Book Lists

This category is for lists of books (example: Top 10 Books for Summer Reading)

Young Adult Favorites For April

Here are some of the best of the best in recent YA fiction! -Mary

Out of the Easy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399256929
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Philomel Books - February 12th, 2013

We’ve all wanted to escape our hometowns before, but perhaps none of us as much as Josie Moraine. Josie lives and works in a bookstore in the French Quarter in the 1950s, which wouldn’t be so bad if she wasn’t known amongst the locals as the daughter of a prostitute. Just when Josie thinks she may have finally finagled her way into Smith, the Northeastern college of her dreams, the murder of a wealthy tourist in the Quarter threatens to destroy everything Josie knows and loves. Part murder mystery, part portrait of segregated New Orleans and part coming of age story, OUT OF THE EASY is a new Brazos Bookstore favorite.

Eleanor & Park Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250012579
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - February 26th, 2013

Rowell’s novel is the story of tween love with a welcome twist. Eleanor, a poor, quirky redhead with an abusive step-father, is the new kid in town. Park is a Korean-American boy whose “cool” status hangs perpetually by a thread. Their lives are thrown together when Park reluctantly gives Eleanor a seat beside him on the bus and slowly, very slowly, a love for comics, then music, and then each other emerges. Earnestly and honestly told, ELEANOR & PARK will having you wishing - despite yourself - that you could go back and experience first love all over again. If you don't believe me, check out John Green's glowing NYT review!

Staff Pick Logo
The 5th Wave Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399162411
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - May 7th, 2013

For those of you on the lookout for the next big thing in young adult fiction, Rick Yancey’s post-apocalyptic novel THE FIFTH WAVE is it. Touted as being a cross between THE PASSAGE and ENDER’S GAME, this fast-paced thriller is an all-consuming, irresistable mélange of alien invasion, familial loyalty and good old fashioned mushy gushy forbidden love. It comes out May 7th. Pre-order it now!

Understanding North Korea

North Korea has been all over the news lately due to Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un’s renewed threats of military action against the United States. Because North Korea is so carefully controlled from within, it has been historically difficult for authors of both fiction and nonfiction to write about it. However, more and more interest in this secret world has spurred writers from all fields to imagine the North Korean experience from the point of view of its silenced citizens. Here are some of our favorite perspectives on this mysterious nation. -Danielle

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385523912
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Spiegel & Grau - September 21st, 2010

Demick’s intimate portrayal of six ordinary North Korean citizens is visceral and haunting. This book serves as a vivid reminder of how a repressive government can exert control over every aspect of its citizens’ lives. Demick followed her subjects for fifteen years, through Kim Jong-il’s ascent to power and a famine that decimated the population. A gripping, masterful, and beautifully crafted piece of nonfiction.

Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143122913
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - March 26th, 2013

In our era of Google Maps, no country can hide all of its secrets. Although the prison camps that North Korean elites use to punish and kill undesirables are clearly visible from any personal computer with an internet connection, few people have lived to tell the world about the horrors found within. Shin Dong-hyuk is one of those very few people, and his story, told here in spare and unflinching prose by Blaine Harden, is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

The Orphan Master's Son Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812982626
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade - August 7th, 2012

Adam Johnson is one of the few Americans who has been to North Korea, although his trip was of course very carefully orchestrated by the government handlers in charge of his stay. Still, Johnson’s firsthand knowledge of the country came in handy in the creation of this masterful novel, which was one of my personal favorites of 2012. Pak Jun Do, Johnson’s hero, rises from humble origins to the upper ranks of the North Korean state and then is imprisoned for fighting for the woman he loves. A thought-provoking page turner!

Architectural and Cultural Guide: Pyongyang Cover Image
By Philipp Meuser (Editor)
ISBN: 9783869221878
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Dom Publishers - February 28th, 2012

A beautiful slipcased two-volume set that presents the reader with a panoramic overview of North Korea’s capital city. The first volume of this set presents buildings, streets, and squares with no commentary provided, while the second volume places these architectural wonders in their proper cultural context. The eerily empty streets of Pyongyang are odd, beautiful, and haunting. The careful study of propaganda posters alone is worth the price of admission.

Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547857879
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) - January 15th, 2013

Wilson’s passionate plea for disarmament is based around his refutation of five crucial tenets that undergird the popular argument for nuclear proliferation. Although this book is not specifically about North Korea, Kim Jong-un’s threat of nuclear attack makes this book topical and timely, especially for a post-Cold War generation unfamiliar with the intricacies of nuclear policy.

New Arrivals - Week of March 31

Enjoy some of my favorite new arrivals for this week! -Augusta

Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544002234
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - April 2nd, 2013

The Shelter Cycle Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547859088
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) - April 2nd, 2013

All That Is Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400043132
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - April 2nd, 2013

Manuscript Found in Accra Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385349833
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - April 2nd, 2013

Mom & Me & Mom Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400066117
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - April 2nd, 2013

Stages of Decay Cover Image
By Julia Solis, Martina Gedeck (Foreword by), Bryan Papciak (Preface by)
ISBN: 9783791348193
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Prestel Publishing - April 25th, 2013

Funny Birds Cover Image
ISBN: 9783791371474
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Prestel Junior - April 25th, 2013

Last Friends (Old Filth Trilogy) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609450939
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Europa Editions - April 2nd, 2013

Where'd You Go, Bernadette Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316204262
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - April 2nd, 2013

Life After Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316176484
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Reagan Arthur Books - April 2nd, 2013

The Dark Cover Image
By Lemony Snicket, Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780316187480
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 2nd, 2013

Modern Mediterranean: Easy, Flavorful Home Cooking Cover Image
ISBN: 9781617690181
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Stewart, Tabori, & Chang - April 2nd, 2013

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393081572
Availability: Backordered
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 1st, 2013

Paris Reborn: Napoleon III, Baron Haussmann, and the Quest to Build a Modern City Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312626891
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: St. Martin's Press - April 2nd, 2013

The Flamethrowers Cover Image
ISBN: 9781439142004
Availability: Backordered
Published: Scribner Book Company - April 2nd, 2013

Gems of Small Press Poetry

So much poetry, so little time! With all the new verse coming out every year, keeping up with small press releases can be difficult. Yet it’s the small presses that so consistently publish the most groundbreaking poetry written today! While you may have to search a little harder to find such diamonds in the rough, the payoff is almost always well worth the effort. Who knows? You may just discover your new favorite poet! Here are a few cutting edge titles to get you started this National Poetry Month. -Keaton

Democracy Is Not for the People Cover Image
ISBN: 9780984885749
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Truck Books - May 1st, 2012

I was originally drawn to this collection because of its provocative title and cover. Once I actually read the poems, I was stunned and a little taken aback (in a good way). These aren’t poems in the traditional sense. Kaplan’s verses explore the connections -- and divergences -- between the poetic and the political. He appropriates the language of propaganda, employs detailed descriptions of weapons technologies, and adds a generous dash of comic absurdity to produce an astute, irreverent meditation on the nature of political violence. Can poetry effect political change? Can political speech be poetic? These are the kinds of questions Kaplan’s poetry posits for its readers.

Seven American Deaths and Disasters Cover Image
ISBN: 9781576876367
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: powerHouse Books - March 12th, 2013

Another collection that tests the boundaries of what can be considered poetry, Goldsmith has transcribed TV and radio broadcasts covering some of the most infamous tragedies in American history--the assassinations of the Kennedys and John Lennon, the Challenger disaster, Columbine, 9/11, and the death of Michael Jackson--and recontextualized them as a set of intense prose poems. By rendering in writing what was originally spoken aloud, Goldsmith coaxes forth the underlying emotions inherent in “impartial journalism” and presents an exploration of how media affects our reactions to the larger events that shape our lives.

Catholicism Roundup

With a brand new pope and Easter on the way, you may find yourself thinking about Catholicism a little more than usual this Spring. Educate yourself! -Danielle

Saints, Santos, and Shrines Cover Image
ISBN: 9781423631408
Availability: Backordered
Published: Gibbs Smith - March 1st, 2013

Here’s a great coffee table book of Mexican Catholic folk art.

Afterlives of the Saints: Stories from the Ends of Faith Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609530723
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Unbridled Books - June 12th, 2012

A fascinating look at some of the most bizarre saints and their surprising contemporary relevance.

