As I mentioned in my August Reads and September Plans post, me and two other lovely book bloggers are planning to read Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell together. The read-along/buddy read starts on 8th of September, so if you have the chance, please join us! The read-along goes on until the end of the month, depending on how quickly we read.
The idea for a Gaskell read-along came from Emma from Turning Pages and Tea after she read North and South. Emma from Bookwormchatterbox is also no stranger to Gaskell, having previously read and reviewed North and South as well as Mary Barton. My history with Gaskell began with Wives and Daughters, after which came North and South, and then Cranford. The idea to read Gaskell together had been bouncing for a while, before we settled for Cranford due to its short length as well as the fact that neither of the other two had read it before.
Cranford tells the story of a small rural village dominated by women. As the narrator notes, “– whatever does become of the gentlemen, they are not at Cranford”. The ladies of Cranford have their own set of social rules and ways, which are put into test when a certain Captain Brown moves into Cranford. The change in the village reflects one of the themes that Gaskell applied often in her works – the contrast between rural England and industrial England. I hope that re-reading Cranford will give me the joy of meeting an old friend as well as an opportunity to examine Gaskell’s writing more closely. The Penguin English Library edition that I’ll be reading also has a small essay on the back, titled Cranford and the weapon of laughter which I hope will give me a new perspective to the story.
If you are interested in reading Cranford with us, you’re more than welcome to do so! As said, the read-along starts on 8th of September and continues until the end of the month. Let me know if you’d be interested by commenting below, and we’ll try to figure out how to go about. Maybe we can chat about our progress on Twitter, or start a Goodreads group for wider discussions? Finally, don’t forget to check out both Emmas’ blogs!