My Victober TBR | 2020

Hi, folks!

It’s almost time for another of my favourite reading events: Victober is a month-long readathon hosted by KateKatie, and Lucy, where we try to read as much Victorian literature as we can in the month of October. By “Victorial Lit” the hosts understand any book published from 1837 to 1901 in the UK. The hosts usually set some prompts or challenges to inspire our reading, and they also have a Goodreads group, where, among other things, we can discuss our choices and get book recommendations.

I will list my choices for each prompt, as well as some recommendations. As usual, some of my R.I.P. books will overlap with this event:

1. Katie’s: Read a Victorian book that equates to your favourite modern genre

I don’t have a favourite genre as such, so I will simply list some options & choose later (some of these books can also fit more than one category):

  • Nonfiction:
    • TBR: Cassandra, by Florence Nightingale (1852)
      • Options: The Life of Charlotte Brontë, by Elizabeth Gaskell (1857)
    • Recommendations: Selected Essays, Poems and Other Writings by George Eliot, ed. Nicholas Warren (1990); Selected Writings by Thomas Carlyle, ed. Alan Shelston (1980); Culture and Anarchy by Matthew Arnold, ed. Jane Garnett (1869)
  •  Satire:
    • TBR: Red Pottage, by Mary Cholmondeley (1899)
      • Options: The semi-detached house & The semi-detached couple, by Emily Eden (1860)
    • Recommendation: Belinda, by Rhoda Broughton (1883) & Miss Marjoribanks, by Margaret Oliphant (1866)
  • Adventure:
    • TBR: Her Father’s Name, by Florence Marryat (1876)
      • Options: The Story of Lilly Dawson, by Catherine Crowe (1847)
    • RecommendationJill, by Amy Dillwyn (1884)
  • Feminism and gender roles:
    • TBR: The Rebel of the Family, by Eliza Lynn Linton (1880)
      • Options: The Heavenly Twins, by Sarah Grand (1893); The Half-Sisters, by Geraldine Jewsbury (1848); Gloriana; or, the Revolution of 1900 by Lady Florence Dixie (1890)
    • Recommendations: Hester, by Margaret Oliphant (1883) & A Struggle for Fame, by Charlotte Riddell (1883)
  • Poetry:
    • TBR: My Ladys Soul: The Poems of Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall, ed. Serena Trowbridge (2018, posthumous)
      • Options: Complete Poems by Christina Rossetti, ed. Betty Flowers (2001, posthumous); Victorian Women Poets: An Anthology, ed. Angela Leighton and Margaret Reynolds (1995)
    • RecommendationGoblin Market and Other Poems,  by Christina Rossetti (1862) & Aurora Leigh, by Elizabet Barret Browning (1856)
  • Coming of age:
    • TBR: The History of Sir Richard Calmady, by Lucas Malet (1901)
      • Other options: Miss Miles: Or, a Tale of Yorkshire Life 60 Years Ago, by Mary Taylor (1890); Cherry & Violet, by Anne Manning (1853); Grania: The Story of an Island, by Emily Lawless (1892)
    • RecommendationThe Beth Book, by Sarah Grand (1897)
  • Romance:
    • TBR: The Romance of a Shop, by Amy Levy (1888)
      • Other options: The Real Charlotte, Edith Somerville & Martin Ross (1894); The Story of a Marriage, by Louisa Baldwin (as Mrs. Alfred Baldwin, 1895); A Burglary: Or, Unconscious Influence, by Amy Dillwyn (1883); Cometh Up As a Flower, by Rhoda Broughton (1867); Wife in Name Only, by Charlotte M. Brame (1883)
    • RecommendationNorth and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell (1854 – 1855) & Zoe, by Geraldine Jewsbury (1845)
  • Gothic:
    • TBR: A Phantom Lover by Vernon Lee (1886)
      • Other options: The Sorrows of Satan, by Marie Corelli (1895); East Lynne, by Mrs. Henry Wood (1861)
    • RecommendationsThe Blood of the Vampire, by Florence Marryat (1897) & Agnes Grey, by Anne Brontë (1847)
  • Children’s books:
    • TBR: Mrs. Overtheway’s Remembrances, by Juliana Horatia Ewing (1869)
    • RecommendationThe Runaway, by Elizabeth Anna Hart (1872)
  • Travel writing:
    • TBR: A Thousand Miles Up the Nile, by Amelia B. Edwards (1877)
      • Options: Travels in West Africa by Mary Kingsley (1897)
    • Recommendation: Unbeaten Tracks in Japan, by Isabella Lucy Bird (1885)
  • Short stories:
    • TBR: Avenging Angels: Ghost Stories by Victorian Women Writers, ed. Melissa Edmundson (2018)
      • Options: The Virago Book of Victorian Ghost Stories, edited by Richard Dalby (1988); All Saints’ Eve, by Amelia B. Edwards (1876); Hauntings and Other Fantastic Tales, by Vernon Lee (1890); The Shadow on the Blind and Other Stories, by Louisa Baldwin (1895); Weird Stories, by Charlotte Riddell (1882); Witch Stories, by Eliza Lynn Linton (1861); Twilight Stories, by Rhoda Broughton (1873)
    • RecommendationGothic Tales, by Elizabeth Gaskell, ed. Laura Kranzler (2000)
2. Lucy’s challenge: Read a Victorian diary or collection of letters
  • TBR: Selections from George Eliot’s Letters, ed. Gordon S. Haight (1985)
    • Options: The George Eliot Letters, 9 vols., ed. Gordon S. Haight (1954-1978); The Letters of Christina Rossetti, 4 vols., ed. Antony H. Harrison (1997-2004); The Diaries of Hannah Cullwick, Victorian Maidservant, ed. Autumn Stanley (1984); The Brontës: A Life in Letters by Juliet Barker (1997); Selected Letters of Charlotte Brontë, ed. Margaret Smith (2007); The Letters of Mrs. Gaskell, ed. J.A.V. Chapple and Arthur Pollard (1967); Ever Yours, Florence Nightingale: Selected Letters, ed. Martha Vicinus and Bea Nergaard (1989)
  • Recommendation:  The Journals of George Eliot, ed. Margaret Harris and Judith Johnston (1999) & Jane Carlyle: Newly Selected Letters, by Jane Welsh Carlyle, edited by Kenneth J Fielding & David R Sorensen (2004)
3. Kate’s challenge: Read a new to you book and/or short story by a favourite Victorian author
4. Readers’ challenge: Read a Victorian book from a previous Victober TBR that you didn’t get to, or one you’ve been meaning to read for ages
  • TBR (from my previous Victober TBR)Keynotes and Discords, by George Egerton (pen name of Mary Chavelita Dunne Bright, 1893/1894)
    • Options: The Clever Woman of the Family, by Charlotte Mary Yonge (1865); Moths, by Ouida (pen name of Maria Louise Ramé, 1880)
5. Group readalong: Shirley by Charlotte Brontë (1849)

