Middlemarch by George Eliot

MiddlemarchMiddlemarch by George Eliot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Middlemarch was the May selection of Sisters Book Club. Follow the link to join the discussion about June’s book, The Sibling Effect by Jeffrey Kluger, or to join us in reading July’s book, The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown.

So, it took me two months to read this one start to finish, but I did it. And I must say, I enjoyed it. Although I think George Eliot could have told the story just as well in 700 pages as in 840, there weren’t any obvious spots I’d cut; no detailed accounts of politics at the time or how much things cost or nineteenth-century fishing practices.

I loved Dorothea most of any character, mostly because the mistakes she made—which were fairly big—were all made in a spirit of self-sacrifice and doing the right thing. The other characters in the novel run into trouble when they start acting in narrow self-interest. If you live in Middlemarch and lack self-reflection, Eliot has it in for you.

Of course, even with ample self-reflection, that doesn’t necessarily mean everything’s going to be coming up roses for you. This is a realistic book in the sense that the problems people face don’t have clear-cut solutions, and even the “happy” endings aren’t unequivocally happy.

But Dorothea is awesome because she’s unrelenting about following her convictions, no matter what kind of discomfort it leads her into. Even when she’s making really big errors in judgement, I still love her. Read More

Middlemarch Wrap-Up and The Sibling Effect Kick-Off!

Well, it’s been quite a month, hasn’t it? Spending time with Dorothea and Casaubon, Celia and Sir Chettam, the inimitable Mrs. Cadwallader, and the (almost) too-kind-to-believe Garths has been so lovely. Some of us are going to have the pleasure of spending the beginning of June with the gang at Middlemarch, too, as we finish up the book. Personally, I have a good four books left to read, which means I can look forward to plenty more Middlemarch before I close the back cover of the book.

But even though I’m far from done with the book, I’m going to put up the wrap-up post now. Comments will be open for another few months, so as you finish reading, you can come back here (or to the Sisters Book Club Goodreads Group) and leave your comments. I also plan to publish a book review post once I’m finally done with the book, so be on the lookout for that, hopefully in the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, June 1 marks the beginning of our group read of The Sibling Effect by Jeffrey Klugman! For more information about this book and to state your intention to read along with us, visit the intro post or the Goodreads Group. I plan to post a check-in at about mid-month, so you can post your progress reports there, or just wait until the wrap-up post on June 30.

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Middlemarch Week 3 Check-In!

We’ve come to the end of the third week of Sisters Book Club’s Middlemarch read, and I’m pleased to report that I have finally caught up with the reading checkpoint for Week 1!

I really would rather set a better example and keep up with my own reading schedule a little better than I have been, but things keep happening to bump Middlemarch lower on my priority list. It’s still on my radar, it’s just not getting read very quickly.

For example, while my sister was visiting for four days, we both kept our copies of Middlemarch nearby while we chatted and tie-dyed t-shirts and played Chutes and Ladders with my kids. Here’s a photo my nine-year-old took of us not reading Middlemarch at the playground: Read More

Middlemarch Week 2 Check-In!

We’re two weeks into the Sisters Book Club reading of Middlemarch! According to the schedule, that means we’ve all read through Book IV.

Except for me. I’m still in Book II, and although every week I’m behind I say that I’m confident I’ll be able to catch up by the next check-in, that’s not the case this time. In fact, I’m pretty confident I won’t be to Book VI by next Thursday. I’ll be surprised if I’ve even finished through Book IV. But I won’t let that hold the rest of you back!

Here are two discussion questions from Middlemarch for Book Clubs: Read More

Middlemarch Week 1 Check-in

Hey there, Sisters Book Clubbers!

How are you enjoying Middlemarch? I confess, I’ve not finished Book II yet, but I’m close, and I’m confident I can catch up over the weekend. I’ve also carved out nearly three hours of kid-free time this evening, and I’m betting I can make some headway during that time, so long as I keep my computer turned off.

As promised, here are three questions to get us talking about the Prelude and Books I and II. These are all from Middlemarch for Book Clubs; they are not my words but the words of Rohan Maitzen, the author of that site.

Feel free to answer these questions or visit the site and pick one of the other questions. Or you can ignore the questions entirely, and just tell us what you think of the novel so far. Read More

Sisters Book Club May Selection: Middlemarch

My sister and I have been a little disorganized about Sisters Book Club the past few months, but now that she’s done teaching for the summer, we’re going to try and put it back in gear. 

We’re breaking our fast with:

George Eliot’s Middlemarch

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