Readers Row

read write reckon | progression not perfection

Getting to know someone is an experience. It can take years or not long at all. No one is ever fully understood by another that privilege is reserved for God/Heaven alone. It is a similar experience reading novels. Sometimes it takes longer than expected to digest a volume and at other times tales simply captivate us seemingly instantaneously.

Getting to know a novel is an experience. It can take years or not long at all. No novel is ever fully understood by a reader that privilege is reserved for the author/authoress alone. It is a similar experience getting to know someone.

Both pursuits require patience. Both experiences promise edification.

Female Authors Project 1600-1900. 2021: A Year in my Life Exploring Female Authors.

In early September of 2020 I was pondering my reading plans for the year ahead and wanting to shake things up. I searched the top 100 books, as voted by the Goodreads community, for female authors across four centuries of interest (16, 17, 18 and 19th). I found thirty-five titles by twenty-three authors and all available on Amazon Kindle.

16th century (5) The Heptameron by Marguerite de Navarre. The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself. Interior Castle by Teresa of Avila. The Worth of Women by Moderata Fonte. Floridoro by Moderata Fonte.

17th century (3) The Princess de Cleves by Madame de la Fayette. Oroonoko by Aphra Behn. Letters of a Portuguese Nun by Mariana Alcoforado.

18th century (7) A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft. Evelina by Frances Burney. The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe. Cecilia by Ann Radcliffe. The Italian by Ann Radcliffe. The Female Quixote by Charlotte Lennox. Camilla by Ann Radcliffe.

19th century (20 in total 10 not Austen/Bronte titles) Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Emma by Jane Austen. Persuasion by Jane Austen. Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. Middlemarch by George Eliot/ Mary Ann Evans. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte. The Awakening by Kate Chopin. Villette by Charlotte Bronte. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Wives & Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell.

Reading a book for the first time is comparable to meeting someone new. We may have heard about them or have no prior knowledge whatsoever. If the former we can prepare ourselves, do some research, have expectations and a sense of anticipation. If the latter we may not be in the communicative mindset and perhaps miss out on opportunities and experiences that we may later regret in hindsight. Reflecting upon my personal experience and record I find that although I am ordinarily unable to have a second first impression of a person I can and often do have second, third and forth first impressions of books.

Enter your email to subscribe to updates.