Hello lovely people! Can you believe it’s October already? Where has the time gone!? October means one thing though (aside from my birthday/Thor Ragnarok‘s release) and that is the return of Victorian reading month aka Victober. As you may be able to discern from its name, Victober is a month long readathon which takes place in October and focuses on reading Victorian novels, that is novels written by authors from Great Britain between the years of 1837 to 1901. If you want to know more about the readathon, please do take a look at the announcement/TBR videos of the hosts – Katie (Books and Things), Kate (Kate Howe), Lucy (Lucy the Reader), and Ange (Beyond the Pages).
I took a few Victorian literature classes in university, and read some of the big hitters of the period, but I didn’t manage to keep up that reading motivation for nineteenth-century novels after I had graduated and was no longer being assigned those novels. That’s a big shame because I really enjoyed some of the most unexpected of them, and didn’t see the fuss with other beloved examples, but Victober is a chance for me to get back in the game and really focus on reading some good, solid Victorian literature.
The lovely hosts of this readathon have devised some challenges to help participants devise their TBRs, but they’re guidelines and don’t have to be followed in order to join in on the fun. However, I could use some direction, so I’ll be trying my damndest to read books which complete the challenges, which are:
- Read a book by a Scottish, Welsh, or Irish author
- Read a lesser-known book (under 12000 ratings on Goodreads)
- Read a supernatural book
- Read a book recommended to you
- Read a book by a female author
Last time I tried to participate in Victober it was an abysmal effort, to say the least, and I don’t think I completed a single challenge/book. Mainly because I was much too optimistic about what I would read in the space of a month when there were also plenty of other books I wanted to get to. This year I’ve tried to really curate which books are on my TBR and to realistically think which books I will actually be in the mood for – I think I’m giving myself a better chance this year. The books I’ve chosen are:
- In A Glass Darkly – Sheridan Le Fanu (challenges 1, 2, 3)
Le Fanu is an Irish author so fits nicely for challenge 1. The collection, In A Glass Darkly, also has around 3000 ratings on Goodreads so definitely qualifies as lesser-known, or at least lesser-read. I can’t speak for the entirety of the stories in it but I do know that challenge 3 will certainly be covered by Carmilla which is included in this volume.
- Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte (challenges 4, 5)
Obviously this book is one of the Big Ones of Victorian literature but there’s jut one problem – I’ve read this before and didn’t really rate it, at all. I just did not get the fuss. It was fine but I didn’t feel overwhelmed by Charlotte’s magnum opus. However, I have been considering lately whether I was just plain wrong, because I was too young or just in a grumpy mood when I first read this. So I’m giving it another chance, based on everyone’s recommendations of it, and that will do nicely for challenge 4. Challenge 5 is also handily covered owing to the fact Charlotte is a woman… clearly.
I think limiting myself to just two books might be the best way to attack this readathon. This gives me the breathing space to also pick up non-Victober books during October (War and Peace and A Dance with Dragons Part Two are still yet to be finished) and I don’t see any harm in allowing myself that. I do also have a tonne of Victorian books I’ve been meaning to get to so I won’t be short of additional novels to read if I happen to be feeling particularly industrious in October. Here’s to hoping!
I’m unlikely to keep an updates post up-to-date on here for a whole month’s worth of reading so I won’t even pretend like I will – however, I likely will be updating a Twitter thread so please do follow me on Twitter and say hello if you’re also participating and we can cheer each other on with Victober.