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      Summer Supporter Giveaway   08/31/2020

      Going on a Summer Holiday (Sort Of...)     The summer giveaway for Patreon supporters is finally here and this time we're doing something a little bit different. I want supporters to tell me where you would go on holiday, if you could go anywhere. The winner will receive a bookish prize based on their answer!   Terms and conditions are as usual. Patreon supporters will be automatically entered into the giveaway and selected at random. As we're a little late this year the draw will be held on the second weekend of September. If you aren't currently a supporter but want to be involved in the giveaway you can sign up to support us here:   https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum  
chesilbeach

The English Counties Challenge

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Ok, having read through everyone's thoughts on the thread, I think I'd like to keep this challenge to the English counties only, but if anyone else wants to set one up for the other countries within GB, UK, British Isles (whichever you want to choose), then feel free!  You're also more than welcome to change the challenge to books of your own preference, if you don't agree with the chosen book, or if you simply don't like it and want to read something else that is also famous in that particular county.

 
On the list of counties I posted, I had taken out City of London from the list I had and just left it with County of London, but I'm actually going to add it back in, just because this will give us a nice round number of 40, and it means there's an opportunity to get another book within the county in so that the city doesn't dominate it.
 
Personally, while I'd prefer fiction books, I can see the justification for including memoirs if they are synonymous with a particular place, and I'm happy for both children's and adult literature to be included too.  I think we should stick to the book being set in the county, and be the most famously associated with it.
 
I think we're all agreed on both Cider With Rosie for Gloucestershire and Pride and Prejudice for Hertfordshire, so I'll add those to the first post.  
 
With regards to the rest, we've got a few suggestions so far so I'll just put them all in one place to see if we can agree on any of them:
 
Cumbria: I've not read either of the suggestions, but for me Swallows and Amazons seems more familiar to me as being set in the Lake District.  Willoyd's suggestion is The Maid of Buttermere, but I have to say, it's not one I'm familiar with.  Does anyone else have a strong argument for either - at the moment, I'd say it's 3:1 in favour of Swallows and Amazons, so that seems the most suitable choice.
 
Yorkshire: Wuthering Heights seems like a perfect choice to me.  The only other thought I'd had might have been one of the James Herriot books.  Any other suggestions?
 
Cornwall: Daphne Du Maurier seems like she ought to get the Cornish vote, so the options Kay suggested are Jamaica Inn or My Cousin Rachel.  Thoughts?
 
Kent: The Darling Buds of May by HE Bates.  I've certainly heard of this one, so I'm happy to be convinced, unless anyone else can offer an alternative?
 
 
Can I just ask that we stick to getting agreement on these four, and then go down the list one county at a time to make sure we don't miss anything in the discussion.
 

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Ok, having read through everyone's thoughts on the thread, I think I'd like to keep this challenge to the English counties only, but if anyone else wants to set one up for the other countries within GB, UK, British Isles (whichever you want to choose), then feel free!  You're also more than welcome to change the challenge to books of your own preference, if you don't agree with the chosen book, or if you simply don't like it and want to read something else that is also famous in that particular county.

I agree Claire :smile: 

On the list of counties I posted, I had taken out City of London from the list I had and just left it with County of London, but I'm actually going to add it back in, just because this will give us a nice round number of 40, and it means there's an opportunity to get another book within the county in so that the city doesn't dominate it.

That seems like a perfect amount and the capital deserves its own book I think :)

Personally, while I'd prefer fiction books, I can see the justification for including memoirs if they are synonymous with a particular place, and I'm happy for both children's and adult literature to be included too.  I think we should stick to the book being set in the county, and be the most famously associated with it.

Me too :)

I think we're all agreed on both Cider With Rosie for Gloucestershire and Pride and Prejudice for Hertfordshire, so I'll add those to the first post.  

Yay!! .. they look very well on the list :smile:

Cumbria: I've not read either of the suggestions, but for me Swallows and Amazons seems more familiar to me as being set in the Lake District.  Willoyd's suggestion is The Maid of Buttermere, but I have to say, it's not one I'm familiar with.  Does anyone else have a strong argument for either - at the moment, I'd say it's 3:1 in favour of Swallows and Amazons, so that seems the most suitable choice.

 It leaps straight into my head (which I know isn't much of a recommendation :blush2:) when thinking of novels set in the Lake District.

Cornwall: Daphne Du Maurier seems like she ought to get the Cornish vote, so the options Kay suggested are Jamaica Inn or My Cousin Rachel.  Thoughts?

