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The Age of Innocence
The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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The opening scene at the theater: when Newland Archer meets Ellen Olenska. 💙💚💙

Eggs Lovely choice👏🏻🎭🧡 4w
dabbe @Eggs 🤩😀🤗 4w
IMASLOWREADER my favorite book and author of all time…its one of the few books i reread and also owned the movie and audiobook both regular and dramatized lol 3w
dabbe @IMASLOWREADER I'm part of the #WhartonBuddyRead, and this one still is my fave of hers. Gorgeous writing, characters, conflicts ... everything was just so lush. The movie is spectacular, too! (though I'd drool over DDL with any part he played! 🤩) 3w
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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Such remarkable depiction of the atmosphere governing New York‘s high society at the end of the 19th century, of its etiquette and social conventions at a time when appearances mattered enormously and the wealthy were expected to conduct themselves by these norms, even if it implied acting against their true feelings. The love triangle does not impress much throughout the story but the ending, which is truly brilliant, makes it sparkle.

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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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dabbe 🤣🤣🤣 9mo
batsy Ahahaha! 9mo
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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1. No way!
2. Tagged. The movie is also very good.

Thanks @The_Penniless_Author for the tag.

TheSpineView I need to see that movie! Thanks for playing! 10mo
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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The novel where Wharton revisits that insanely wealthy world she grew up in, 1870‘s New York‘s wealthy established families and their stifling culture. She criticizes this old lost New York world, but remains very attracted to. It comes out beautiful.

Thanks #whartonbuddyread for all the chat and posts. This was my first time reading this.

TheBookHippie I loved this one -I‘ve not read it in decades 🤣♥️may need to add this to summer reading. 1y
Graywacke @TheBookHippie it‘s really terrific. We‘re doing Glimpses of the Moon next if you need a Wharton fix. 😁😇😁 1y
TheBookHippie @Graywacke I‘m fairly sure that‘s on my kindle! Count me in. 1y
batsy Yes! It does come out beautiful ✨ 1y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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The love triangle was the least of this book for me. Ellen is too enigmatic, Newland is too hypocritical and May is too conventional to rouse much emotion in me. But the writing sparkles, the descriptions of the the attitudes and protocols of 18th century high society in New York are fascinating and the minor characters are frequently amusing. #WhartonBuddyRead. Thank you for the great discussion @Graywacke @Lcsmcat and fellow buddy readers.

Lcsmcat There are few books that reread, and even fewer I read more than twice. But this one rewards every reread I have given it (3 or 4 now) and the group discussion brings out new joys and discoveries. Thanks for your contributions to that! (edited) 1y
Graywacke “the writing sparkles” - I felt the same. The whole lost world atmosphere background was wonderfully done. Glad you enjoyed. 1y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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“Ah—i‘ve had to. I‘ve had to look at the Gorgon.”

Mar 11 - chapter 28-34 (the end)

A section of Newland, Ellen, Catherine Mingott, May and Dallas. As Newland plans to commit to Ellen, May resolves everything. Then an epilogue 25 years later, happy, but so bittersweet. I‘m mainly left with an image of an empty Paris park bench. Thoughts? I‘ll post some questions in the comments.

Graywacke (My first thought on finishing is that you were right, @Lcsmcat , Newland would have held out for the second marshmallow.) 1y
Graywacke Come back to this later, after you post your own thoughts. These were some questions I had on mind (most were inspired by the introduction in my copy by Regina Barrenca)

1. One of Newland‘s contradictions:He imagines woman as acted upon, but here they are the ones who act, while he hesitates, Hamlet-like. Does Newland prevents his own affair?
Graywacke 2. May‘s victory - we might see it differently in our world, but in May‘s world she pulled off a masterpiece victory. It was really brilliant and smart. Was it a win for Newland too? And for Ellen?
3. With that in mind, is this a feminist work?
4. Did you sense Wharton had a natural affinity with Ellen, a fellow single woman in Paris?
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Graywacke 5. My introduction identifies Ellen as “unassimilable” in this NY society. That she can‘t be relied upon to play her part. She doesn‘t have a role. You agree? What would you do in her place?
6. If Archers had a real job, one that was actually difficult and trying, would it make a difference? How? Is this just a story of leisure?
(edited) 1y
Graywacke Some quotes in the Gorgon
“Ah—i‘ve had to. I‘ve had to look at the Gorgon.”
“Well—it hasn‘t blinded you! You‘ve seen that she‘s just an old bogey like all the others.”
“She doesn‘t blind one, but she dries up one‘s tears.”
Graywacke “Oh, my dear—where is that country? Have you ever been there?” … “I know many who have tried to find it; and, believe me, they all got out by mistake at wayside stations: at places like Boulogne, or Pisa, or Monte Carlo—and it wasn‘t at all different from the old world they‘d left, but only rather smaller and dingier and more promiscuous.” 👇👇 1y
Graywacke 👆👆 …

“Yes, the Gorgon has dried your tears”
“Well, she opened my eyes, too; it‘s a delusion to say that she blinds people. What she does is just the contrary—she fastens their eyelids open, so that they‘re never again in the blessed darkness.”
Graywacke (This is arguably another reference to the title. Newland still lives in the Age of Innocence, but Ellen has graduated) (edited) 1y
Currey @Graywacke @Lcsmcat Quite amazing ending. Not the actual recap of 25 years later so much, but how Wharton left me so full of empathy even to the hapless Newland and the “unimaginative” May, (who was able, in fact, to imagine a way out of her problem). 1y
Currey @Graywacke Classic Wharton on communication: “She never asked me.”…and Dallas saying: “No, I forgot. You never did ask each other anything…” 1y
Currey @Graywacke. The ending where Newland is musing on his inarticulate life, which in the end he decides to continue rather than face a woman who has truly lived and who might ask him about himself and his life. 1y
Currey Also loved that Dallas marries a Beaufort and no one judges him for it 1y
AnnR I only think Wharton had more of an affinity with Ellen, as we readers seem to get far more insights into her character than May, granted it's through Newland's eyes. I suspect Wharton found it easier to write about Ellen vs May (or devoted more time to overt observations about Ellen). That is all just my personal conjecture though and might be completely off base. With May, I was left guessing more of the time as to what she was thinking or knew. 1y
Lcsmcat @Currey May, I agree, knew how to work within the system to get what she wanted. Ellen seemed to get what she wanted by working against the system. Newland just muddled along not quite knowing what he wanted. 1y
Lcsmcat I found the ending very telling of Newland‘s character. He cared more about his perception of Ellen than her reality. 1y
Lcsmcat Also, my grandson is still here. I‘ll check in on the rest of the discussion when he goes home. 🙂 1y
Louise I‘m still behind with reading this one, though I‘m still reading it aloud to my mom. Trying to get caught up in time to participate fully in the next book‘s discussions. I‘m enjoying all your comments! 1y
Lcsmcat In response to questions 2 & 3, I do think this is a feminist work. Both Ellen and May were more aware and active in their fates than Newland gave them credit for, and possibly more than he was in his own life. As for 6, I don‘t think a better job would have helped, because he wouldn‘t commit to it. As he couldn‘t to politics. I think he just had that kind of personality. 1y
Currey @Lcsmcat I agree, Newland did not seem to have it in him to problem solve and he did not expect any satisfaction from working so I think he would not have had a better life with a better job. 1y
Currey @Graywacke Do you think Ellen had a good life given what Wharton has given us? I assumed that she did based on Newland‘s musings but then when I read your questions it made me consider that perhaps her life was as equally constrained in Europe as it was in NY. 1y
CarolynM Oh wow, those final few chapters were really something! I would have been very happy for it to have ended at chapter 32 with that final image of May‘s torn and dirty wedding dress. Up to the point of May‘s announcement (if you can call it that 🙄) I had started to feel sympathy for Archer, but what sort of moral code is it that makes it ok to impregnate the wife you barely tolerate while glorifying in your fine feelings for another woman? 1y
CarolynM My previous comment is kind of an answer to your questions 1 & 2. I can‘t imagine May as a seductress, so Archer‘s own actions gave May the opportunity to use the situation to her advantage. In that sense he prevented his own affair and set up May‘s win. Insofar as it kept him in society‘s good graces it was a win for him. As to Ellen, I‘m not sure that an unalloyed win was possible. 1y
CarolynM Re question 5, I think anyone who wasn‘t brought up immersed in that society by people already immersed in it would have been “unassimilable” in it. I might feel a little bit more sympathetic to Undine Spragg after reading this! 1y
Graywacke @Currey yeah, on the amazing ending. It‘s hard to stick the landing on this kind of novel, but this one really left an impression on me. “unimaginative” May was strong and clever, a strategist who doesn‘t show her cards. And that Wharton miscommunication. 1y
Graywacke @Ann_Reads was it Wharton or Newland who couldn‘t see into May and found Ellen easier to capture? Maybe it was both. I think Wharton had known a few real life Mays, though. 1y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat great characterization of Newland refusing to see Ellen at the end. Maybe he wasn‘t a big fan of reality. Enjoy grandparenting. 1y
Graywacke @Louise no worries. You can post as you catch up. 1y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat that feminist question - I completely agree. But May - is preserving the status quo really feminist even if she was very clever in making it happen? I adore May. That‘s just her challenge. She did what worked but not what we would advise today. She had to sacrifice herself in there. 1y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @Currey on Q6 - and Newland not a problem solver - you know, he does nothing. Everything he accomplishes he accomplishes by not doing anything. Just passively riding his money, culture and support (wife) 1y
Graywacke @CarolynM It‘s a different book if we end at chapter 32! The torn wedding dress was a nice literary touch. Great point about Newland‘s moral code, his mental cheating. He wants what he has and what he doesn‘t have… 1y
Graywacke @CarolynM “i might feel a little more sympathetic for Undine Spragg after reading this.” 😂 😂 1y
Currey @Graywacke so true about Newland doing nothing 1y
batsy I think it's a feminist work because of how it depicts women's lives for what they are. No sugar coating anything, here, and there's a variety of experiences (albeit from within an upper-class angle). I agree that on the surface May pulled off a masterpiece victory, but to me it was the most tragic aspect of all. How did she feel knowing she wasn't what Newland wanted most of all? On the flipside, Newland wanting something most of all doesn't 1y
batsy count for much, does it? He was willing to forego it. Are we meant to see Newland as essentially good, though, because he did that knowing he and May were to become parents? 1y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I think May is feminist in that she took hold of her own destiny. She could have let things happen to her, but she took what control she could to make things happen the way she wanted. It‘s not the way most of us would want, but within the constraints of the life she was trained to she made her own life. 1y
AnnR @Graywacke I think it was mostly Newland. He seems to misjudge May's character, especially early on in their relationship therefore the reader is also influenced by Newland's assessments. As for Wharton, I'm sure you are correct that she knew multiple 'Mays' during her lifetime. Having said that, I do think it is easier to write about people who remind you of yourself, so for Wharton, that would probably be Ellen. 1y
Graywacke @batsy it‘s interesting that we don‘t know what May wanted. She divinely strives to hold up the tradition/save face without showing the strain. In the epilogue all that becomes meaningless (but can we doubt May would have adjusted?). Newland is, I think, tamed. He‘s made to be good. He‘s soft and more tame-able than he is aware. But May knew and kept him on the high road. 👇👇 1y
Graywacke 👆👆 On his own, Newland is such a contradiction that he balances at zero. Ultimately I think he‘s everything he thinks May is - all that unimaginative stuff is his mindset. 1y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @batsy No question May takes control. She would meet Alexandra Bergson of O Pioneers! on equal footing. Thanks both for your thoughts on May‘s feminism. 1y
Graywacke @Ann_Reads thanks. I like thinking there is a lot of Wharton‘s own self in Ellen. 1y
batsy "Ultimately he's everything that he thinks May is"—yes! Sums him up accurately, I think. 1y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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This book is a sad, beautiful masterpiece. Newland‘s life! May‘s life! It looks like something from the outside, but what was it like from the inside? Wharton‘s gorgeous prose, as clear as crystal, sees right through the hypocrisies of moneyed society. It‘s an incredible feat to create an ironic character in Newland who nonetheless appears as a tragic figure, along with May, because of the value of appearing to have lived well. #whartonbuddyread

