I’m a voracious reader – always have been – and I’ve been reading classics since a very young age. Still, I often feel like – even with decades of reading behind me already – I have so much more to read. And with authors publishing amazing new books on a weekly basis, it can be hard to get to those backlisted titles – you know, the ones you’ve been meaning to read forever and a day. We all have those authors on our list: the ones that we’d love to read their entire bibliography if only we had time. For me, topping my list of “someday I’ll get to her” is Edith Wharton.
I read Ethan Frome in high school and detested it. (Why is Ethan Frome assigned? It’s not Wharton’s best work, nor is it particularly representative of her style or usual subject matter.) Then many years later, I read The Age of Innocence for the first time, and absolutely loved it. I mean, yes, Newland Archer is a spineless blog of rich jelly, but that May Welland! Talk about unsung, underappreciated ATTITUDE. Quiet, shy, unassuming May turns out to be made of absolute steel. She’s my hero. Anyway, The Age of Innocence became one of my favorite books, because May. May! But despite my love for Innocence, I haven’t branched out to Wharton’s other novels – not out of disinclination, but out of pure lack of time coupled with a teetering TBR pile. It always bothered me that I hadn’t read more Wharton.
So much that the other night, up late feeding the baby, I mused on Twitter that I really needed to read more Edith Wharton. My friend Jen immediately replied, urging me to pick a Wharton book and promising to read whatever I chose. A reading buddy! Yeah! I made a quick decision and Jen was in – and she extended an invitation to our friend Zan to join us. The next thing I knew, we were a group of three – the makings of a respectable readalong group. Jen and I tweeted our other friends and it looks like we might have a decent showing for this little endeavor – prompting me to formalize it in this post.
So, the details: We’re going to read The Custom of the Country over the course of September. As it’s not a particularly gigantic tome, I don’t see a need for regular check-ins – anytime you get around to reading and posting about the book over the month is great. To join in, leave a comment here telling me if you’ve read any Wharton before, and if you have, which Wharton is your favorite. When you’ve finished the book, leave another comment linking me to your review; I’ll collect the reviews and publish links in a big post at the beginning of October. (To be included, just get me the link via the comments section by the end of the day on September 30.)
We’ll also be discussing the book on social media, using the hashtag #FallingForEdith – so feel free to join in the conversation wherever you find it! I personally will be on Twitter and Instagram talking Wharton all month. Hope to see you there!
Now, who’s with me? Leave a comment below if you’re in for The Custom of the Country!