This challenge was originally created by o at Behold the Stars, but I spotted it at Jane’s wonderful blog Fleur in Her World. The Goal of this challenge is to travel England by reading, and read at least one book per however many counties of England you decide to read.
I generally tend to read more English literature than American, but so far I haven’t kept track of how well my reading spreads out into the different counties of England. I think this challenge will encourage me to read books from different corners of the country and to become more aware of the image that they present of those areas. Even if I end up reading only books set in London, they’ll at least provide me with differing views of the city.
The Rules are as follows:
- The challenge begins on the 1st January 2015 and ends on 31st December 2015, but you can also join in later.
- You can sign up any time between now and the end of 2015. Only books read after 1st January 2015 count, though.
- Choose a level (below), but do not feel obliged to pick your books or even your counties beforehand.
- Because this is a classics blog, I’d encourage people to read classic novels, but how you define classics is up to you.
- You are not limited to English authors. If the book is set in England, it counts for the challenge even if it was written by a non-English author.
- It would be great if you blog about the books you read for each county but you don’t have to. If you do, you don’t have to feel obliged to give any information about the county in general other than, maybe, “This is my review of x which is set in the county of x“. You could also include a description of the landscape in your posts, but again you don’t have to.
- You do not have to read the books in their original language, translations are accepted.
- Audio books, Kindles, and whatnot are accepted too.
- Poetry, plays, biographies, and autobiographies count as well as novels.
- Level one: 1 – 3 counties
- Level two: 4 – 6 counties
- Level three: 7 – 12 counties
- Level four: 12 + counties
Because I truly want to challenge myself, I’ll go with Level three: 7–12 counties. I doubt the result will go anywhere above eight, but to reach the minimum of seven counties means that I’ll need to read at least one book for the challenge every second month. Should be doable? I won’t be making a extensive itinerary for my journey, but based on the books mentioned in the master post, I’ve picked a few classics that I have high hopes to visit.
The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
Middlemarch by George Elliot (fictional?)
Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Howards End by E. M. Forster
Please check out o‘s blog, Behold the Stars, for more recommendations if you’re interested join in!
In addition to writing down classics and marking my journey, I’ve also decided that as with every journey, there’ll be detours on this one as well – in this case, Modern Detours. This means that in 2015 I’ll also keep track of non-classic books set in England, and try to see how my contemporary journey differs from the classical one.
The Diary Entries from my Journey:
- London: An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde; A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens; Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
- Yorkshire: Dracula by Bram Stoker
Modern Detours taken:
- Guernsey/Channel Islands: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
- Cambridgeshire: Winter Siege by Ariana Franklin and Samantha Norman
- Kent: Mr Darwin’s Gardener by Kristina Carlson
- London: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith; Satin Island by Tom McCarthy; A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah McLean
- Surrey: Atonement by Ian McEwan