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Group Reads > July/Aug: Humphry Clinker

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message 1: by Ellen (last edited Jul 19, 2018 10:50AM) (new)

Ellen Forkin (ellen_forkin) | 350 comments Mod
Our (first) group read for July and August is The Expedition of Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett

Read it and share your thoughts below. Please use the spoiler HTML or comment at the top of your post where you are in the book so to not give anything away to those not quite there yet.

I’m looking forward to reading the ‘Scottish version of Charles Dickens’ - though I’m not sure what the author would have thought of that comment!

Note: There are a few entries of this book on Goodreads. I haven’t researched different copies available online, and I’m unsure if and how they might vary. I’ll take a look, but if you want to post your ‘version’ that might be a help.


message 2: by Katrina (new)

Katrina | 50 comments It's good that you're doing both. I already bought my copy from Amazon so the Kindle is ready to go. I'll try and look out Pride as well. Think it deserves a reread:)


message 3: by Alan (new)

Alan I'm pretty gobsmacked this got to be a read. I really didn't expect it when i suggested it. It's also free on kindle in UK for anyone to download so hey, that's a bonus. I really hope people enjoy it!!


message 4: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Forkin (ellen_forkin) | 350 comments Mod
Alan wrote: "I'm pretty gobsmacked this got to be a read. I really didn't expect it when i suggested it. It's also free on kindle in UK for anyone to download so hey, that's a bonus. I really hope people enjoy ..."

So glad your choice won, I’m sure we will enjoy it :) Thanks for the tip about the Kindle edition, that really helps!


message 5: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Forkin (ellen_forkin) | 350 comments Mod
Katrina wrote: "It's good that you're doing both. I already bought my copy from Amazon so the Kindle is ready to go. I'll try and look out Pride as well. Think it deserves a reread:)"

Excellent, enjoy both :)


message 6: by Elliot (new)

Elliot Well this book is a little different than what I'm used to, but I might give it a try. My local library has a copy, so I'll pick it up when I stop by later today.


message 7: by Katrina (new)

Katrina | 50 comments Still slowly but surely working my way through this, the letter format takes a bit of getting use to. Have to say Bramble has been a very entertaining character so far.


message 8: by Mrs. C. (new)

Mrs. C. | 40 comments Alan wrote: "I'm pretty gobsmacked this got to be a read. I really didn't expect it when i suggested it. It's also free on kindle in UK for anyone to download so hey, that's a bonus. I really hope people enjoy ..."

Thanks, Alan, for introducing me to Tobias Smollett. I've read most of Scott and had been looking for another Scottish author to balance my recent detour into the works of the Englishman Wilkie Collins. I am finding Smollett as good as Collins at the epistolary novel and the always entertaining drawing of eccentric characters. I'm reading a Kindle version and, at 23%, have finally encountered the title character. I did a bit of reading on Smollett and discovered that he spent time at Bath during his last illness, so I'm guessing Bramble's disparaging description of the place may actually reflect Smollett's own thoughts! I'm looking forward to the rest of the book.


message 9: by Elliot (new)

Elliot I'm about halfway through, reading this version: The Expedition of Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett . I must say that I am enjoying it more than I expected. Initially I struggled with who all the characters were, but after the first twenty pages and the help of the introduction, I grasped who was who, and I began to thoroughly enjoy the book.


message 10: by Katrina (new)

Katrina | 50 comments Finally finished it today. Thanks to Allen for recommending it.

Could clearly see how Dickens was influenced by Smollet. Very deserving place in the 100/1001 must read lists.


message 11: by Tarissa (new)

Tarissa (inthebookcase) | 52 comments Currently reading this myself. Just finished chapter 11 today -- which I was taken aback by, to some extent, anyways. :)


message 12: by Elliot (new)

Elliot Agreed. I am also happy for the recommendation; I doubt I would have come across this otherwise.


message 13: by Elliot (new)

Elliot I just finished reading Humphrey Clinker, and am happy to have done so. The characters were amusing and interesting, and after getting to know who was who the story easy to read and understand.

Thanks for choosing this book!


message 14: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Forkin (ellen_forkin) | 350 comments Mod
I really need to start this, my TBR pile is massive, but this is high up my list. Might start tonight. I posted a couple of questions to the other group read thread and thought they would work here too. Let me know what I’ve got to look forward to :)

A couple of standard book club questions to answer...

Who was your favourite character?

Do you think the book’s topics are still relevant today?


message 15: by Katrina (new)

Katrina | 50 comments Ellen wrote: Who was your favourite character?

"Do you think the book’s topics are still relevant today?


Tabitha Bramble, just for the humour she brought and I felt she was one of the characters who grew the most by the end of the novel. Although Bramble himself wasn't too far behind in that respect .

As for relevancy, yeah, definitely. While Clinker is dated in many, many respects, there was a thread of social class commentary throughout it which is still very relevant today as always, but I didn't think was as nearly as heavy handed as Dickens.

Also at its very core, Clinker is a road trip book and those types of books, films, etc are still being produced on a regular basis and the travel industry is still booming. So very relevant on that count:)


message 16: by Tarissa (new)

Tarissa (inthebookcase) | 52 comments Katrina wrote: "Ellen wrote: Who was your favourite character?

"Do you think the book’s topics are still relevant today?

Tabitha Bramble, just for the humour she brought and I felt she was one of the character..."


Agreed! Tabitha Bramble is the standout character to me. Her antics were just too funny to keep up with. :)


message 17: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Forkin (ellen_forkin) | 350 comments Mod
Tarissa wrote: "Katrina wrote: "Ellen wrote: Who was your favourite character?

"Do you think the book’s topics are still relevant today?

Tabitha Bramble, just for the humour she brought and I felt she was one ..."


Katrina wrote: "Ellen wrote: Who was your favourite character?

"Do you think the book’s topics are still relevant today?

Tabitha Bramble, just for the humour she brought and I felt she was one of the character..."


I’m only at the very beginning but I love her already. She’s a lovable nightmare, I hope her antics continue....

(I’ve borrowed a paperback copy of the book, as I was struggling to read it on a screen, so hopefully I’ll get through it quicker this way.)


message 18: by Jack (new)

Jack Deighton | 52 comments It was 3 years ago I read this. I wrote about it at https://jackdeighton.co.uk/2015/08/01...


message 19: by Ellen (last edited Sep 04, 2018 02:41AM) (new)

Ellen Forkin (ellen_forkin) | 350 comments Mod
Loving the idiosyncratic voices of the characters. Very cleverly done. I’m enjoying how some characters have a habit of misspelling certain words, as this happens in real life messages/letters....

By the way, the next time I dress up, I will surely announce:

“You knows how, yallow fitts my fizzogmony. God he knows what havoc I shall make among the mail sex, when I make my first appearance in this killing collar’

If anyone knows where to get a killing collar, preferably yellow, please let me know ASAP ;)


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