Just a quick post this evening of a few bookish internet things, one I’ve been meaning to mention and another I just discovered today.
Along with various blogs devouted to Jane Austen and the Brontes, I was beginning to think there needed to be one for Elizabeth Gaskell. Well, Katherine of November’s Autumn (who also writes insightfully about Jane Austen) has already started one! So check out the Elizabeth Gaskell Blog, there’s information about her life and times with pictures of Victorian fashions and there’s a Cranford read-along starting soon too. I’ve already read Cranford this year, but if you haven’t, it is high time to do so as it’s absolutely adorable!
And today at a library staff meeting, I learned about a website called Which Book, which lets you pick a book based on the kind of experience you’re looking for: happy/sad, beautiful/disgusting, easy/demanding, etc and the books that come up are recent, but not excessively well known. I found a nice little list of new titles that I hadn’t heard of before and it’s fun to change the settings around to see what comes up next. You can also search for books by country, plot and character. I love learning about new books from book bloggers, but sometimes there starts to be a bit of repetition going on, so this site is definitely a breath of bookish fresh air.
I’ve been jumping around a lot with books this month and not finishing anything since reading The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman all in one evening a few weeks ago. I don’t tend to read a lot of new books, but it was comforting and interesting and had a great bookshop in it and a sweet romance and old books and a slight Jane Austen vibe mixed with some sensual moments, I quite enjoyed it and have since been longing to find something like it, that’s recent and somewhat literary, yet also not difficult, something that’s truly a joy to read. I keep bringing home various books from the library, tonight it’s Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, I don’t even know if I’ll try it or The Woman in Black by Susan Hill which various people have been mentioning lately as a great Halloween read or if I’ll even bother with an official Halloween read at all! It’s not really my favourite holiday so I never got around to signing up for the R.I.P. reading challenge and although I do like a good cosy mystery, I haven’t been in the mood for those lately either.
I’ve picked up Jane Eyre again despite my reservations and while it is gothic enough for the current season and I have enjoyed Mr. Rochester’s humour in a few places and I like Bronte’s writing, I’m not flying through it. Maybe it’s the old cheap edition I have, I try to read it in the bath so I can accidentally get it wet and justify getting a nicer copy (the edition I’d like to have is displayed on my sidebar) but so far my cheap self is not buying that…! I wanted to reread a few old favourites this fall as a comfort, but now I think I’m wanting the excitement of something new (and also something that’s not excessively dark or challenging to read).
My recent excitement over the Persephone Secret Santa gift exchange (I actually got a lump in my throat on thinking about all of us, without having met in most cases, still sharing this gift of beautiful books together) is making me wonder if I might have more success with Christmas themed reading and I’ve actually been thinking of perhaps hosting a small Christmas reading event/challenge. Would anyone be interested in such an idea? Is there one already? Maybe it’s a little early, but I already have books on Christmas baking and decorating out from the library and have begun complying a reading list to go along! Clearly it’s my preferred holiday.
Also, my husband has mostly recovered from his surgery now and is about to return to work soon. (He manages a bookstore at the Calgary Airport, if you’re ever passing through, and has even more books than me!) The other stress over the summer and fall was that we were planning to move by the end of the year, once he was well enough. Thankfully, we’ve decided to stay in Calgary. I tend to move around a lot, so it’s hard but also good for me to learn how to settle down in one place for a while. I’ve also been debating going back to university to get a Master’s degree in English (specializing in Victorian novels of course!) or whether to become a school teacher. Or for now I can take a university course here and there and continue working at the library, book blogging and reading in peace and maybe someday writing a novel.
Ok, so I rarely manage ‘just a quick post’ but these are some of the things I’ve been thinking about lately. If you have any recommendations for good new books that are cosy and well written, let me know! And I’d love to know what you think about a Christmas reading challenge or something like that.