19 March 2015

God knows I love Trollope, but Phineas bores me

 
I've read the Barsetshire series and loved them--although the final volume could have used a better editor. And I've read 4 or 4 stand alones like Dr. Wortle's School and Three Clerks and loved those as well. I've even read four of the six Palliser novels, and that is where things started to go wrong. I liked Can You Forgive Her?  But then Phineas Finn bored the sox off of me. I enjoyed The Eustace Diamonds for sure, but thought it a little one note. And then Phineas Redux, hmm, now I'm not even sure I have read that one yet. So I guess I have only read the first three.

So why do I bring this up now? When I started listening to audiobooks on my new commute I loved listening to Timothy West read Trollope and decided to listen to the Pallisers again in hopes of juicing me up to read the rest of them. Well, I enjoyed listening to Can You Forgive Her?, but Phineas Finn in audiobook is boring me as much as it did in print. It's making me think I want to give up on the Pallisers entirely. A little sad perhaps, but it frees me up to listen to the Barsetshire series which I know I will enjoy and it will give me a chance to pick up one of the many non-Palliser Trollope novels I have on my shelves that I have been neglecting because of my intent to finish off the Palliser novels first.

Also exciting is that I don't have to listen to 21 more hours of Phineas.


15 comments:

  1. Oh, dear. Phones Finn was next on my list of Trollopes. Maybe I'll skip it in favor of Lady Anna. If you're looking for a great standalone, I highly recommend The Way We Live Now. Long, but great. I also loved Rachel Ray and Ayala's Angel.

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    1. I don't think I have read The Way We Live Now. Is it possible I saw a TV adaptation of it?

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  2. The Phineas books are not my favourites, but they're Trollope so I still re-read them. Anyway, isn't Timothy West wonderful? I wish he'd done all the Trollopes. Have you tried any Dickens audio books? Here in England we have them read by Martin Jarvis, Anton Lesser and Alex Jennings and they're all brilliant.

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    1. Timothy West is really wonderful. His reading is almost enough to make me keep listening to Phineas. I haven't tried any Dickens yet. So far I am only listening to books that I have read already and besides Hard Times I haven't read any Dickens. I just can't get into him.

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  3. I always find the politics confusing and not all that interesting, but I like Phineas himself. I think that it's the side characters who really carry the story for me!

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    1. I fancied I knew a bit about the English parliamentary system, but these books prove that I do not. And the political parties make it confusing as well.

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  4. It's liberating to put aside books we're not enjoying! I'm working my way through the Barsetshire series now (print/audio combinations). Timothy West narrated The Warden and I'm currently listening to Simon Vance read Barchester Towers.

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    1. If nothing else the Phineas experience has gotten me excited to listen to Barsetshire.

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  5. I've still got the last two to read in the Barchester series, and you're making me think twice about the Pallisers. However, it did make me wonder if there's some fodder here for a future The Readers episode...have you found duds in some of your favorite authors' backlists? Does it change/color your opinion of your favorites? Does it change how you recommend an author? Do you find yourself recommending just the favorite titles and stay silent about the one-off's or do you warn people away from the duds? etc. Actually, that might not be a very long conversation, but it popped into my mind (and I was trying to remember if I'd ever heard Simon talk about a DuMaurier title that didn't work for him? :) ). Have a great weekend.

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    1. That is a good idea for The Readers. After the Barchester series, I think I would go for the stand alones or don't worry about reading the Phineas volumes. The Eustace Diamonds is worth it fort sure.

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  6. The Warden and B, Towers are both re-reads for me, so I'm listening to them this time around. Simon Vance (as a narrator) is great, too!

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    1. So far I have found that I greatly prefer listening to audio books with British voices. I've been underwhelmed by my American readers.

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  7. Skip Phineas, but don't miss The Prime Minister and The Duke's Children.

    And the last two books of Barchester are great as well, especially The Last Chronicle of Barset.

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    1. Good to know about TPM and TDC. But I did find The Last Chronicle of Barset a tad boring.

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  8. I seem to be in a minority in having enjoyed the Palliser books as much as the Barsetshire series. I liked both of the Phineas Finn books, but that may be because I work for my State Parliament (sort of) and therefore found a lot of the detail about the way Parliament worked back in the olden days quite interesting. I think you would probably enjoy The Prime Minister and The Duke's Children. I'm looking forward to reading The Way We Live Now some time soon. There was a TV adaptation aout 10 years ago, with David Suchet (Poirot) in the main role.

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