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Readalongs > Shirley by Charlotte Bronte (Leslie, Shirley, and anyone else?)

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message 1: by Leslie (last edited Nov 03, 2014 09:40AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Leslie | 15985 comments Shirley and I planned to read her eponymous book this month. Anyone else interested in joining us?

I am reading the illustrated Kindle edition from Project Gutenberg:

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/30486


Leslie | 15985 comments I started this yesterday, as it is a longish book... I've only read the first 2 chapters but it surprised me -- much more like Elizabeth Gaskell than it is like Jane Eyre!


Shirley | 4177 comments Leslie wrote: "I started this yesterday, as it is a longish book... I've only read the first 2 chapters but it surprised me -- much more like Elizabeth Gaskell than it is like Jane Eyre!"

Yes, I thought the same as you - not very much like Jane Eyre! I'm on chapter 4, but I expect you will soon overtake me. I didn't realise it's such a long book, I seem to have read a lot of long books this year!


message 4: by Gail (new) - added it

Gail (appleshoelace) Yes, I'll join you - I've been planning to read this one for a while. I didn't much like Jane Eyre, but enjoyed Villette (although it's been many years since I read them both), so am curious to see what this one will be like.


Leslie | 15985 comments Great Gail -- Villette is also on my long TBR list. Interesting that you liked one but not the other, but I felt that way about Gaskell (loved some, didn't care for North and South much though)


message 6: by Gail (new) - added it

Gail (appleshoelace) I was the opposite with Gaskell - loved North and South, but couldn't get into Mary Barton. I plan to read more of her novels too.


Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 11537 comments Mod
I would love to join you, been meaning to read this as Jane Eyre is probably my favourite Victorian novel.


Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 11537 comments Mod
I will start this after I finish A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.


Leslie | 15985 comments Alannah wrote: "I would love to join you, been meaning to read this as Jane Eyre is probably my favourite Victorian novel."

Yay!


Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 11537 comments Mod
Just downloaded it.


Shirley | 4177 comments Gail wrote: "I was the opposite with Gaskell - loved North and South, but couldn't get into Mary Barton. I plan to read more of her novels too."

I liked both of them!


Shirley | 4177 comments Good to have you join us, Gail and Alannah!


Shirley | 4177 comments Alannah wrote: "I would love to join you, been meaning to read this as Jane Eyre is probably my favourite Victorian novel."

It's probably my favourite, too.


Shirley | 4177 comments Leslie wrote: "Great Gail -- Villette is also on my long TBR list. Interesting that you liked one but not the other, but I felt that way about Gaskell (loved some, didn't care for North and South much though)"

Villette is on my TBR, too. I hope to read it next year.


LauraT (laurata) | 13121 comments Mod
Shirley wrote: "Gail wrote: "I was the opposite with Gaskell - loved North and South, but couldn't get into Mary Barton. I plan to read more of her novels too."

I liked both of them!"


Me too; the only book by her I can't say I loved is Cranford


Shirley | 4177 comments I'm on chapter 5 now, and there doesn't seem to be much happening yet - it's a slow start, and lots of scene setting and character setting.


Leslie | 15985 comments I am just starting Chapter 7 and wondering when Shirley is going to appear!! I do like Caroline (better than Hortense!) but am curious about the so-far mysterious Shirley...


message 18: by Leslie (last edited Nov 10, 2014 10:23AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Leslie | 15985 comments Well, Shirley has finally appeared! I am unsure how much I like her as yet. Caroline seems clearly the "heroine" don't you think?


message 19: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) I agree with Laura. I do find Cranford a bit of a potboiler without the social awareness she usually shows. Her other novels I've found to be very powerful.


Shirley | 4177 comments Leslie wrote: "Well, Shirley has finally appeared! I am unsure how much I like her as yet. Caroline seems clearly the "heroine" don't you think?"

Yes, I hate to say it, but I'm still not keen on her, and I'm on chapter 16!


message 21: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Perhaps you need to recruit a Caroline to the readalong ...


message 22: by Shirley (last edited Nov 10, 2014 11:56AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Shirley | 4177 comments Jean wrote: "Perhaps you need to recruit a Caroline to the readalong ..."

I'm not keen on her, either, I'm afraid. She reminds me of Bella in Twilight. There really is only so long you can pine after someone. Get a grip, girl!


Leslie | 15985 comments Shirley wrote: "Jean wrote: "Perhaps you need to recruit a Caroline to the readalong ..."

I'm not keen on her, either, I'm afraid. She reminds me of Bella in Twilight. There really is only so long you can pine af..."


LOL!! I think that she was seriously about to go into a decline before Shirley moved into the neighborhood. I had read about women doing that but assumed it was an exaggeration!


message 24: by Bionic Jean (last edited Nov 10, 2014 01:28PM) (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Well, one way of approaching Iris Murdoch's The Sea, the Sea (which I think you nearly joined in on, and may read in the future, as I may with this one...) would be to want to say to the viewpoint character, "Oh - stop pining and being so melodramatic - just get over it!" and a big part of me felt that way.

