Book choices

It’s my turn to choose a book for the next Slaves of Golconda read, and what else can I do but pick something from one of my favorite centuries, the 18th? I thought I’d pick three things and let people vote. The group is open to everyone, so if you haven’t participated before you are free to join — all you have to do is read the book and post on it on your blog and/or participate in the discussion at Metaxu Cafe and in comments on other people’s posts. If you plan on participating let me know in the comments which book you’d like to read by, say, Sunday night, and I’ll tally the votes then.

So here are the possibilities I’m thinking of:

  1. Samuel Johnson’s Rasselas. I’ve read this before, but I’m happy to read it again, especially since I’m learning so much about Johnson through Boswell’s Life. Here’s the first sentence: “Ye who listen with credulity to the whispers of fancy, and pursue with eagerness the phantoms of hope; who expect that age will perform the promises of youth, and that the deficiencies of the present day will be supplied by the morrow; attend to the history of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia.”
  2. Maria Edgeworth’s Castle Rackrent. This work is very short (it looks like about 60 pages), but if you get the edition I linked to, it comes with another novel Ennui, which could make a good bonus read. I’ve read Edgeworth’s most famous novel, Belinda, and liked it a lot, so I’m eager to read more of her work. Here’s what Wikipedia says about the book: “Castle Rackrent, a short novel by Maria Edgeworth published in 1800, is often regarded as the first true historical novel and the first true regional novel in English. It is also widely regarded as the first family saga, and the first novel to use the device of a narrator who is both unreliable and an observer of, rather than a player in, the actions he chronicles.”
  3. Jane Austen’s Lady Susan. I’ve read all of Austen’s major novels but have yet to read her earlier work. This one is also very short, and the edition I linked to includes The Watsons and Sanditon, an unfinished novel, which would also make good bonus reads. Here’s a description from Amazon: “Beautiful, flirtatious, and recently widowed, Lady Susan Vernon seeks an advantageous second marriage for herself, while attempting to push her daughter into a dismal match. A magnificently crafted novel of Regency manners and mores that will delight Austen enthusiasts with its wit and elegant expression.”

What do you think?

If we keep our current pattern, posts on the chosen book will be due on Saturday, March 31st.


Filed under Books

24 responses to “Book choices

  1. All the books sound good, so I would be happy reading any of them. If I had to choose, though, I think Castle Rackrent sounds good. Since I am a fan of historical fiction I wouldn’t mind seeing where it all started!

  2. Brandon

    Don’t know why your feed hasn’t been showing up on my Bloglines reader. Ah well. I think all books sound interesting, but if I had to choose, I’d go with Austen.

  3. I love the humor in Edgeworth’s “An Essay on the Noble Science of Self-Justification,” but have never read one of her novels. Just a comment, as I’m not one of the Slaves!

  4. Dorothy–I am also not getting your posts on Bloglines–it has been annoying me as I wonder who else has been updating their blog and I have no idea. I have just gone back to checking in here daily, as I hate to miss posts!

  5. FYI, all three are available online for free download from the Gutenberg project — it means that people can participate for free (if they are not averse to on-screen reading).

  6. If I had to choose I’d probably go for Rasselas.
    My favourite 18th Century novel is Clarissa by Samuel Richardson, although I wouldn’t exppect anyone to have read that by Sunday!

  7. I checked bloglines and I can see also that my feed isn’t showing up — I have two feeds, though, and the “feedburner” one works. Anybody who wants to might consider switching.

    Thanks for the information about the free download Mandarine!

  8. I think Rasselas is one of the titles that’s been on Amazon wishlist for the longest amount of time, but I’m voting for Lady Susan since I bought that one last year.

  9. Hey everybody — if you haven’t participated in Slaves of Golconda before and would like to join us now, say so in your comment so I can count your vote. I want to count votes from those who plan on participating — thanks!

  10. Cam

    If you want to count my vote, Rasselas is my choice. I haven’t been able to participate in the Slaves discussion for the last few books, but am hoping to for the next round, whatever the final choice is.

  11. While they all sound good, Mark my vote for Rasselas. All of your Samuel Johnson quotes have me interested in reading something of his.

  12. Your blog wasn’t showing up on my bloglines either. Darn. Anyway all choices look great but I’ll go with Castle Rackrent. Looking forward to the next discussion!

  13. LK

    Oh, your choices all sound good. I am into the 18th-century prose myself right now.(I had tried to find an Edgeworth at my local bookstore but wound up with Margaret Oliphant’s Hester, which looks fantastically promising.)Looking forward to your comments on whichever tome you choose!

  14. oh goody. My vote is for Lady Susan by Jane Austen.

  15. It’ll be interesting to watch the Slaves get to grips with the 18th century! I’m a voyeur only, but I always love reading the posts and following the discussions.

  16. I just taught “Lady Susan” on Monday, I always find it quite delightful. “Castle Rackrent” also excellent. I love Johnson, but I wonder whether “Rasselas” is really novelish enough to be a good fit…

  17. I’d like to join. Let’s have Rasselas!

  18. It’s a great time to read the Aeneid, now that there’s a Robert Fagles translation.

    I vote for Lady Susan.

  19. I’m pleased with all your choices, and especially pleased that I’ll be able to read and join in during the next round of book discussion, so count me in, but I don’t think I’ll vote. I’d be happy to read any of these three choices.

  20. Hurrah for the 18th C! I have just become aware of the “Slaves of Golconda,” but would love to join in the reading, reviewing and discussing if you choose “Lady Susan” (I am only this specific because I have already read “Rasselas” and “Castle Rackrent”).

    Apologies for casting my vote slightly later than the mandated Sunday night!

  21. Syncoraz Pine — Austen was already winning anyway, but I’ll certainly add your vote!

  22. Pingback: Emerson, a Slave of Golconda « So Many Books

  23. Came across this page doing a search for Edgeworth. I am from Edgeworthstown where Maria spent most of her life – she had a fascinating family, and both Walter Scott and Turgenev claim her as an influence.

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