batsy But the deeper question is if form becomes content i.e. if you only value appearances, how do you know if you really want what you claim to want? The ending here is as perfect as an ending could be. On this reread I was astonished at how Ellen appears to me now; as far as anyone could have said to have had a happy ending, it's her. Wharton ended it with her live having been lived away from the reader's eye. There's something triumphant about that. 1y
erzascarletbookgasm Beautiful review 💫 1y
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batsy @erzascarletbookgasm Thank you 😘 1y
nathandrake1997 Exquisite review ❤️ 1y
sarahbarnes I remember loving this when I read it! I might have to do a reread someday. 1y
BarbaraBB Such a memorable read. 1y
batsy @nathandrake1997 Thank you! ❤️ 1y
batsy @sarahbarnes I hope you do! It felt even richer and more layered this time around. Feels like a book that gets better with time 🙂 1y
batsy @BarbaraBB Truly! 1y
marleed This had been on my TBR gos so long and when Anderson Cooper referred to it a couple times in his memoir, I moved it to a current read. And it turned out to be a 5* read! 1y
Graywacke Terrific review, especially the extra comment. What we or someone wants has a different context within some social structures. Very interesting point about Ellen (and her very Wharton-like single life). 1y
Cathythoughts Great review. I love this book. 1y
batsy @marleed That's cool! He has good taste in books, then 🙂 1y
batsy @Graywacke Thank you! Yes, there was something Wharton-like in both Ellen and Newland, I felt. 1y
batsy @Cathythoughts Thanks, Cathy! It's such a brilliant book. 1y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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The Age of Innocence ~ Edith Wharton

The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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"... the book was published by instalments in the Pictorial Review amid advertisements for soap flakes and lavatory cleaners and is generally regarded as one of her best." How masterpieces come to exist will never not be fascinating.

This is from Penelope Lively's intro to the Virago edition. #whartonbuddyread @Graywacke

Graywacke That whole paragraph is fascinating. I‘m struck by the comment that she needed the cash. 1y
batsy @Graywacke Me, too. Very Dostoevskian. Needing the cash and accidentally writing masterpieces along the way! 1y
Graywacke @batsy 🙂 There‘s an interesting pairing. I think he was maybe a little more desperate for money. But also I think he had a full-time free assistant, his wife. 1y
Graywacke @batsy oh…. wow. That sounds fascinating 1y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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It‘s easy to see why this is often considered her masterpiece. The writing and the setting are so intricate and beautiful it‘s impossible not to be swept away. And the reserved ending was perfection, one of those perfect moments that couldn‘t have been written another way. #WhartonBuddyRead #MarvelousMarch @Graywacke @Andrew65

Andrew65 Well done 👏👏👏 I enjoyed this book. 1y
Liz_M Excellent review of my most highly-rated Wharton 1y
dabbe The ending was perfect, wasn't it? But, oh ... 😢 1y
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IndoorDame @dabbe I know!😢💔 1y
Graywacke Great post! For me, Newland just me with Catherine. Lots to go yet… 1y
Cathythoughts Beautiful heartbreaking story ♥️ 1y
batsy @dabbe Right? 1y
batsy Great review. It's a masterpiece indeed. I feel like I've gained new appreciation for it this time around. 1y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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May Archer and her bow. Newland and his pathetic liaison attempts. And a window into Ellen (and Boston, pictured) Does May really know everything? We‘re in the middle chapters, maybe our novel has slowed down quite a bit. What‘s capturing your attention? Thoughts?

