In my last post, I mentioned my Mini Book Club. My partner in crime and I were motivated by a few things. We wanted to challenge ourselves by reading books we wouldn’t normally read. I also had been thinking about how much I enjoyed getting a reading list for my college English classes, grouped by some kind of theme, such as 18th century botanical poetry (note: not a real class).
And because we didn’t want to negotiate the reading list with a big group of people, we decided to limit our book club to just the two of us. This had nothing to do with the fact that we don’t really like people.
So we decided to focus on Victorian British novels, a period we both enjoyed. We also decided we wanted to balance the list between women and men. The only other rule was that, with one exception each, we weren’t allowed to read a book we had read before. Without further ado, here’s the list we ended up with:
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
- Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens.
- The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.
- Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell.
- Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon.
The idea is to read one every other month, then to have a brilliant evening of discussion. In practice, though, we are often reading at the same time, in the same room, and interrupt each other with probing questions such as, “Why does Jane go back to Rochester?” and “Does Dorian Gray actually have a plot?” and “Seriously — why does Jane go back to Rochester?”
Currently, we’re building a list of all 637 characters in Our Mutual Friend. I’ll let you know if we survive.