Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Bane of Dickens

Why don't I like Dickens? I have started 3 of his books hoping that it will be the one I will make it through but I have never made it through any of them. This is VERY UNUSUAL for me. I even made it through Farewell to Arms which just about killed me. The only other books I have stopped reading are Jane Eyre and Killer Angels but it was because they were just too sad. It was so sad for Jane and all the different men that I couldn't keep reading. Obviously, I have finished these books many times now but the first time through I cried too much.

So...why don't I like Dickens? I do like sad novels and he is the same time period of almost all my favorite authors. Love the all the Brontes, Austen, Elliot, Hugo, Tolstoy, James, etc. With the exception of Jane Austen, none of these writes are especially bright and cheery (although Elliot isn't too bad). My point being that I love crazy & sad novels (but not Tess). Why then can I not handle Dickens? I need someone to inspire me to read Dickens or give me a good reason to feel okay about not reading him. I feel like I must be missing something from my life not reading Dickens. Someone help...

Perhaps it is the terrible videos of his books I was forced to watch in school....

14 comments:

Tyson said...

Hmmm... You should read more Dickens, regardless of your dislike. He is one of the best writers of all time (maybe even one of the best authors, but certainly one of the best writers). My favorite thing about reading Dickens is just the way it sounds in my head. Something about his style just resonates well with me. We have a book that has a lot of Dickens's short Christmas stories. They are excellent. Oh, and if you aren't in the mood for sad books, stay away from Hardy's "Jude the Obscure". I love it but it is sad.

Marisa said...

ah, Dickens. He is so wordy, that it gets tiresome for me. So what specifically is your deal with him? More of the same problem as Jane Eyre? Too sad? Which of his books have you started and couldn't finish? Have you ever tried Oliver Twist?? It has some sad parts, but overall I enjoyed it and I assume you know the ending... it's happy!! And of course The Christmas Carol is such a happy story too.

Melissa said...

I have started Bleak House, Oliver Twist and Tale of Two Cities...this is my point. I should like Dickens but why don't I???

Marisa said...

when I was reading Oliver Twist, it took me a lot longer than other things I've read. I sort of recall that one seemed to draaaggg sometimes.

Um, have I mentioned that you should come to book club? I think you could be a grand addition. Oh, and there's the Family Housing book club too, which just started yesterday.

Stephanie said...

I loved A Tale of Two Cities in high school...somehow our teacher made it seem like a mystery to me and so the whole read I remember trying to figure out what was going to happen, how things were connected. Perhaps that approach will help. I haven't tried reading it since HS though. I did read Great Expectations. I would say I ended up liking it but it was hard to get into and get through. I think Dickens is a beautiful writer but I guess that doesn't always capture my interest.

Melissa said...

Marisa...I do want to come to book club and I know it sounds dumb but I since I am not in RS I just never seem to know what is going on. I would miss Enrichment every time if MaryAnn didn't ask me to do stuff. The student housing one sounds fun too. I just read that email today (I know I didn't check as much as I should have) and was sad I missed it. What are they reading?

merathon said...

patrick loves killer angels and told me to read it many years ago, back when we were dating. i don't think i even made it out of the single digit page numbers!

call me crazy, but if you can't get into dickens, don't worry about it! there are plenty of other books out there that you WILL like, so don't beat yourself up! :)

jet said...

Well, President Monson really likes Dickens...does that help? ;)

jet said...

LOL, BTW, this is how I feel about Little Women, Pride & Prejudice, etc. I'm a girl; therefore I should like them, but I don't. Just embrace it.

Hilary said...

My vote is for the videos. I can't stand him either. I am telling myself I'm going to read a "classic" every month. Right now it's Little Women, and I must admit I like it a lot more then any other time I tried it, but I'm still not zipping through it like a vampire novel. :)

Raspberry said...

I like Dickens. David Copperfield has a lot of sad parts but everyone basically ends up happy and bad guys get their due. Marisa is right - Oliver Twist really is a good one for those who have a hard time with Dickens. And I can't understand you not liking Jane Eyre. I don't think she intended it to be sad. Maybe just realistic. But perhaps I'm a bit biased.
:) Anyways, good luck on reading! Let us know if you get through one.

Tonia said...

It's all in getting to the end. Tale of Two Cities drags like crazy through the first half and then picks up. You already know the story - if you have to then just skip halfway through and start reading! If not then don't sweat it - I have picked up Grapes of Wrath six times and never finished.

Marisa said...

If you want, I can have your email added to the ward's "unofficial" book club email list and you can at least get info on what we're reading and when we're meeting!

As for the family housing book club, we're reading Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen. It was a book that the ward book club read and everyone couldn't stop saying how amazingly fantastic it was.

MZP said...

Pick up Bleak House again and read it. Be determined. Pretend John said you don't have what it takes to make it through a Dickens, and then do it. Afterwords, we can discuss. There's even a good BBC waiting for you as a reward at the end. This is Dan, btw.