Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Reading Fever: A Top Ten Tuesday Post

Florence in the spring -- taken at the Buboli Gardens

While I've recently been making long-term reading goals with my epic length Classics Club list, I thought it prudent to also conjure up some short-term plans so as not to feel buried under an ever growing TBR pile. Serendipitously, this week's Top Ten Tuesday prompt from The Broke and The Bookish is all about spring reading. Therefore, I have whipped up a list -- oh, how I adore making lists -- of books that I'm hoping to get to as the sun and greenery emerge from their wintry hibernation. 

Since I plan on participating in a Victorian event during June and July, I intend to spend the next couple of months concentrating on texts written outside of that sixty-odd years of Victoria's reign. By which I mean, this list contains only two Victorians, so I've reined myself in nicely. I even feel a bit guilty for not including more of them here and have this nagging feeling that I've done something wrong or illicit. Ah, Victorian guilt!

It's highly doubtful I'll complete the list (particularly since I'm not including titles through which I'm currently wading), but it's nice to have an idea of where I'd like to direct my literary attention over the coming weeks.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame 

This classic children's novel seems like the perfect read for spring! Just thinking about the lovely pastoral representation of rural England makes me eager to spend time outdoors, one with nature. 

Perhaps I shall read it over a picnic! (I won't. But it's a nice idea.)

And while this doesn't have anything to do with anything, I loved Lady Violet's protestation to Edith's driving in an episode of Downton Abbey, stating that granddaughter wasn't 'Toad of Toad Hall.'

Adam Bede by George Eliot

Suffice it to say I'm a fan of John Thornton in Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South. So when I heard that readers possess the similar attachment to the eponymous Adam Bede, I knew I had to read it. I hope it's as fabulous as I've heard it is. 

Does anybody out there harbour a crush on this fictional character?

Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz

A dear friend and kindred spirit chose this novel for my book club's March read. The group is definitely enjoying it, so I'm looking forward to immersing myself in its pages. 

Do I get bonus points for reading a contemporary novel?

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier 

'Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly again.' I know the opening line. I know it's inspired by my beloved Jane Eyre. Yet I have not read it. My head hangs in self-reproach as I type this.

Seriously though, I'd love to properly dig into Du Maurier's fiction. My grandmother just lent me beautiful copies of My Cousin Rachel and Jamaica Inn, the latter apparently reminiscent of Wuthering Heights. But I have to read Rebecca first.

The Witches by Roald Dahl

My recent post on this fantastic author produced great feelings of childhood nostalgia. I'm hoping that experiencing a never-before-read Dahl text will result in the same feeling of wonder I felt when reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or James and the Giant Peach as a wee one.  

The film adaptation terrified me when I was young. Perhaps this is why I've never bothered to read the book. 

Victorian London by Liza Picard

I'm heartily enjoying my attempts to incorporate more non-fiction into my reading this year and would rather like to continue the practice. Liza Picard has written several portraits of London at various time periods in British History (I've read bits of her Restoration London), so I'm looking forward to experiencing that foggy Victorian metropolis through her words. 

Question: will I need an umbrella? No, a gas mask, I think, would be the order of the day -- the odour.    
Patronage by Maria Edgeworth

A contemporary of Jane Austen, Maria Edgeworth was wildly popular in early-nineteenth-century England. Patronage apparently sold its first run within hours. It's now largely out of print, so I snapped up this new edition by Sort Of Books at a Waterstone's in Leeds.

Known for her progressive views on race and gender, I'm excited to compare her representation of Regency society with those by Austen.    

Crossed by Ally Condie

Sometimes a girl needs a good escapist read. I enjoyed Matched, the first in this young adult trilogy. 

Hopefully the second installment will maintain the narrative momentum the author's got going.  

Bring on the love triangle!

The Mating Season by P.G. Wodehouse

I haven't read a Wodehouse novel in nearly six months! Naturally, this leads me to believe I am slowly dying on the inside and must restore a healthy balance to my anatomy with another Wodehouse text. As everybody knows, Wodehouse makes everything right in the world.

As I've previously confined myself to Blandings Castle stories, The Mating Season will be my first Jeeves novel. Such joy! (Click here for a hilarious passage from a Blandings novel.)

The Professor by Charlotte Brontë

So...I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I've never read The Professor. Like so many books, I started this assigned reading for my Brontë module at Leeds. However, I arrived in England a week late due to visa delays and other bureaucratic delights. Consequently, I never finished it. Shame! This is the only Brontë novel I haven't fully read, and I need to get on it. I can't wait to witness what I've termed  Charlotte Brontë Syndrome in full swing! 

Do you have any fun reading plans for spring? What are your thoughts, if any, on the titles I've listed above? Are you currently engrossed in a good book right now? Pass on the recommendations!


Irene E. Jensen said...

For some reason I find it incredibly boring :/ But I will NOT give up on it! I mean, there has to be a reason everybody's talking about it, right?

Drowning Ruth looks so good :)

Thanks for stepping by my blog - and may I just say, I like the phonebooths on yours! :D Love England!