But fortunately there was a lot more in the subtext, so hopefully that will be true with this one too.


Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 11537 comments Mod
This will be my next book.


Shirley | 4177 comments Jean wrote: "Well, one way of approaching Iris Murdoch's The Sea, the Sea (which I think you nearly joined in on, and may read in the future, as I may with this one...) would be to wa..."

Yes, I'm sure there will be. And yes, I would like to read The Sea, the Sea!


Shirley | 4177 comments Alannah wrote: "This will be my next book."

That's great, Alannah, I will be interested to hear your thoughts on it.


message 28: by Gail (new) - added it

Gail (appleshoelace) I'm still in the beginning chapters so haven't yet come across Caroline or Shirley. It's definitely very different from Jane Eyre and Villette (although I can see possible church theme similarities with Villette).

I'm curious why you don't like Shirley, Shirley (hehe - names might get confusing here!) - from what I'd read about the book, I thought she'd be a positive character (apparently Shirley became a popular girls' name after this book was published, having only been a boys' name before that). Having said that, I don't think I've ever particularly liked any of Charlotte Brontë's characters - found them interesting, yes, but not particularly liked them. I wonder if she intended them to be liked, or if that even crossed her mind.


message 29: by Gail (new) - added it

Gail (appleshoelace) I found the detailed description of Yorke's personality quite interesting - particularly the bit about him being one of those people who don't understand or appreciate poets, and the long defence the narrator gives on behalf of poets. It made me wonder about the background behind all that, and definitely felt like it was something beyond the story. It reminded me a little of Jane Eyre, actually - because Jane was often defending herself, and her right to be herself, to the readers, if I remember correctly.


Shirley | 4177 comments Gail wrote: "I'm still in the beginning chapters so haven't yet come across Caroline or Shirley. It's definitely very different from Jane Eyre and Villette (although I can see possible church theme similarities..."

Gail, I don't dislike her, but I'm not sure I trust her motives, so I am reserving judgement at the moment. This may well be the author's intent that she isn't very likeable.. or maybe she isn't turning out to be what I had imagined, especially as we are both Shirleys!!


message 31: by Gail (new) - added it

Gail (appleshoelace) Ah, okay, that's interesting. I did wonder if she is intended to be a character who challenges Victorian stereotypes about women -someone who is strong, and maybe has some mixed motives and ambitions, same as the men seem to. Maybe even challenging the stereotype that women have to be likeable. I'll read more tomorrow and hopefully get to the bit where she turns up!


message 32: by Gail (new) - added it

Gail (appleshoelace) Page 112 and still no sign of Shirley. My imagination has grown restless and started to speculate who she is and what her motivations are, using what I fancy to be clues from the text. I've imagined an entire plot - it'll be interesting to see how it compares to the reality. If I am right, she will be in her thirties. (Of course she may be in her thirties even if I'm wrong!)


message 33: by Leslie (last edited Nov 12, 2014 09:31AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Leslie | 15985 comments Gail wrote: " (apparently Shirley became a popular girls' name after this book was published, having only been a boys' name before that)"

I noticed that in Chap. 11 (when Caroline first meets Shirley), Shirley says "They gave me a man's name..." which surprised me. I have never heard it used as a masculine name!

Shirley, I agree that I am still unsure of her motives! However, I do like her strength of character.

I am finding some of the writing to be a bit, hmmm, boring. I am liking the plot and the characters (for the most part) but for example, the beginning section of Chapter 18 where Shirley & Caroline are discussing Adam and Eve & whether Milton knew anything about women was dull for me.

Am I alone in wondering if Mrs. Pryor (view spoiler)


message 34: by Gail (new) - added it

Gail (appleshoelace) Leslie, re. your spoiler, (view spoiler)


Shirley | 4177 comments Leslie wrote: "Gail wrote: " (apparently Shirley became a popular girls' name after this book was published, having only been a boys' name before that)"

I noticed that in Chap. 11 (when Caroline first meets Shir..."


Yes, it is a bit slow at times, though getting better now I am on chapter 21. You could be right about Mrs Pryor..?


Leslie | 15985 comments I am further along now -- up to Chapter 30. Now I am wondering (view spoiler) Actually, I thought that earlier but it is pretty clear now that is the case.


Shirley | 4177 comments Just finished chapter 26, and apart from the expected revelation about Mrs Pryor, there has been little to keep my interest. I am a bit disappointed, but will keep reading to the end to see what happens.


Leslie | 15985 comments I have finished. Like you Shirley, I was disappointed. I wanted to like it more than I was really able to like it. :/


Shirley | 4177 comments Leslie wrote: "I have finished. Like you Shirley, I was disappointed. I wanted to like it more than I was really able to like it. :/"

Me too. And I so wanted to like it, and to like Shirley! I still have a few chapters left but the best bit for me so far is when Caroline goes for tea with that awful woman, Mrs Yorke, and she shows some real backbone in how she responds to her.

It's a shame, as I loved Jane Eyre, and still want to read Villette, yet I can't see me giving this more than 2 stars, unless the last few chapters are amazing...


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