Hello. Hello. Hello and welcome to this Victober reading wrap-up, where I will be going through the books I read for Victober 2021. If you’re new to Victober, then allow me to introduce you to Victorian October, where the goal is to read Victorian Literature. Now, there are prompts to follow if you do so choose, but the important thing is that you read something Victorian in the month of October. In that sense I did succeed. In the sense of completing my intended TBR, then I did not. However, I am still very happy with what I did manage to read.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
Having read, and loved, both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, I’m excited to now be able to say that I have read at least something from all three Brontë sisters. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall has a very different feel to the aforementioned books, given that you see more of the society that we often hear so much about. The narrative is framed as a letter from Gilbert Markham, our initial protagonist, but also includes a large section of Helen’s, the aforementioned tenant’s, diary. This creates a layered narrative, with one inside another like a game of pass-the-parcel, that was utterly compelling to read. The exploration of gender politics is fascinating to read, frustratingly much of which is just as relevant today as it was in the nineteenth century. It’s a surprisingly relevant narrative, with both physical drama and psychological drama that you would expect from a Brontë. What I found especially fascinating was how this was mirrored in the depictions of nature, especially the use of gardens within the story. Although I was conscious of this as I read, I am left with the feeling that there is still so much more to discover within the book. I adore Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, but I didn’t necessarily feel the same way upon the first read as a did on the second, or following reads. For that reason, though I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I can already tell that this is a book that will grow on me the more I consider it and read it again because I’m sure I will return.
The Warden by Anthony Trollope
The Warden is the first book in Anthony Trollope’s Chronicles of Barsetshire, and my first time reading from this author. When a man draws attention to what he believes is an injustice, we are thrust into the middle of scandal which upsets the usually quiet small Cathedral town. Although initially, I did find the novel a little dry as I got used to the writing I began to understand and appreciate Trollope’s sense of humour. The parts about ‘The Jupiter’ especially had me laughing out loud, and it’s through this sort of dry, witty humour that I truly began to understand what Trollope was trying to do with this book. Trollope has a very astute perception of the intricacies of community, particularly small communities. I enjoyed the exploration of the public and private spheres and the way in which they overlap. The novel also asks us to examine what it means to speak up about perceived injustices, and whether we ought to consider the bigger picture before doing so. This was a very quintessential Victorian novel but managed to be so while also being less than 250 pages, which is quite the achievement.
Wessex Poems by Thomas Hardy
Technically I am still reading this book, but I did want to mention it quickly since it was on the aforementioned TBR. I’m about a third of the way into it, and I’m not quite sold on it yet. I can be quite picky with poetry, and I’m not loving this the way that I love reading Tennyson, or Poe. However, it is in progress and you can expect to see my full thoguht in my November Reading Wrap-Up.
If you participated in any way in Victober (officially or unofficially) I would love to know what you read. I love getting people’s Victober recommendations, since I do read Victorian lit all through the year too. Even if you didn’t have anything to do with Victober feel free to let me know your favourite Victorian literature in all the usual places.
Coming Soon: October Reading Wrap-Up