AnnR At first I thought maybe May just suspected something was off, with a change in Newland's demeanor. On the other hand, it feels like May is egging him on when she brings Ellen into their conversations under the guise of being concerned about her cousin. I cannot imagine much could go on in that level of society without their being gossip about Newland's behavior. Even if May didn't initially figure it out, her family probably would have. 1y
Currey @Ann_Reads I agree, in a society that is so primed to notice the least little faux pas, I think that May and family suspect something although perhaps not the specifics of Newland‘s motivations. 1y
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Lcsmcat @Currey @Ann_Reads I think May is more observant than she gets credit for. I think she knows and brings up Ellen to needle Archer. Because she was reared to accept that behavior, even though the men in that society think their women are unaware of it. 1y
Graywacke @Ann_Reads @Currey @Lcsmcat - May is so comfortable in that society, maybe she does know everything. I thought the honeymoon chapter came across as a character attack on May. But I have to keep in mind it‘s more Newland‘s character attack of May than Wharton‘s. Newland, first, really doesn‘t get May, and second, is rationalizing his interest in Ellen. So he‘s not a great point of view. 1y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Exactly! What a way to describe your wife, on your honeymoon. 🤦🏻‍♀️ 1y
Graywacke Still, I‘m interested in this play on May as virginal Diana. Maybe Newland is dealing with issues Wharton doesn‘t like to address directly. 1y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat yeah, not a good start to a marriage. 1y
Graywacke By the way, Ellen has my a favorite line: “Do you suppose Christopher Columbus would have taken all that trouble just to go to the opera with the Selfridge Merrys?” 1y
Graywacke I loved May‘s archery: May Welland was just coming out of the tent. In her white dress, with a pale green ribbon about the waist and a wreath of ivy on her hat, she had the same Diana-like aloofness as when she entered the Beaufort ballroom on the night of her engagement. In the interval not a thought seemed to have passed behind her eyes or a feeling in her heart; … 1y
Graywacke She had her bow and arrow in her hand, and placing herself on the chalk mark traced on the turf she lifted the bow to her shoulder and took aim. The attitude was so full of a classic grace that a murmur of appreciation followed her appearance, … All (her rivals) were young and pretty, and bathed in summer bloom; but not one had the nymphlike ease of his wife when, with tense muscles and happy frown, she bent her soul upon some feet of strength. 1y
Graywacke And mom, Mrs. Archer: “…she was able…to trace each new crack in its surface and all the strange weeds pushing up between the ordered rows of social vegetables. … For New York, to Mrs. Archer‘s mind, never changed without changing for the worse…“ 1y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Ellen‘s line is as good as that first quote about opera! 1y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I don‘t think about archery as being considered feminine back then, but I guess it was. And the Diana comparison was spot on! 1y
Louise Hello, All, I‘m behind with reading after a busy week but hope to catch up soon! Enjoying your comments and looking forward to reaching some of these delicious quotes! 1y
batsy @Graywacke I thought that archery description of May was sublime. I could picture it in my head. Probably because there's also one of those Penguin covers with a painting that's lodged in my mind https://indextrious.blogspot.com/2020/02/the-age-of-innocence.html?m=1 1y
batsy "He saw in a flash that if the family had ceased to consult him it was because some deep tribal instinct warned them that he was no longer on their side..." I thought this was a great bit of insight into Newland; he's unknowable even to himself. A hint of being an unreliable narrator. Mainly because he knows he's outside of the values of the society he's in but I maintain that he's too afraid to give it up totally (hence his admiration for Ellen). 1y
IMASLOWREADER sorry guys i am so behind work is kicking my butt for the last three weeks with new system upgrades and training the staff 😭 hoping to catch up soon 1y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat i was surprised to find so many references. Apparently archery was a thing for 19th-century upper class ladies. 1y
Graywacke @Louise @IMASLOWREADER no worries. Take care. Good luck with all the real life stuff. 1y
Graywacke @batsy sublime is lovely way to describe it. That cover is perfect. 1y
Graywacke @batsy I remember that line on Newland but hadn‘t thought about it that way. But yeah, he‘s tricky because he doesn‘t know himself and doesn‘t act rationally or observe objectively. It‘s all warped in his mixed be a good part of society/want want internal conflict. He‘s that kind of accidentally unreliable observer. 1y
CarolynM I‘ve been super busy and haven‘t read this week‘s portion. Will come back when I have read it. 1y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @batsy The more I think about it the more I think the Diana reference indicates that May is stronger than her husband gives her credit for. Physically and mentally. Those bows take a lot of strength. And Diana was the huntress. Not exactly the blank slate Newland envisioned. 1y
Graywacke @CarolynM no worries. Wish you well with the busy stuff. 1y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat I agree and, it‘s such a beautiful way to make that point. 1y
CarolynM Finally read these chapters! I enjoyed this part more than the last, I found the sparkles in the writing again, maybe I was just out of sorts when reading our 2nd portion. I thought the likening of May to “virginal Diana” and the later reference to her “virginal features” may well be a hint at things that couldn‘t be decently addressed at the time. Also the reference to “when” they had children and the notable absence of such after 2 years.👇 1y
CarolynM 👆I also think May and her family are very aware of an unsuitable connection between Elena and Archer. It‘s interesting that Archer is so in tune with many of the social values (the ban on socialising in Europe made me laugh - they must have seemed so rude to the Europeans) including around financial dealings, yet chafes at the “moral” values around marriage (or is it just sex) @batsy I loved the Columbus quote @Graywacke 1y
batsy @CarolynM Yes, he was bothered by the hypocrisy in those values only when they started to affect him. I feel like Wharton is giving a wry look to the reader the whole time. 1y
Graywacke @batsy @CarolynM selective chafing. 🙄 @batsy - wry is such a good word for this. @CarolynM - I‘m really happy you enjoyed this section. Great post. 1y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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Eggs Brilliant! 1y
CoverToCoverGirl Loved it! 1y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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It‘s fascinating what you notice on a slow reread. Above is a “herdic.” A type of carriage I was unaware of before. #whartonbuddyread @Graywacke

Graywacke Cool! (I had to look up a Pompeian Vestibule) 1y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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Thinking ahead, i‘d like to gage interest, taking an informal vote. TAoI is the main novel in our #whartonbuddyread , and the last famous novel by Wharton. There are ten more novels. Below are some options. Please vote your preference in the comments.

A: CARRYON: The next novel is Glimpses of the Moon
B: DETOUR: jump to Wharton‘s memoir: A Backward Glance
C: CHANGE: Choose another author (who or may not be V.Woolf)
D: STOP: close the group 🙈

Tamra Thank you for including me. But, I am going to decline to participate only because my buddy reading plate is full. I do 💙 Wharton though! 1y
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SamAnne I've had a hard time keeping up with this buddy read group. I have been following along on Age of Innocence. A favorite of mine I've read a couple times. I will bow out of reading other novels at this point--too many other things to read. I would be interested in the biography, however. 1y
AnnR C would be my vote, but I don't know that I should have a say in it. I've tried reading several books by Virginia Woolf, but found them to be too bleak for my taste. Anyway, feel free to disregard my comment. 🙂 1y
dabbe I'll do what anyone else wants; I feel I have no say since I didn't participate in the Innocence read. 1y
arubabookwoman I'm fine with what the group chooses. I read Glimpses of the Moon a few years ago, and it's a good one. I would join in with a reread if that's how the group goes. But I'm not particularly a fan of Virginia Woolf, so I probably wouldn't join if that's who we chose. Also not wanting to do a group read of Wharton's biog. So I guess I do have preferences after all. 1y
arubabookwoman ETA If we stop the Wharton read, I am interested in continuing with buddy reads focusing on one author and reading much of their work chronologically. Just not V. Woolf. 1y
Lcsmcat Not D. I get a lot of enjoyment from this group and would like to continue. And I feel like I learn to read better by reading an author‘s works chronologically. I will probably continue to read the other novels, with or without the group, and the biography/memoir too. But if people are ready to move on, may I suggest Iris Murdoch for consideration? (Since Woolf isn‘t looking too popular here.) But, final word, I‘ll read whatever the group dec on. 1y
Louise I‘m interested in reading A Backward Glance, but I don‘t feel the need to keep reading the novels. I would carry on with the group, regardless, as I really enjoy the people in the group and learn from the discussions. I‘d welcome a fresh change in authors. Maybe someone like Italo Calvino or someone who is considered a great writer in another country but whom we know nearly nothing about. Thank you, Dan, for starting this conversation. 1y
jewright I vote for A, but no matter what book the group decides to read, I would love to stay in the group. 1y
Graywacke I posted because I‘m open to all answers… well hopefully not D. But, for the record, my vote is B - A Backward Glance. A is just as good an option. C a bit tricky because I want to read more Wharton. 1y
Graywacke @arubabookwoman nice to get some perspective on Glimpses of the Moon! 1y
Graywacke @dabbe you definitely have say! 🙂 I‘m glad you‘re open, but also interested in your preferences, and trying to gage overall group interest. 1y
Graywacke @SamAnne I might have set too fast a pace of TAoI. Sorry! - Edit - is that a vote for A Backward Glance, or for a 3rd person biography? (edited) 1y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat I‘m counting this as an A vote. 🙂 1y
Currey Thank you for the asking @Graywacke. I do think I am done with Wharton for the moment but would read the bio or even one more novel because I enjoy the group and will follow it. However, my honest vote would be C. 1y
SamAnne @graywacke I meant the memoir! 1y
AnnR @Graywacke No matter what you decide, please know your efforts to lead these buddy reads are much appreciated. (I'll extend the same appreciation to @Lcsmcat.) I always enjoy the discussions, even if I don't like every book or author. Also, I'm a rather flaky classical novel reader so I will probably join in for some future buddy reads but doubt I'll read an entire collection written by any author. (I was going to suggest Elizabeth von Arnim.) (edited) 1y
IndoorDame I‘m not going to vote because I‘m feeling a bit overextended at the moment anyway. Though depending on what the group decides I may continue to pop in for a few books here and there 1y
llwheeler Sorry I've been quiet! But I would like to continue. My vote would be either a or c - if b, I'd probably just sit out that book and then rejoin with whatever is chosen next. Even if we move to another author, I'll probably keep reading the rest of Wharton's novels myself 1y
CarolynM I enjoy this group very much and want to continue with it in whatever form it takes. I am interested to read more Wharton (I‘ll definitely read Glimpses of the Moon on @arubabookwoman ‘s recommendation) but I‘m happy to move on if that‘s the consensus. I like @Lcsmcat ‘s suggestion of Iris Murdoch as a future possibility. Thanks Dan and Linda for doing such a great job with this group. 1y
Suet624 I have had the best intentions of reading Wharton and unfortunately have not been able to get to them. I love reading the comments though. I'd love to continue to be tagged but because I'm totally a mood reader I can't guarantee what I will read and what I won't. 1y
batsy I just joined for this month's group read, so I feel bad voting. I'm happy to go with the consensus. I'd love to continue to read the other novels, but if the group is having Wharton-fatigue then we can move on to another writer. One idea is that we can say goodbye to Wharton with her bio as final read? I love @Lcsmcat 's idea for Iris Murdoch. Or maybe you and @Lcsmcat can suggest a few authors that you're keen on for the group to vote 🙂 1y
Cathythoughts I‘d be interested in reading more Wharton. Also , I like the idea of Iris Murdoch too. ThAnks so much for all your work with this group. Im happy to go with whatever is decided. 1y
Graywacke @arubabookwoman @Lcsmcat @jewright @llwheeler @CarolynM @Cathythoughts @batsy @SamAnne? @Louise @Ann_Reads @Currey @Tamra @IndoorDame @dabbe @Suet624 thanks for these comments. I‘m glad i asked! Options are varied, and hard to classify, but there is actually a clear-leaning. Roughly half the posts favor carrying on, with Glimpses at the Moon. So, we will do that next. I think A Backward Glance is still on the plans, but not yet. 1y
Graywacke Of course that means roughly half (including me ☺️) were leaning in one of the other directions. I hope we all still join if we‘re interested. This is fun stuff and that‘s why we do it. So hopefully no one ever feels any kind of pressure to join in any specific book. 1y
Graywacke Also i will put my Woolf idea on the shelf. Clearly not for this group in any immediate future. I haven‘t read Iris Murdoch. I‘m really intrigued by the interest! So maybe down the road. But don‘t wait for that if you want to read Murdoch. We will take a pulse when the time comes to choose our next author. Thanks everyone for the kind words and for chipping in on this discussion. 1y
IMASLOWREADER i choose A…i have not read glimpses of the moon 1y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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#whartonbuddyread - chapter 11-19

