October is here everybody. Dig out your scarves, don your boots, and drown yourselves in coats, fall has arrived. Halloween is less than a month a way, and yes, you guessed it, Christmas paraphernalia is already on the shelves. Lot’s of people use October to give up something they shouldn’t indulge in as much as they do, using ‘Stoptober’ to banish the booze or scale back the cigarettes. This year, I have decided to the exact opposite, and take on something I should do more: read proper books.
If you like catchy hashtags and themed readathon, then you my friend are most definitely in luck. Katie from Books and Things’ video announced she was doing a readathon named #Victober, so I thought I would jump on the bandwagon and embrace the merged moniker month. For those who are unaware, Victober is a readathon occurring throughout October (who’d’ve thunk it?) focusing on reading books written during the Victorian period (I know, another shocker huh!) As my lovely friend Emma states in her TBR announcement (found here): by Victorian we’re meaning works written between 1837 and 1901, and primarily by British and Irish authors or those who lived in Britain in that time.
I have moaned quite a lot in my time about my reading habits (I mean, not just about this, but it regularly crops up!) and thought it was high time I began reading something of literary note. That, and Emma has moved in, and she has brought an impressive library with her. I need to have read more of the proper books that she has read, and/or owns, and I need to know a little more about literature that matters, and not which vampire murders which bondage loving billionaire (I am yet to find this book, but when I do, I am going to shamelessly devour it.) Victober came at the perfect time to break up my fantasy binge, and have a limited focus on older, reputable works,
Victober isn’t just about reading a Victorian novel, oh no, there is more to it than that. There is a series of challenges (listed helpfully below) that will enable me to broaden my literary horizons. I have thought long and hard about my book selection (I looked at my shelf and decided which books looked both short and instagramable) and have tried to fit them around the challenges. I don’t want to over commit, or detract to far from #readASOIAF, so there will likely be stories that have been read to tick more than one challenge off, but we will see how we go.
- Read a Victorian novel in a week
- Read a Victorian Gothic novel
- Read a Victorian novel by a female author
- Read a work of Victorian literature that isn’t a novel (i.e. non-fiction, poetry, plays)
- Read a Victorian novel that has a plot or scheme afoot
As I previously said, I have done my best to cover all bases with the works I have chosen, and if all goes to plan, I will read them all.
- The Sign of Four Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Sherlock Holmes mysteries often feature plans, and schemes, and they don’t get much better than secret pacts and buried treasure. This will hopefully tick off challenge 5, and if I read quickly, could double up as challenge 1 as well if I don’t get to finish many books during Victober.
- Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Robert Louis Stevenson: This, much like The Sign of Four, is a book with fewer pages, so it should be the ideal candidate for a book that I can read in a week for challenge one! It also features enough Gothic elements to cross challenge 2 off the list if I don’t make it through book 3.
- Dracula Bram Stoker: Pretty much the quintessential Gothic novel, and a classic to complete challenge 2. I have wanted to read it for a while, especially since I treated myself the to the word cloud classic edition.
- Villette Charlotte Brontë: Out of all the books on my (ambitious) TBR, this is the one that is least likely to get read. I couldn’t really be bothered going through Emma’s books to find something more appealing, and I want to prove my Dad wrong when he said that I would never read this! A challenge 3 contender.
- Assorted Poems from The Broadview Anthology of Victorian Poetry and Poetic Theory: I think it is fairly obvious that this is all about challenge 4. The good news is it features pieces by female poets, so if my plan goes awry and I don’t finish Villette, I should still be able to finish!
And that, as they say, is that. I would love to hear about any Victorian literature you’ve read and enjoyed, why don’t you comment below? Are you taking part in Victober?