You can say that I am a part-time bookstigrammer. Bookstigrammers are people who take photos of books and post them on Instagram. I don’t always follow the rules, though. I don’t post a monthly wrap up of books I read during the month. Some months I only read 1 or 2 books. That can be depressing. Some people post a picture of the books they plan to read in the next month. I try not to think that far ahead. In their Instagram stories, they tag each other and ask what the other is doing at that moment. “I’m eating a salad.” Big whoop! Except for posting pictures of my book hauls, books that I bought or acquired recently and books I’m currently reading, I try to do my own thing.

One guy I follow on Instagram calls him The Instant Reader. He’s an enthusiastic young man in his 20’s living in San Francisco. He talked about #Victober. I usually avoid trends with hashtags, but I found this one fascinating. In the month of October, you read nothing but books written in the Victorian era, from 1837 to 1901.

At the beginning of the year, I set a goal of reading more classic novels. I started out strong reading classics like Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, and The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford. Over the summer I strayed, reading books by contemporary authors like Lorrie Moore and Elizabeth Strout. I returned to classics with the current book I’m reading, The Plague by Albert Camus.

It took me a while to figure out what books to read. I’m a big Dickens fan. I loved how he wrote on social justice themes. I’ve loved Great Expectations, Bleak House and A Tale of Two Cities. The only book by him that I own now is David Copperfield, which is over 700 pages and is too heavy to lug in my book bag. I loved Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I have copies of her books Villette and Shirley, but again they were too big to try reading in a month. I’ve always wanted to read George Meredith’s novel The Egotist and a lot of people like Elizabeth Gaskill’s North and South. However, the 2 books I want to read for #Victober are The Moonstone by Willie Collins and the second is Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy. The Moonstone is considered the first detective novel written and Jude the Obscure was Hardy’s last novel. He took on the hypocrisy of the Victorian era and when his book was vilified for going after the Anglican Church, he stopped writing novels and only wrote poetry. If I have time I will squeeze in Silas Marner by George Elliot.

Of course, #Victober comes with some silly challenges. Allie wants people to read one book by her favorite authors. I don’t know her but Hardy is one on her list. Katie’ s challenge to read a book with a proper noun, either a place or a person. Again, Jude the Obscure fits the bill. Another challenge is to read a book in written in either the first 10 years of the Victorian era (1837 to 1847) or the last ten years of her rule, (1891 to 1901). That sounds like too much work and research.

October is going to be a busy month for me: I might be going down to Jersey to visit my mom. At the end of the month, I’m going to my 40th high school reunion. And on October 15th, I turn 58. Still, I am looking forward to reading 2 Victorian classics next month and I encourage everyone to read Victorian literature. Happy #Victober, everyone!