Amongst this glittering cold NY high society, we‘re getting down to business. In chapter 12 there are sparks in the fireplace. Archer and Ellen finally kiss, ending book I, and in the next chapter he marries poor May (in April). Perhaps he should have given up lust for Lent. Did you feel atmosphere? suspense? May‘s tragedy? Anyone hate Newland? Share your thoughts.

Currey @Graywacke Yes, I have to admit I dislike Newland. I also do not understand Ellen and her choices. For the sake of May she should have nothing to do with Archer. Even in Europe they would agree with that. 1y
Bookwormjillk I had to bail on this one. I was getting too confused reading this and Middlemarch at the same time 1y
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Lcsmcat Archer bothers me because he doesn‘t have the courage to break free of the conventions, but won‘t abide by them either. He‘s causing so much trouble for so many people! I agree with @Currey that Ellen should stay away from him, but he is rather intruding himself on her, isn‘t he? 1y
arubabookwoman I don't hate Newland. I feel sorry for him. He wants to throw caution to the wind, but is unable to, so is always in a conflicted state. I can't help but wonder what might have been if at Ellen's when they kissed she had accepted/encouraged him, instead of telling him he must marry May. 1y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I love be the thought of “giving up lust for Lent” 😆 The world might be a better place. 1y
IndoorDame So far I sympathize with Newland. I feel like we‘re often impatient with male characters on journeys of self discovery wanting them to be more mature and less emotional than their female counterparts. 1y
Currey @IndoorDame Thank you for that. It made me stop and think. I think Newland is less mature and more emotional than his female counterparts but I will have to consider if I am judging him too harshly. Perhaps like @arubabookwoman I should feel sorry for him. Hmmm 1y
arubabookwoman I think Wharton wants us to admire Ellen for flaunting conventions. But is she really so brave? She tells Newland she wasn't even aware that NY society was ostracizing her and that people were stepping in to help her until afterwards when she was told. Is she clueless, ( or at least not as brave as it seemed), or is being unaware that you're breaking rules the definition of unconventional? 1y
arubabookwoman Also, for all her innocence, May sometimes proves to be quite perceptive. In St. Augustine, she suspects Newland loves another woman; she just suspects the wrong woman. Is May going to turn out to be braver/more unconventional than Newland after all? 1y
AnnR I don't hate Newland but I don't have any respect for him either. After the beginning chapters, one gets an inkling as to where the story is headed. He wants to have his cake and eat it too. He either should have given up Meg and her conventional family, or stayed away from Ellen after he was married. Instead, he clings to both. 1y
Louise @arubabookwoman I had the same thoughts about May Welland. Toward the end of the scene you mention in St. Augustine, Newland is sad to see that spark of something more in May recede. Perhaps they are both trapped in the conventions they were raised to follow. Without the “other woman”, they might have had a chance of happiness. But one can‘t help but sense the impending disaster. 1y
Louise I thought it was telling when Newland sensed in Beaufort a knowledge of the world and a cultural language that he himself could not fully understand. Part of what draws him to Ellen is the intrigue of the path untaken. He feels the weight of his conventional future burying him alive. I wonder how May feels. We aren‘t privy to her thoughts. 1y
Graywacke I‘m having trouble with Newland‘s inability to understand or control himself. I was entertained when on the streets of Manhattan (nice time capsule there) he notes Beaufort is headed out for no good and then, when he arrives at Ellen‘s, he finds he was headed for the same place! Still I like everyone. 🙂 Ultimately the real tragedy is they live in a confining world that stifles their abilities to manage these human issues. 1y
Graywacke @Currey @arubabookwoman Is Ellen bold or clueless? Is it even possible she was unaware? I‘m not sure. It‘s possible she just didn‘t like all the consequences and is rationalizing. She seems to want what Newland voiced, to be free “as we are”. What I don‘t understand is what she likes about Newland (or Beaufort). It‘s like Stockholm syndrome. Maybe she just likes controlling them(?) (edited) 1y
Graywacke @Bookwormjillk funny enough Middlemarch gets a mention in these chapters, a new book reviewer are talking about. I would also find it tough to read both at once. Enjoy Eliot! 1y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @arubabookwoman @Ann_Reads thinking about your comments on Newland‘s conflicted state. He is really caught in indecision. Our Hamlet. He better commit or find some serious charm quick, or our book will go very dark (which it must, being by Wharton). 🙂 1y
Graywacke @IndoorDame @Currey interesting comment about _our_ impatience! i see this culture as unforgiving, but I like bringing in us, the reader. We readers have our own limits of tolerance and patience. 1y
IndoorDame @Louise I also thought he and May might well have been happy if they had been left alone. In some ways they do seem quite well suited. 1y
Graywacke @Currey @arubabookwoman @louise thinking about your comments on May. She‘s my favorite character and I‘m reading the book from her perspective. She is sharp, and she understands her world and humanity and the consequences. I think her openness in St. Augustine shouldn‘t be misconstrued as openness.👇👇 1y
Graywacke I think May is making it clear she knows Newland has an issue and, unspoken, I think she‘s made it clear there‘s no good way out. That‘s a soft hand, in-tune with iron reality. She‘s quietly the book‘s hero for me. But i have no clue how she will manage Book II. (edited) 1y
Graywacke One general question: why does everyone name their children with someone else‘s last name? Was Newland‘s best man really named van der Luyden Newland?! Did i get that right? 🙂 1y
Graywacke One last thought before I take a break - St Augustine is a place and person. Anyone see significance? 1y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Re the last-names-as-first-names, it‘s a way of showing lineage. Give a son his mother‘s maiden name so no one forgets what family he belongs to. It does get confusing, especially when characters are referred to sometimes by their last names and sometimes their given names. 1y
Lcsmcat @IndoorDame @Louise I think May knows on some level at least. And that makes me think that, even left alone, they probably wouldn‘t have been happy. I‘m not sure if anyone could be truly happy under that system. But perhaps content. 1y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I‘m not we‘ll enough versed in Augustinian philosophy to get it, if Wharton is trying to tell us something. It could have just been a fashionable place to go, I suppose. 1y
Lcsmcat @IndoorDame @Currey @arubabookwoman I don‘t hate Newland, and I have some pity for him. But he is wreaking havoc with his actions. I think Wharton is portraying him as just as trapped as the women in that world. Getting out isn‘t easy and usually causes pain. I think @Graywacke ‘s comparison to Hamlet is apt. He sees, and he wants to act. But he doesn‘t know how without leaving a lot of (metaphorical) bodies on the stage. 1y
arubabookwoman @Graywacke I don't think St.Augustine has any significance. At the time, further south in Florida (Palm Beach, Miami) wasn't really developed, or accessible (Newland went to St. A. by boat), or even habitable, if you were wearing clothes. 1y
arubabookwoman @Lcsmcat I think everyone is trapped in this world, even the unconventional, like Ellen. 1y
Lcsmcat @arubabookwoman I agree. Even the unconventional are defined by the conventional norms. (edited) 1y
Currey @arubabookwoman I agree also. May, however, seems quite able to read the norms and navigate them the best. She was able to move her wedding for example, she does perceive that Newland could love someone else and still be courting her, she also embraces her cousin even if she is tarnished and doesn‘t seem to be hurt by that embrace. Ellen misses the clues and often appears to ignore the clues she doesn‘t miss. 1y
Louise @Graywacke Interesting comment about St. Augustine. Augustine famously struggled with the “desires of the flesh” vs. his devotion to God. 1y
CarolynM After such a strong start, I was disappointed by this section. There‘s less sparkle & a return to the endless internal agonizing of many of the earlier books. I dislike both Newland & Ellen. Neither of them seem capable of being direct about anything. I was taken by surprise by the kiss because I hadn‘t perceived more than mild interest between them at that stage. May, on the other hand, cuts to the chase in spite of her delicate upbringing 👇 1y
CarolynM 👆I think it‘s unfair of Newland to assume that May will always be as she is. She shows signs of curiosity and tolerance so why wouldn‘t her horizons expand as she has more exposure to the world and more opportunities for discussion and thought? 1y
IndoorDame @Lcsmcat @Graywacke it‘s funny how everything comes full circle. My mother was part of a set of feminists in the 70s who all kept their maiden names and gave them to all the children as middle names. It‘s not about lineage in quite the same way, but it‘s not really all that different either. 1y
batsy I think Newland's desperate to be free society, while also not being brave enough to cut himself off. I feel like there's a lot of the author in Newland; a lot of what he finds frustrating about Old New York feels anguished (personal). I find May an interesting character—she's alert to the nuances & hypocrisy, but because of her position in society (innocent, upper-class Good Woman) she has no experience & thus is unsure about her own instincts. 1y
batsy Ellen I don't think is a bad person, but perhaps having lived her life on the fringes & been unmoored from social position, has to some degree developed an alarming level of solipsism. Narcissism? I don't think she even sees herself as hurting May in her attempts to get close to Newland. 1y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat so van der Luyden Newland does not capitalize his first name? That‘s so weird. 🙂🤔 1y
Graywacke @CarolynM surprised by the kiss! I think -his- subtext was obsession. Her‘s was a little harder to read. If she had backed off and said smacked and said wtf! - which would have been pretty funny - I wouldn‘t have been surprised. 1y
Graywacke @batsy I‘m appreciating your take on May - alert but unsure. 1y
Graywacke Thanks everyone (past and future posts) for another terrific chat. See you all Saturday, March 4. 1y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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I realize New York high society was deeply binding, but good Lord, the way I wanted to smack Newland every other page. Ellen AND May deserved better!! The descriptions were still interesting, though, and I liked Wharton's style. #classics

