Trollope & My Life in Books

I’ve been very diligent today, reading 200 pages of Trollope so far (having a part time job is very handy for these last minute reading binges!) and only have 100 pages left to go, which I’ll do my best with tonight, I love being married to a reader and cuddling and reading in bed together!

I had to walk over to a cafe (named the Purple Perk, incidentally) to read for a while, just so I didn’t feel too apartment bound and actually ended up sobbing while reading for a while, I didn’t expect that from Trollope! I don’t know that I’ll say at what point, but he creates these quiet characters that don’t seem to have much passion in them, but then they surprise you… That certainly made me enjoy the book more, the depth of character that he slowly slowly adds, and I love being immersed in a thick novel like this. At first I feel all squirmy and that it will never end, what more could he possibly have to say about these people, but then their struggles and concerns and they themselves begin to come to life, especially as I read about them hour after hour, looking up occasionally at the Christmas decorations or when someone would hold the door open too long (my table was right next to the door too) and then back to reading, feeling surrounded by a warm slow Victorian hug.

(I was also eating a delicious saskatoon berry crisp while reading, which is pretty much what was recommended here! Yum.)

In Henrietta’s War, the main character writes at one point that her husband has a ‘Trollopish expression’ on his face while reading his novels (don’t have the book to get the exact quote) — I wonder what such an expression looks like? Perhaps some form of satisfied contentment, like after eating turkey? I’m certainly enjoying this novel the further it goes along, even more than The Eustace Diamonds, after that one I bought Can You Forgive Her? to start the Palliser series from the beginning but wasn’t quite sure if I was fully sold on Trollope yet. Now I think it’s happened. (And has anyone else ever noticed how much he writes about people breaking their engagements? In both books I’ve read of his and in watching The Way We Live Now it happens repeatedly! What’s up with that, was he ever jilted? Does he just find it interesting or was it really such a pressing concern in the Victorian era?)

My enjoyment in reading this book, even in such large chunks over the last few days, has definitely further solidified my desire to read more Victorian novels, something I’m planning to do for most of the rest of this year and next year as well! I just love the thick satisfying-ness from them, like a good meal (maybe the eating turkey analogy isn’t far off then!). I’m still thinking of Villette and how much I enjoyed the richness of Charlotte Bronte’s writing style, even if I found it and Jane Eyre somewhat depressing and even harsh on occasion. In Can You Forgive Her? I like how marriage is still valued, even though it’s also acknowledged to be difficult, even when you love the person.

I’ve now been writing this without thinking it all through before as I’ve done so often in the past, planning it all out, and I’ve enjoyed it more. I’ve been wanting to blog more of my immediate thoughts on books, with less fuss over it ahead of time as to saying the perfect thing! I think I will continue to try this new style, more reflective and less boxy, with all my topics checked off a list.

Also, I saw this last night on Victorian Geek and thought I’d try it (bookish procrastination, one of my favourite things):

Using only books you have read this year (2010), cleverly answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title. It’s a lot harder than you think!

Describe yourself: With Violets (Elizabeth Robards)

How do you feel: Hons & Rebels (Jessica Mitford)

Describe where you currently live: A Room With A View (E.M. Forster)

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: 84 Charing Cross Road (Helene Hanff)

Your favourite form of transportation: Last Bus to Woodstock (Colin Dexter)

Your best friend is: The Other Mr. Darcy (Monica Fairview)

You and your friends are: Wives & Daughters (Elizabeth Gaskell)

What’s the weather like: Love in a Cold Climate (Nancy Mitford)

Favourite time of day: Tea With Mr. Rochester (Frances Towers)

If your life was a: Goddess at Home (Bronwyn Llewellyn)

What is life to you: The Happiness Project (Gretchen Rubin)

Your fear: Soulless (Gail Carriger)

What is the best advice you have to give: Sense & Sensibility (Jane Austen)

Thought for the day: It’s Hard to be Hip Over 30 (Judith Viorsk)

How I would like to die: The Body in the Library (Agatha Christie)

My soul’s present condition: The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)

12 thoughts on “Trollope & My Life in Books

  1. Claire (The Captive Reader) says:

    I like the immediate thoughts on books approach – far more chatty and personal than a standard review.

    I just finished doing this same meme (it should go up on my page tomorrow). Love that you were able to use Love in a Cold Climate for the weather question!

    • Carolyn says:

      Yes, I’m enjoying it more too. And I look forward to seeing your answers to the meme. I was pleased with Love in a Cold Climate and especially with being able to find a book with transportation in the title! And of course I thought of you when I picked Wives & Daughters to describe my friends. 🙂 (The Other Mr. Darcy = my husband, of course!)

  2. Penny says:

    What an interesting and enjoyable review! I’ve enjoyed the Trollopes I’ve read and always mean to read more… Your question about whether he had ever been jilted made me have a quick browse in the Introductions to the various Trollopes I have on my shelves (!) and I found out that he had an unhappy childhood and that I don’t think I’d have liked him as a person! It can be difficult for me to distance the author/composer from the work. I can manage it with Mozart, whose music I love. But I feel so sorry for poor, wee Schubert that it adds warmth to my feelings for his music…
    Rather a disjointed comment, I’m afraid, but it’s -15 degrees centigrade and I’m sitting in a draught! Off back to the fire now!

    • Carolyn says:

      So far, from the introduction I’ve read to Can You Forgive Her (and the entire book itself), I can’t help liking Trollope. He wanted to go into politics, but didn’t win the vote when he tried, so wrote about it instead. He also liked to hunt and liked to include a hunting chapter in all his books, somehow being disappointed in life but finding a way through fiction to make the best of things endears him to me.

      Brr, go get warm!

  3. JoAnn says:

    I enjoyed reading this post! My bookmark has been stalled around page 350 of The Way We Live Now for 2 years. It started as a group read and I fell behind… really must get back to it.

    Very clever answers in book titles… especially the thought for the day 🙂

    • Carolyn says:

      Thanks JoAnn, I have a copy of The Way We Live Now and have never been able to get past chapter 3, despite liking the miniseries. I may have to go back to it, to get my Trollope fix next year!

  4. LifetimeReader says:

    Your Trollope sounds like a lovely read. And the idea of reading it while curled up in bed next to another reader is perfect. I’m looking forward to seeing what you say for the Circuit!

    • Carolyn says:

      I’ve seen one review where the person didn’t get into Trollope at all, I wonder if it’s just personal preference or if other factors come into it, like expectations or whether or not you can relate to the characters. I do find Trollope a little slow to get going at first, but always rewarding in the end. And my Circuit review is up now!

  5. Erin says:

    Isn’t it wonderful, curling up to a reader at night? 🙂 I’m impressed by your answers with the book titles…I sat here for a few minutes trying to answer myself, and it’s hard!

    • Carolyn says:

      In the mornings when my husband sleeps in and I’m up early, I will continue to cuddle but very carefully bring a book up to my face! It is a cosy way to read.

      Thanks, the book title meme was the first thing here I’ve ever drafted ahead of time, just to work on it a bit longer.

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