“What are you reading?” I ask my ten year old daughter, Gemma-Rose.
She looks up from her Kindle and says, “Bleak House.”
I remember reading this Charles Dickens book a couple of years ago. It took me a long time to finish it. I had to return to the beginning a couple of times and start over again, because I kept putting the book down. By the time I came back to it, I’d forgotten what I’d previously read.
“Are you enjoying it?” I ask.
Gemma-Rose smiles and nods her head. Yes, she is enjoying Charles Dickens.
It was actually Sophie who asked me for a Kindle version of Bleak House. I found a free copy and had it delivered to all the girls’ Kindles, along with a few other free classic novels.
“Classics seem less dense when I read them on my Kindle,” Sophie tells me. I think I know what she means. Most paperback classics are printed in very small font on cheap paper. It takes ages to read each page. But on an ereader the font can be enlarged. The words seem less forbidding.
Sophie and Gemma-Rose have been watching the BBC mini-series version of Bleak House. They’ve seen it maybe three times. And they love it. Now they want more so they’re reading the book.
I have a habit of reading books first and then maybe seeing the movie. Some people might say this is the right way to do things. The books are so much better, because how can you condense a classic into so few movie minutes? But sometimes approaching a classic novel the other way round (movie before book) can work well. At least that’s what I’ve found with my girls. After watching movie versions of all Jane Austen’s books, a couple of Charles Dickens’, and even several of Elizabeth Gaskell’s, all the girls are now eager to read the classics.
Here’s some of the mini-series or movies we’ve enjoyed:
There are other versions of these books, plus many more adaptations of other classic novels.
A couple of thoughts…
The 2007 version of Persuasion has an awful kiss in it (at least we think so!) and the heroine was rather wishy-washy.
And we couldn’t finish the 2007 version of Northanger Abbey. It was unnecessarily sensual. We couldn’t bear to watch it.
So what do you think about the classics? Do you like to read the book first or watch the movie? And do you have a favourite screen classic? I like Bleak House best… or maybe North and South. Oh, it’s hard to decide. So many wonderful versions to watch!
My children’s novel, The Angels of Abbey Creek, is available from Amazon, as well as Lulu and Barnes and Noble.