It’s Been a Good Week To Read Dickens

I suppose any week is a good week for Dickens, but this week has been especially perfect. I’ve returned to school with an abysmal cold: sore throat, congested head, scattered thinking at best. My dear children correct my mistakes and say, “That’s all right, Mrs. S—” secretly thrilled, I suspect, to be the only ones with the right answers.
The weather has been below freezing until today. Earlier this week, in fact, it was so cold that school was cancelled for Monday and Tuesday. But now, as I write, there is a steady rain falling. Rain, on top of mountains of snow, which only makes for sheets of ice on which to drive. I pray for my beloved son to come safely home while sirens echo in the distance.
I’m a third of the way into Great Expectations, which I’ve read before but am reading again with Tom for January’s end. I love this book more now than I did the last time I read it. (In fact, I wonder if books shouldn’t be read through more than once to get the proper feel for them.) 
I can relate to Pip’s distress at being “coarse and common”, and while I can see it’s foolish for him to deride the good in his life, I can understand perfectly his desire for more. 
And poor Miss Havisham, sitting by her rotted bride-cake from under which the spiders crawl about, while all the clocks stand still at twenty minutes to nine…
Time does stand still, sometimes. It stops dead in its tracks until we figure out exactly where our expectations have gone wrong. It waits for us, for me, to shake myself. To sit up tall. To say, proverbially, “This is a rotten bridal-cake (or train of thought, or attitude). I’m going to throw it away and get on with my life.”
We’ll see what happens with these two, Pip and Miss Havisham, by the end of the month. You still have time to join us if you choose, and I can’t say enough good about this work of Dickens’ to help persuade you.

26 thoughts on “It’s Been a Good Week To Read Dickens”

  1. One-third – exactly where I am. Pip has just been told that he has “great expectations.”

    The confidence and skill with which Dickens made this novel is astounding, scene after scene.

    I hope the weather takes a better turn soon.


  2. I'm sorry to hear you're unwell – I wish you a speedy recovery. I've not read this great classic, but it sounds like its a good read when your in need of a snuggle in the warmth. we've been watching your weather reports and thinking of you all – it's 30 deg C here today!


  3. I'm sorry to hear you aren't feeling well and do hope you are better soon. The freezing weather on top of that, oh my. I love your words about “rotten bridal cake.” I've got some rotten cake of my own to throw in the trash! *Hugs* for the metaphor. I needed it 🙂


  4. I've not read this, and I'm intrigued. I don't see any way to get into it in January, but perhaps…

    What did cross my mind was a period of my life when I lived by the motto, “If you don't expect anything, you'll never be disappointed”. How grim is that? I'd say that's even worse than the bridal cake – it would be fun to read Dickens' take on expectations.

    (And by the way – I didn't trade “no expectations” for “great expectations”. You know me – always a third way! I suppose today I've transformed it into “Be expectant. You never know what will show up.”)


  5. Bellezza, I hope you're feeling better soon. It sounds as if your “kids” help you to stay positive and focused, “on track”. Hopefully, the freezing cold will not last much longer, although there is something to be said for being inside with a book when the weather's frightful. Especially with a classic by Dickens, or another novel worth reading.


  6. Hope your winter cold gets better. I took a few days sick from work last week with mine. It was most unpleasant and when you don't feel well you are hyper-sensitive to your reading material – I had to abandon Donna Tartt's The LIttle Friend for something less dark. Anyway, Happy New Year!


  7. Oh, dear. I'm so sorry you've been sick. I hope you've been able to rest this weekend and are fully recovered in the coming days. I returned to work after the holidays to find that nearly everyone had been sick with the flu. I became obsessive about washing my hands and using sanitizer every chance I could get. Hard to prevent catching something when we all share computers, phones and cash registers. But so far, so good.

    We were at a balmy 45 today, thank goodness. We had had snow followed by ice, but now our sidewalks are safe once again. What a winter! And we still have over 3 months until we are free and clear.

    Stay warm. Get some rest. Try not to worry about the boy. And thanks for your lovely comment on my post today. You are a dear friend.



  8. It's no wonder that this is considered Dickens' greatest work, and I agree that his confidence and skill are astounding. It's nice to rest in the hands of a most capable author.


  9. Hugs to you, Terri, and I'm glad to “help”. I think most of us have trash which needs to be disposed of from time to time. Sometimes, I even find myself throwing out the same pile over and over. (Is that recycling? 😉 one of my pastors once said couples don't have lots of fights, they have the same fight over and over. I find myself wrestling with the same emotional stuff over and over. Surely one day we'll be able to burn it for good.


  10. I remember days of telling myself not to hope for anything, in order to avoid disappointment, too. Not a very hopeful way to proceed. Yet it takes much courage to live with one's thwarted expectations. I like how Dickens examines that in his novel. More to come upon my completion of it.

    I love your “third” way. It's better to be expectant than to be bitter, by far.


  11. Although I loved The Secret History, I've never read The Little Friend. The Goldfinch was indeed so dark that it almost leaves the reader in despair. I'm sad that her outlook on life is so very shadowed.


  12. Probably, you have a very good immune system (as I usually do) from working around people so much. May it prevent you from the flu and colds this season!

    My comment was meant most sincerely, as I trust you know. xo


  13. I love Great Expectations and would read along with you if I weren't already involved in the read-along of a chunkster. Love this paragraph:

    Time does stand still, sometimes. It stops dead in its tracks until we figure out exactly where our expectations have gone wrong. It waits for us, for me, to shake myself. To sit up tall. To say, proverbially, “This is a rotten bridal-cake (or train of thought, or attitude). I'm going to throw it away and get on with my life.”

    Good thought.


  14. You're making me want to re-read Great Expectations for the umpteenth time. Though, truthfully, it's A Tale of Two Cities that's really due for the re-read, and I have David Copperfield and Oliver Twist languishing on my shelves unread. So much great stuff.


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