Today was a gray cloud day. Not in the way of the weather but in the way of my mood. I wanted to storm and stomp about to rage until there was nothing left to rage about and I couldn’t remember what it was I was enraged with. In other words I was in a foul mood. I can’t say exactly what had me so angry but I woke up on the wrong side of the bed as they say. It was with me to start the day and in some ways it lingers still. I think it is that I am coming to the conclusion that Bleak House is not a book I can finish quickly nor is it one that can be savored, but it is one that must be finished.
That isn’t to say it is a bad book or there aren’t enjoyable parts. I have laughed on several occasions and characters with telling names like Mr. Guppy or Mr. Krook are funny in their own way, but I believe the issue is I am reading it wrong. That is to say the entire lay out and publication of it is wrong. It is a Victorian sitcom of a sort. Maybe more like a one hour drama. Imagine watching nothing but Law and Order for twenty strait episodes with no breaks. That is what novel version of Bleak House or any Dickens is like.
Bleak House was originally published in 20 serialized sections. It is now published as one 900 page novel. Those are two very different sorts of readings. In the first you read 1/20 of the novel or roughly 45 pages. Then go about a month before picking it back up and reading more of it. That means I should be reading roughly three chapters in a day or so and moving on to a different work and coming back to it the next month, but I am just powering on through.
I think about the way art is meant to be enjoyed a lot. Mostly in regards to video games. As I have gone on video games have gotten longer and longer and they are at a point where they are ridiculously long. Some taking upwards of 120 hours to complete. I appreciate the approach of making a world we can live in and exist in and truly get an immersive roll playing experience but at the same time it loses something of the story and makes the game impossible to review. I hate reading reviews of the latest 120 hour epic open world game. Most of the review is the reviewer complaining about having a limited amount of time to play the game. A 120 hour game is best played over 120 days. Enjoyed more like a very long TV series than crammed into one week to beat an editors deadline and get a review in. Reading Bleak House as a novel I feel like that poor video game reviewer having the wrong sort of experience with things.