Skip to main content

2011 Reading Challenge~~Book #18

Weeeelll, I didn't finish 1066: The Year of the Conquest after all this week. I'm surprised I didn't because it's only 200 pages long, but I am just over halfway. I'm reading it rather slowly, trying to keep straight people named Tostig, Stigand, Loefwulf, and Lanfranc. I'll save my comments about it for now, but I am eager to commend it to you. Let that suffice for the time being.

In the meantime, I've been listening to Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope and finished it just yesterday. I found it a very enjoyable book, read engagingly by Simon Vance. The plot revolves around the political and/or ecclesiastical maneuverings of the clergymen of Barchester Cathedral and their effects on the various relationships among themselves and their families. There are a wide array of characters: the hen-pecked Bishop Proudie and his overbearing wife; the gentle and capable ex-warden Septimus Harding and his two daughters, one a young widow, the other married to fastidious Archdeacon Grantly; the odious and manipulative golddigger Mr. Slope; the scholarly yet socially inept Mr. Arabin; the disreputable Stanhope family; and the impecunious but likable Quiverfull family (who naturally have a lot of children~fourteen, to be precise).

Written in 1857, Barchester Towers pokes fun at the opposing forces inside the Church of England at the time: the High Church traditionalists and the new Evangelicals. It's enlightening to read books that deal with the issues of the day and which were written by people who were eyewitnesses. Viewing the controversies from their vantage point rather having the events interpreted for us by a modern historian looking back brings a different perspective. Even though the book is mainly a work of fiction, Trollope's discussion of "Sabbath schools" for children of the poor and high church v. low church was interesting to me. I already had a fairly good understanding of these issues before I read Trollope's book, but it's always gratifying to read something that refreshes and cements ideas already planted in the mind.

In some ways, Barchester Towers reminds me of Dickens but without the intricate storyline and mysterious plot tangles. The story is much more straighforward and even predictable. It certainly has the amusing names, which I think are fashioned after Dickens (i.e. Mr. Quiverfull and Dr. Omicron Pi*). It also has a similar level of detail, so if Dickens isn't your thing, I don't think Trollope will be either. However, I enjoyed it and will probably give more Trollope books a try.

*Since I listened to this book, I haven't seen how the good doctor spells his last name. It could be Pi, Pye, or even Pie, I presume. I used Pi to stay with the Greek alphabet theme.


  1. Oh, I just love Anthony Trollope! He's one of those authors that had me at hello! Then again, I seem to have a weakness for Victorian authors :)

  2. I read "THe Warden" just last year and enjoyed it quite a bit. I've seen the BBC rendition of this series, but haven't yet read "Barchester Towers". I think I"ll have to look for it on audio, because it is rather chunky. Thanks for the review.

  3. I'm a Trollope fan, too. I love all the Barset books. Our dear Mr. Harding is very dear to me!
    Thanks for your review...and the sweet memories it stirred up in me.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts

Auntie Leila's Linky Party

Auntie Leila of Like Mother, Like Daughter (one of my favorite blogs!) is having a linky party about kitchen sinks! I thought I'd join in and show you mine.

First is a picture of my kitchen sink area in its entirety:

It's a small room~~just 13' x 8'~~but I've decided I don't really mind because everything is only a step or two away. Leila has been talking about making the kitchen work for you instead of you working against it, and that's really quite easy to accomplish when the space is so small. In fact, reading her post about her kitchen made me laugh because our kitchen set-up is almost identical!

The windows up close:

I like to put these "gingerbread" Christmas decorations in the kitchen. Girl of the House made the paperbag gingerbread boy when she was four. Isn't he cute? The little red gingham bag was made by the director of the preschool where I used to teach and is over 20 years old. The felt ornaments were made by my grandmother, t…

The Growlery

We've just about wrapped up another room and I wanted to show you pictures. This room is off the kitchen and is intended to be a TV room, I'm sure, but since we don't have a TV, we repurposed it. We call it the growlery (begin at about 6:30 for the reference). In days of yore, the growlery was a room where the men retired after dinner to sip brandy, smoke cigars, and talk politics. We were stumped as to what to call this room, but Dave hit upon "the growlery" and it has stuck. We all knew right away that that was the perfect name! It inspired me to take a more masculine tack in paint, furniture, and decor. See what you think!

The view as you enter from the kitchen:

We bought the chairs brand new. We hardly ever buy new furniture, but we'd used up most of what we already had in other rooms, so we splurged. I'd love to move the exercise bike if we can find a more propitious place for it.

The view from the door that leads to the back patio:

And the view…

A "Reasonably Clean" Welcome

Like Mother, Like Daughter is having a linky party similar to their "Pretty over the Kitchen Sink" from last December. This time we are focusing on entryways. Leila of LMLD has written a series of helpful posts on the Reasonably Clean House, which you can find in the LMLD's sidebar; hence the "Reasonably Clean" Welcome!

As I may have mentioned once or twice *wink*, we moved in mid-June, and I've been swept up in a flurry of nesting ever since. I don't mind because I enjoy nesting, but the focus of said nesting has not been on any of the three entryways this house is blessed with. In fact, one of them is still downright dismal as the room it opens on awaits paint, furniture, and general unpacking. Unfortunately, that seems to be the one lots of people use. But I'm not showing you that one . . . yet. I put my energies into the front entry, the one I *wish* people would use more often and the one that had the least to do to pretty it up a bit. F…