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Great Expectations
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Charles Dickens Collection > Great Expectations-NO Spoilers

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message 1: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob | 4853 comments Mod
Great Expectations is our August 2014 Old School read. Again, Renato is the discussion leader. This thread is for general book discussion, Please try and avoid Spoilers. This is a NO Spoiler thread.


Kelly B (kellybey) | 266 comments I just started Great Expectations this afternoon. I thought I wouldn't like it (bad memories of reading an abridged version of A Christmas Carol in junior high), but so far...I kind of like it! Hopefully I can get a few more chapters read tonight after the kids go to bed.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments @Kelly

This gives me hope! I have avoided Dickens for years, but I am determined to take a stab at it!


Renato (renatomrocha) I started it last night and got up to chapter 8. So far, I like it as well! I'm glad you are joining me on the read!


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments @Renato

I want to do some "catching up" with AKarenina, but I hope to begin reading Dickens this weekend. I've already downloaded it from Project Gutenberg.


message 6: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob | 4853 comments Mod
I have only read two books by Dickens, A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist. I always shy away from reading Dickens yet I enjoyed both books I've mentioned. I guess I am influenced by what I hear other people say, and people don't seem to be ambivalent about Dickens. He seems too loved or hated equally.

I have had a copy of this on my shelf for years. If things workout I think I will try reading Great Expectations this month.


Renato (renatomrocha) Hopefully things do workout and you join us, Bob! This is my first Dickens. I really want to read Bleak House, but decided to read Great Expectations first with the group.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

I read Great Expectations approximately seven years ago and recall enough of the story that I will not re-read it yet. This is one of my preferred Dickens stories, although A Christmas Carol is still my favorite. Happy reading everyone!!


Renato (renatomrocha) Thanks, Lisa! Since you remember it, hopefully you can join us on discussing the book!!


Kelly B (kellybey) | 266 comments I'm enjoying Great Expactations more as I go along. I was really kind of dreading reading it, so what a relief that I like it.

I've been pleasantly surprised by the humor in the book, and have "LOL" a few times now. I guess I tend to think of Dickens as sentimental and sad.

It's a very atmospheric read, and I like Dickens' descriptions of the marsh, the village, Miss Havisham's estate. There's a bit of the gothic to it all.


Kelly B (kellybey) | 266 comments Still reading:-). I'm almost to page 300. I hope to maybe finish the book by the end of the weekend.


message 12: by Bob, Short Story Classics (last edited Aug 02, 2014 07:57AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob | 4853 comments Mod
I started this last night and was only able to read 6 chapters. There is something about reading Dickens, that for me is difficult, at least when getting started. This is my third Book authored by Dickens and I remember difficulties reading the first two, especially starting out. It just takes time to get into the flow of his writing. At least that was true of the first two reads.

Not going to quit yet. Will go at least the first 100 pages and see if things smooth out.


Kelly B (kellybey) | 266 comments Fortunately, I love the Victorian era, so that definitely makes it easier for me to read this book. So far, I still really like it. We'll see if it starts to drag a bit as I get further in.


message 14: by Alex (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alex | 12 comments This is my second Dickens novel (not counting A Christmas Carol, ew) after A Tale of Two Cities. I absolutely love A Tale of Two Cities, but found it a bit dry and difficult at times, with really dense prose and sometimes awkward dialogue.
I'm currently 15% the way through Great Expectations and so far I'm surprised at how easy it is to read, I think it flows pretty well and feels more real. Whether it has a better storyline than A Tale of Two Cities I'm yet to find out, but so far I feel like it's more well written.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments I'm not too far into the 2nd ch and there are several funny passages. Mrs "Joe" is funny. I feel sorry for Pip and Mr Joe who are both "brought up by hand."


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments @Matt

CD is a humorous writer. I expected dramatic situations to be " overdone ." However , I haven't reached any "highly dramatic" plot points as of yet. I think that I am up to ch 15 thereabouts.


