18 March 2014

BleakAlong - Post the Finalmente

Every time we finish a readalong, The Doors "This is the End" plays in my head the whole time I'm writing my final post. It's very distracting, especially because for most of my young life I was pretty sure that Val Kilmer was Jim Morrison and that is a very handsome movie poster, I tell you what. Have I mentioned this before? Possibly.

Anyway. Part of the reason I was behind most of the readalong is that I was listening to the audiobook, which is approximately 548 hours long. I enjoy audiobooks immensely because they allow me to pursue two hobbies at once (reading and knitting, or reading and spinning, or reading and eating...), but they do slow down my Goodreads challenge. Last night I went to bed with 3 chapters (two hours!) left, so I gave in and read the last ~50 pages in the paperback that Amanda sent me for our Secret Santa, and I am SO glad I did because the afterword to this edition is delightful. Elizabeth McCracken is a Dickens fangirl whose first sentence to her afterword apologizes to the reader for encountering an afterword at all following roughly 1000 pages of novel.

Not to mention that the splash page on her website is delightful.

Salute the McCracken.
How are we feeling now that mostly everyone we didn't like ::cough Skimpole cough:: and a few people we did - POOR JO - are dead?

They had nothing to do with it.
I had a shouty moment when Esther turned Woodcourt down and I was prepared to be Very Upset Indeed, but Jarndyce made the right decision - some might say unlike Dickens himself later in life - and while I dislike the idea that Esther was his to reward Woodcourt with, I support the final outcome of Esther being happy and loved for who she is.

You know who never calls Esther "Dame Durden"? Woodcourt.
We're gonna circle back to the birdcage theme for a second - remember that one from way back when? - to just mention that Miss Flyte names all her birds and probably has to recite them in order every night like Arya Stark, and with all the Ashes and Penitences and Wards in Jarndyces, she has a bird named Spinach. Bless you, Miss Flyte.

And bless YOU, Charles Dickens, on behalf of all the Volumnias of the world, with our spare little drops and feeble prismatic twinkling. You rapscallion, you brimstone bogtrotter, you brilliant and ginormous tool.

It's not your fault that sometimes in my head I get you mixed up with Charles Darwin.

04 March 2014

BleakAlong - Post the Fifth: There Be Italics Ahead

Against all odds, the Oscars Movie Party on Saturday, the Oscars themselves on Sunday, and a dear friend's breakup today which necessitated an hour-and-a-half phone call to get all the details and express an appropriate amount of "what the fuck is that guy's problem?!?," I have caught up on Bleak House you guys.

And boy am I glad I did, because what the what is going on right now? NICE WORK ALICE in choosing where we've been ending up.

Until the fateful lack of clocks warning Tulkinghorn about his impending doom,

way to go, pal...
I spent most of this week's chapters thinking about who in this story are the villains and who are the heroes. Which ones are the worst/best, respectively? This ended up being mostly made up of a list of Who I Like Best in descending order. Dickens is doing an admirable job of directing our attention toward Ada and Richard, who at the outset seem to be the heroes of the piece. Ada is obviously the ingenue and Richard (can I call him Dick? Yes let's do) is the person who thinks he loves her so he must be the hero, right?

No. Primarily because we I don't like Ada in any role except Esther's darling and that Dick is... pigheaded and stupid, shall we say. I submit to you instead that the true heroes of the piece are Esther and Alan (Allan? I'm listening to the audiobook). While I know in my Tumblr-addled soul that Esther and Ada need to end up together, I was pleased by Alan comforting Esther about her looks when no one has done that yet areyoufuckingkiddingme?!?

Villain: Harold Skimpole.

For I am such a child, don't you see. AND CHILDREN CAN'T BE TRUSTED.
Lord he's just so awful and managed to snow everyone into believing him and I'm screaming internally like Leo at the Oscars (don't get me started but also Glenn Close and Gary Oldman have also not won Oscars so a little perspective please tumblr). Arrrggghhhhh.

And then there's Jo and I couldn't help but picture Dickens chuckling to himself about how affecting this death scene will be and how the ladies would just cry buckets of tears over poor Jo and his caaaaaa-*sniffle*-aaart.

There's a lot of death in this book, you guys. At least Lady Dedlock's secret is safe! Who shot Tulkinghorn? It definitely wasn't me, although I did harbor a suspicion that Tulkinghorn had a frisson for our Lady.

Poor Esther. I want to shake her and yell that NOTHING in this book is her fault and WHERE ARE THE ACTUAL ADULTS this book is peopled by children much like Frozen (also don't get me started). And then I will stride around London and Chesney Wold and administer slaps. To everyone. Asking Esther to marry you, indeed. BAH.