The Sunday Salon: Trollope, Take Two

Something has been bothering me for almost two years now.  In December 2010, I took part in the Classics Circuit’s Anthony Trollope tour.  I chose Barchester Towers, for no other reason than that  I had it on my shelves.  But I soon gave up on it, and marked it as a DNF.  I had my reasons, and thought they were justified.  I moved on, put it out of my mind, and got on with the busy holiday season.

But as I turned the calendar over to a new year, I was plagued with questions.  Barchester Towers is exactly the sort of book I should like:  British, Victorian, funny, with a mixture of church politics and romance.  Yes it’s long, but that doesn’t usually intimidate me.  And while some of the language and style are difficult, that too has not been an issue in the past.  I could only conclude that, in this case, I was a quitter.  And I didn’t like that at all.

And then, last month, a couple of LibraryThing members held a tutored read of Trollope’s The WardenThe Warden is the first in Trollope’s Chronicles of Barsetshire series (Barchester Towers is the second, of six).  Suddenly all my LibraryThing friends were talking about The Warden!  I said to myself, maybe I should take a peek at that tutored read.  What harm could that do, right?  There I learned a lot about the Church of England c. 1850, and came to understand some of the nuances of Trollope’s humor.  Each chapter was dissected and explained.  Not surprisingly, this book also provides context for the rest of the series, so it’s a great place to start.  It didn’t take long for me to succumb, and buy the entire Chronicles of Barsetshire for my Kindle (for only $0.99!  How could I resist?)

So now I’m reading The Warden, referring to the tutored read as I go.  Compared to Barchester TowersThe Warden is a short book (about 275 printed pages), and perhaps a more accessible introduction to Trollope.  For whatever reason, this time I’m enjoying the church politics, the arcane language, and the humor.

The LibraryThing folks are considering a tutored read of Barchester Towers in December.   I’m thinking about it …

What are you reading this weekend?

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10 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: Trollope, Take Two

  1. Thanks for adding the link to the tutored read. I couldn’t resist having a look and I’d certainly recommend it to anyone planning on reading The Warden. It makes me want to read it again – I’m sure I missed many of the details the first time .

    • Cat, I’m sure learning a lot about the Church of England during that time period! And there are some subtleties I would definitely have missed were it not for the tutored read.

  2. I confess to being very tempted by the tutored read, as I have The Warden and Barchester Towers on the tbr. But I’m very involved in The Bolter just at the moment so I think they might have to wait!

    • kaggsy, the nice thing about the tutored reads are that the threads remain available even after the original read is complete. So whenever you get to The Warden, the thread will be there for you.

  3. One of my favorite things about blogging has been discovering other Trollope readers – and watching new readers discover Trollope :) I’m glad you’re enjoying The Warden, and I hope it does lead you on to the joys of Barchester Towers.

    • Lisa, I’m zipping through The Warden and can say with confidence that I will be reading Barchester Towers! Great stuff. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. The Warden is a delightful book – I love the contrast between the mild mannered Septimus Harding and the self-centred and manipulative nature of other figureheads in the Barchester community. In Barchester Towers, there’s the character of Slope to enjoy. He’s such an oily, slimy character.

    I’m intrigued by tutored reads – how do you find them on LibraryThing? I did a search and came up zero.

    • Oh yes Karen, I’m looking forward to Snope now! As for Tutored Reads, I admit I stumbled on this one rather by accident, in a very active group called “75 Books Challenge for 2012.” It came up as a talk thread. But there are also threads introducing the concept and helping members pair up for tutored reads. If you need help finding these, just send me a PM on LibraryThing. I’m “lindsacl” over there.

      • Well I managed to get as far as the group and join in. Thanks for the offer of help – it seems a very active group so will probably take a while to find my way through. I found you easily enough. I’m Mercury57 in Library Thing

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