Readalongs: Confessions and Lessons

“Starting three Victorian works at the same time might seem like madness, but there were three readlongs beginning this month that I really couldn’t resist. And losing myself in Victorian prose at night has been the perfect antidote to difficult days at work.”

That was what I wrote at the end of February. I had wonderful intentions, but I haven’t lived up to them.

And so it’s time for confessions and lessons.

First there was Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, hosted by Allie at A Literary Odyssey.

I surprised myself by hurtling through my reread of Oliver Twist and loving it. I even wrote:

“My final post for the readalong will be arriving bang on schedule next Monday.”

I must now confess that said post is still sitting, unfinished, in my drafts folder. Oliver Twist was written in three books and I’d posted about the first two, but I was struggling to write about the third and sum things up at the same time.

I think that in future with long books I shall probably make notes as I go and post at the end. With maybe just some quotations or random thoughts along the way.

I’ll write more about Oliver Twist one day …

And then there was Villette by Charlotte Bronte, hosted by Wallace at Unputdownables.

“I’m a little off the pace, taking my time to enjoy the prose, the story, the characters when my reading mood is right. I might catch up, or I might just finish the journey in my own good time.”

Ha! I must confess that I haven’t picked up Vilette since I wrote that. And I have learned that just because I want to read a book, and just because there’s a readalong that doesn’t make it the right time to read. Sometimes its wiser to just to stand back and watch and save your book until the time is right.

Vilette is back on the “one day” pile …

And finally there’s The Moorland Cottage by Elizabeth Gaskell, hosted by Katherine at Gaskell Blog.

“Now this little novella really has captivated me. The lovely style, the fine prose, the wonderful evocation of the period and the countryside setting. And, most of all, the characters and their stories.”

I really was loving The Moorland Cottage, but disaster struck. The book went missing! I looked everywhere, but it wasn’t until yesterday I had occasion to look in my mother’s knitting bag …

Now I can pick up the threads, and I am quite sure that I will be writing about The Moorland Cottage very soon.

I will, really …

But what do you think about readalongs? Do you have any helpful advice?

10 responses

  1. It actually sounds as though you are doing a great job with read-alongs – at least you are actually reading the books most of the time! I don’t think that creating your own posts is that important – commenting on the posts of others and getting involved in the discussion is the main thing. It’s all about enjoying reading so I wouldn’t worry about it. 🙂

    • It’s leaving things dangling that bother’s me a little Jackie. oists on oarts of books but then no conclusion…. But I agree, it’s the reading and the involvement that matter most

  2. I really enjoyed Villette–I’m off to check into the Gaskell blog. I’m reading “The Life of Charlotte Bronte” by Elizabeth Gaskell

    • I’m sure you will love Gaskell blog Kaye. I have The Life of Charlotte Bronte somewhere, so I’ll be looking out for your thoughts.

  3. There are some books that I just have to read without taking notes and then when I come to write about them I struggle. I’ve enjoyed them so much but somehow writing about them is just too immense unless I’ve at least jotted down some page numbers of significant passages. Making notes slows me down but is good for refreshing my memory afterwards.

    As Jackie says, it’s the enjoyment that’s important.

    • With a shorter book I get away with marking passages, but with longer books I think I’m going to have to make notes to remeber my initial reaction and things that struck me at particular points.

  4. I have not partook in any readalongs of certain novels, although I think I may enjoy it and it would introduce me to some books I probably should have read!

    Perhaps in the near future, I will join in if something catches my eye.

    • I do find a readalong helps me to get going on the bigger books dnd classics. The sorts of books I know I want to read but never quite get to. It’s just that I have difficulty sticking to a schedule and organising multiple posts!

  5. I’m glad you found your copy of The Moorland Cottage. 🙂

    For me, as long as the group read has motivated you to read the book, at whatever pace, I’m content, I just hope that the posts I write can help people better understand it and is a place where people discuss their ideas.

    I always find it helpful to have my journal with me so I can jot down my thoughts.

  6. I’ve decided only to participate in readalongs if the book is already on my TBR shelf, and only then if I don’t have too many books planned already! I think it inspires me to read books I would put off otherwise — this year I’ve completed readalongs for Villette and The Three Musketeers, two books which I’d owned for several years and never gotten to. So that’s a good thing. I just have to be careful not to overextend myself.

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