As English was my chosen course of study, and I now tutor English myself, reading has always been a big part of my life. Whilst I couldn't be described as someone who 'eats books,' I do enjoy reading as much as time will allow. My reading schedule of late has been, for want of a better word, 'blended.' By this I mean that I have been dipping in and out of classics, modern literature, and study books. A real chamelion you might say (although I'd reluctantly describe myself more as scatty).
One of my students is studying Great Expectations, so I have found myself gasping for breath before dipping back into the dreadedly epic Dickens. And, after finally coming up for air after what I can best describe as an emotionally plummeting dive into his world of loveable (if not occasionally two-dimensional) characters, colourful and imaginative plot (that takes more twists and turns than a trained Dolphin at sea world), it was a far more enjoyable experience than I had anticipated. I can finally talk about Dickens with excitement, and shed the shame I have held as an English student avoiding such a classic. Of course, I strongly recommend that you read this book! I personally became intrigued by Dickens's central character, Pip, and his emotional and revelatory journey of realising his 'Great Expectations,' and then realising that he has lost these in their very pursuit. It is a story of childhood, hope, love, and above all, of loss, against the backdrop of the sinister old-London that Dickens paints with unequalled skill. The well-known abandoned bride, Miss Havisham, whose house has been left to decay around her, is a character from the novel who has inspired many. Her tragic tale of lost love has been explored by Carol Ann Duffy in her poem 'Havisham'
MEAN TIME (1998)
Beloved sweetheart bastard. Not a day since then
I haven’t wished him dead. Prayed for it
so hard I’ve dark green pebbles for eyes,
ropes on the back of my hands I could strangle with.
Spinster. I stink and remember. Whole days
in bed cawing Nooooo at the wall; the dress
yellowing, trembling if I open the wardrobe;
the slewed mirror, full-length, her, myself, who did this
to me? Puce curses that are sounds not words.
Some nights better, the lost body over me,
my fluent tongue in its mouth in its ear
then down till I suddenly bite awake. Love’s
hate behind a white veil; a red balloon bursting
in my face. Bang. I stabbed at a wedding-cake.
Give me a male corpse for a long slow honeymoon.
Don’t think it’s only the heart that b-b-b-breaks.
Controversial? Yes, of course! But I am always fascinated by others' interpretations of literature.
Next time I must tell you about my more 'modern' reads ;)