The only others I can think of are the Poldark books but it seems a bit much (though I loved them) to call them the most famous.

Kent: The Darling Buds of May by HE Bates.  I've certainly heard of this one, so I'm happy to be convinced, unless anyone else can offer an alternative?

The Pickwick Papers came to mind but then they are travellers and so are all over the place and Great Expectations too but, again, not solely set in Kent.

Can I just ask that we stick to getting agreement on these four, and then go down the list one county at a time to make sure we don't miss anything in the discussion.

We are making progress :smile: 

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Yorkshire: Wuthering Heights seems like a perfect choice to me.  The only other thought I'd had might have been one of the James Herriot books.  Any other suggestions?

 
Cornwall: Daphne Du Maurier seems like she ought to get the Cornish vote, so the options Kay suggested are Jamaica Inn or My Cousin Rachel.  Thoughts?
 
Kent: The Darling Buds of May by HE Bates.  I've certainly heard of this one, so I'm happy to be convinced, unless anyone else can offer an alternative?

 

I think that it might be good to start with English counties, but add further threads for Welsh, Scottish and Irish counties. 

 

Since I've never read Wuthering Heights, but recently I got a freebie ebook version, it would ideal for me to read Wuthering Heights for Yorkshire.

 

I think that the suggestions for the other counties Yorkshire, Cornwall, Kent and Gloucestershire are good. I haven't read any of them, which is odd as they are 'classic' British novels! :blush2:  :giggle2:

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Kent: The Pickwick Papers came to mind but then they are travellers and so are all over the place and Great Expectations too but, again, not solely set in Kent.

The Canterbury Tales also of course.

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I'm sorry to be such a nuisance, but I'm going to persist on the counties list, not least so that if people go ahead with that list then they are clear about what they are doing.  Claire says that the list is "the current counties", but it isn't. I'ts the list of old counties, abolished some 40 years ago. The list of current administrative units would be overly complex (as there are various types, sitting side by side, giving a huge list); the most manageable current list is the list of ceremonial counties, which is why I listed it above.

 

 

On the list of counties I posted, I had taken out City of London from the list I had and just left it with County of London, but I'm actually going to add it back in, just because this will give us a nice round number of 40, and it means there's an opportunity to get another book within the county in so that the city doesn't dominate it.

 

I think you will find that it's more the other way round: there aren't a huge amount of novels based on the City, whilst there are tons based on other parts of London - most of Dickens for instance.

Edited by willoyd

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Given that it's partly about the book reflecting the place, I'd back Darling Buds of May over The Canterbury Tales.  The latter is incredibly famous, absolutely fabulous, but not an awful lot about Kent!  The main place that is mentioned (aside from Canterbury) is The Tabard Inn, which was in Surrey.  OTOH, Darling Buds of May seems to completely evoke rural Kent.

 

Using that, I'd suggest Jamaica Inn over My Cousin Rachel as being more centred on the place.

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Willoyd, I thought I had listed the Ceremonial Counties, but going back to the source, I can see I picked the original list not the most recent.  I'm happy to admit I was wrong and I've changed the list on the first post and that gives us 48 counties in total.

 

Can someone please tell me which county Wuthering Heights now comes under, as there are four separate counties of Yorkshire?

Edited by chesilbeach

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Thank you so much Claire.  I'd better help make sure we can fill those extra counties now!

 

Wuthering Heights comes under West Yorkshire.  Absolutely perfect.

Edited by willoyd

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I didn't read the first post properly when I posted so I didn't realise we were all going to read the same books! :blush:

 

If that's the case, for this challenge (which will take me a long time) personally I would prefer The Maid of Buttermere for Cumbria over Swallows and Amazons as I'm keen to read some more Bragg.   :)

 

How are you guys planing to choose if there is more than one suggestion - will we vote?

 

I see we have two definites (Pride and Prejudice and Cider with Rose (I adore Laurie Lee)), both of which I've read, so if I reread them I will do so at the end.  I presume we're not planing on/having to read in county order?

 

ETA:  Sorry if these things have already been discussed.   I've read the thread through but I'm not feeling very well and my head is a bit woolly.

Edited by Janet

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I hope you feel better soon, Janet!

 

Are all the novels going to be classics? I guess those are generally the most famous books.

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I hope you feel better soon, Janet!

 

Are all the novels going to be classics? I guess those are generally the most famous books.

 

I think we'll find a significant proportion will be classics, but I think that we're already seeing plenty that are not: I wouldn't, for instance, class The Darling Buds of May, Swallows and Amazons, Jamaica Inn, My Cousin Rachel or The Maid of Buttermere as classics (it could be argued that S&A is a children's classic - but that's a wee bit different).   Cider with Rosie is marginal.  It all depends, of course, how one defines classic!  Great books all though! 

