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Vanity Fair
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Readalongs > Vanity Fair (Heather, Laurel and anybody else interested)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I hope the mods don't mind me starting this thread here


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

From 17/08/2013

Just started this and have read the first 5 chapters. I'm already intrigued by the characters, particularly by Becky. I think Amelia might end up being one of the soft, wishy-washy female characters that let down some Victorian novels for me but I hope not. Becky seems much more interesting and feisty.

I'm also enjoying the tongue-in-cheek social commentary particularly relating to women and marriage.

Looking forward to the rest of the story


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

From 26/08/2013

I'm now 20% of the way in. It's quite a slow read for me (especially as I keep picking up Enid Blyton books from my childhood to read instead) but I'm enjoying it. Becky is a very interesting character. (view spoiler)


Laurel | 283 comments Have read the first 10 chapters now - I'm enjoying it. Thackeray is a bit tongue in cheek at times with his descriptions of the characters and his little asides to the reader - I like it! Don't like Amelia at all, she's too boring but Becky is interesting - I'm definitely intrigued as to what will happen to her.


message 5: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments Heather wrote: "I hope the mods don't mind me starting this thread here"

Of course not! :)


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I totally agree about Amelia. I wonder if her being boring is deliberate from Thackeray to demonstrate how money can make you more attractive even if not very interesting.


Laurel | 283 comments Could be, the way he describes her she isn't that stunning, just good natured and from a good family. And she is there to be a contrast to Becky I think.


Leslie | 15985 comments Heather wrote: "I totally agree about Amelia. I wonder if her being boring is deliberate from Thackeray to demonstrate how money can make you more attractive even if not very interesting."

Just wait!


Laurel | 283 comments Ok, so I'm a quarter of the way through (view spoiler)

I'm really enjoying this but keep putting it off for shorter reads - think the biggest problem with this kind of stuff is it's size!


Bionic Jean (bionicjean) I've got going on this at last and am up to chapter 6. I agree, Heather, that Becky is definitely the female to follow - I fully expect her to become the toast of society despite her origins, with her canny ways and duplicitousness! And Amelia is the perfect, pretty, demure little young lady.

And Laurel, I too love the tongue-in-cheekness of it all. The way Thackeray "discusses" with the reader whether Amelia should have been the heroine or not, or whether he should have picked someone else from her school. It's quite surreal! He makes it plain in his introduction that it is a satire, and whenever I think he's going over the top with his praise of Amelia I remind myself of this.


Laurel | 283 comments Yeah he is definitely 'taking the mick', I like his little asides to the reader as well.


message 12: by Bionic Jean (last edited Sep 11, 2013 03:21AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Look what I found! It's the title page to the first edition in book form (as the 1897-8 one was serialised in a magazine) and actually drawn by Thackeray himself!
description


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

That's wonderful, Jean. Thanks for sharing!

I'm about 60% through now. I keep putting it down and not picking it back up for a few days because I think it's going to be difficult but as soon as I start reading again I get through 50 or so pages easily. Got 2 train journeys this weekend (4hrs each) so aiming to finish by then as want some shorter kindle books to dip in and out of for my long-haul flight next Thursday!


Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Heather - I know what you mean as I have other book group reads I want to get on with.... But I too find him surprisingly readable, like Dickens. I'll still be behind you (because of other books) but hope to join in discussions even if I'm the last one to finish!

Are you going somewhere nice?


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm visiting a friend in Reading this weekend then on Thursday I'm going to Hong Kong for 10days! Very excited!


Laurel | 283 comments That book cover is cool Jean!
I keep picking it up and putting it down again as well Heather, we will get it read eventually! Hope you enjoy Hong Kong!!


Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Same here - wow - have a good time Heather :)


message 18: by LauraT (new) - added it

LauraT (laurata) | 13217 comments Mod
Heather wrote: "I'm visiting a friend in Reading this weekend then on Thursday I'm going to Hong Kong for 10days! Very excited!"

Wow! My first au pair came from Honk Kong! How I'd love to see her again...


Laurel | 283 comments Ok, I've passed the halfway point - it's my usual thing with these massive classics is that I'm very slow to read the first part then will probably have the rest finished in another day or so!


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm similar. 75% in and getting quite engrossed. I think Dobbin is my favourite character, he's so sweet!


Laurel | 283 comments Yeah I wasn't keen at first but am liking him better now (he must be a grower)- have just got back from shopping so hopefully will get another big chunk read this evening!


