Thursday, November 07, 2019

The Richard Stead Breakfast Show on BBC Leeds went to the Brontë Parsonage Museum to find out about Charlotte Brontë's little book (about 1hr24m into the show). Don't forget that you too can be part of Brontë history by donating to the fund for bringing it home to Haworth.

Of course the debates sparked by reading lists are always interesting, but can we please not lose track of the fact that the books not included on a given list are not being banished from planet Earth and you can still read and cherish them? It doesn't hurt either to have a slightly different kind of list from time to time. That said, unsurprisingly the Daily Mail doesn't like the hundred books selected by experts for BBC Two's Novels That Shaped Our World programme.
A panel of assorted literary types, appointed by the BBC, has revealed the 100 genre-busting novels they say have 'shaped our world'.
And although some of the choices make sense, alas, the list is frequently baffling, dismally unchallenging and at some points downright embarrassing for those it misses out.
No Rudyard Kipling, Henry James or Thomas Hardy? Jane Eyre is absent but Bridget Jones is included? [...]
There are multiple omissions of obvious masterworks, and even entire authors. Nothing here by Charlotte Bronte or Joseph Conrad or Robert Louis Stevenson — but a place for Jilly Cooper's Riders. (Christopher Hart)
They then go on to ask their 'Mail writers' about the books that had an impact on their lives.
Christopher Hart's choice
[...]
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë
[...]
Susan Hill 
[...]
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë
[...]
Bel Mooney
[...]
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë (Christopher Hart)
Much as we love the classics, we like reading what you love and enjoy best of all. Hence the importance of reading freely. One man's trash is another man's treasure, etc. Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are on many reading lists, so it's refreshing to see a slightly different sort of list that includes other classics such as The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (and Bridget Jones; there--we said it).

Many other sites such as Woman & Home, ActuaLitté (France) share the list too.

Similarly, Jeanette Winterson touches on the dangers of only reading canonical works in Book Riot's Recommended Season 5 Episode 11.
I didn’t read Orlando for the first time when I was a student because although I did an English degree at Oxford University, which is one of the best degree courses in the world. At that time, in the eighties we were told that there were only four great women writers anywhere ever in the entire world. This was a course from Beowulf to Sam Beckett, and those writers were George Eliot, Jane Austen, and two of the Brontës, Charlotte and Emily. You could do Virginia Woolf, but only as a special paper if you applied. So, although I’d read some of her books, I hadn’t read Orlando because also at that time in the 80s, it was seen as a sort of a romp and not one of her more serious or important works like Mrs Dalloway or To The Lighthouse or The Waves.
And more on the emphasis of reading what should be read as opposed to what you enjoy reading (which may overlap too) in this anecdote told by writer Zoe May to the Oxford Mail.
I was sitting in an Oxford pub once, reading a book. I had the cover flat against the table, not wanting to draw attention, but a man walking past me looked my way, nodding towards the novel in my hands.
‘What are you reading?’ he inquired. He had an academic vibe about him.
‘Oh, just this…’ I sheepishly held up my book, presenting its whimsical pastel cover towards him: The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella.
‘Right!’ he scoffed, rolling his eyes, before strutting off.
I suppose he’d have been more impressed had I been reading The Iliad or the latest Booker Prize winner. But little did he know I’d just finished an English degree and that I wanted to unwind with a light read after having spent the past few months writing a lengthy dissertation on contemporary gender ideologies in the novels of Charlotte Brontë. I shrugged off his rudeness and carried on enjoying my book. (Will Walker)
Comic Book reviews issue #9 of the comic Die.
This issue of DIE provides some stirring insights into the origins of this strange fantasy world and how it ties in with the sometimes subtle and sometimes not so subtle references to literature. In this issue, we gain some insight about DIE's ties to the Brontë family, who created a prototype version of a fantasy RPG during their youth. Gillen and Hans had alluded to the Brontës since the beginning of the series, and I was curious as to whether one or more of the literary giants would eventually appear in the same manner as Tolkien did in the first arc. It's not all literary references though, as Ash makes a decision that could fundamentally alter the dynamics of the already broken party. This remains a fantastic fantasy series that takes a hard look at how the games we play affect our lives. (Christian Hoffer)
La Presse (Canada) reviews the YA novel Dans le cœur de Florence by Lucie Bergeron.
Florence, 16 ans, passe son temps à écrire. Et à lire, notamment Les Hauts de Hurlevent d’Emily Brontë, hérité de sa mère, morte renversée par une voiture. Quand elle perd son cahier d’écriture, Florence perd aussi le cap. Exigeant, ce roman truffé de poèmes en vers libres rend bien les tourments d’une adolescente de Charlevoix. C’est beau et douloureux à la fois, comme une plage rocailleuse donnant sur le fleuve. À noter : Dans le cœur de Florence était parmi les finalistes aux prix littéraires du Gouverneur général. (Marie Allard) (Translation)
El Cultural (Spain) sums up rather than reviews Laura Ramos's Brontë biography Infernales. Vogue (Spain) features El libro the los gatos (which translates as the book of cats) and which seems to include something by Anne Brontë (shouldn't it be Emily, though?).

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