The House of Mirth Read-Along

The House of Mirth Read-Along

Well, true to my promise, I’m going ahead with The House of Mirth Read-Along which will run from November 1 – December 15th.  I’m giving everyone a little extra time for the read, hoping that: 1) it will give me a gentler transition from The Art of Loving Read-Along and allow me more time to create my posts and; 2) spread the read-along out for participants so they can fit some Christmas books into the mix.  I hope it works.

So far The House of Mirth is my favourite Edith Wharton novel and would probably make my top ten classics list.  Wharton makes her usual commentary on society at the turn of the century, but in this book does it in a way that is not only effective but creative. Lily Bart, the main character in The House of Mirth is, in my opinion, one of the most expertly drawn characters in literary fiction.  This will be my second reading of the novel and the first time I was quite surprised at the different path Wharton took.  I’m interested now to explore second impressions.

Schedule for Reading:

Nov 1 – 8                 Book I, Chapters I – IV

Nov 9 – 15               Book I, Chapters V – IX

Nov 16 – 22             Book I, Chapters X – XIV

Nov 23 – 29             Book I, Chapters XV – Book II, Chapter III

Nov 30 – Dec 6        Book II, Chapters IV – VIII

Dec 7 – 15               Book II, Chapters IX – end

So if you’d like to join us, please let me know in the comments below.  Come along and enjoy the ride!

48 thoughts on “The House of Mirth Read-Along

  1. I just finished reading this book- my first Edith Warton novel- I loved it!
    I read it slowly and annotated it as I went along so I could savour the language and story.
    I’d love to participate in some discussion about the themes and character development. Please add me to the group
    – Brenda from 🇨🇦

    • Welcome, Brenda! I’d love to have you join! Reading some of the reviews, I tend to think Wharton took Lily’s character in a direction that others miss so I’d love to get your thoughts on it. You have a wonderful Instagram account, BTW. Such great nuggets of insight and wisdom! And I think we’re kind of neighbours … well, B.C. neighbours anyway … 😁

  2. How you tempt, how!!!! You know I have like a 1000 things that need to be done in Nov???!!! But I will read this with you!! I love this book and is my most favorite Wharton! So yeah! I am in!!!!!!!

    • Ha, ha! Sorry! I was determined to do a read-along of either this one or The Mill on the Floss all year and so I’m doing it. If it makes you feel better, I have 1000 things to do too and they’re piling up. Oh, to live when life wasn’t so rushed and busy! Glad you’re joining; I can always count on you!

  3. Oooo…..I’d really like to join in on this one! I’ve heard Wharton is a good writer and I’ve not read any of her novels! I don’t know how realistic it will be for me with reading Les Mis right now, but…….I’m thinking I’d at least like to give it a try. 🙂 I’m going to see if I can grab the book this week. Can you tell me about how many pages we would be reading each week?

    • I’d really love it if you could manage it, Karen. Do I dare predict it might become on of your all-time favourites? ☺️ We’re reading about 50 pages per week and Wharton’s prose just flows so it seems like less. I’m excited that you might be in!

      • Well, it’s going to compete with Les Mis because I think that it’s a good possibility Les Mis is going to rank as one of my all-time favorite classics. 🙂 But we can have more than one all-time favorite, can’t we? 😉 I think 50 pages a week should be doable with my Les Mis readings. If need be, I can set aside anything else I’m reading for the month of Nov. (not Les Mis of course). I tend to read multiple books at a time. LOL

        • I’m so happy to hear that you’ll be joining, Karen! Yay! I’ve already started reading and am already amazed at Wharton’s prose and her set-up of the main character. I will be interested to hear how you’ll place both Les Mis and The House of Mirth when you finish both. These two are definitely on my top ten list!

  4. when in the library, i’ve peeked around the corner at Edith, sitting there on the shelf, and wondered what she was doing in her spare time… this book seems to get a lot of appreciation, so i’ll give it a try and check it out maybe this week some time… tx for the recommend and getting this oldster to stir his stumps!

