Agnes Grey

Review: Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte

Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte, Penguin Classics Edition, 1847, 251p.

4 out of 5 stars

So… this is a very belated and short review of Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte. I read Agnes months ago, enjoyed it, but never got around to my review. Usually, I wouldn’t bother reviewing so late, but I am making an effort to review all my Classics Club books.

This is my favourite work from the Bronte sisters that I have read so far. Jane Eyre was enjoyable and interesting if long winded, while Wuthering Heights nearly drove me to suicide. I was a bit worried when approaching Aggie, but I dove in headfirst.

There’s something intriguing about Agnes’ character. I identified with her, and thought she was very well written. She is certainly a product of her time, and reading this book as a historical text is really interesting. I think that I will take the time in the future to reread this text and try and dig a little deeper into the social context that is so interesting.

As a commentary on religion at the time, Agnes Grey is really telling. It’s so different from how we regard religion in common times, and as an atheist, seeing how religion is disseminated into all aspects of life is interesting and slightly scary. The romantic interest is deeply entwined in the church and that is strange because I don’t think you see that in mainstream modern novels.

I enjoyed Agnes Grey, but I wasn’t blown away by it. I will be looking for other works by Anne Bronte, because I enjoyed her writing style.

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Ranty Roundup – February

So… It’s 9 days into March, and here I am, posting my summary for the previous month! Ha. I’ve got an extremely busy few months ahead of me, and I probably won’t be too active on the blog until May, but I will continue to abuse the service that is twitter, follow me @bookybecksa and I’ll follow back.

I only read two books in March, The Innocent by Sean Black and Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte. I can’t choose a favourite because I loved BOTH! I’ll be posting a review of Agnes in the next week or so, hopefully. It’s on my Classics Club Challenge list, so I really do need to review.

February was also the month of the #BBAW, which I loved participating in! I just wish I had more time/energy/resources/foresight to actually participate more. It was a great community event, and I really do hope that the organizers make it happen again next year. I met many new blogging friends and followed SO many new people on twitter who are constantly opening my reading horizons.

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I also attempted to start reading Ulysses – but then realised that reading such a challenging book (I could only tackle it in five minute moments before I would get frustrated) during uni semester is probably not the best idea.

March is going to be focused primarily on fun, genre reads. I am going to lowkey participate in the #slaythatseries which runs from March 13 – March 20. I’ll post a TBR for that readathon a day or two before it hits us!

Like usual, I will tackle a classic this month – I missed the official pick for the classics club spin, but as I have not seen which number won, I will post my list today and then check out what spun up. A little naughty, but the classics club spin is one of my favourite bookish events, so I don’t wanna miss out!


Books Read in February – 2

Agnes Grey – Anne Bronte – 4 stars
The Innocent – Sean Black – 4 stars.


Book Reviews in February

None! (such a naughty book reviewer!)


Challenge progress

Read my Books Challenge

Agnes Grey – Anne Bronte

1 book read in February / 2 in 2016

Classic a Month Challenge & Classics Club

Agnes Grey – Anne Bronte – Review to come

Series a Month

Did not participate in Series a month during February.


March TBR

One Hit – Jack Coughlin and Donald A. Davis
Promise – Tony Cavanaugh
Fire Point – Sean Black
State of Emergency – Andy McNab
Off the Grid – C.J. Box
First Response – Stephen Leather
Classic for the classics club

My Goal for the month will be to read 5-6 books.

Ranty Roundup – January

January was a strange reading month for me – it started off so strong, but then there was a period of about 14 days that I didn’t read anything. Not a single page. The month started off with a very successful Bout of Books readathon, in which I hosted a challenge and did a significant amount of reading. You can read my wrap of of that here.