The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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“She had on a black velvet polonaise with jet buttons and a tiny green monkey muff; I never saw her so stylishly dressed,”

My visual picture of this time period just keeps getting richer and more specific. Practically every time I turn the page I find some new detail I just have to google! ☺️😅🖤


dabbe Oh, how I love this book. I literally drenched myself in the words; so poignant and descriptive (like you said already).❣️ 1y
IndoorDame @dabbe it‘s been my year for reading Wharton and I‘m in just love with her! I can‘t believe I waited so long. 1y
dabbe @IndoorDame Me, too! I read ETHAN FROME after this one, but this one was my favorite. Do you have a favorite or another recommendation of hers? 1y
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IndoorDame @dabbe Summer really spoke to me. 1y
dabbe @IndoorDame I will add to my infinite TBR list. Thanks! 🤗 1y
Sparklemn Is that really a monkey skin? 😮 1y
batsy Her writing is so descriptive, but it's never too laboured or mannered. It all seems so effortless 🤩 1y
IndoorDame @Sparklemn apparently colobus monkey was popular for the pattern 😬😢 1y
IndoorDame @batsy I know. When you read a true master you realize how rare it is ❤️ 1y
Graywacke I was trying to picture this outfit. It‘s so elegant! Love the picture. And enjoying the Wharton love here. 🙂 1y
Lcsmcat @IndoorDame I was almost afraid to google “monkey muff” My 21st century biases getting in my way again. 1y
IndoorDame @Lcsmcat 😂😂😂 1y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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Starting late and hoping to catch up on the #whartonbuddyread


Graywacke I‘m really happy you‘re joining in. Can i add you to the #whartonbuddyread tag list? 1y
CoverToCoverGirl Oh! What a beautiful read! 1y
GinaKButler @Graywacke yes, please! 1y
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batsy It's very readable and the chapters just fly by! 1y
Graywacke @GinaKButler just taking a closer look at this image. Such a beautiful copy you have! Also, I‘ve got you on the list. 1y
IMASLOWREADER omg i love that cover 1y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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Edwin Booth was John Wilkes Booth‘s (presumably less insane) brother and a prominent actor in NYC in the 1870‘s. Curiously his most famous role was Hamlet, but he‘s not the one highlighted as a Shakespearean actor here. #whartonbuddyread

(And now I can say i got something useful out of the recent novel Booth. ☺️)

BarbaraBB Such a great book 1y
Louise Ah, so that‘s how you knew that! Interesting piece of history. Thanks for sharing! 1y
Lcsmcat Funnily enough I knew that from Sondheim‘s musical Assassins. A much less intellectual way of finding out. 🙀 1y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat never heard of it. Was it fun? 1y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I only know the music from the original cast album- not lucky enough to have seen it. But it‘s pure Sondheim: intelligent, well written music and lyrics, and funny. I highly recommend giving it a listen. 1y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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The Age of Innocence - Chapters 1-10

Wharton has set us up in a very distinct and privileged world in 1870‘s New York high society. Through Newland Archer we are meeting a whole lot of characters, and, seeing a lot of homes. And there‘s Newland‘s spoken and unspoken observations and issues. What do you think of this setting, world and characters? Are you into this?

I‘m traveling, so my own comments will be a little limited.