The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-The-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church Cover Image
ISBN: 9780670026715
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Viking Books - February 21st, 2013

Want an inside look at the Vatican? Well, you probably can’t get one, but this new book is the next best thing.

Why Priests?: A Failed Tradition Cover Image
ISBN: 9780670024872
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Viking Books - February 12th, 2013

Gary Wills calls the centuries-old Catholic idea that priests should intercede between parishioners and God in this provocative read.

God's Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547844589
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - January 1st, 2013

A fascinating look at the Spanish Inquisition and its effect on the modern world.



The economy in this Moroccan town is based on the nomadic herding of livestock, and this festival is an opportunity for those herders to return home and celebrate. During this time the town is transformed into multi-day open-air party and market complete with musical events, dances, and fireworks. The division between men and women, which is usually quite strict, is eased somewhat during this time, and single people are permitted to tease and flirt with the opposite sex. This moussem is also a time for matrimony and fertility - mass weddings take place each year.

Go back to the beginning

How to Create the Perfect Wife: Britain's Most Ineligible Bachelor and His Enlightened Quest to Train the Ideal Mate Cover Image
ISBN: 9780465065745
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Basic Books (AZ) - April 9th, 2013

Thomas Day was an 18th century thinker - and jerk! - who was so particular about what kind of woman he wanted to marry that none of his available options would do. Instead, he adopted two young orphans and raised them to be the perfect wives, down to the very last detail. This one is in certain ways a little dense, but for feminists, Anglophiles, and romance skeptics, it's a strange history that will definitely capture the imagination.

The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062213785
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Ecco Press - August 7th, 2013

Remember the film SLIDING DOORS? This is kind of like that. Greta Wells's twin brother dies and her husband leaves her, and she attempts to handle the grief by undergoing electroshock therapy. However, every time she undergoes treatment, she is transported to various lives in different eras that she might have lived instead of her sad present-day existence. In each of her other possible lives, she encounters her brother and her husband, in different incarnations and contexts. Can what she learn in these past lives teach her how to live in the present? For that matter, will she be allowed to return to the present at all?

The Infatuations Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307960726
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - August 13th, 2013

A translated novel by the Spanish master that contains lots of romance and a thrilling murder mystery. A woman frequents the same cafe every morning for breakfast. She becomes obsessed by a couple she sees there and imagines an idyllic life for them, until the husband is brutally murdered. The woman offers her condolences to the widow, and while at her house meets and falls in love with a man who shines new light on the shady past of the couple and the nature of the man's murder.

I Kiss Your Hands Many Times: Hearts, Souls, and Wars in Hungary Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385524858
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Spiegel & Grau - August 27th, 2013

There are a million stories about the world wars in France, England, Germany, and Spain, but there isn't much out there about some of the smaller Eastern European countries that were basically steamrolled on either side by world powers. This is the story of one family in 20th century Hungary - a memoir of an entire clan and what happened to them as a result of war, genocide, and the more mundane problems of love and heartbreak.



This unusual harvest festival takes place as drought ends in Ghana and the crops begin once again to grow. Because African agriculture is so unpredictable and the heat can be incredibly intense, droughts are often deadly. As a time-honored way of dealing with this sad fact, Homowo allows Ghanians to blow off steam and celebrate the harvest by making fun of their former hunger. Homowo is also an opportunity for people to visit their homes and enjoy festivals that include marching, dancing, and music.

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Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385536264
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Doubleday Books - July 9th, 2013

You may recognize Kate Christensen's name from her literary novels, most recently THE ASTRAL. You may not know, however, that Christensen runs a well-respected food blog! This book is a collection of some of her best posts, many of which have an autobiographical element to them. Fans of her blog will obviously be excited for this book, but even readers outside the loop will enjoy Christensen's pungent descriptions of food and spot-on observations about her unusual life.

The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385337007
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Dial Press - July 30th, 2013

A glimpse into the wild world of cheese connoisseurs. Paterniti runs across a cheese that is considered one of the most delicious and valuable in the world, and goes to great lengths to track it down again. Part madcap biography, part food reportage, this one is a terrific glimpse into the madness that overcomes the truly gastronomically obsessed.

