Seriously. Please help me.
It’s been two weeks and I’m only on page 200 of Bleak House. I read every day for at least an hour (give or take), but I’m only on page 200. Of 5 million. Charles Dickens just isn’t a fast read. In fact, I’d say he’s the slowest read I’ve ever had… in the world of fiction. (Hobbes Leviathan, that aptly named megalith, is the slowest read I’ve ever had ever, though that might have been because I was reading it for class and had to write a paper on its specific impact on the American Government–hint: we’re seeing it now.) At first, I had to get over the fact that it’s written in present tense, which I do not like. Then I breezed through the Esther bits because I love her. And then back to the present tense omniscient.
It’s slow. Also, there’s so much bloat, at least to the eye of a modern reader. Even the eye of a reader used to reading the classics. Obviously, this is because Dickens was paid by the word (or was it page… word, right?) and man wanted to get paid. But it does mean occasionally delving into a character or a little moment that really has no bearing whatsoever on the story. Which is fine because that’s just part of the Dickens experience, but it does mean I’m only 200 pages in.
And I’m not even reading the side book I picked up. (I’m usually reading at least two books at once, for the record. Something heavier like Dickens and something lighter, usually fantasy.) I have devoted my entire attention to Dickens. OK… and research. Lots of research. And my daily perusal of The New York Times.
I read a lot. But I don’t have anything to pair for you…
Well. I guess I can recommend gin. I’m researching the 1920s right now, so… gin. But maybe not from the bathtub, guys. That shit killed people. Actually, in some cases, local governments purposely poisoned people in an attempt to show how bad alcohol is. But that’s not what my story is about.
Or, if you’d like, I’m also delving into Shakespeare again for Horatio, so you can break out the ale or the small beer. Whichever.
Just pray for me. I may never finish this book…
Wait. No. Moby Dick. It was Moby Dick that was the slowest. So slow, I threw it at the wall after fifty pages and Sparknotes it instead.