Edited by willoyd

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That's very true, of course it depends on how one defines classic. I was just wondering, since the books I know / recognise, so far are all classics or historical fiction, I was just wondering if there were going to be any contemporary stories written in the last ie. 20 years about the time of the last 20 years. The ones you mention I don't know, I made the assumption solely going on the ones I've heard of :blush:. I look forward to see what the nominations will be, regardless. I was just curious since while it's interesting what a country was like back in the 1800s or something, I also find it interesting to see what they're like nowdays.

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Hope you feel beter soon Janet xx :flowers2:

I was just wondering, since the books I know / recognise, so far are all classics or historical fiction, I was just wondering if there were going to be any contemporary stories written in the last ie. 20 years about the time of the last 20 years. The ones you mention I don't know, I made the assumption solely going on the ones I've heard of :blush:. I look forward to see what the nominations will be, regardless. I was just curious since while it's interesting what a country was like back in the 1800s or something, I also find it interesting to see what they're like nowdays.

This particular challenge is based on the most famous book associated with each county so it's probably likely that a large majority of them will be classics .. as they've had longer to become associated in our minds with the area they're set in. It's possible though that we could plead the case for Harry Potter to be Surrey's most famous book :D ... but then it has fairly heavyweight competition in The War of the Worlds and A Room With a View (the former especially) and in any case most of the action takes place in Hogwarts which is Scottish (I think??) and it's not really indicative of what things are like nowadays anyway  :blush2: There will probably be quite a few counties which don't have much in the way of stiff competition and it may be that a more contemporary book is the most famously associated :smile: 

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Using that, I'd suggest Jamaica Inn over My Cousin Rachel as being more centred on the place.

I would prefer My Cousin Rachel but have to agree .. it's not as instantly recognisably Cornish as Jamaica Inn. I do wish Rebecca had explicitly mentioned that Manderley was in Cornwall because that book outfamouses them all :D .. and it springs to mind immediately when you think of Cornwall. But, as it doesn't, we can't consider it .. shame :(

 

I still think Swallows and Amazons is the book most famously associated with Cumbria. I have never actually heard of The Maid of Buttermere :o  :blush2: (though I do feel ashamed of this and will attempt to mend my ways by looking it up :giggle:)

 

Claire? .. in this challenge, will it be necessary to re-read books you've already read?

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I would prefer My Cousin Rachel but have to agree .. it's not as instantly recognisably Cornish as Jamaica Inn. I do wish Rebecca had explicitly mentioned that Manderley was in Cornwall because that book outfamouses them all :D .. and it springs to mind immediately when you think of Cornwall. But, as it doesn't, we can't consider it .. shame :(

 

I've not read either book, so it's really only an opinion looking at it from the 'outside' as it were.  I do agree about Rebecca! 

 

I still think Swallows and Amazons is the book most famously associated with Cumbria. I have never actually heard of The Maid of Buttermere :o  :blush2: (though I do feel ashamed of this and will attempt to mend my ways by looking it up :giggle:)

 

You're probably right about S&A being generally the better known, but I do think Melvyn Bragg's Cumbrian novels are well known, and Maid of Buttermere probably the single best known.  But then, she's a pretty well-known real-life person too.  I probably went for it because I was concentrating on grown-up books.  I haven't actually read any of them, going purely on reputation; I read all the S&A books as a child, including those set in Norfolk, Essex, Scotland, and miles away in the Far East and the Caribbean!  They were the first set of books I ever bought for myself!

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Just my 2 cent's worth on the DuMaurier books mentioned .

 

All 3 are very good at describing atmosphere and surroundings and how they relate to the story ,but Jamaica Inn would probably be the best for that. It's been at least 20 or 30 years since I read it ,but I remember the atmosphere of the story was a huge part of the MOOD of the book .

Edited by julie

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but then it has fairly heavyweight competition in The War of the Worlds and A Room With a View (the former especially)

 

And Emma! :smile:

Edited by willoyd

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Thank you so much Claire.  I'd better help make sure we can fill those extra counties now!

 

Wuthering Heights comes under West Yorkshire.  Absolutely perfect.

 

Yes, you'd better help!! I'm especially counting on you to sort out County Durham after pointing out how difficult it is. :D

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I didn't read the first post properly when I posted so I didn't realise we were all going to read the same books! :blush:

 

If that's the case, for this challenge (which will take me a long time) personally I would prefer The Maid of Buttermere for Cumbria over Swallows and Amazons as I'm keen to read some more Bragg.   :)

 

How are you guys planing to choose if there is more than one suggestion - will we vote?