A friend and I then drove to South Gippsland in Victoria (about a 13 hour drive) to go to a music festival. It was a camping festival and we did quite a bit of drinking and meeting new and wonderful people. We saw some of our favourite bands, like Parkway Drive, Stray from the Path, Confession and Neck Deep. Needless to say, I didn’t get to read a single word. Normally I would read while my friend drove, but I did most of the driving and we talked so much. It was just so nice to be able to have a pressure free weekend and be able to catch up with a good friend.

Anyway, onto more bookish things – my favourite book of January was without doubt Dispatches by Michael Herr. It was my classics club spin, and I had DNF’d it a couple of years ago when I just wasn’t in the mood for nonfic. It just shows that I am such a mood reader that something I DNF’d could then become a favourite after a couple of years. My other reads for the month were not spectacular, and I was quite disappointed with Dead Wake by Erik Larson, because I had such high hopes and expectations.

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Books read in January – 7

Birthdays for the Dead – Stuart MacBride – 3 stars

Dead Wake – Erik Larson – 3 stars

The Devil’s Bounty – Sean Black – 3 stars

The Business of Dying – Simon Kernick – 4 stars

A Good Day to Die – Simon Kernick – 3 stars

Dispatches – Michael Herr – 5 stars

The Payback – Simon Kernick – 3 stars


 

Book Reviews

Dead Wake – Larson

In The Cold Dark Ground – MacBride

Ethan Frome – Edith Wharton

Dispatches – Herr

Review Spree – Lynn, Black & Kava


 

 

Challenge progress

Read my Books Challenge

The Business of Dying by Simon Kernick

1 book read in January / 1 in 2016

Classic a Month Challenge & Classics Club

Dispatches by Michael Herr – Reviewed

Series a Month

Dennis Milne series by Simon Kernick – read 3/3 books.


 

February TBR

 

I’m not going to try and complete a series in February, rather I am going to focus on my steadily growing netgalley pile and clear my backlog. Currently I have 5 on my shelf that need to be read. My goal will be to read 4 of them at least.

I’ve also got quite a few books from the library that need attention, plus my monthly classic. So the following is my tentative TBR for Feb – however I’m not really expecting to read this whole list – maybe five or six from this list.

The Martian – Andy Weir

The Light Between Oceans – M.L. Stedman

The Innocent – Sean Black

One Hit – Jack Coughlin

The Wrecking Crew – Taylor Zajonc

Youngblood – Matt Gallagher

Islamism – Tarek Osman

Red Line – Brian Thiem

Agnes Grey – Anne Bronte

I am so so excited that I am hosting a readathon for Agnes Grey, it’s the first time I have ever hosted one, so I am so grateful to have people to share this experience with. If you want to be involved, feel free to sign up – it’s still early days!

Agnes Grey Readalong

Agnes Grey Read-along – Background & initial thoughts

Agnes Grey Readalong

February is here! Which means it’s time for Agnes Grey to enter my life and take over. I have to admit that I’ve been looking forward to this for the past couple of months, and I’m so happy to be able to immerse myself in such a well loved classic. I’ve just done some very basic research into the author and the book itself, and I am now so excited to crack this spine!

If you are interested in joining us, don’t be shy – participate! It’s never too late. We haven’t even started this book yet. If you want to check out a schedule, you can find it on the signups post – but many of the people reading are on twitter, so check us out at #AggieGrey. Our next discussion post will be around on the 8th of February, which will cover chapters 1 – 6.

Agnes Grey is the first book that was published by Anne Bronte, who went by the pen name Acton Bell at the time. Agnes has been described as a bildungsroman and an autobiographical novel, both of which are genres much loved then and now. It has earned so many accolades over the years, and has a firm place in the literature canon, if often overshadowed by the works of the other Bronte sisters.

I was surprised to discover that the Bronte sisters published three novels, one apiece, in 1847: Jane Eyre (Charlotte), Wuthering Heights (Emily) and Agnes Grey (Anne Bronte). Of these I loved Jane Eyre, finding the story to be engaging and enthralling. Wuthering Heights was on a required reading list during my first year at university, and I hated it with a passion which until that moment has been reserved for the works of Austen. Since then I have matured and changed as a reader, enjoying Austen’s Persuasion and not writing off Victorians with such wholesale abandon.

