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 Warden. The 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 Towers, The 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.
What are you reading this weekend?