September 08, 2014

I Didn't Know That... by Carol Ferguson


 We are pleased to have Carol Ferguson as our Guest Blogger today.

I am a member of the Hillcrest Church Tattered Edges Book Club. We meet once a month at the church and decide on a book or two that we will read the following month. Our choices are meant to widen our reading experience and can be fiction, non-fiction, historical, theology or biographies.

We just finished reading I Am Malala and it has made a drastic difference in how I view women of the Middle East. We have also read Snow Child, Summer of Light, Friendship Bread and Orphan Train. Quite a variety and some that stretch our minds.

At the beginning of this year, however, our leader had a new idea. She came up with a list of books for us to read during the year, in addition to our monthly choices. There were no titles on this list, only topics. A few of her suggestions were: a book about slavery; a book written because of 911; a book about Canada; a book about a place you’d like to visit; a book written before 1900.

Quite by accident I found a book written before 1900 at a used book sale at the mall. I had never read and since it was only $2.00 I bought it. From my past experience with Charles Dickens, I expected it to be an interesting, fun and a fairly quick read. I was mistaken. Great Expectations

It was unabridged, three-hundred and eighty pages long and each page double the average number of lines. I found it hard to keep track of all the characters and the plot was involved and convoluted. Then I also kept stopping to consider if a word I had just read really was a word or if Dickens was playing tricks on his reading public.

Out of that book came this blog. Prompt: choose three words you didn’t know before, look up the meaning and use them in your writing. Now that I’ve finished the book it has been placed on my bookshelf with all my other books circumjacent (surrounding it). That word wasn’t even in my fat Gage Canadian Dictionary. I eventually found it in the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary. I am sorry to say that the reading of Charles Dickens Great Expectations has not given me a monomania (obsessive enthusiasm) for historical English literature. Perhaps in years to come I will confute (prove to be false) that statement as I continue to widen my reading experience.

My habit is to write a book report on each book I read and it was difficult to decide exactly how much of Great Expectations to put in my report. Which one thread should I choose that Dickens had woven through the entire story? What was Pip's Great Expectation? I have no idea so maybe someone reading this would please let me know. J


  1. Thanks for the wonderful chuckle this morning, Carol. I'm relieved to find that other literary minded people struggle with some of these iconic authors as well.

    Your use of your new words was most impressive. Now, try to get those past a publisher! LOL

  2. Bravo! You did a magnificent job including 3 new words, none of which I can say that I've ever used before. I learned something new!

  3. I'm so glad somebody else has a had time with old English authors. Being the revered author that he is, I have always tried to act like I enjoyed Dicken's writing, and well, " A Tale of Two Cities" never did get finished either! I do love A Christmas Carol though!
    I like your new words! Thanks for sharing Carol! This was good!

  4. I too have read, Great Expectations, but it was a long time ago and it obviously didn't have much of an impact on me because I cannot answer your question.

    I DID enjoy your use of the three words you didn't know, however. And I like the idea of writing a book report on each book you've read--maybe I should do that too.

  5. I read Great Expectation years ago but I have to agree with Connie, that it must not have had an impact on me as I do not remember much of it. However, my 17 year old daughter has a love for the classics and recently read it and loved it. I think it is time I read it again with a fresh perspective!

    I like the idea of writing a book report on each book you read. I homeschool my children and have coached them to write many book reports over the years and never once thought to write one myself!

  6. Good idea and good discipline Carol on writing a book review about each book. I do scribble down some favourite quotes and a few comments from the books I read, but I haven't been doing book reviews for a long time.

    I read a number of the classics while riding my three-bus ride to my summer job for four years. Great Expectations was one of them, but the rest of you, I don't remember much of it. If time would allow, I'd like to reread some of these classics and see what I can get out of them at this stage in my life.


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