Laurel | 283 comments Now I'm 70% done (view spoiler)


Laurel | 283 comments Finished now - loved it! (view spoiler)


message 24: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 17, 2013 03:20PM) (new)

I finished too, Laurel! Finished it Sunday night but been so bust I've not had time to post. I loved it as well

Will comment in spoilers.
(view spoiler)


message 25: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 17, 2013 03:20PM) (new)

My non-spoiler review (also on my goodreads homepage)


I've wanted to read this book for a while and I am so glad I finally did. I really loved it! Although long, I never felt bogged down with the story and every chapter advanced the story along, something occasionally lacking in lengthy novels of this era.
My favourite character was of course Becky Sharp. I am glad I'm not friends with her but she was such a change from the usual slightly dull female Victorian heroine.
In contrast, Amelia was a stereotypical 'good girl' who rarely did anything out of the ordinary or daring. The two female protagonists were excellent contrasts to each other and I enjoyed their interaction.
I enjoyed how the book ended and thought the character development was really clever throughout. Thackeray's social commentary was entertaining, particularly when he was focussing on Becky as you could feel the Victorian disdain for a character like her coming through in his writing.
A truly excellent 5* read and a definite book for the re-read in the future pile


Bionic Jean (bionicjean) I'm only a quarter of the way through, but you're both really making me want to crack on with this!


Leslie | 15985 comments So glad that you guys liked it! I agree with most of the comments, especially regarding how you (and I) liked Becky even though she was the "bad" girl.

@Heather - (view spoiler)


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Leslie wrote: "So glad that you guys liked it! I agree with most of the comments, especially regarding how you (and I) liked Becky even though she was the "bad" girl.

@Heather - [spoilers removed]"


@Leslie- (view spoiler)


message 29: by LauraT (new) - added it

LauraT (laurata) | 13217 comments Mod
Leslie wrote: "So glad that you guys liked it! I agree with most of the comments, especially regarding how you (and I) liked Becky even though she was the "bad" girl.

@Heather - [spoilers removed]"


Becky is the greatest!!! I think that even if Thakerey said at the beginning that his was a novel without a hero, he was pointing to Becca as her real heroine!!!


Laurel | 283 comments Nice review Heather! I thought Becky was absolutely great, she had no-one to look out for her so she made her own way even if she had to tread on other people toes to do it. I think if Thackeray wanted to condemn her actions he (view spoiler)


Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Yes I liked your review too Heather (and "liked" it!)


Bionic Jean (bionicjean) I'm listening to a dramatisation of Vanity Fair which was on the radio a few years ago. Although it's at the same time I want to read a passage first before I "hear" it, but it works for me and adds that little something. Stephen Fry is the narrator, and is very droll. The musical interludes are from a mechanical fairground carousel roundabout.


Laurel | 283 comments Sounds good, I bet Stephen Fry does a good job with that - he is just the right kind of person for something like Vanity Fair.


Bionic Jean (bionicjean) I'm nearing the end now. Is anyone else still reading this as you've all gone very quiet!


Leslie | 15985 comments Jean wrote: "I'm nearing the end now. Is anyone else still reading this as you've all gone very quiet!"

I liked the ending - where have you got to?


Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Chapter 62 (view spoiler) I know what I hope the ending will be, although I'm not sure what will happen to Becky. Maybe she'll go to France - I think she'll fall on her feet anyway!


Laurel | 283 comments Glad you're enjoying it Jean! I loved it too ;)


message 38: by Bionic Jean (last edited Oct 14, 2013 03:29AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Hi - an alert for those in the UK. The really fabulous dramatisation of this with Stephen Fry as the acerbic narrator, is repeated starting today on Radio 4extra. Sorry for the short notice - I've only just spotted it! It's in 20 short parts daily at 2pm (quarter of an hour each I think - I've set up my timer) so missing the first wouldn't make much of a difference.

I really enjoyed this novel, but did have reservations hence the 4*. Here is my review


message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

I really do love your reviews, Jean. You write very well and manage to get across many of my thoughts in a much more succinct and articulate manner!

I may see if I can catch up on radio iplayer as I love Stephen Fry!


Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Aw what a lovely thing to say, Heather, thank you! Please do click the "like" tab at the bottom of any review of mine you like. I read the other day that this is what Goodreads use to "rate" their reviewers. (Vanity, vanity... but nice too! And maybe I can be excused since we're on a "Vanity Fair!" thread?)

Funnily enough I often dislike Stephen Fry - but he's perfectly cast in this. He'd probably have got on like a house on fire with Thackeray!


message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

I have done, Jean. I didn't know you could do that because I don't really use that side of Goodreads much, more the book lists and this group for me!


Laurel | 283 comments 'liked' your review Jean. Thanks for the heads up about the Radio 4 show


message 43: by Bionic Jean (last edited Oct 14, 2013 03:36PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) I've been unhiding all your spoilers now!! But will put this in spoilers just in case I'm not the last after all!
(view spoiler)

Oh and Heather I was fascinated to read that someone said Dobbin's character was based on Thackeray - (view spoiler)

And by the way, Laurel and Heather, thanks for indulging me with the "likes"!


Leslie | 15985 comments In case anyone is interested, BBC Radio 4X is currently airing an adaptation of Vanity Fair with Stephen Fry reading the narration. You can still listen to the first omnibus part (75 minutes) for a few more days at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b008lywx

The second omnibus part airs on Sunday...


message 45: by Pink (new) - rated it 3 stars

Pink Thanks for this link, I'll check it out :)


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