Graywacke A couple extra comments up front. Wharton was born in 1862 and sets the story in the world she lived in. She would have been around ten when the story took place. We have not seen her write about this time period before. 1y
Graywacke Quote 1: “Women should be free—as free as we are” … “Nice” women, however wronged, would never claim that kind of freedom he meant… Such verbal generosities were in fact only a humbugging disguise of the inexorable conventions that tied things together and bound people down to the old pattern 1y
Graywacke Quote 2: His heart sank, for he saw that he was saying all the things that young men in the same situation were expected to say, and that she was making the answers that instinct and tradition taught her to make—even to the point of calling him original. 1y
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IndoorDame I‘m loving how specific all the visuals are. I‘ve googled a ton of images to see just what cars they‘re driving and what styles of flowers and furniture she‘s referring to in people‘s homes. 1y
Graywacke @IndoorDame the clothing and decorations! I was constantly googling all these unfamiliar styles and materials. 1y
IndoorDame @Graywacke yes! I love picturing it all. It‘s easy to see why this is thought of as THE “old New York” novel 1y
Lcsmcat I love how she is using Archer‘s inner monologue to make incredibly fine distinctions between levels of New York society. 1y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I highlighted both those quotes, too. Along with others which I may post after I look through them. 1y
Lcsmcat For the sheer eye-rolling humor: “She sang, of course, “M‘ama!” and not “he loves me,” since an unalterable and unquestioned law of the musical world required that the German text of French operas sung by Swedish artists should be translated into Italian for the clearer understanding of English-speaking audiences.” 1y
Lcsmcat The next two, both Archer contemplating his relationship to May, sets up his conflict. First, “The persons of their world lived in an atmosphere of faint implications and pale delicacies, and the fact that he and she understood each other without a word seemed to the young man to bring them nearer than any explanation would have done.” Followed by👇🏻 1y
Lcsmcat “What could he and she really know of each other, since it was his duty, as a “decent” fellow, to conceal his past from her, and hers, as a marriageable girl, to have no past to conceal?” just a few pages later. 1y
Lcsmcat One pet peeve that was surprising to find in Wharton was in Chapter X first sentence, she uses Episcopalian as an adjective. It‘s a noun. The adjective is Episcopal. (So, I am an Episcopalian. I attend an Episcopal church.) That‘s a bit of grammar she ought to have known (or an editor should have caught) and it grated on my ear to hear it misused. 1y
batsy I've read it before & am really enjoying the slower read this time. Like @IndoorDame said, she really makes the places & scenes come alive. That little aside about the Brown coupé in the first chapter, for example. And I agree with @Lcsmcat we see so much about the levels of NY society through Newland. And the way in which he slowly starts to realise what he's in for, & we see how he makes certain decisions that are probably going to wreck him. 1y
batsy "He had dawdled over his cigar because he was at heart a dilettante, and thinking over a pleasure to come often gave him a subtler satisfaction than its realisation". Such insight into Newland. And that it comes after "... Americans want to get away from amusement even more quickly than they want to get to it" sets up the novel & its milieu and Ellen as a kind of foil to all of that. 1y
IndoorDame @Lcsmcat that quote about the opera was when I knew I would enjoy this novel! 1y
Lcsmcat @IndoorDame I had just finished Rene Fleming‘s memoir, so it really made me laugh. 1y
Lcsmcat @batsy Such good quotes, and, as you say, they set us up to live in that world for a time. 1y
Lcsmcat Two more contrasting quotes. First, talking to Ellen, “It‘s you who are telling me; opening my eyes to things I‘d looked at so long that I‘d ceased to see them.” then, about May, “What if, when he had bidden May Welland to open hers, they could only look out blankly at blankness?” 1y
arubabookwoman I'll check through my highlights in a bit, but I wanted to make an overall comment first. It's interesting how in his interior monologue Newland questions the various "rules" of society, seems to contemplate breaking them, but then always pulls back (sending the yellow roses to Ellen, but removing his card at the last minute.) I read this many years ago, don't remember many details, but I think it's one of her best. (& I'm not alone in that view). 1y
Lcsmcat @arubabookwoman Removing his card is such a telling detail! Wharton seems to be illustrating how difficult it was to break free of the restraints, even for those who saw them as artificial. 1y
Currey @Lcsmcat loved the “unalterable” law of the musical world quote 1y
Currey @Graywacke @Lcsmcat @batsy @arrubabookwoman I fell into this one almost instantly with the detailed descriptions and a male character who did not know his own mind but thought he did. 1y
Currey @IndoorDame I really am enjoying the fact that setting is clearly in the past of Old New York. Wharton need not be so heavy handed in her mockery as by the time the book was published, this societal class structure, had already started to crumble. 1y
Graywacke Nice to see all these responses. Keep them coming. I had forgotten that several in our group are rereading, and you‘re bringing in interesting perspectives on more subtle structural details, while I‘m still taking in the glittering atmosphere and apparent tragical setup. 1y
batsy @arubabookwoman Yes @Currey wonderfully put about Newland not knowing his own mind; Wharton is so masterful in being able to show how this is happening. 1y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @Currey “unalterable and unquestioned” - it‘s such an entertaining quote, and serves that duel purpose of setting our atmosphere. This is an unalterable and unquestioned society! (I know someone posted this quote earlier, but forgot who.) 1y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat “to conceal his past from her” got my attention! I want to know the extent of meaning here. (No spoilers, though. I can wait.) 1y
Lcsmcat @batsy @arubabookwoman @Currey Characters not knowing their own mind seems to be a recurring theme in Wharton. Especially as concerns NY society, but even with Odo in The Valley of Decision. 1y
Graywacke @batsy “thinking over a pleasure” Great quote. Does that mean he passes the willpower test? I mean, at age 4, would he have taking the marshmallow or waited for the second? ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_marshmallow_experiment ) Or is this just a denial or obscuring of his true personality? Newland is clearly not honest with himself… right? 1y
Graywacke @arubabookwoman “removing his card” Such a interesting an important detail. I‘m mulling over this as I read. I think he‘s on two places at once. Very much embracing his world, using it when it suits him, and yet rationalizing his inner disagreements with it when it constrains him personally. 1y
batsy @Graywacke Ha! Not sure what he'll do with the marshmallow 😁 but agree that he's not honest with himself. I think May is pretty astute when she tells him that even he wants to avoid being vulgar (and he gets annoyed with her for being so conventional, but he also knows she's right, I think...) 1y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @batsy I think he‘d have waited for the second marshmallow- see the quote above about savoring a pleasure to come more than a present one. 1y
AllDebooks It's an absolutely fascinating portrayal of old NY society. Newland and his monologues are an incredible demonstration of the coming tipping point as modernity takes hold. These first chapters set up great characters, interactions, and dilemmas. I'm invested in the drama to come 1y
AnnR I'm surprised Archer so quickly jumps on the Countess Olenska bandwagon, though I understand he is supporting the family he intends to marry into after Lawrence Lefferts declares “I didn't think the Mingotts would have tried it on.“

Also in chapter 1 we already learn Archer wishes for May to be worldly and hold her own during conversations. The Countess more aptly fits this description. Early on I had an inkling how the story might go. ⬇⬇⬇
(edited) 1y
AnnR Archer is torn between two worlds; not ready to give up the required social conventions of the upper classes but at the same time, vocally challenging them on occasion during dinner parties. I think he's hoping May will change to some degree.

