Pudd’nhead Wilson, A Tramp Abroad, Mark Twain in Hawaii

Tyler, Royall: The Algerine Captive

Tzu, Sun: The Art of War


Verne, Jules: Around the World in Eighty Days, From the Earth to the Moon, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Mysterious Island, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Virgil: The Aenid

Voltaire: Candide

Von Arnim, Elizabeth: The Enchanted April

Vonnegut, Kurt: The Cat’s Cradle, Slaughterhouse Five


Walker, Alice: The Color Purple

Walpole, Horace: The Castle of Otranto

Washington, Booker T: Up From Slavery

Watson, Winifred: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Waugh, Evelyn: Brideshead Revisited, Decline and Fall, A Handful of Dush, Vile Bodies

Webster, John: The White Devil

Welch, James: Riding the Earth Boy, Winter in the Blood

Wells, H.G.: The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds

West, Nathanael: Day of the Locust, Miss Lonelyhearts

Wharton, Edith: A Backward Glance-Autobiography

Wharton, Edith: The Age of Innocence, The Buccaneers, The Custom of the Country, Ethan Frome, The House of Mirth, Madame de Treymes, Roman Fever, Sanctuary, Stories of Old New York, Summer

Whipple, Dorothy: Greenbanks, Someone at a Distance, They Knew Mr. Knight

White, Patrick: The Tree of Man

White, T.H.: The Once and Future King

Whitman, Walt: Leaves of Grass

Whittier, John Greenleaf: Snow-Bound

Wilde, Oscar: An Ideal Husband, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Wilder, Thornton: Our Town

Williams, John: Stoner

Williams, Tennessee: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, Sweet Bird of Youth

Wollstonecraft, Mary: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

Woolf, Virginia: Jacob’s Room, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando,  A Room of One’s Own, To the Lighthouse

Wouk, Herman: The Winds of War

Wright, Richard: Native Son

Wyndham, John: The Day of the Triffids


Xueqin, Cao: Dream of the Red Chamber


Yeats, William Butler: Collected Poems, Irish Faerie Tales


Zamyatin, Yevgeny: We

Zola, Emile: Germinal, Nana, Therese Raquin

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Tip Toe Days -- A Children's Book -- The Secret Lives of Books

Good Morning to you!
It's only a few days 'til Christmas and my kids are on needles and pins for the big day! All but one---five year old Brenna turns six tomorrow and she's more excited about her birthday and the special ballet I'm taking her to than she is about Christmas!
Recently I was shopping in my favorite NW Arkansas flea market, The Rose Antique Store in Rogers, and I came across this sweet book, Tip Toe Days. Shockingly, the price tag was $3.05!! I would have paid five times that and thought I got a deal, but who's arguing?

Someone has recently and lovingly stitched up the binding as best they could, and stuck whatever missing pages could be found into their right places. There are some missing pages from the end, leaving off at the first page of the story of The Three Trees. My mom gifted me a modern retelling of that story one year for Christmas.

This must be a rare book as I couldn't find its title or the cover image anywhere online! 
This book gives up two secrets to its past life: first, the book is inscribed with the phrase, "Belonged to Eugene Cecile Davis. He was born in 1882". While there's no publication date in this book, others I've seen online that are bound similarly were published between 1893 and 1900. However, 11 years old seems awfully late in life for a little boy to read a story book like this. Especially in those early days where boys carried a bigger load at an earlier age. I'm going to go with 1890 on this one since, while the illustrations are juvenile, the stories are quite complexly written for a young child to read.

The second secret this book revealed was this beautiful photo print. It's signed, Sincerely Yours Ann Eliza Young. It was stuck into this book in this spot---and there it will remain!

Further detective work by a reader found Mrs. Young to be one of Brigham Young's former wives. Wikipedia gives a very interesting biography of this author/activist. It's well worth a read!

Oh, actually, I suppose there are three secrets in this book. Here's a piece of notebook paper---without the holes. I have no idea of its vintage, but loose leaf, blue lined paper was invented in 1914 so who knows? Anyone out there use paper like this back in the day?

The book is full of sweet stories and illustrations---the first being this Christmas story about a precocious girl named Charlotte who was called "Charlie" due to, "certain propensities that were more properly suited to a boy than to a girl." (spinning tops, leaping over banisters, harsh talk, etc. ---Ha!)

I'm determined to read through at least some of this in the coming year as part of my Victorian Reading Challenge. Have you signed up yet? Do join--it will be a lot of fun and I'm even offering prizes this year!

Have a lovely Christmas!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

2019 Victorian Reading Challenge --- with PRIZES!

The last four years, I've read everything "Victorian" I could get my hands on. I still can't seem to get enough, so this year I'm renewing my commitment toward Victorian studies. I'm still fascinated and there's still so much to learn! Read on for a phantasmagorical reading challenge for 2019---complete with PRIZES---Victorian style!

