I was looking through Amazon instant vids the other day and saw Bleak House. I didn’t even know it had been made into a tv show and when I saw it was HD, well…I had to watch it. I think they did a fantastic job for the most part.
So, then I had to read it again! Bleak House is one of my favorites from Dickens, if I can pick a favorite since I love most of his work.
When I was 18, my then girlfriend’s brother bought me Bleak House, saying “I love buying books for people who love to read”. 30 years later, I have still never read it.
I have since read and loved pretty much everything else Dickens wrote but I have a mental block that prevents me from opening Bleak House. I am sure I am missing out but every time I pick it up, I put it down 20 minutes later. I can’t get started.
Favourite character: Nancy in Oliver Twist.
Favourite book: tale of Two Cities.
Fun fact: My dad took me to the beach at Broadstairs every summer when I was a kid and he always parked right outside the actual Bleak House. I love Broadstairs but Bleak House always struck me as…bleak. Maybe that’s why I can’t read the book.
that final sydney carton scene: can you actually visualize yourself with your hands tied behind your back, standing in line in the guillotine, and hearing the knitting ladies counting down? that’d be a real bummer.
I love A Christmas Carol. I’ve read a Tale of Two Cities more than once.
On the other hand, I had to drag myself through Dickens;’ other Christmas books. I kept hoping they’d get better, but they didn’t. I loathed Hard Times (which I had to read in school), and couldn’t get into The Pickwick Papers at all, despite its reputation as a great comic piece.
I haven’t tried the others, although I know the plots. One of these days I’ll tackle Oliver Twist or David Copperfield.
I adore Little Dorritt and The Old Curiosity Shop–so depressing and bleak and make me feel so much better about my life! But with that touch of dark humor Dickens excelled at. And I always read the editions with the original ink illustrations.
The only book I could not get through was The Pickwick Papers–too self-consciously Dickensian and adorable for me. Not my cup of twee.
Pickwick was his first novel. It’s looser and lighter and more episodic than later Dickens, and even people who really like it would probably agree it doesn’t get good until about a hundred pages in, when Sam Weller appears on the scene.
Funny, I just started reading “Great Expectations” again the other night.
my six year old asked me what I was reading and asked me to read her some. She finally fell asleep two chapters later. I don’t reckon she knew exactly what was happening but she loved the rythmn of the language and the funny names and turns of phrase. And for me, reading it out aloud is such a pleasure as every sentence begs you to ham it up.
So I’m a fan.
Also, My wife was born and raised about 100 yards from Dotheboys Hall, (yes…it was a real school! though long gone when she was born)
I’m currently reading David Copperfield, but it’s taking me forever to get through it. Not that I’m not enjoying it, or it’s heavy going; I just seem to read a chapter or three and then not pick it up again, sometimes for weeks. But then maybe that’s a more authentic way to experience the novel, like Dickens’s original audience did when it was serialized! (And only after starting on the book did I notice that we have a doper named Barkis is Willin’!)
When he’s good, he’s very good. I love David Copperfield and Great Expectations. On the other hand, there’s Martin Chuzzlewit, which I thought was a snarky, simplistic pile of crap. One of these days I have to get around to reading Bleak House.
Chuzzlewit is generally acknowledged to be Dickens’ comic masterpiece, and with two of the funniest characters in all English Literature, Mr Pecksniff and Sarah Gamp, it’s hard to disagree. Are you American by any chance? I know that the satire directed at Americans in the novel might be hard to take for some but Dickens was just as merciless with hypocrisy at home as he was abroad.
[exasperated pythonesque bookmonger] No, we don’t have “Rarnaby Budge” by Charles Dikkens with two ks the well-known Dutch author, and perhaps to save time I should add that we don’t have “Karnaby Fudge” by Darles Chickens, or “Farmer of Sludge” by Marles Pickens, or even “Stickwick Stapers” by Farles Wickens with four M’s and a silent Q! [/epb]
But, seriously, does anyone have a favorite Dickensian AUDIOBOOK? I just listened to Tale of Two Ti–err, Cities; read by Frank Muller. One of my favourite readers… but he’s a colonist. And ToTC is so focussed on London and Paris that I’d’ve rather been listening to a Brit. Are there good renditions of Oliver Twist or M. Chuzzlewit or some of his less “Bleak” work?