Isn’t this a great blog post title? I have great expectations for 2011. But it is also the title of a book by Dickens that I have been reading (slowly, oh so slowly) on my Kindle. I downloaded it for free when I first got my Kindle because I had always wanted to read it.
A novel I read a few years ago really gave me the itch to read Great Expectations. Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair and sequels, used Dickens’ Miss Havisham as a character, as a mentor, in fact, for the main character. She was so unusual and fun that I absolutely wanted to know more.
I say I’m reading it slowly because, as you know, I’m currently reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, as it says over there on the right. I used to carry whatever book I was reading to the gym to read on the exercise bike (I hate that thing!) or in between my aerobic workout and my strength training class, or while waiting to pick up my youngest son from preschool. But since receiving the Kindle (thanks again RocketMan!), I don’t have to lug a giant hardcover anymore.
So, I only read Great Expectations at the gym or when I’m stuck waiting somewhere without my current read.
But, I am loving this novel! The characterizations are great. The narrator is funny, irreverent and self-aware. For example, here is one of Pip’s observations about the man who will bring him to Miss Havisham’s house, Mr. Pumblechook, a sort of benefactor to the sister and brother-in-law who have raised him (by hand) thus far:
The same opportunity served me for noticing that Mr. Pumblechook appeared to conduct his business by keeping his eye on the coachmaker, who appeared to get on in life by putting his hands in his pockets and contemplating the baker, who in his turn folded his arms and stared at the grocer, who stood at his door and yawned at the chemist. The watchmaker, always poring over a little desk with a magnifying-glass at his eye, and always inspected by a group of smock-frocks poring over him through the glass of his shop-window, seemed to be about the only person in the High Street whose trade engaged his attention.
Tee hee. Two meager sentences, 109 words, to show that his so-called benefactor doesn’t do a whole lot of work, but just about as much as all the other shop-keepers, except for the watchmaker, of course.
Okay, now that I have shown myself to be a complete word nerd, or book nerd, or some such, what classics inspire or surprised you?