Saturday 22 April 2017

Middlemarch read a long review

Wow, that was a long slog of a book wasnt it.  It just kept on going.  Action?  There wasnt much I felt.  Again as I have felt with most of the classics that we have read so far, they seem to ramble on for far too long.  I much prefered North and South, which was also a snap shot of life, albeit in 2 different places.

At first Doreathea really bored the heck out of me, in real life, if I had met her she would have naffed me off.  Towards the end she does pick up a bit, but not enough for me to really like her as a character.  5 weeks into her marriage to a man 3 times her age, she realises her mistake.  If she was in the book Divergent she would have been Erudite faction.  Being that she feels superior to all the other females and looks down on them, you would have thought that she would have taken the educated guess that a man of 45, was not going to change much and that his way of working would be quite ingrained.  

Lydgate the new comer, is a doctor with new ideas.  He also makes a bad marriage to a pretty girl, who it would seem he slipped into marrying as he gave her too much attention, being the era it was, he had no real other option as he wanted his fever clinic in the Middlemarch hospital and was in too deep to change that.  I have to wonder if Rosalie from the Twilight books could be a little based on Rosamund in this book.  Lydgate himself dies at the young age of 50 (I will have to check that in awhile). 

Fred Vincy and Mary's marriage seems to be the most rock steady along with Celia (Doreathea's sister) who marries Sir James Chettam, who previously wanted to marry Doreathea.

All in all, everyone else seems to rave about this book and love it.  At 900 pages I wont be reading it again to see if I can change my own mind.  Far too long, too many characters for me.  I feel that I need a police detection board with string all over it to show who is who to keep up.  

Scores on the doors 2/10  very dissapointing.  Clearly I am not educated enough to see what others do.

Next book is Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte.  Happy reading


deb harvey said...

here's my view on some of these old books--there were no other amusements back then.
if you had the leisure to read you wanted a good long read.
most people didn't have time to read or extra candles to burn for reading light after work was done.
guessing that many could not read very well if at all.

if you read some of the fr. brown mysteries you will be struck by how long everything takes as telephone service might be discontinued when 'the season' is over; how long it takes for the sole policeman to reach the scene on his bicycle!
i notice that people in the older books, even if having access to a car, will say ,'it is only a ten minute walk. let's walk.'!!

times are different, for sure!

Sol said...

Hi Deborah, thank you for your comment. Times really are different. I would probably have been a house maid, setting up the fires and what not. I guess what really naffs me off about all of these books and makes me glad that I live in this day and age, is they are even more fixated on class and social climbing than we are now. I live with Posh Boy, but I cant take people thinking they are better than others. It really grates on me.

Raybeard said...

I'll keep this short. Too many strands in the story to sustain my interest. I was held reasonably effectively by Book One, 'Miss Brooke', but soon after starting the second, 'Old and Young', I found it requiring more mental effort to remember who the characters were than I wished to invest. Consequently, found myself increasingly exasperated at having to flick the pages back to remind myself - as well as starting to count down the number of pages yet to go, always a bad sign. In any case my sympathies with particular characters kept wandering. In only one or two cases did they remain consistent.

You're right about the obsession with class hierarchy, a feature figuring prominently also in 'Jane Eyre' too, as you may already know, though I'll tell you now (on my third read of that book) that it's an altogether more satisfactory reading experience. But 'class' is a leitmotif which pervades much of 19th century literature, as well as 18th and into the 20th centuries.

Don't wish to say much more about 'Middlemarch' - and besides, it now being three weeks since finishing it, I honestly can't recall all that much, which tells its own tale.
I wouldn't argue with a score of 2/10, putting it only a single notch higher if really pushed.

local alien said...

Once again I only got as far as the second chapter. These books are too slow for me.

I have read Jane Eyre before many years ago so I wonder how I'll see it now.

Middlemarch was the long march. So many hundreds of pages. I bet an editor nowadays would send it back with a note to reduce by two thirds .

Good on you for finishing it.

Sol said...

