Sunday, January 13, 2013

Reading by Candlelight at 4:30 in the Morning

A severe thunderstorm knocked out our electricity around four this morning, and sent my girls scurrying to our room in fright. Todd stayed fast asleep, but since there's not room in our bed for all five of us anymore, and they weren't going back to bed with the terrible rumble going on, we four girls headed into the living room, lit some candles and sat reading or coloring. I happily re-entered Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South to read more of John Thornton and Margaret Hale's Milton world. Olivia was reading Roald Dahl's Matilda (which she's really enjoying and feels compelled to read me the funny bits) and Karina started out with a Nancy Drew book, but soon joined Susanna on the floor for some coloring. Thankfully it was not a cold morning. The power stayed out until 7:30 a.m. but we didn't hear it come on, because by that time we were all napping. (Todd apparently woke up when it came on.)

I'm loving North and South, but I'm not happy with the version I'm reading. It's published by Norilana Books (the cover pictured), but it reads like an unfinished editing job. Quotation marks are missing. Paragraphs aren't broken up properly, which ruins the flow of the story. It makes things slightly confusing until I mentally readjust the paragraph break. I really want to reread it in a better format. Any suggestions as to good versions?


  1. I like the Penguin and Oxford World's Classics editions of North and South. I love Gaskell! Wives and Daughters is my favorite.

    And I can just see you all reading by candlelight like Victorians yourselves!

    1. Thank you! Wives and Daughters was the first Gaskell I read, and I have to say I do prefer it over North and South, having finished the book now. I think she'd honed her craft by then. The writing is stronger, more cohesive in it. But I like the progression of the story better too. Moorland Cottage was the second Gaskell I read, and I didn't much care for the story. Too much Victorian melodrama.

  2. I'm sort of embarrassed to say this but I liked the BBC version of North and South better than the novel. I really liked Wives and Daughters, though.