If it wasn't for LibriVox, I wouldn't be getting through any of my books during painting time. I listened to Bleak House by Charles Dickens this week and for now, it is my second favorite Dickens - A Christmas Carol being my favorite.
I listened to version three with Mil Nicholson as the narrator, and this narrator made the story come alive changing voice to match each character even getting their characteristics correctly.
This is Esther's story mostly, but interwoven with her story is the Jarndyce vs Jarndyce court case, a sailor, a lost son, a lost mother, orphans, sickness, friendships, and many other people.
I loved Esther's guardian, and how he put others first. He was a treasure of a man. I love how Dickens shows class issues and social issues without being didactic about it. The reader can see how things were and make a judgement for themselves. I also loved Dickens sense of humor in this story and found myself chuckling at times.
Dickens, as many writers from his time period, goes on a bit too much at times and could certainly pare down the story, but this was first published as a weekly series, so he had room to be a bit verbose.
The friendships in this story are realistic. The people are realistic - flaws and all, which makes me like them all the more. Some consider this Dickens' masterpiece and it is indeed a masterpiece of storytelling.
Read to a child today, or allow LibriVox to read to you.