By Louisa May Alcott
Strangely and completely by accident, I’ve gone straight from a book written for boys; full of adventures, the outdoors and fun to one written for girls; full of manners, gloves and sewing.
I think Little Women can only be read bearing in mind the confines of its time. Books for children were written with a strong didactic and moralistic tone and with a strict gender divide. This story, written for girls, follows four sisters growing up in a conventional patriarchal society their destined roles to become young ladies and make good marriages. But within these parameters this is a story of four individuals following their own paths and finding some independence albeit within the domestic sphere. Continue reading “Book Three: Little Women”
by Mark Twain
This was so much more than I expected. My idea of Huckleberry Finn was very much based on the 70’s T.V programme, which I loved. Lots of running around barefoot, having adventures and refusing to be hemmed in by convention. I didn’t realise that Earnest Hemingway had said that “all modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn”; or that I would find a story about two, marginalised people on the run for their freedom. $300 dollar reward for Jim, $200 for Huck.
Continue reading “Book Two: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”
A Study of Provincial Life
By George Eliot
Oh my goodness, where to begin? Middlemarch is a book that carries so much weight, with Virginia Woolf declaring it one of the few English novels written for grown up people, and everyone I know saying how much they love it and then it’s by George Eliot who has written some of my favourite books of all . And yet I found I was struggling; I didn’t really care about Dorothea Brooke and her grey dress, she seemed too good to be true and too earnest to ever be interesting. But then I heard Mariella Frostrup on Open Book (BBC Radio 4) saying that she too couldn’t get past the first paragraph and the advice given to her was to just keep reading – so I did, and somehow around the time Will Ladislaw appeared I was hooked and over a couple of very hot weeks in July it became my constant companion, sitting on a bench in the garden, drink in one hand Middlemarch in the other.
Continue reading “Book One: Middlemarch”