Bleak House

bleak house read-a-long

Thoughts IMG_0744 Bleak House by Charles Dickens, 1951 hardback from the library (I returned it before I got this post started – oops) and audio narration by Simon Vance.

“This may not be good fiction as the arty sophisticates see it; it may be fully as maudlin as they may deem it to be;
the fact is, it contains the core of truth.”
-John Cournos (in the 1951 ed. Intro)

SO GOOD! I do like Dickens even if I rarely go out of my way to read any of his stuff. I think his books are a fun ride every so often.

I won’t even try to summarize the nutty plot but it was full of crazy bit characters and some over-the-top stereotyped characters and all the in-between characters who were my favorite amusements — Smallweed and Mr. Vholes were delightfully oddball. But my favorite characterization of them all was how refined and elegantly bored was Lady Dedlock.

Esther - the Wire Haired Pointing Griffon
Esther – the Wire Haired Pointing Griffon

And, of course, I am most pleased to be able to tell people that I named my dog Esther after a Dickens’ character! (I didn’t really; she was already named when we found her.)


Four slices of pie. “Gosh,” you may inquire, “What KIND of pie?” and I’ve really been thinking hard on this question because I do not know. I scarce can decide, but perhaps, I best choose a multi-fruity pie like a Winter Pie of Cranberry, Apricot, Apple and Pear. With a crumb topping, no doubt.

#Bleakalong on Twitter, much fun as always. Thank you my fellow readers and tweeters!

Get ready for February’s #ShineOn when we tackle Stephen King’s The Shining! and some classic surprise is up for March but I’m not sure which because my memory is faulty – whichever book it was that Joey put in the freezer.


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16 thoughts on “Bleak House

  1. I love when a fellow book lover raves about Dickens! I feel he gets a bad rap as being too wordy and intimidating, but his stories are ALWAYS entertaining. I’m so glad you enjoyed Bleak House! And that pie? Oh, I wants it!!

  2. Ruthiella

    I adore Dickens and Bleak House is one of his best (of those I have read thus far at least). I am glad you liked it. I also thing Dickens is excellent in audio-format. I listened to it on CD a while back (29 CDs!) and loved it. The narrator was fantastic. I shall have to double check at the library to see if it was Simon Vance or someone else.

    I do hope you can get your hands on the miniseries with Gillian Anderson. I thought it was very well done.

    1. As a matter of fact, hub just joined Amazon Prime which lets us get movies and series for cheap or free and the BBC Bleak House mini is available! Might start it tomorrow.

  3. Love Dickens! He’s made for winter reading…by the fire (but not candlelight). Love Esther’s photo included in this entry – what a darling! (miss our dogs…haven’t jumped on board with getting another one yet which lets me admire all others!) Love your pie references (as always) and actually am now thinking of making one! See? You continue to inspire!!!!! Happy New Year!

  4. I loved this Dickens novel, and can’t stress enough how wonderful the BBC film of it is. I saw their episodes first, then read the book, and I can honestly say they pratically equal each other in greatness.

  5. I am having a hard time staying engaged with this one! I think it’s because I’m listening on audio book and only for short periods of time, so I can’t quite get into the plot fully. I think I need like two clear hours of listening time and then I’ll be set and excited to finish.

    1. Yes, it can be easy to lose the thread on this, I think! So many bit characters – but they do all come together (even if I couldn’t quite recall how/when some of them were important.)

  6. I got about 200 pages into BLEAK HOUSE twice, and I still haven’t made it through. I know it’s me, and I think I’ll give it another shot one of these days. I enjoyed your review.

  7. Good choice of pie. Mm. I’ve never read and liked anything by Dickens apart from A Christmas Carol, but I keep meaning to try again. Just because I hate hate hated Oliver Twist doesn’t mean I’ll hate everything Dickens forever.

    1. I don’t really understand but am not bothered in the least that people do not enjoy Dickens. I like him. I think he is kinda cool. But if you don’t, no big deal to me. I have not attempted Oliver Twist. I am one of those that can’t quite recall if I have actually read Great Expectations or only seen too many movie versions. But I ADORED Mr. Pip – awesome book. and I was totally enraptured by A Tale of Two Cities and that was much more heavy than Bleak House. SO, if you never read anything by him again, I wouldn’t worry about it. I will probably never reread anything he writes. But you know that already, don’t you?

  8. Joey but Little Women AND The Shining in the freezer!!!! :) How’s that for great fun. Though I’ll be doing Vanity Fair with Melissa. Those March girls only work for me on film.

    My favorite was Mr. Smallweed. And crumble top sounds PERFECT.

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