Sunday, July 06, 2008

Help choose our next book!

Stefanie has asked me to choose the next Slaves of Golconda book, so I'm here with some choices. All of these are by 18C or 19C American writers, a category I don't read in very often but wish that I did, and so am seizing this chance to make up for my lack. I hope there is something here that appeals to you. Everyone is welcome to participate, whether you have a blog or not, so don't be shy!

Vote for your choice in the comments, and I'll add up all the votes on Friday morning. Also let me know if you would rather read the book by August 31st, which would be our usual time, or by September 30th, which would give us an extra month. I ask this because people might prefer to wait until the summer is fully over before our next discussion begins. Either way is fine with me.

So, here they are:

1. Fanny Fern's Ruth Hall. Hobgoblin recently recommended this to me. Here's a description: "The first novel by Fanny Fern, otherwise known as Sarah Payson Willis, is a semi-autobiographical tale of a talented writer who loses her husband and is forced to support herself and two young children in the mid 1800s. Fern writes with biting social commentary on the subject of traditional assumptions of the woman's place in society."

2. Elizabeth Stuart Phelps's The Story of Avis. Litlove mentioned this one recently, and it looks interesting. It's relatively expensive if you buy it new, but there are plenty of cheap used copies available. A description: "Avis is the story of a larger-than-life heroine, a promising artist, who against her better judgment is persuaded by her lover Philip Ostrander -- a "new man" -- to marry ... Phelps depicts the turmoil of her characters inner lives with great sensitivity and a skill that is striking."

3. Susanna Rowson's Charlotte Temple. (Another one recommended by Hobgoblin.) A description: "A story of seduction, betrayal, and retribution. It is a sentimental, moralistic novel of the eighteenth century that leaves the protagonist, Charlotte, in the midst of a cunning and unforgiving world." It was the biggest bestseller until Uncle Tom's Cabin appeared.

4. Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables. This book is on my mind as I saw the house itself just a month or so ago. A description: "Hawthorne's tale about the brooding hold of the past over the present is a complex one, twisting and turning its way back through many generations of a venerable New England family, one of whose members was accused of witchcraft in 17th century Salem."

Let me know what you think!

9 comments:

stefanie said...

They all sound so good I can't decide! Charlotte Temple sounds delicious though so I'll say that is my first choice with Ruth Hall coming in a close second.

Iliana said...

Ooh good choices... I will also go with Charlotte Temple. Curious to see how that bestseller holds up now :)
And, I vote for a bit of extra reading time.

SFP said...

Ruth Hall and The Story of Avis both sound good to me.

Danielle said...

They all sound good. I've had a copy of Charlotte Temple for a while now that I've been meaning to get to. If the book we choose is fairly short I don't mind reading it for August, but if everyone wants to wait, that's fine with me, too!

Kate S. said...

Any one of the four would expand my reading horizons, which is the very thing I love about the Slaves of Golconda. But of the four, Ruth Hall is the one that most strongly sparks my interest.

litlove said...

I'd love to read either Ruth Hall or the Story of Avis (as I possess them both!) but I would happily read any of the four. Great choices, Dorothy.

Jenny said...

My vote is for the Story of Avis, with Ruth Hall coming a close second.

Looking forward to the discussion, as a new member of the Slaves!

Dorothy W. said...

Damned if I know how to add these numbers up! :) We need somebody to come along and break up what looks to be a tie ...

naida said...

I havent read any of these, but Ruth Hall sounds interesting. Whichever you pick, happy reading.
http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/