Cinnamon and Gunpowder Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374123666
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - June 4th, 2013

Fiction with a culinary twist. A celebrated chef is captured by a fearsome female pirate captain who threatens to throw him overboard if he doesn't deliver a gourmet spread every week - despite the fact that the ships larder contains only rotting meat, maggot-infested grains, and inedibly hard biscuits. This is a novel of literary merit, but it will appeal especially to cooks and swashbucklers.

Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story about Looking at People Looking at Animals in America Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594204425
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Penguin Press - May 16th, 2013

Jon Mooallem began thinking about animals differently when his daughter was born. Everything in her life was covered in cute animals - her sheets, her dishes, her walls, her books - while at the same time animals are going extinct in the wild at a disastrous pace. Mooallem gives us a wild tour of the contemporary environmental and conservation movements, the state of animal life in an increasingly hostile wild, and the place of animals in our imaginations. Perfect for nature lovers, science geeks, and people generally interested in the state of our changing planet.



French Independence Day, celebrated on the anniversary of a symbolic early victory in the French Revolution - the overthrow of a military prison in Paris. In the present day, Bastille Day is celebrated with parades, fireworks, and (until recently) the state of the union address. It occupies a similar place in the French imagination that the 4th of July occupies in the American one. 

Go on to next month

Equilateral Cover Image
ISBN: 9781620400067
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - April 16th, 2013

This strange, strange little novel from cult favorite Kalfus tells the apocryphal story of a Victorian English astronomer who is obsessed by his quest to make contact with beings on the planet Mars. His plan, funded by the English government, among others, is to conscript Egyptian workers to dig a monumental equilateral triangle into the sand of the Sahara Desert, fill it with pitch, and on the date that Mars is closest to Earth, light it on fire. Of course, there is also a love triangle running throughout this short novel, which gives it depth. One of my favorites of the year so far.

Radical Abundance: How a Revolution in Nanotechnology Will Change Civilization Cover Image
ISBN: 9781610391139
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: PublicAffairs - May 7th, 2013

Because Rice is one of the foremost centers in the world for nanotechnology research, this book should appeal both to science enthusiasts and readers interested in a little-known but possibly someday very important Houston industry. Drexler's thesis is that, once we are able to manufacture on an atomic level, we will be able to make more of the things we need - food, sources of energy, etc etc etc - with less waste and for a much lower cost. Written clearly for the layman, this is still probably best for our sharpest, most technically minded customers.

The Days of the Rainbow Cover Image
By Antonio Skarmeta, Mery Botbol (Translator)
ISBN: 9781590516270
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Other Press (NY) - June 25th, 2013

A beautiful translated novel about the power of everyday humanity to overcome totalitarianism and terror. Skarmeta, a Chilean author, writes about families attempting to survive in Pinochet-era Santiago without giving up on their dreams or their dignity. A perfect look at how political oppression defines and indelibly marks ordinary people living under it.

Junius and Albert's Adventures in the Confederacy: A Civil War Odyssey Cover Image
Unavailable from Brazos Bookstore
ISBN: 9781610391542
Availability: Out of Print - Not Available for Order
Published: PublicAffairs - May 28th, 2013

The forgotten story of two intrepid New York City reporters who risk life and limb to report on the Civil War from Confederate territory, only to be captured. The men escape prison and eventually make it back to Union land, for the most part on foot and in the snow. This book has it all - politics, history, adventure, and a good deal of humor. This story was once well-known but hasn't been revisited in decades, which makes this a perfect book for the history enthusiast who thinks he's heard it all.



June is the height of Russian summer, which means it's, um, still snowing...but the days get incredibly long. St. Petersberg celebrates this time of year with a variety of festivals and events, like fireworks, bar crawls and extremely late hours at restaurants. Citizens and tourists often take long, rambling promenades through the city streets and sleep quite late into the mornings. In a country where darkness and snow are the norm, this brief period of light is considered a time of renewal and jubilation.