Hi Ray, I found it a hard read. Too slow and too much. Maybe I am too much a socialist to be able to get on with theses "I am better than thou books"? Pushes me really hard to finish it. 900 pages phew. After seeing War and Peace on the TV in its recent adaptation I could be tempted to read that. But this is a definite no, to a second read. Was this book published in a newspaper? Maybe paid by the word or something. I have seen the film Jane Eyre before so this should help me finish this next book. Fingers crossed. its 500 pages shorter!!! Hooray!

Hey Linda, it could have been touch and go if I hadnt given myself this challenge and had others reading along with me. It was hard work. After the first 200 pages I had to make myself read 75 pages a day to get through it. I am not watching any television (which is probably a good thing) and only reading my core 'read every day blogs'.

On to the next book, I hope we all enjoy it. I am thinking maybe no more Victorian lifestyle books, for the future read a longs. If we all come up with 2 books and then maybe we could see if there is a book club we could take some ideas from. I do remember that there is a tv show in the day time called I think Richard and Judy and they used to have a book club on there of newly published books...? Maybe we could interlace these with some classics. The problem with that, is you either have to order them from the library or buy them. New books are costly, which may prohibit people who want to join in from joining. The free books to kindle from Amazon are a god send.

Raybeard said...

Ah, 'War and Peace'. Now you're talking, Sol. It's the most requested book on 'Desert Island Discs', though nearly always because the celebrity chooses it because, they say, they've never got round to reading it or finishing it. You may not be too surprised to know that I've read it five times (so far) in various translations and I'm looking forward to further assaults. It would be my DID choice too, but in my case because I like it so much, even though just about all 'experts' maintain that 'Anna Karenina' (read a mere four times by me) is superior. I agree - and I also like the same author's 'Resurrection' a lot, perhaps even more. But W & P is unrivalled in all literature for me in having such a vast panorama of activity, both macrocosmic and micro-, interspersed with Tolstoy's own philosophical observations as seen through the prism of the Napoleonic conflict, as well as an array of characters who jump from the pages as live, believable and sympathetic or hostile as the case may be. It's unique in my experience.
I didn't watch the latest TV adaptation as they tend to leave so much out, as did also the Antony Hopkins TV version of the 1970s. Similarly radio adaptations are cut down, though I do remember listening with immense pleasure to the Radio 4 adaptation of about 1970 in 20 X 1 hour episodes, which the BBC says it can't repeat because there's a partial loss of sound in just ONE of the episodes! Ridiculous!
My favourite filmic adaptation was the Russian subtitled version released in cinemas, also in 1970, in two parts, each about four hours long, even though the Western release was just half as long as Russia's pwn original adaptation. Would love to see it again, though.

I can suggest W & P as a future assignment for your 'club' but I somehow doubt if it would get many votes. Too daunting? Maybe. But it's a pity.

Sol said...

I think we should try war and peace, Ray. I think I would like to really have a good bash at that. Maybe take 2 months to do it. So we can all really battle with it and digest it. I felt rushed with this book. And I had to force myself to read a certain amount a day to finish it. It was like a school assignment. I didnt do this for that point. I did this for enjoyment and to broaden my reading knowledge and read things that I would never chose if left in a library. In my next house I am hoping for a room, maybe over the garage that is just for me and my books. 1 chair, a table and table lamp. Sounds like heaven right! Got to have a dream dont you.

Raybeard said...

You can put 'W & P' up for a vote if you want to, Sol, though I'll be reading it again anyway as it must be 10 years or more since the last time.

Btw: I see on your comment under my blog for 'Another Mother's Son', you've pointed out that 'The Durrells' (whatever that is!) is on TV tonight. Thanks for the pointing out but I ought to say that I'm just not a great TV watcher. News, yes, and the occasional science or arts prog - but otherwise I'm too busy.......reading! :-)

Sol said...

Hey Ray, I think it is only you, me and Linda completing these books. I think we each come up with 2 books and that will take us the following 6 months.

Raybeard said...

Yes, I was getting the impression there was only a tiny handful of us in your 'reading club'. Let's hope it'll grow. I want someone to suggest something I'd never thought of and to discover new horizons.

Sol said...

Hi Ray, exactly, put very succinctly by you. I want to discover new horizons. Maybe that is my mission statement in life! Glad your along for the ride Ray!