 

I see we have two definites (Pride and Prejudice and Cider with Rose (I adore Laurie Lee)), both of which I've read, so if I reread them I will do so at the end.  I presume we're not planing on/having to read in county order?

 

ETA:  Sorry if these things have already been discussed.   I've read the thread through but I'm not feeling very well and my head is a bit woolly.

 

Janet, sorry you're feeling poorly, hope you feel better soon.  :empathy:   

 

My idea was to have a discussion around the books we consider the most famous for each county, and then try and get a consensus (not an official vote or poll), and if we can't agree, then maybe we could end up with two options for a particular county.   As for reading the books, it's the same as any other challenge I think, and you take it at your own pace and in whatever order you feel like.  I think the idea of this particular thread is to suggest and discuss the books, to try and figure out what we think is the most famous book for each county.

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Claire? .. in this challenge, will it be necessary to re-read books you've already read?

 

I think it's entirely up to you, Kay. It'll be your challenge, and personally, I think I'll probably re-read some but maybe not others, but the aim for me, will be to complete the list, having visited (vicariously though books) every county in England!  :D

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Ok, back to the book choices ...

 

Cornwall: It seems we've narrowed it down to both Jamaica Inn or My Cousin Rachel.  It seems that we all seem to think Jamaica Inn seems more synonymous with Cornwall, so I think we should go for that one.  If you want on your own challenges, you could always include both or choose My Cousin Rachel if you felt like it.  

 

Cumbria: It's now 3:2 in favour of Swallows and Amazons over The Maid of Buttermere, so I'm wondering whether we should have this as an either/or category?  After all, it's our own challenge so we can set whatever rules we like!!!  Maybe if we get any input from other members later, it can sway us in favour of a single book?

 

Kent: It looks like The Darling Buds of May by HE Bates seems the most suitable as both famous and set solely in the county, so I think we should go for that one.

 

I'll update Cornwall and Kent, so just waiting for your opinions on Cumbria.

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I'll update Cornwall and Kent, so just waiting for your opinions on Cumbria.

I'm happy either way - after all, I could always read Maid of Buttermere to 'revisit' Cumbria as my own personal variant (I've read S&A so often, need something different!). Or, another idea could be that we try to provide an adult alternative if the main choice is a children's book? Just a thought. Certainly S&A is archetypally Cumbria - couldn't possibly complain if the majority go for it!

 

 

Yes, you'd better help!! I'm especially counting on you to sort out County Durham after pointing out how difficult it is. :D

I think I've sorted that one out by a bit of a back route! (But will hold fire until you flag Durham up to discuss!) Edited by willoyd

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Thanks for all the good wishes, all.  :)  I'm feeling a lot better.
 
I'm not sure if anything has been put forward for Somerset, so I'm going to suggest Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor by R D Blackmore.  It does encroach slightly into Devon, but is mostly set in Exmoor.

 

Persuasion and Northanger Abbey are also partly set here, but as we've already got Pride and Prejudice on the list, it might be nice to experience a different author.   :)

 

As for classics - this is good, I think.  I'm trying to read more of them and they're free if you have an eReader!  :D

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Glad you're feeling better Janet :boogie: 

 

Lorna Doone sounds like a good choice .. though it is hard not to think of Jane's Bath novels for Somerset  :blush2: There is also Tom Jones of course but .. well ... :giggle: .. I don't know if we should be pedalling such filth :D 

 

I'm happy to have either/ors for any county .. if we can't decide.

 

Without running ahead too far though .. I'd like to plead the case for having Dickens for London? (as in city of) .. surely he is the author most synonymous with London? Which Dickens though that's the thing :confused: (probable candidates A Christmas Carol, Bleak House, Little Dorrit and Oliver Twist).

 

 

I guess we could have a classic and a more contemporary choice? .. but that makes it quite complicated and we have our work cut out as it is. This is the challenging part of the challenge .. the reading will be a doddle compared :D

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I think it's entirely up to you, Kay. It'll be your challenge, and personally, I think I'll probably re-read some but maybe not others, but the aim for me, will be to complete the list, having visited (vicariously though books) every county in England!  :D

What a lovely thought :) Yes .. I think like you I may re-read some but not others (I'm saying that now but I bet I'll start feeling all precious about it somewhere down the line and persuade myself that they ALL should be re-read :roll2:  :D)

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