Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bleak House Readalong: Post 2

Our Bleak House Read-along, hosted by Amanda at The Zen Leaf, approaches the half-way mark this week, but I remain woefully behind. Even so, this is quite a story and I'm enjoying it immensely.

Last month, I mentioned that this was a combination read/listen. The CDs remain my constant companions in the car, but there has been very little reading at home. Bleak House has been mostly an audio experience this month. Robert Whitfield's narration is excellent, and I'm turning to my Penguin Classics edition primarily to look up quotes, reread passages, check footnotes, and look at the drawings. But things can, and often do, change... next month I may find myself reading again.

The characters, so far, have been a delight! Even the less likable can bring a smile to my face. I believe Dickens must have had fun with his characters. Take this description of Sir Leicester Dedlock, for example:
"Sir Leicester is generally in a complacent state, and rarely bored. When he has nothing else to do, he can always contemplate his own greatness. It is a considerable advantage to a man, to have so inexhaustible a subject. After reading his letters, he leans back in his corner of the carriage, and generally reviews his importance to society." (page 183)
And then there is this description of Lady Dedlock:
"Lady Dedlock is always the same exhausted deity, surrounded by worshippers, and terribly bored to death, even while presiding at her own shrine." (page 196)
The passage continues with a bit about Mr. Tulkinghorn, and a hint of suspense and intrigue to follow:
"Mr. Tulkinghorn is always the same speechless repository of noble confidences: so oddly out of place, and yet so perfectly at home. They [Lady Dedlock and Tulkinghorn] appear to take as little note of one another, as any two people enclosed within the same two walls, could. But, whether each evermore watches and suspects the other, evermore mistrustful of some great reservation; whether each is evermore prepared at all points for the other,and never to be taken unawares; what each would give to know how much the other knows - all this is hidden for the time, in their own hearts." (page 196)
I completely trust Dickens to weave the characters and their plot lines together... in his own time. For now, it's enough to meet them all, get to know the principles a bit better, and hear their stories. Esther and Mr. Jarndyce, her guardian, are my favorites at the moment. Stay tuned...

Click over to Amanda's latest update to see how other read-along participants are faring. She has included links to everyone's blog.


  1. I do need to read this someday. I saw the PBS mini series with Gillian Anderson as Lady Dedlock, and thought she was wonderful.

  2. I'm so glad you're liking this! Even if I'm not, I'm glad others are getting something out of this readalong!

  3. Amy - I'll definitely be watching the PBS miniseries when I'm done reading. Have heard good things about it!

    Amanda - I can see where Bleak House would not appeal to everyone. Don't think I would have picked it up without the 'support' of a read-along though.

  4. JoAnn, after you watch the series, maybe post here about what you thought of the series vs. the book. I'm always curious about things like that. I thought it was really good, but then, I haven't read the book!

  5. I think I might actually enjoy this one.

  6. I completely agree with you about Dickens characters. He has a way with words. I think listening to it on audio is a great idea. I might have to try it.

  7. I know it is terrible, but I'm thankful to have company in the terribly far behind department. Thanks for visitng my blog!

  8. Amy - I will post about the PBS series, but at the rate I'm going it may not be until spring!!

    Vivienne - It's much better than Wuthering Heights! Go ahead and give it a try.

    Marcie - The audio is a much different experience. There are several versions, but I really like this one. When I'm reading at home, I can almost hear the narrator's voice in my head.

    Read the Book - We laggards have to stick together ;-)

  9. I'm enjoying reading your thoughts!! I think I recorded this one from PBS....I like to watch Dickens' stuff first before I would even attempt the book.

  10. Staci - I'll be watching the PBS series after I finish reading. The audio is really helping me stay focused... I think it's the great narration.


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! Be sure to check back, I always respond. Due to a recent increase in spam, all comments are moderated.


Related Posts with Thumbnails