For the last couple of months I have been spending chunks of my time in Barchester. It was Radio 4 that started it. There was a serialised adaptation, a very good one of the last chronicle, and I loved it.
This year work has taken me to Salisbury several times, and as I have walked through the cathedral close, I have felt guiltily aware that while I have enjoyed BBC television adaptions of Trollope, I have never read the books.
Well that’s changed now. He wrote a lot, so I still have opportunities to read more but the for the moment, the Grantlys, the Dales and dear Johhny Eames can get on with their lives without me peering over their shoulders.
Trollope’s frequent references to womanliness and manliness grated at times, but he also made me laugh, something Dickens seldom manages with this reader. His writing is less sentimental, more forgiving. I get the feeling he liked people more than Dickens did. Certainly I know which of the two men I’d prefer to spend a day with if I could time travel.
I switched between reading and listening depending on where I was and what I was doing. The books are out of copyright and so available free as e-books. Timothy West does a brilliant job of reading them aloud and amazingly the audio versions were free too.
So if you are twiddling your thumbs, wondering what to read on holiday, or what to listen to as you walk to the train station, give Trollope a go.
I’m sure you won’t regret it.
For myself, I am starting to tackle to ever growing pile of books in the flat, and the list of more books I mean to borrow or buy. I am enjoying Alan Johnson’s memoir, This Boy, but I reckon it won’t be too long before The Pallisers call me back to Trollope.