    • Woo hoo, Mudpuddle! I’ve never known you to do a read-along so your thoughts will be appreciated IMMENSELY! I’m so excited! **** happy dance! ****

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  6. I love Wharton; she’s one of my very favorite authors, along with Henry James. I must say, however, that I’ve gotten rather lazy and haven’t read any of her work in quite some time. I did read House of Mirth, many years ago and agree that it’s definitely one of the greats. I must admit, however, that my own favorite Wharton is Age of Innocence!
    I haven’t done a Read-Along before but this definitely sounds really interesting (especially a new spin on Lily Bart’s personality) and I do have some spare time right now . . . is it o.k. to join in and just see how it goes?

    • Hey Janakay! Welcome! I loved The Age of Innocence as well, but The House of Mirth is still my favourite. Since I’m reading them so close together this time, we’ll see if it remains in the lead! Please do join! There’s quite a group of us and there will be some interesting discussion ahead! We’d love to have you participate! 📚

      • It does sound fun — I’ll follow the discussion at the very least.
        By sheer chance, I just noticed an essay on Wharton (by Elif Batuman) in this week’s NYTimes book review. ( ) Although the essay is geared to Age of Innocence, much of it would also apply to Lily Bart. It points out that every society has its own set of unwritten rules that women violate at their peril; for example, in Innocence scoundrels like Count Olenski have “an invisible safety net” while his wife, Ellen, lives in feart of dishonor and destitution. Whether you agree or not (I’m thinking about it!), it’s an interesting idea/
        Now off to search my book piles for House of Mirth . . .

        • Thanks for the link, Janakay. I read The Age of Innocence not too long ago (for a second time) so the book is still fresh in my memory. While Wharton does show the pitfalls of society and its expectations, I also felt that she showed the value that some of those traditions brought and the loss of the value of them with the changing of society. It’s a more varied perspective, as people tend to only bring out her critiques of old New York society, but I think in some ways she saw benefits as well.

          You’re certainly welcome to follow the discussion and please feel free to chime in anytime! Your thoughts are always appreciated! 🙂

          • Good point; I totally agree that there’s a strain of conservatism in Wharton, both in her life (she moved to France partially in response to a U.S. she regarded as becoming increasingly materialistic; opposed women’s suffrage and backed away from her friend Teddy Rooosevelt when his politics acquired a populist tint) and her art (I’m thinking of her novel, The Children, with its disapproval of certain aspects of modern life; also probably some of her later work, which I haven’t read). And I think you’re spot on in saying that most of us tend to ignore this aspect of Wharton to focus on her depiction of those great female protagonists (Lily; Elena) and their struggles against the conventions of their societies.

  7. I have a ton of books to read for non-fiction November, but I can’t resist joining you for this readalong too. HoM is a book I have always wanted to get around to, so no time like the present! 😀

    • Welcome, Liz! I’m so happy you’ve decided to participate! There are so many wonderful bookish things going on in November that I know it’s tough to choose. I look forward to your comments!

  8. I would love to try this! Currently reading Anna Karenina, but may be able to handle both. It looks like your schedule isn’t too taxing. Just have to catch up since it’s already the 4th!

    • Nice to meet you, Rhonda! We’d love to have you join in! Anna Karenina is one of my favourites (Aylmer-Maude translation). It’s been so long since I last read it though. I’ve heard rumours of a 2020 Russian Lit Challenge so I should plan for it then. Hope you’re enjoying it and I look forward to your comments on The House of Mirth!

      • Anna Karenina is one of your favorites, Cleo? So might I tempt you to consider leading it as a read-along at some point in the future? I need someone who loves the book to host a read-along for it so I can read it with others! If I’m going to attempt another long Russian classic, I want to do it in a read-along format. No pressure or anything, just a thought. 😉 We can look ahead to the year 2021 already, right? LOL

        BTW, I’m liking The House of Mirth so far! Looking forward to the discussion!

        • Lol, I have to focus on the read-alongs present and upcoming or I’ll get completely distracted which I tend to do and I already feel myself starting down that path. 2021 might be realistic …. heavens, how to carve out more reading time? I was planning to read today and already I’m running out to a impromptu meeting! Sigh!

          I’m enjoying THoM just as much as the last time I read it. I just love the character of Lily Bart!

          • More reading time….yes. I try to read off and on throughout the day as I can and almost always before bed. But there are some days sometimes where all I get in is my reading time before bed.

            I think we can probably easily distract one another with books. Can’t we? Ha! Read-alongs do take a lot of work! Don’t they? I am thinking about trying to host a couple in 2020. Right now I have two particular books in mind. We will see. 🙂

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