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The Loaded Bookshelf

I'm an Editor in book publishing. All opinions are my own.

Currently reading

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
John Berendt
American Rust
Philipp Meyer
The First Rumpole Omnibus
John Mortimer

Criminally Underrated Friday: Classics Edition

North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell

Though I'm as into popular, bestselling books as the next gal, I think it's a special feeling to discover an underrated gem, an author or book that didn't break out and land on everyone's radar.  Every Friday I will post about one of mine.


Elizabeth Gaskell


I always make it a goal for myself to read a certain number of classics throughout the year.  There are just so many worthy and fab-sounding books in the canon that for whatever reason I missed out on in English class, and I'd like to fill in those gaps.  I often get too distracted by new and shiny books to pick up a classic, but periodically I manage it.  And sometimes, what I find is a great treat.  Elizabeth Gaskell is the perfect example.


I should begin by saying that a lot of people DO read Elizabeth Gaskell.  But I have a feeling that it's NOT ENOUGH people for how fabulous she is.  Though I can't substantiate this with a ton of proof, I'm guessing that most casual surveys of Victorian English literature exclude Gaskell at the expense of the other great women writers of the time (the Brontes and George Eliot, primarily), and I can't really argue with that choice because time is obviously limited.  But if you like Victorian lit or classic women writers and want to probe further, I heartily recommend Gaskell.  I particularly love NORTH AND SOUTH, her novel set during the tumultuous time of the Industrial Revolution.  It's probing and beautiful and romantic and tragic.  Also, there is a wonderful BBC miniseries of the novel starring the yummy Richard Armitage.  Shouldn't that be reason enough?