Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Reading Habits

I love to read and I'm a fast reader, but a couple of books have really slowed me down lately: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell and Villette by Charlotte Bronte.  The problem is language,  North and South primarily takes place in the north of England in an imaginary town called Milton, research suggests it's supposed to be Manchester.  When the characters from that area talk it's all in dialect.  I'm no expert and I assume it's some sort of midlands dialect.   I  thought at first it was a Yorkshire drawl, but if it takes place in Manchester and that's not Yorkshire.
It really slows the story down for me.  Instead of breezing along I have to read very slowly to get the meaning of what's going on.  I was very frustrated at first and almost gave up on the book, but it's such a good book I couldn't.  And I'm glad I didn't, I'm almost finished and it's so good.  Reading the dialect hasn't gotten much easier, but I don't mind as much now that I know the characters better.  I'll do a review of this book when I finish it.

The other book giving me trouble, Villette, and the  problem is because of all the French sprinkled
through it.  I guess that most educated people at the time this book was written could read and speak
French, but I cannot.  I read and speak Spanish so you can throw Italian and Latin at me and I can pretty much figure things out.  I lived in Germany for a number of years and even though I don't speak it well, I usually recognize enough to understand short bits of it.  But French destroys and annoys me.  I'm not the biggest fan of the Brontes to begin with, but I needed a book written a 100 years before I was born for a book challenge so I chose Vlilette.  I'm about half way through it, page 300 and something, and I'll be honest, I'm not sure I'll finish it.  I just don't care enough about the main character to go on, I don't care what happens to her.
Are there things in books that give you trouble?


  1. I find that I dislike books written by authors from India because they seem to me to be very long winded and no matter how many I try they end up not being read. Perhaps it is a cultural difference too far ?

  2. Something that drives me nuts is when an author uses too much dialogue or dialogue that is meaningless. Just like people who talk too much and don't say anything! I've quit in the middle of a few of those.
    I loved the BBC series, North and South. It was so good and I'd love to see it again.

  3. I second what Cynthia said. The BBC series of North and South is terrific. I highly recommend watching it!

  4. Too many people drive me nuts, when you have to keep a cheat sheet on who goes with who:)

  5. Using twenty words when two would have said the same annoys me intensely. I must admit I have not been reading very much of late, other things seem to have taken priority.

  6. Any language, other than English, would give me problems. I can recognise a little French from my schooldays but other than that, I'm lost. Manchester is in Lancashire so it's probably a Lancashire accent, which some people confuse with Yorkshire.

  7. The written word / language sometimes it flows which is great and other times it does slow us down.

    I guess the important thing is are you enjoying the read?

    All the best Jan

  8. Wow, reading in a foreign language, I am in awe!

  9. I totally understand your problems, Janet, and we have talked on my page about it. Yes, the problem with Villette truly is the fact that people at the time would know more French, it was the lingua franca of the time, people would just throw a French word at you as they do it now with English. You could probably read half of a German or Dutch text, for example, because they are littered with English expressions.

    North and South is a different thing. Yes, there are a lot of people in there who talk differently, and of course, we know that's to show the difference between the different kind of people. They still use it a lot today and I've come across it a few times in American literature, as well. What I've learned through the years is that the main thing is that you get what they are talking about, you get used to it after a while and it's not important to understand every little word. I know my lanugage has improved a lot just by reading texts that I didn't fully grasp at first but would after a while.

    Anyway, I hope you will finish North and South at least and let me know how you liked the end.

    As to Villette, how much do you enjoy other Brontë novels? I don't like Wuthering Heights much but have come to really like Anne most of the three sisters. I highly recommend The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

    Sorry this is sprinkled with links but that way you can find my reviews better.

    Anyway, I don't mind anything too difficult or most of the stuff your other friends mention, I love it when there are tons of people in a story, for example, usually make myself a "family tree", love that. I hate it when facts are mixed up or plain wrong. If they mention a real life event, they should get the dates right, for example. And if someone is, let's say, ten years older than someone else at the beginning of the novel, it should stay that way and not eight or twelve years in later chapters. I'm sure you know what I mean. These kind of things really aggravate me.

    Anyway, was nice reading your post. Talk to you soon and have a happy weekend.

    Marianne from
    Let's Read

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