Posts Tagged ‘susanwarner’

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A few interesting links.

January 10, 2012

So, I’ve just recovered from another bout of the Nero Wolfe Madness.  I’m reading a couple of things I hope to write about soon, but for now, here are some Redeeming Qualities-adjacent links.

Jess Nevins is doing a series on io9 in which he speculates about what science fiction and fantasy novels and stories might have won Hugos if the award had been established in 1885 rather than 1953. Nevins knows a lot about science fiction, he’s got an open mind, and I think he does a really amazing job of showing what the SFF writing/reading/publishing scene was like in the 1880s. I’m not much of a sci fi reader, so I really appreciate having a rundown of what’s good and what isn’t, and familiar names pop up on Nevins’ shortlists more often that I would have thought. The Victorian Hugos series is now up to 1889.

There’s a very cool article by Jennifer L. Brady at the online journal Common-Place that discusses letters sent to Susan Warner by fans of The Wide, Wide World. As someone with fond memories of reading the book, the article gave me warm and fuzzy feelings–as well as making some interesting suggestions  about the way people read sentimental novels and about 19th century fandom.  It’s called “Loving The Wide, Wide World.”

This is probably the meanest book review I’ve ever read, and while I understand that it might give an aspiring author nightmares, as a reviewer I find it to be a delight. The book is The Book of Kings, by James Thackera, and the reviewer is Philip Hensher.

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Six Recommendations

October 15, 2009

I decided this morning that I wanted to make a list of ten books I’ve covered in this blog that I would wholeheartedly recommend. Not my favorites, because there are a lot of books — Tracy Park, for one — that I love too much to be able to think about them objectively. I’m not totally sure I’m looking at these objectively, but I do think they’re good, and I can’t see any reason why people shouldn’t still be reading them. I’m a little bit sad that I was only able to come up with six, though. Keep in mind that my standards, as usual, are incredibly inconsistent. Read the rest of this entry ?

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One Year of Redeeming Qualities

March 10, 2008

Last week was the one-year anniversary of this blog. I still enjoy writing about weird old books. I’m a little bit impressed that I’ve managed to keep it going for so long. I don’t know that there’s much else to say about it, but I thought I should do something to celebrate, so here’s a list of my favorite finds since I began writing Redeeming Qualities, in order of discovery.

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The Wide, Wide World

February 14, 2008

The Wide, Wide World was written by Susan Warner and published in 1850 under the name Elizabeth Wetherell. It was an enormous success, and probably America’s first bestseller — it was as popular in the second half of the 19th century as Uncle Tom’s Cabin was, and was published two years before it. It was also one of the first books intended for girls rather than children. I guess it’s sort of similar to the works of Charlotte Yonge, who was writing around the same time.

For all these reasons I’ve been intending to read it for a long time, but there are so many things I want to read, and so I didn’t get around the The Wide, Wide World until the fact that Elsie Dinsmore reads it in Elsie’s Girlhood made me feel like I had to.

Well, it took me a while, but it was no hardship. It’s actually a pretty good book, and I’ surprised it isn’t still considered a classic. It’s overtly religious nearly to the extent that the Elsie books are, but I think religion is dealt with much more sensitively in The Wide, Wide World. Possibly this is because Warner was a much better writer than Martha Finley. Everything is dealt with more sensitively. Characters stay in character. There is interest outside of religion in The Wide, Wide World, and sometimes, when children are playing games, you actually get the sense that they’re having fun, as opposed to just being told that they are. And I kept having moments where I’d look up from the page and think to myself, “Yeah. That seems like something a person would do.” Much as I love old girls’ books, I don’t have many moments like that while reading them. Read the rest of this entry ?