After the Sunday Papers #1

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, moving my blog from blogger to wordpress meant that I lost my Sunday Salon membership. I suppose I could have continued to do unofficial Sunday Salon posts, but I thought I might as well come up with something different – and I decided to stay with the quote from which I took my blog title (“She had read novels while other people perused the Sunday papers”).  So, welcome to my first After the Sunday Papers post, in which I’ll look at some interesting news and links from the previous week and update you on my current reading plans.

Inspired by Iris’s post on readalongs yesterday, I’m considering taking part in Nymeth’s Middlemarch readalong. I haven’t had much luck with reading Middlemarch in the past – I attempted to read it a few years ago and gave up halfway through. I had a second attempt the following year and this time couldn’t even get past the first couple of chapters! I can’t understand why I’ve been finding it so difficult to read. The length isn’t a problem – I’ve read and enjoyed plenty of books of the same length or longer (my all-time favourite book is The Count of Monte Cristo and they don’t come much longer than that!) The fact that it was written in the 19th century is also not a problem – as most of you will know, I love Victorian classics.  I don’t think I even have a problem with George Eliot herself – I’ve read Silas Marner and although I can’t remember much about it, I know I enjoyed it (and Middlemarch is considered to be better). So what is the problem? I don’t know, and that’s why I would like to try again.

Are there any books that you have repeatedly tried to read with no success?

  • One book that I am finding a success (at least so far) is the one I’m currently reading, Daphne du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel. I had my love for Daphne du Maurier reawakened when I read I’ll Never Be Young Again earlier this month, so couldn’t resist borrowing two more of her books from the library – this one and The Scapegoat, neither of which I had read before.
  • Some good news for any of you who are parents: a new study by Nevada University has found that having even 20 books in the home can have an impact on your child’s education – and having more than 500 books can lead to a child staying in education for an average of three years longer than in households with less access to literature.
  • Finally, if any Charles Dickens fans are reading this, here’s an article from the Daily Mail about his relationship with Ellen Ternan, the actress for whom he separated from his wife, Catherine.  I found it interesting as this period of Dickens’ life, including the Staplehurst Rail Disaster, was covered in Drood, which I read in March. Apparently the BBC are making a new film about Dickens and Ellen, though there’s no news on when it will be shown.

11 thoughts on “After the Sunday Papers #1

  1. Iris says:

    I love your idea of “After the Sunday papers”.

    I know this is going to sound absolutely stupid, but I’ve tried to read “The Picture of Dorian Gray” a number of times and I always get stuck while reading it. Everyone I talk to loves it, but I’ve never made it past halfway through. I’m hoping to try again this year.. wish me luck 😉

    Thanks for the mention, btw!

    Also, I don’t have children of my own, but I’ve always thought about the importance of books. I was a library member ever since I was 1 year old and my parents used to read to me a lot. I’m convinced it must’ve had an impact on me. Then again, when I’m older I dn’t want to push my children into reading, but would love them to discover a liking to it on their own.

    • Helen (She Reads Novels) says:

      I’ve read The Picture of Dorian Gray and enjoyed it – it’s interesting how we all have different books that we have problems with, even when everyone else seems to love them. Another book I couldn’t finish was Crime and Punishment, but I’m always hearing about how great it is, so I’ll definitely try that one again sometime!

      I was a library member from an early age too. I can’t imagine growing up without books, yet unfortunately there are a lot of children who do.

  2. Carolyn (A Few of My Favourite Books) says:

    I’ve tried to read The Wings of the Dove by Henry James several times and keep getting lost in the convoluted prose. I can’t seem to get far with Dorian Gray either, but then I consider Wings of the Dove to be the bigger nemesis of the two. (it’s only because my favourite English prof read the first sentences of Wings of the D. aloud in class and they sounded so lovely!)

    I hope you are able to read all of Middlemarch some day, I really liked it, although when I tried to reread it last year I wasn’t able to get through!

  3. Ash says:

    I was absent from the internet a few weeks ago so I missed your move, but now I’m all caught up! I really like the new look. I advise you to give Middlemarch another try, I read it for a class and it’s one of my favorite books now. It’s difficult with all the characters, but I think you can find character webs online to help you keep up with it.

  4. Mae says:

    Nice new series of postings. Bit of shame about the Sunday Saloon membership but it’s a bit exclusive isn’t it which is a bit rough. I’d like to read Middlemarch soon too but I recently finished Mill on the Floss which devastated me so I’m a little Eliot-ed out. I read Silas Marner a while back too but it’s a little difficult to remember what it is about – something about a miser, gold, little child, snow and abandonment. I think Eliot tends to write novels that you either love or hate. I remember I didn’t really like The Lifted Veil.

  5. Lua says:

    I love the idea of “After the Sunday Papers” posts, sounds very interesting & original! You can count me in as a loyal Sunday reader from now on 🙂
    “Are there any books that you have repeatedly tried to read with no success?”
    Oh boy- Ulysses ! I am scared to death even by the sight of that book- like you, I have no problem with reading long, complicated books but somehow I just can’t read this one. I guess I’m kind of scared that I won’t be able to understand it…

    • Helen (She Reads Novels) says:

      I’ve read another of James Joyce’s books, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, but I’ve never even attempted to read Ulysses! The thought of reading it scares me too! Maybe I’ll try it one day, but not at the moment.

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