I find the historical time period interesting but feel little empathy for the problems associated with the upper eschelons portrayed here. I do feel empathy for the plight of women trapped in bad marriages.
Graywacke @Currey “who did not know his mind but thought he did” - yes, that! Exactly! @Lcsmcat - i had forgotten how Odo fit this description. And also there‘s George Darrow (The Reef) - doesn‘t Newland remind you him? 1y
Graywacke @batsy ( @Currey ) - I missed that insight by May. (It strikes me that I immediately liked May, and felt how sharp she was, and yet he pours all his focus into thinking her simplistic and wanting her to become what she‘s not.) @Lcsmcat - i‘m not convinced. He might be the one who very carefully and reasonably explains why he‘s taking the first marshmallow. 1y
Graywacke @AllDebooks the coming tipping point? Hmm. That‘s an image I‘m going to carry going forward. I‘m with you, invested! So glad you‘re enjoying 1y
AllDebooks @Graywacke I love reading of the times between 1860 - 1930s. Such an extraordinary period of change around devestating global catastrophes and technological advances. 1y
Graywacke @Ann_Reads Newland is a complicated little fellow. Completely understand the lack of sympathy with these ridiculously wealthy and their self-constructed stifling. It‘s a strange semi-removed world. 1y
Graywacke @AllDebooks the period is mostly new to me, these 1870‘s. A little gap in my brain after Lincoln and before the lead-up to WWI. (edited) 1y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @batsy @Currey I too think May is smarter and more aware than Archer gives her credit for. And @Ann_Reads I have no sympathy for the men or even the matriarchs, but incredible sympathy for the young women with few if any choices. 1y
Louise Chiming in a bit late in the day. There are so many telling quotes in this book, and it seems we‘ve all marked mostly the same passages! So I‘ll just add that at some point, as I was reading aloud to my mother, it occurred to me that the title The Age of Innocence was perhaps not in reference to the “era”, so to speak, but in reference to May Welland and other young women of her age and upbringing. ⬇️ 1y
Louise To borrow from Blake, we have a character in May who represents innocence and another in Countess Olenska who represents experience. And just like the yin/yang symbol, we notice signs of innocence in the Countess and the spark of greater depth of understanding (a type of experience) in May. Oh, and the foreshadowing hangs over us like a cloud, doesn‘t it?! I guess that tells us which side of the innocence/experience threshold we readers are on! 😋 (edited) 1y
CarolynM Really enjoying the story and the writing. For me it‘s hard to believe it‘s the same writer as the earlier ones we‘ve read, this one absolutely sparkles, both in descriptive and analytical passages. I seem to have highlighted most of the same quotes as everyone else. @Louise I love your thoughts on innocence/experience. Is it just me, or does it grate on others just how much this idea of “innocence” is about sex? 1y
Graywacke @Louise I have to say, again, I love that you‘re reading this out loud to your mom. As for Innocence, that‘s not a perspective that had crossed my mind. Very interesting. I hope May isn‘t as innocent as we imagine. (edited) 1y
Graywacke @CarolynM I‘m glad you said that about the writing. I have a similar feeling. I thought I felt something different and more magical in the literary aspect of this right away, vs her other works, right from “the early 1870‘s” or whatnot. And it hung around these 1st chapters. It just seems be a special author/atmosphere fit. 1y
batsy @Graywacke I haven't read The Reed and I am keen to make time for it later because I'm intrigued by the Newland comparison. BTW: Have you guys been reading her works in the order of when it was published? 1y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Yes, Darrow is another of her dithering men. I love how, reading these authors in order brings out their pet themes and their growth in their craft. 1y
Graywacke @batsy we have been doing that so far - reading her longer fiction in publication order. ( but @Lcsmcat - I haven‘t mentioned to you I‘m thinking about suggesting we skip next to 1y
Graywacke @batsy As for The Reef, it‘s a novel I really enjoyed. It‘s not as clean as House of Mirth, or The Custom of the Country, or her compressed New England classics Ethan Frome and Summer. But it had impact. It starts out fun, and then does something very dark and internal. So recommended in that kind of context. 1y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat indecisive men who default to doing what they want and hiding what they know is inappropriate. 🙂 Seems about right for Newland so far. 1y
batsy @Graywacke "Starts out fun, then goes somewhere dark"—say no more! ? It feels like something I'll be drawn to. 1y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat looking ahead - I didn‘t know if you had any plans yet for the next book. Wharton published another ten novels after this, none of which have I heard of. The next is Glimpses at the Moon and I imagine you were thinking of that. If you don‘t have plans yet, I wanted to suggest a diversion to A Backward Glance, and see if you were open to that. It might spur us along through these later ten…or might not. 😁😄 1y
Graywacke @batsy I‘m just going to gently defend myself and note that you‘ve been warned. 😁☺️ 1y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I‘m happy to divert. I‘ve not read any of her nonfiction (and I‘ve been on a memoir kick lately, so it fits.) Do you want to lead that one? Of the remaining long fiction I‘ve read A Son at the Front and The Buccaneers only. And let‘s not forget to go back and catch Fast and Loose at some point. 1y
Lcsmcat At some point we should have a group discussion about whether we plan to read her short stories, other nonfiction, and/or poetry. 1y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat sure, I‘ll lead A Backward Glance. As for the rest, good idea. I‘m not feeling a pull to lead anyone to more beyond the novels and a few extra parts. But I‘m happy to explore all if there is a lot of interest. 1y
Louise @CarolynM “Sparkles” describes the writing so well! Reading it aloud, I found myself waxing theatrical with some of the best lines. My mom and I laughed a lot, even as we recognized how awful some of the attitudes of the time were. It isn‘t easy to place oneself in this time period and strip away any modern ideas. As for “grating”, I see what you mean; maybe this is part of why Newland underestimates May. (edited) 1y
Louise @Graywacke It‘s such a joy to read aloud to my mom. I experience the books differently through “sounding” them. Many years ago, my mom went through a “Wharton phase” and read quite a few of her books. Despite the challenge of dementia, she discusses these books with me with great depth of insight. It‘s beautiful to share this with her. ❤️ 1y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat peaking at purchase options. A Backward Glance is still In copyright in the US and most other places (but not Australia, for example). To legally access it requires $10 on Amazon (kindle or iffy paperback) or $20 at bookshop.org (real publisher with introduction). Also amazon reviews are 4 star - low for an autobiography like this. Glimpses of the Moon is publicly available. Reviews are the same, but 4-stars seem ok for a forgotten novel 1y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat so i will try to figure out a way to open this for discussion and gage interest 1y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Another option is the complete works of Edith Wharton on kindle format for $1.99 https://www.amazon.com/Edith-Wharton-Complete-Works-updated-ebook/dp/B07SW5M5CG/... It‘s what I have mostly been using for this buddy read, even though I have a lot of her stuff in paper. 1y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat oh, that‘s reasonable. I figured it probably didn‘t include her out of copyright stuff. Perfect 1y
Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick I'm terribly behind but just finished Ch 10 & read through this thread. This is my first Wharton and I'm enjoying the great sense of place for 1870s NYC. If I read this era, it's generally in London and this feels so much more opulent. Also, as I tend to consider myself someone who isn't a deep reader or analytical, I'm happy to report I had a lot of the same quotes noted as others. I feel smart. 😁 On to week 2's section. 1y
Graywacke @Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick hey, i think Wharton makes us all smarter. She‘s so good. I‘m really happy you‘re enjoying! 1y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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I've read this before and loved it, but I've never delved into Wharton's biography.

I read Elif Batuman's piece that serves as the foreword for a new Penguin edition, and was struck by this detail about EW writing her first book only after her mother died, and thereafter just keeping at it until her death. That says so much. #whartonbuddyread


Reggie It‘s sad when the book ban is coming from inside the house. 1y
batsy @Reggie Right? And the sheer output after her mother was no longer around tells its own story. 1y
sarahbarnes Wow. So telling about the fact that we have to be who we are meant to be. 1y
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batsy @sarahbarnes Yes! It gives hope, in a way 💜 1y
Graywacke That‘s fascinating. I knew she was a kind of late starter, but I didn‘t realize she only began publishing novels after her mother died. 1y
batsy @Graywacke Yes, it's really interesting to get that context! It makes me want to read more about her life. 1y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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@Graywacke posted a wonderful character chart, and that reminded me that I have a LitChart for this novel if anyone is interested.

Click here for the link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zcBDwwRtoQRniljWQ3Q1-Q97jhXmfj3U/view?usp=shari...

Bookwormjillk Thank you! I am lost! 1y
dabbe @Bookwormjillk These have saved me more than once! I'm trying to read War and Peace (my big chunkster for the year), and I couldn't even get through the 1st chapter without a guide! 🤣 1y
Graywacke This looks terrific. Thanks! 1y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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A little cheat sheet to have at hand

Bookwormjillk THANK YOU! My goodness I am so confused. 1y
AllDebooks Well, that's very helpful!! Thank you 😊 1y
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IndoorDame Thank you!! 😊 1y
Graywacke I can now add that Ellen Olenska is Ellen Mingot, Mrs. Welland is Mary, Mrs. Archer is Adeline, and Mrs Medora Manson is also a Rushwoth and really Mrs. Thorley Chivers… 🙊🙈 😳 1y
AnnR Nice! Thanks for posting that. 👍🙂 1y
Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick Yikes! What am I getting myself into?! 🤣 1y
Graywacke @Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick yeah, I know. She‘s making us work 1y
Graywacke @Bookwormjillk @AllDebooks @IndoorDame @Ann_Reads you‘re all welcome. @Bookwormjillk it is really confusing. (Whose idea was it to name a married woman merely as mrs. husband?) 1y
Lcsmcat Now can anyone connect Louise Dagonet to the Dagonets of The Custom of the Country? 1y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat ooh. This sounds like a challenge. About 30 or so years between the two settings? 1y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I didn‘t mean it as a challenge in the sense that I know the answer. Just pondering if, in Wharton‘s mind, it‘s the same family. Or is it just a name she thought sounded right for that class? 1y
arubabookwoman The names are all so cool. I bet Wharton had fun making them up. 1y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat a creative challenge. 🙂 @arubabookwoman I certainly hope she did. 1y
IMASLOWREADER oh yes thank you for this 1y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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This was a good read. It was definitely an interesting take on the early 20th century. I would definitely recommend reading this for anyone who is a fan of the classics. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
#TheAgeOfInnocence #EdithWharton #book #books #bookkeeper #bookkeeperlife #bookkeeping #bookloot #booklist #booklust #booklove #booklover #booklovers #bookloversunite #Classics #Fiction #HistoricalFiction #Romance #Literature #American #Novels #Historical #NewYork 💗💗💗

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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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It‘s early, and I‘m about to get started. #whartonbuddyread

batsy Mug appreciation! 🐈 1y
LeahBergen Great mug! 1y
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Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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one of my absolute favorite books and author…have read this both on physical copy and on audio and also have seen the movie all for like a millionth time and have enjoyed it every single time… excited to reread his once again 😁 #whartonbuddyread #readinglife

Liatrek One of my favorite movies. Still need read this one 📚 1y
IMASLOWREADER @Liatrek team countess olenska ♥️ 1y
CoverToCoverGirl Recently read this and I loved it. 1y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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Repost for @Graywacke

We‘ll chat about chapters 1-10 of The Age of Innocence in a week on February 18.
#whartonbuddyread #buddyread

See the original post at https://www.litsy.com/web/post/2548327

Cathythoughts Thank you for the tag. I‘ve read this one ( and loved it ) so I‘ll sit this out. I hope to join again for the next book 👍🏻♥️ 1y
IMASLOWREADER im in woohoo 1y
Graywacke Sometimes I forget to check the litsyevents posts. @Cathythoughts thanks. Noting. @IMASLOWREADER 👍 1y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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Just a reminder, we‘ll chat about chapters 1-10 in a week (not i to 10, as I apparently typed in the picture)

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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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I started this for #WhartonBuddyRead today and I‘m struck with the sense that this sentence may encapsulate everything I need to know to understand this novel. Excited to see if my premonition proves true.