Go on to the next month

Dreams and Shadows Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062190420
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Voyager - February 26th, 2013

Ewan and Colby grew up in the Austin area and, as children, became familiar with a magical realm full of angels, monsters, and genies that exists alongside, but just outside of, our everyday world. The secrets they learn and the adventures they share in this magic world make them inseparable as children but causes them both a variety of problems as adults. This fast-paced, thrilling fantasy was written by a celebrated journalist and screenwriter from the Hill Country and has considerable local appeal.

The House of Special Purpose Cover Image
ISBN: 9781590515983
Availability: Backordered
Published: Other Press (NY) - April 2nd, 2013

This one has been getting considerable buzz, and although it's also fiction, it has a completely different feel than DREAMS AND SHADOWS. Boyne's latest is a retelling of the Romanov/Russian Revolution story with a fascinating twist - the story is told retrospectively by a seemingly complete outsider, a man named Georgy who, in modern times at the age of eighty is returning to his native Russia one last time. Georgy recalls the Russia of his youth while traveling through the contemporary country, which proves to be a very different place!

The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World's Great Drinks Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616200466
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - March 19th, 2013

For customers who express an interest in alcoholic drinks and/or gardening, this one is sure to please. This quirky little book details the botanical history and chemical preparation of various alcoholic drinks. It contains a little bit of everything - over fifty recipes, gardening tips for those who are interested in home brewing various drinks, and fascinating historical and scientific tidbits.

The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594204265
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Penguin Press - February 21st, 2013

This book combines biographical information about Edison and his workshop at Menlo Park with a study of how one of his most celebrated triumphs, the lightbulb, changed Western culture forever. Although it's a given now, incandescent light made it possible for people to stay up later, for the entertainment and restaurant industries to thrive, and for people to move into urban centers and away from rural areas. A story about modernity.



Walkabout is a custom amongst young Aboriginal men in Australia. It symbolizes the transition from childhood to adulthood. Men journey out into the unforgiving wilderness and follow traditional paths that commemorate the travels and great deeds of their ancestors. Walkabout is a period of time meant to be spent outside of contact with the mundane world, to get in touch with ones' heritage and purpose.

Go on to the next month

Staff Pick Logo
Between Man and Beast: An Unlikely Explorer, the Evolution Debates, and the African Adventure That Took the Victorian World by Storm Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385534222
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Doubleday Books - March 12th, 2013

Paul Du Chaillu was a young explorer in the mid-19th century who ventured into the jungles of West Africa to confirm the existence of a heretofore mythical beast: the gorilla. Chaillu braved the wilderness and succeeded in his quest, only to face an even more formidable challenge upon his return: the fear and censure of a public unable to accept the increasingly undeniable evidence for evolution. Another science/history hybrid that has a good dose of adventure mixed in.

The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards Cover Image
ISBN: 9780670026005
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Viking Books - March 21st, 2013

The narrator of this novel is described in the publisher copy as 'hopelessly unreliable yet hopelessly earnest', and of course he is - he's a writer. The narrator travels across the world and works many years to understand himself as a writer, even as he seems to be thwarted at every turn by a former classmate who has had more literary success than he has. Of course, there's also a beautiful woman embroiled in their rivalry. This is a hotly anticipated debut novel by a young author on the rise.

Children of the Days: A Calendar of Human History Cover Image
Unavailable from Brazos Bookstore
ISBN: 9781568587479
Availability: Out of Print - Not Available for Order
Published: Nation Books - April 30th, 2013

Galeano is one of Latin America's most distinguished writers, but he's not well known in the States. This undefinable book is organized like a medieval book of days, but instead of detailing the saints celebrated on each date, Galeano provides a short biography of forgotten heroes who have stood up for humanity, love, dignity, and freedom. This is one of those books that I think almost anyone would love if they sat down and looked at it - and it's written in a very literary style that should appeal to fiction readers as well.

Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345527264
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Ballantine Books - February 26th, 2013

This quirky history tells the truth story of two very different Victorian female journalists who raced each other around the world. They were both determined to beat Jules Verne's famous eighty day record - and each other. While this book tells the story of their simultaneous adventures, it also provides great commentary on Victorian womanhood, early feminism, and the 19th century imagination. Great for feminists, travel lit connoisseurs, and those interested in the Victorian era.