Finally, some nonfiction book I may read alongside the Victorian books:

And that’s all for now, folks! As L.M. Montgomery writes in Anne of Green Gables, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers”What will you be reading? Tell me about it. 🙂

Yours truly,


Eastman Johnson, “The Girl I Left Behind Me”, ca. 1872

16 thoughts on “My Victober TBR | 2020

  1. Hi! There are endless victorian classics out there I have never heard of! I am quite interested in reading that book by Amy Levy that you mentioned! And I have only read The Runaway by Elizabeth Hart on your list! Thanks!


    1. Thank you, Sarah! I’ve heard good things about Romance of a Shop, so I am looking forward to it! Are you going to make a Victober TBR list? I am always curious to peruse other people’s lists! 🙂


      1. Hi Juliana, I’ve never made a Victober TBR list before! That sounds interesting! But I could only read 2-3 books at best each month so perhaps I’d make an all-year-round Victorian TBR 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Most of the books I get on ebook format, and I buy the physical copies of the ones I cannot find as ebooks (and of my favourites, after I read them :)). For the academic books or letter collections with multiple volumes, I use my local library. How do you get your books?


      1. I don’t have a kindle so I always get physical copies. I always get them on bookdepository because the local bookshops around me don’t have the English books I want to acquire. I prefer Oxford World’s Classics because it has the best font and introductory/explanatory notes. I lately heard of Broadview Press; I know there are many unheard-of Victorian classics published by Broadview Press (including Romance of a Shop :)) . I sometimes read the classics on Project Gutenberg, especially the ones by Wilkie Collins. I always admire the choices of books you read. Have fun in Victober!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, it is comparatively short relating to her other stories. It emphasizes on the purity and comradeship during WWII. The other test question apart from Lilies is a satirical short story by Wang Meng about a meeting before the tempest (cultural revolution), written in around 1980. So we analysed and compared the two short stories in the exam! How did you come across her?

        Liked by 1 person

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