Needless to say, I am trying to approach the reading of Agnes with an open mind, but without hindering my excitement. The edition I am reading is a much maligned cheapo Wordsworth Classics edition – which I usually enjoy because I can throw them in my handbag without worrying about trashing my copy – but I’ve also got an older hardback and a ebook edition.

In regards to plot, I am expecting something similar to Jane Eyre in style and content, and I have high hopes that I will enjoy the spin that Anne puts on a novel about governesses. As a teacher, I always find stories about the education of others to be interesting, and as I grew up in a country area, some of my friends had governesses in today’s day and age. For them, I know it was not as glamorous as it sounded to me when I was reading books about governesses.

In the past couple of years I have also become really interested in the effects of oppression on people, both the oppressed and the oppressors – so I think that there will be elements of this novel that will enlighten and excite me.

I’m really looking forward to reading everyone else’s initial thoughts on Agnes Grey – please share your opinions on twitter using the hashtag #AggieGrey. I’m planning on tweeting some of my own thoughts and favourite lines, and I invite you all who are reading to join in – it has always interested me to know what others are taking from the same material. Also, if you write a blog post or a discuss Agnes ANYWHERE, please link below in the comments section. 


I brainstormed a couple of questions for this beginning post, and thought I would share them so that if you want to write a blog post or post opinions, you can. No pressure, there is no obligation – just I know sometimes prompts get me into the right headspace.

What do you know about Anne Bronte or Agnes Grey?

Have you read Agnes Grey before? What did you think? (try to keep it somewhat spoiler free, besides the well known facts)

Where did you hear about Agnes Grey?

How are you approaching reading this book? Deep analytical reading or reading for pure pleasure? In a couple of pages at a time intervals over the whole month or in one sitting?

What elements of this novel are you most looking forward to?

What edition are you reading? (ebook, audiobook, penguin classics, ect.)

Agnes Grey Read-Along & Giveaway Sign-up

Agnes Grey Readalong

I’m so very excited to be hosting my first read-along. For the last Classics Club spin, a number of us all placed Anne Bronte’s classic, Agnes Grey, on the same position on our lists and crossed our fingers that it would be selected. It wasn’t, but I kept thinking that I would love to read Agnes with those lovely bloggers, and hence, a read-along was proposed.

We will be reading Agnes Grey during the month of February, and I will be hosting a weekly summary post with my own thoughts and impressions of the novel. I have never read Agnes Grey, or any of Anne’s writing before, so you will have to forgive my uneducated opinions.

So I’m inviting everyone and anyone to join in – read Agnes Grey in February! The following is the schedule – but feel free to be involved in all or none of these milestones, this is a VERY low stress group read.

I will most likely be tweeting general impressions (spoiler free) on twitter as I read. I will use the hashtag #AggieGrey if you wish to join in the conversation!


Monday, February 1 – First post – share our enthusiasm for the book, some background & author information.

Monday, February 8 – First check in – Chapters 1 – 6

Monday, February 15 – Second check in – Chapters 7 – 12

Monday February 22 – Third check in – Chapters 13 -18

Monday February 29 – Final check in – Chapters 19 – 25 & Final reviews

Be warned, the check ins will contain spoilers for the chapters that week!


I will be entering all participants who post a review or contribute to the final post into a giveaway – I will shout you the next classic you wish to read! (up to the value of US$15, as long as book depository ships to you.) You can simply write your impressions on twitter, post a review to any site or contribute to the last progress post on Ranty Runt of a Reader. All you need to do is link to your participation in the final check in. If you don’t want to be considered for the giveaway, just mention that in your comment.

To declare your intent to participate, simply post in the comments of this post, and what platform (including URL) that you will be using to talk all things Bronte!