Anne said...

Great list! I loved the book North and South and I am now placing Adam Bede on my TBR list, it looks good!

o said...

The Wind in the Willows is so perfect <3 So is Rebecca, actually. One of the few books I'm itching to re-read (I very rarely re-read!).

Anonymous said...

Love your list. You have several that are on my longterm TBR list. I read Rebecca last year and LOVED it, so that will be something you can look forward to. It's fabulous.

Here's my spring list: http://bookishnerd.com/2012/03/20/its-spring-and-heres-what-i-want-to-read/

Daisy said...

I've never seen the movie version of The Witches, but I remember loving the book!! The book was pretty scary as well ;)
I also really loved Rebecca! Hope you enjoy!

Alycia (Crowley Party) said...

Such a great list! Thanks for the suggestions :) love this!

A "cheery" disposition said...

I just read crossed last. Will be interested to see if crossed is any good.

Diana said...

Irene: Oh, no! I hope Gone With the Wind picks up for you. I would be disappointed if I waded through a book that long only to not like it in the end.

Diana said...

Anne: Yes, I'm really looking forward to reading the Eliot. Although, since I'm already comparing the protagonist to John Thornton, Adam Bede has A LOT to live up to.

Diana said...

O: A book has to be pretty special for me to reread it, too, so the fact that you're looking forward to another round of Rebecca is quite the commendation.

And I'm so thrilled to hear you loved The Wind in the Willows. I've been meaning to read it for ages now.

Diana said...

thespotts: Another fan of Rebecca. My anticipation is growing! I might have to read this one first. :)

Diana said...

Daisy: the funny thing is, I don't remember much about the film adaptation of The Witches. In fact, I think it had to be turned off, because it was just too much for me. It will be interesting to experience the book as an adult.

Diana said...

Alycia: I'm so glad you liked it. :)

Diana said...

A cheery disposition: I'm very curious about it as well. Sequels in series seem to cause a polarized reaction, people either love it or hate it. Hopefully, I like it!

Alyson of Bathe said...

The Witches was my favorite Roald Dahl book when I was little! I wasn't even aware there was a movie...I just may seek it out. :P


Minted Magazine said...

Great pick! I'm personally a fan of Rebecca.

Minted Magazine


FleurFisher said...

I love Adam Bede, and the rest of your list looks great too.

Jillian said...

The Professor! I need to read that one too. And The Wind in the Willows. It isn't on any of my lists, but I think I might like it...

Diana said...

Alyson: I have no idea if the movie is any good or not -- it's been so long. But I'll probably watch it after reading the novel to compare the two. I usually enjoy doing that. :)

Diana said...

Minted Magazine: Yet another Rebecca fan. This seems to be the clear favourite on my list.

Diana said...

Fleur: I'm thrilled to hear that you enjoyed Adam Bede. I haven't actually spoken to many people who have read it, so your words make me feel like I've made a good choice. Thanks!

Diana said...

Jillian: I *think* I'll enjoy The Wind and the Willows. I love animals, children's fiction and idyllic representations of England, so hypothetically speaking I can't go wrong with this one.

Plus, O loved it. That speaks volumes. :)

amanda @ simplerpastimes said...

I love your picture at the top of this post! When I was in Florence I went to the Boboli Gardens several times. Ah, the memories.

I hope you enjoy your spring reading. It's been ages since I've read The Wind in the Willows, but I adore just about anything with talking animals. And that line from Downton Abbey was one of my favorites as well!

Violet said...

That's a nice eclectic list. I haven't read Adam Bede either, and I think I probably should. I love Wodehouse; he was such a brilliant writer. It all seems so effortless, but there is serious writerly craft involved in what he did. Good luck with your spring reading!

Diana said...

Amanda: I love anything with talking animals as well. It's a true weakness of mine, and I inevitably start mumbling incoherencies about how cute said talking animals are. :)

I gather from your comment that you've spent a fair bit of time in Italy. That must have been amazing! I was only there for ten days myself, but I would love to go back and explore the country more thoroughly.

Diana said...

Violet: I think you're right about Wodehouse. He was a brilliant writer, and I think he is sometimes written off because there's this inherent ease present in his novels that makes it less literary than it is. I love that Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie speak so highly of him.

amanda @ simplerpastimes said...

Diana, I was fortunately able to spend an entire semester (4 months) in Italy while I was studying architecture. It was a wonderful experience.

Diana said...

Amanda: How amazing to get to know Italy so well. I know nothing of the subject, but it seems like it would be an ideal place to study architecture.

I also have lovely memories from my time spent studying in England. I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Caroline Helstone said...

You've read Patronage! *squee* and I thought I was alone in this activity. Maria Edgworth is brilliant isn't she? (Though I thought Belinda was funnier).

Diana said...

Well, I'm ashamed to say I haven't yet finished an entire Edgeworth text, but what I've read so far is brilliant. I'm glad to hear Belinda is a great read. It's also sitting on my shelves. :)