Bleak House, Charles Dickens
• My apologies for being MIA in recent weeks. I went from a planned blogging break to a family emergency which has required much time and attention. I am hoping to gradually re-enter the blogging world with this post.
In honour of Charles Dickens’ June 9 birthday, Yvette from Prior House Blog, and Trent from Trent’s World, encouraged readers to join them in reading and discussing Bleak House. Comprising 1,864 smartphone pages or 32 hours of audio, Bleak House was the perfect companion on my recent two-week hiking trip. For starters, it ensured that I never ran out of reading material. (The ebook copy is free here. An audio copy is free to members of Audible.com.)
Bleak House was Dickens’ 9th published novel. It is often proclaimed to be his finest (although not his most popular) work. As with so many subjective materials, its reviews vary widely. Our youngest son, an avid reader, labelled it as “boring, dry, and too many characters to deal with.” He eventually abandoned it. This was not a case of ‘like mother, like son.’ I loved it!
Numerous stories, plots and themes are brilliantly interwoven. Key themes include law vs justice, ineffectual government, greed and corruption, class inequity, child neglect, appearance and identity… to name just a few. Bleak House is a social criticism, satire, drama, romance and murder mystery all in one. Its serious themes are skillfully enmeshed in an often comical, always absorbing tale. Throughout the book, the language is rich, the wit sharp, the sarcasm dripping, the mystery addicting, and the caricatures fully loaded.
The 2005 movie trailer gives a quick snapshot of some of the storylines. It makes a great supplement to the book but definitely not a replacement.
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austin
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.Pride and Prejudice, 1813
From the opening line to the final page, Austen captivated me Hook. Line. And Sinker! I had so much fun reading this book that I broke the cardinal rule of our Classics BookClub and read ahead. Shhh! Don’t tell! (Yes, I apparently would have failed the 4-year-old Marshmallow Test.)
But I digress. Bottom line, if you’ve never read Pride and Prejudice (or haven’t read it lately), I strongly encourage you to hang out with the Bennets and their five daughters. Yes, you can watch the movie too…but please do not skip the book!
The Litte Books on Inner Peace – Update
Four months ago, I packaged up three copies of The Little Book of Inner Peace (by Ashley Davies Bush) and mailed them to three friends living in three different countries. I requested that they each pass the book along when finished reading. My intention was to begin a ‘Travelling Ripple of Peace.’ Here is where the books have currently travelled.
Book A – Travelled from Parksville, BC, to Surfers Paradise, Australia, to Tumbarumba, Australia, to Buderim, Australia. It is currently preparing for its upcoming travels to New Zealand.
Book B – Travelled from Parksville, BC, to Nanaimo, BC, to Scarborough, Ontario, to Florida, to Barry, Ontario and is now being enjoyed by Jan in Port Hope, Ontario.
Book C– Travelled from Parksville, BC, to San Diego, California, to La Quinta, California, to Palm Springs, California, to Brentwood, California, and is now with Parisa in Baltimore, Maryland.