Renato (renatomrocha) I'm also finding it a funny read so far. Since this is my first Dickens and all I knew about this book was that it was a story about an orphan named Pip, I was expecting something way darker and sad.

I mean, we can still find sadness in the book, but it's got a positive undertone about it.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments @Renato

I think that the title is key to the positive undertone that you noticed.


message 19: by Glenna (new)

Glenna | 69 comments I have just started reading. I am at chapter 3 or 4. I read this as a freshman in high school many years ago. I am surprised I don't really remember much of it so far.


Lesley | 46 comments Starting this today.


message 21: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten  (kmcripn) I'm looking forward to starting this. I tried reading this in high school and gave up after 5 chapters. Hoping for better luck now that I am older and (hopefully) wiser.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments @Kirsten

I found the first 8-10 chapters to be "chuckle inducing"


Renato (renatomrocha) Andrea (Catsos Person) wrote: "@Renato

I think that the title is key to the positive undertone that you noticed."


That's true! I wonder though if those great expectations will be met at the end...


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments Renato Wrote: I wonder though if those great expectations will be met at the end...



I think that the "great expectations" will be met--whatever they are by the end of the story. I don't think that CD wanted to "disturb" his readers in the way that Dostoevsky did to me in Crime and Punishment. I realize that CD and Dostoevsky have nothing to do with one another.

I just hope that the "expectations" don't Include Estella. I don't much like her.


Also, as I read, I feel very conscious that this book was originally published in installments in magazines. Though Tolstoy's titles that we have read or are reading probably were published in the same way, AK and W&P don't have an "episodic" feel to them.


message 25: by Alex (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alex | 12 comments I'm at chapter 27 and I'm honestly not sure if I like Pip at the moment. I hope this changes later on, but right now his character seems a bit shallow and dull at the moment, I liked him much better when he was younger.
I had the same problem when I read Jane Eyre - I loved Jane as a child but her adult self became somewhat preachy, obnoxious and just boring.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments @Alex

Pip and his observations as a child were funnier and more entertaining. He was more interesting. You are right that Pip was more likable as a child.


Renato (renatomrocha) I agree with you guys that Pip was more likable as a child. But since there's still so many things to happen in the book, I have great expectations (oh no I didn't!) that he'll come around!


message 28: by Renato (last edited Aug 08, 2014 06:25AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renato (renatomrocha) Guys, just a little reminder to please keep spoilers only in the Spoilers thread. Some people are more sensitive than others about it.

Thanks! :)


message 29: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob | 4853 comments Mod
I won't say I have mastered Dickens writing style, but I seem to be over the hump. I'm not fighting to read every sentence and that has helped my enjoyment of the story. It's still a very slow read, at least it is for me.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments For the most part, I'm making out ok with his writing style. His sentences are not as long as some of those found in Jane Austen's novels. The chapters move along. Although there are a lot of them, since they aren't too long, I feel as if I'm getting somewhere and am not "running on a tread mill."

Why are old school novels all so long?


Renato (renatomrocha) I'm with you, Andrea. I don't feel the sentences are too long and the fact that the chapters aren't too long makes me wants to keep reading "just one more" and because of that, my reading is going fast.

I don't know why the old school novels are all so long, but apparently Great Expectations was supposed to be bigger:
Dickens originally intended Great Expectations to be twice as long, but constraints imposed by the management of All the Year Round limited the novel's length.
(Wikipedia)


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments @Renato

I can't imagine this book as any longer than it is! But I guess CD could imagine it. Thank heavens his publisher imposed some limits!

@Matt

That is very interesting about the "modernist movement " for more concise novels. I guess since the trend was for shorter novels, writers were forced to be good writers and make every word count. I struggle with conciseness.

Conciseness and economy in writing (I was taught) are signs of a good writer.

I always wondered why The Great Gatsby and Hemingway's book were such slim volumes. Now I know why. They were writers during a time when they were expected to "trim the fat."


