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Sometimes You Have to Change Directions

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Sometimes You Have to Change Directions
And, in this instance, I’m talking about books. I’ve been on an Elizabeth Gaskell kick of late, reading North and South, Wives and Daughters, and Cranford. I enjoyed them all very much and probably North and South most of all.

So, while waiting for other Gaskell books to be ready at the library, I decided to read The Life of Charlotte Bronte. Well, I have to say that it was definitely an interesting book. I haven’t read enough biographies to really be able to critique Gaskell’s take on Bronte’s life. They were, however, friends in real life and natives of the same northern area of England, which, I am sure, made Gaskell an excellent choice for a biographer.

What a life Charlotte Bronte led. Tragedy after tragedy, nearly constant ill-health, depression — the list of trials in her life is very long. And, yet, it was fascinating, too, to learn about her, about this era in England’s history, also to learn what she thought about other writers (including Austen!), and about the area of the country in which she lived. It was fascinating and also more than a little depressing — which I will acknowledge that I don’t need right now. So I’ve changed gears, so to speak, and have begun reading The Essays of E.B. White. So far, so good.

6 Comments

  1. I keep meaning to tell you that my friend rebekah is part of an online book club that has just started reading middlemarch by george eliot. the first discussion starts monday, but on the first 10 chapters. then again, i wouldn’t put it past you to get 10 chapters knocked out before then. let me know if you are interested, though i guess you don’t need the group discussion as an incentive like i do 🙂 you are a reading machine (not to mention sewing and cooking)!

  2. Oh, that sounds fun, a book club. Jon actually bought me middlemarch a few weeks ago, after we watched the bbc production. I’m reading a ton of cookbooks now (i got a bunch of Mark Bittman from the library) and have to read the tenant of wildfell hall next. otherwise, i’d love to join in.

    reading is mainly what i’ve been doing lately. the sewing and cooking haven’t been happening….

    thanks for the heads up about the book club.

  3. Gaskell is very enjoyable reading (well, I did start her novel Mary Barton about a month ago, had to renew it twice, but never got into it. It was in a different vein than her others)- did you catch the Cranford series on PBS recently? It was excellently done, as most BBC productions are.

  4. I bet “Mary Barton” is well-worth reading, but the Dickensianess of it didn’t grab me- I needed to, as you say, change directions. So I read Kingsolver’s “Prodigal Summer.”

  5. Merrill,
    What you said about Mary Barton is interesting to me. I’ve not yet read it. I have requested all of her other works from the library. Today I picked up her Gothic Tales there. Don’t know if I’ll read it or not. But I’ll definitely give it a try and let you know.

    Have you seen the bbc production of North and South? I thought it was great.

  6. I’ve never seen North and South, but I will try to read the book first. “Gothic Tales” sound really interesting, I’d love to hear your take on them.

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