Themed Reading Challenge

I am so pleased that Wendy is hosting the Themed Reading Challenge again this year.

It’s a lovely challenge – beautiful in its simplicity.

Between 14th February and 14th August read five books from your own shelves linked by one two or more themes.

It’s a lovely excuse to look through your own shelves and ponder book combinations. But I have to admit that I had a new theme worked out even before I’d completed last year’s challenge.

So here it is:

Novels by 20th century woman writers……that fell out of print, but were later reissued as Virago Modern Classics …… and that have a woman’s name as the title – not just one name, but forename and surname.

And here are the books:

Joanna Godden by Sheila Kaye-Smith

“Joanna Godden is a “damn fine woman.” On the death of her father in 1897 all her neighbors expect her to marry, for someone–some man–must run Little Ansdore, the Sussex farm she inherits. But Joanna is a person of independent mind, and decides to run it herself.”

Aleta Day by Francis Marion Benyon

In the years before the First World War, Aleta Dey grows up on a remote Canadian farm. After early rebellion against her parents’ attempts to “break her spirit”, she graduates to “subversion” in the history lessons at school, inspired and supported by her socialist friend Ned. Her mistrust of convention and passionate defence of justice directs Aleta towards radical journalism and an active role in the suffrage movement. With the outbreak of War, her ideology is immediately challenged – for not only is Aleta a pacifist but she has fallen in love with McNair, an out-and-out Tory.”

Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner

“Lolly Willowes is a twenty-eight-year-old spinster when her adored father dies, leaving her dependent upon her brothers and their wives. After twenty years of self-effacement as a maiden aunt, she decides to break free and moves to a small Bedfordshire village. Here, happy and unfettered, she enjoys her new existence nagged only by the sense of a secret she has yet to discover. That secret–and her vocation–is witchcraft, and with her cat and a pact with the Devil, Lolly Willowes is finally free.”

Hester Lilly by Elizabeth Taylor

 “Muriel, the conscientious headmaster’s wife,  fears the arrival of his orphaned cousin, Hester Lilly, though when she meets her, Muriel experiences a sensation of relief. How can someone who is so ill put-together pose such a threat to her carefully nurtured marriage? But Muriel is quite misled; almost before she knows it she is locked into a desperate struggle with the waif-like Hester.”

Harriet Hume by Rebecca West

“Harriet Hume, musical, mystical and whimsical, is the very essence of femininity—both princess and trollop. Her beautiful room in a dilapidated Kensington House is the setting for this love story, she herself an extension of the beauty which surrounds her. Here, amidst trees and lilacs, Arnold Condorex comes to be loved. And love him Harriet does, beyond reason. But Condorex is a man bent on power and Harriet is a women with powers of quite another kind.”

I’m almost breaking my “no fixed book lists” rule – but not quite. These are all books that I am eager to read, but I’ve been saving them, hoping for this particular challenge. And I do have a couple of alternatives lined up just in case.

And now I’m looking forward to another of the delights of this challenge – perusing the themes and books of others!

8 responses

  1. What fantastic theming! I have Aleta Day on my TBR pile so hopefully will get to that soon. I liked Hester Lilly and Loly Willowes too, Harriet Hume less so and had not come across the other one.

  2. Pingback: Announcing the Themed Reading Challenge 2010 – caribousmom

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