Kelly B (kellybey) | 266 comments Dickens originally intended Great Expectations to be twice as long, but constraints imposed by the management of All the Year Round limited the novel's length.

Oh, my! I can't imagine it much longer. I liked it, but I'll be honest: I was ready for the end so I could move on to something else.


Kelly B (kellybey) | 266 comments Matt wrote: "This is pretty far from Dickens, but I should add that both Gatsby and TSAR were edited by Max Perkins. He's probably the most important influence (among the little known) in contemporary literatur..."

Interesting! I wonder how much he edited out of Gatsby. It's one of my favorite books. It's hard to imagine it as a long read; I think it does much better as a short book.


message 35: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Maybe some are longer as they were serialized. Wouldn't they make more money the longer they ran?


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments @Kirsten

I think that the magazine that paid for these "stories" which are now novels to us and classic lit, were paid (to the author) by the number of installments.


message 37: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten  (kmcripn) That's what I was getting at @Andrea - I'm only on my first cup of coffee, so it may not have been that clear.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments @Kirsten

I had heard years ago, perhaps in my teens, that CD was paid by the word. This had given me a decades-long fear and loathing to read anything by him. Now I know that he was paid by installments.

This is my first reading of any of his work and I find that I can tell by these chapters and their quality in this book that he was an accomplished master of the serial format.


message 39: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Did you know that Alexander McCall Smith does installment work in THE SCOTSMAN?


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments I didn't know that a. Macall does installment writing. His mysteries are very popular at the public library. He has made his fortune.


message 41: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten  (kmcripn) I guess he and Ian Rankin got to talking and said that it was too bad nobody wrote serials in the newspapers anymore. Somehow AMS got the job. He's got two serials out there: 44 Scotland Street and Corduroy Mansions. They are even collected in books if you want to read them.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments @Kirsten

Thank for the info!


message 43: by Blueberry (new) - added it

Blueberry (blueberry1) Kelly wrote: "Dickens originally intended Great Expectations to be twice as long, but constraints imposed by the management of All the Year Round limited the novel's length.

Oh, my! I can't imagine it much lon..."


I dragged through the middle but after reading the 3rd section I was ready to pick another of his books. I loved the last section.


Lesley | 46 comments I'm almost finished part 2 and it really is dragging for me too. I really liked part 1.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments @ Lesley

I liked the first section best as well.

I think I'm in the 3rd section. I'm in the middle of ch 48.


Sandy | 57 comments Would rate it 3.5 stars. I am not sure why I always was afraid to read Dickens? Thought it would be way to daunting, incomprehensible. Was pleasantly surprised that Dickens is actually pretty readable although a bit wordy. For some reason thought the story was mostly about Pips relationship with Miss Havisham and Estella but there is much more to the story than that. Have decided I need to read more Dickens after reading this book.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments @Sandy

I also feared to read Dickens for the same reason, for fear that his novels were incomprehensible and a too wordy sentence structure. I found it very readable, but too long and dragging in places.

I was very conscious that I was reading a story/novel where the writer earned more money for the longer he could make the story or number of published installments. The greater number of installments, the more $$ earned.

I have conquered my fear of reading Dickens, but I don't think I'll be reading anything else. I don't like the way that the story is longer than necessary.

I enjoyed the humor in his writing very much.


Kelly B (kellybey) | 266 comments I would like to read more by Dickens.....but I'll need at least a year before picking up another one:-). I liked Great Expectations, but I think reading another Dickens so soon after finishing it and I'd have "Dickens burnout", LOL!


Renato (renatomrocha) I really want to read Bleak House some time this year!


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments Renato wrote: "I really want to read Bleak House some time this year!"

I guess I should not say that I'll never do something, such as read more Dickens. I just don't want any more of him any time too soon.

BTW, Bleak House is a little over 1000 pages. It is eligible for a long read.


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