Graywacke 🙂 maybe I need to read that line again. Glad you started. I‘ll start tomorrow. 1y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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Repost for @Graywacke

Are you ready for this?

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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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Are you ready for this?

Graywacke @batsy @Hanna-B @Daisey @rubyslippersreads if you‘re in this list then i think you might want to be in. But I won‘t tag you further unless you confirm you want to be tagged. 1y
Graywacke As for anyone else, you and all Litsy are welcome to join. And, of course, I apologize to anyone i missed or overlooked. @LitsyEvents 1y
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Tamra I‘m going to pass on this one because I‘m on the verge of overbooking my buddy reads. Thank you for tagging me! 1y
Graywacke @Tamra np. Actually, good for you. 🙂 I‘ll remove your tag from future posts. 1y
Daisey You can take me off the tag list for this one as I‘ve read it and am not interested in a reread at this point. I‘ll watch for your future Wharton reads because there are a couple others I still want to read. 1y
Lcsmcat I‘m in. It‘s a reread for me, but a book than can take multiple reads. 1y
dabbe @Daisey Exactly what Daisey said. I'm not tagged but would love to read other Wharton books (though I absolute ADORED this book). Hopefully next time! 😊 1y
Graywacke @Daisey 👍 @Lcsmcat 👍💙 1y
Graywacke @dabbe terrific. We‘ve been working order of original publication, which means this is our last -famous- novel by her. But she published several novels after this. I‘ll note to check with you on the next book. 1y
dabbe @Graywacke Many thanks! 😊 1y
Leftcoastzen I just joined the buddy read after reading this last April, probably won‘t do an entire reread , but may chime in on the discussion. 1y
Graywacke @dabbe you‘re welcome @Leftcoastzen please do join the chats. I‘ll keep you tagged 1y
Suet624 Please keep tagging me. I'm hoping to get to this one. 1y
Louise I hope to read this one to my mom and join the discussions. I miss the group! 1y
batsy Like @Tamra I'm overbooked on buddy reads but I'm going to do my best to join in! It's definitely one that rewards a reread (or two, or three) so I'm looking forward to revisiting it @Lcsmcat 1y
CarolynM Looking forward to this one🙂 1y
Graywacke @Suet624 @Louise @batsy @CarolynM 👍 i‘ve got you all marked in. And @batsy, sounds like a good problem. No pressure to keep up here. 🙂 1y
Currey @Graywacke I am in. Thank you 1y
Graywacke @Currey 👍🙂 1y
AllDebooks I'd love to join in, can you add me please? 1y
Graywacke @AllDebooks absolutely! You‘re added. 👍 1y
IndoorDame I‘d love to join too! 1y
Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick A buddy read is the perfect motivation to read a classic for #192025 and the positive comments here are promising. I'm in! 1y
Graywacke @Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick checks off 1920. 🙂 (AoI also won the Pulitzer in 1921, the first time the award was given to a woman) @IndoorDame glad you‘re joining. 👍 Adding you both. (edited) 1y
CoverToCoverGirl Loved this book! 1y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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Beautiful setting, intricate plot, admirable prose ... I could go on and on. Yet, despite its opulence and beauty, it is a gilded scene because underneath the so-called reputable veneer, the biting, satirical portrayal of 1870s New York City exists. I also have never read a novel full of such unrequited love and longing. Not even Anna or Madam Bovary and their ill-fated romances come close to this one.

The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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A book that I feel would‘ve greatly benefitted from me studying it in college, which is ironically where I got it from, a huge stack of books one of my professors was giving out for free because of his retirement. The social comedy of manners is not my generic cup of tea, but there are sharp moments here in Wharton‘s prose, and a sly biting of the thumb at that old American aristocracy.

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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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A literary masterpiece set in the New York of the 1870s. Love every word every time I read it.

#edithwharton #literature

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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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I had a good start to the #192025 challenge. It's easy to fill the slots when they're all empty to begin with. I expect it will get harder as the months go by, but then again, it's not a challenge if it's not challenging! 😄

Thanks, @Librarybelle, for hosting!

AnnR Your comment about a reading challenge being easier when all the slots are open made me smile! So true! 😁 You made great progress on your challenge this month, Paulina. 2y
Librarybelle So true!! Way to go with the first month! 2y
kwmg40 @Ann_Reads @Librarybelle Thank you for the encouragement! 2y
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Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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What I found most interesting in the book was the process in which the old ideas and standards slowly gave way to the new. It's hard to believe that the elite of New York City was once like this!

This is my #1920 entry for the #192025 challenge. @Librarybelle

#BookSpinBingo @TheAromaofBooks

Librarybelle I really liked this one! 2y
kwmg40 @Librarybelle Glad to hear that. I expect a number of people will be choosing this one for the #192025 challenge. 2y
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 2y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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Really excited for this marathon challenge. Limitless choice of books to read, fun times. I will be selecting across non-fiction, fiction, poetry, plays and essay collections. Planning begins now, tagged book is my 1920 choice🤔 📚📚📚📚📚📚🤔


Librarybelle Thanks for reposting! I am so excited for this! 2y
AllDebooks @Librarybelle my pleasure. Me too, it's a great challenge with plenty of potential to challenge the old noggin, find new authors and interests x 2y
AllDebooks As well as new friends 🙂 2y
Librarybelle 😁❤️ 2y
bcncookbookclub Seem a interesting challenge! I'm in! 11mo
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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Meshell1313 🤣🤣🤣 2y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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This book was as stifling as the society it depicted.

Lesliereads 😩 2y
EvieBee @Lesliereads cracks me up! 🤣 2y
Nebklvr @Lesliereads House of Mirth was wonderful 2y
EvieBee @Nebklvr I too moved House of Mirth! 2y
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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Wharton wanted to write of the era she was raised in ,that WWI & more modern ways ripped away. Newland Archer is set to marry the beautiful yet somewhat vacant May Walland.A perfect match as far as society would see.When Mays worldly cousin Ellen returns to the US from a marriage that proved disastrous to a Polish count, Newland imagines a life more guided by passion rather than duty might be worth it.Keenly observed details of society life.💗

Cathythoughts Great review! I love this book. What a great cover you have 👍🏻❤️ (edited) 2y
Leftcoastzen @Cathythoughts it‘s the Everyman‘s Library edition . I borrowed it from the library, but I may want a copy of my own.That is a photo of Edith many years before she wrote this book , it‘s from a collection at Yale. 2y
LeahBergen I loved this book when I read it many years ago. It may be time for a reread! 2y
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eeclayton I loved this one too ❤️ 2y
batsy What @LeahBergen said! 2y
Lcsmcat There‘s a #whartonbuddyread group reading her books in order of publication. We‘re starting Ethan Frome next week if you want to join in. 2y
BarbaraBB I‘m with all of you! Wonderful book. I also loved 2y
Leftcoastzen @BarbaraBB I read that one years ago , I‘m thinking I might reread .Some of the insights that come with getting older . I might like it more. 2y
Leftcoastzen @Lcsmcat I think I may join in . I read some of her others but I‘m sure I‘d enjoy them again. 2y
Lcsmcat @Leftcoastzen I‘ll add you to the tag list. 2y
vivastory Do you have a big Everyman's Library collection? 2y
Leftcoastzen @vivastory I have a couple, I like them but I usually get them when I can find them cheap.😄 2y
Leftcoastzen @vivastory the last one I bought was a collection of all 4 of Updikes Rabbit series. I want to read them again.it was only $10 in a used bookstore. 2y
vivastory I love their editions 💙 I was in HPB about a month ago & there was a copy of Mahfouz's Cairo trilogy in perfect condition. I'm still kicking myself for not picking it up. 2y
vivastory Also, I haven't read the Wharton yet (I plan on it soon) but I always thought the Scorsese adaptation was underrated 2y
Leftcoastzen @vivastory wow , I remember someone telling me about that edition, I haven‘t read that trilogy yet. 2y
Leftcoastzen @vivastory I loved the film ! I love Scorsese! 2y
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