Wednesday, September 28, 2011

When the wind is blowing

The Dorrit family, as depicted by the BBC. Image from

Dear Amy Dorrit. Image from

Why don't more men wear top hats? Little Dorrit's Arthur Clennam. Image from

The original Little Dorrit cover, not in glorious technicolour. Image from

When the wind is blowing and the sleet or rain is driving against the dark windows, I love to sit by the fire, thinking of what I have read in books...
~ Charles Dickens

Our lovely Spring weather seems to have taken a little holiday. High winds are swirling dramatically around today and it is getting cooler every hour. Apparently thunderstorms, rain and cooler weather is on its way. All this has put me in mind of doing some more reading. I have lately resolved to read more for the sake of my own creative writing efforts and even - dare one say - to improve my mind lest it be permanently corroded by the dross on TV. So I am thinking that I really need to wrap my head around the classics. As I may have mentioned before, I studied English Literature at high school and uni but always in that studenty-how-much-can-I-skip-and-still-get-by kind of way. Especially when I was faced with Victorian-era novels. Dombey and Son. Middlemarch. Oh my.

But now I want to read them. Yet where to start? I love period dramas on TV (and I especially loved Little Dorrit) but...the books never seem to be like the series! I know! Sacrilege! Clever people, I know, always complain that ~sniff~ the series was nowhere near as good as the book. But I must just be a very visual person. Or a very unimaginative person. But I very rarely find that that very life that a good period drama seems to bring to these historical tales can be found in its original pages. Or perhaps I am just a complete drip. That's a possibility too.

So where should I start, do you think? I have Vanity Fair, Great Expectations, Middlemarch, Little Dorrit and Jane Eyre waiting for me on my bedside table. I'd love your recommendations. If you're in the middle of something, why don't we read it together and have our own little book club, even.


librarygirl said...

I've read all of them! Start with
Jane Eyre , then Great Expectations.
I loved Little Dorrit so much.

Bodecea said...

Do you want to read only literature which is written in English in original?

There are so many classics in other languages in, I believe and hope, most time good translations.

Absolutely not "dusty": Mme Bovery by Gustave Flaubert.

To know the German soul: Faust I by Goethe.

And of course - Franz Kafka!

And you know - my most beloved modern author in English is Margaret Atwood.


Feronia said...

@ librarygirl -

Thank you :) I started Little Dorrit by candlelight while the power was off this evening. It's good so far!

@ Bodecea -

Some excellent suggestions - thank you! I read Margaret Attwood while I was doing my undergrad in English Lit but I'd love to return to her. I remember seeing a wonderful cinema version of Madame Bovery with Isabelle Huppert... Christopher Marlowe's version of Faust we read for Elizabethan Lit but I must try Goethe's and Kafka. Yes :) Thank you :))