More than any other time in modern history, the Victorian Age saw the most change to European and American societies. Many agrarian, rural communities transitioned to urban centers of industry. Men and women began to talk about and take steps toward redefining their traditional roles. Theories about God, the origin of man, and the practice of religion began to be publicly put forth, challenged, refuted, or solidified. The Victorian Age saw a great revolution in the western world and it's a topic that fascinates me endlessly.

Over the past few years, I've collected a good stack of Victorian novels and have several on my Christmas list. I spent a week in England a couple years ago, visiting the Brontes' old stomping grounds, and even wrote and taught a class on Victorian Sci Fi and Fantasy literature. This year's reading challenge will be all about the Victorians.

The Rules

*Books published during the Victorian age (1837-1901) are acceptable.

*Books written about the Victorian age are acceptable, no matter what year they were published.

*Stories are not limited to Victorian Britain. Read about what was going on in other parts of the world during this time!

The challenge is open to everyone everywhere---you don't have to have a blog or site to join. Just comment with the link to your online review (Amazon, Goodreads, BookCrossing, or elsewhere) and we'll come visit you.

How to Join

Leave a comment below letting me know you're in and add your blog link if you have one. You can link directly to your home page or to a post you've written about the challenge.

You can join at any point during 2019!

Share this challenge with your friends so they can join, too!

The Prizes

This year I'm teaming up with The Victorian Letter Writers Guild (ok, yes, the VLWG is also me...just let me have my fun) to bring you some superb Victorian-inspired quarterly prizes. To win, simply add the link to each review you do in the comment section below. Each quarter (March, June, September, December) I'll randomly choose one reader to win a fun Victorian-inspired reading/writing package. The challenge is open internationally so share, share, share with your friends!

Antique Christmas Books to Inspire a Festive Atmosphere

I've enjoyed several days of reading and relaxing this past week, having gone through my shelves and dug out a nice stack of Christmas stories. Life has slowed down and I'm ready to dive into the massive To Be Read pile I've been accumulating for years. Ok, fine, the "pile" is actually four shelves shoved full of books from all genres and eras. But 2019 is the year I tackle it....even though it will likely be the same size this time next year---just full of different titles.

But anyway...back to Christmas. This first title, The Man Who Found Christmas, was written by Walter Prichard Eaton, former drama critic and early to mid-century author. The Man Who Found Christmas was originally published in 1913, just before the beginning of WWI. It tells the tale of Wallace, a man who has lost his faith in family and God. He's cynical about Christmas, when something stirs up a memory and puts him on a path to discover its true meaning. In a quaint village, he meets Nora and family who help bring him round to a renewed joy and a higher purpose.

Eaton wrote the updated introduction to this story at a critical time for American men. The war had been over for several years and life had adjusted dramatically after the loss of so many men. America was entering a depression and cynical attitudes were rampant. The author captures this feeling well in the character of Wallace, contrasting it beautifully with the lovely Nora. The story hinges on the idea that "Christmas is service", and this is true! Those of us who celebrate the true message of Christmas---Christ's coming to Earth to save us---know that there is no better way to serve God than to obey him in service to his people.

I really enjoyed this story---it's a timeless one for every generation. I'm sure this will become a traditional Christmas read for me. 

Washington Irving was an American short story writer, biographer, and diplomat who came of age at the turn of the 19th century. (He wrote at the same time as Jane Austen!) Old Christmas in Merrie England is a short essay Irving wrote about a Christmas he spent with a friend in England. It's full of fun anecdotes and insights into pre-Victorian England. I believe it is featured and first published in his work, The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, published in 1819.

Christmas Every Day and Other Stories is an antique collection of Christmas stories told for children from the works of W.D. Howells. Published in 1892, it includes: Christmas Every Day, Turkeys Turning the Tables, The Pony Engine and the Pacific Express, The Pumpkin-Glory, and Butterflyflutterby and Flutterbybutterfly.

I really enjoyed this charming and witty book. These are super funny and imaginative stories with fun interaction between Papa and the children. I caught a neat mention in one story of "postal cards" as being different from letters. I always like reading about Victorian letter writing practices. I'm sure this will become a yearly Christmas favorite.

Handmade bookplate of an earlier owner.
Fabulous illustration by H.C. Ireland, popular illustrator of the time. The image of the Santa looking back and smiling is also featured on one of the postcards I bought and sent out to the members of my Victorian Letter Writers Guild this year.

Lastly is this 1901 copy of Louisa May Alcott's A Christmas Dream. My mother in law gave me this book about 10 years ago to share within the family. Her family read it at Christmas time when she was a little girl and her mother had written the family name and address inside the front cover. 

The volume features two stories; A Christmas Dream and Baa! Baa! Both are stories of the act of serving and blessing those less fortunate. This is a common theme with Alcott and a great one to meditate on---then act upon---at Christmas time and all throughout the year!

What are you reading this Christmas season? Let me know in the comments below!