I feel so virtuous. Like my mind has been on a marathon session at the brain gym!
Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens. I'm a bit ambiguous about Dickens. I had to read Great Expectations at school and I hated it. On the other hand, A Tale of Two Cities is one of my favourite books. But I have a sort of list of 'books I should read' which is traditional classics, fantasy & sf masterworks, key feminist and minority texts, and anything else that I come across that seems important.
It took about sixty pages to get into the rhythm of Martin Chuzzlewit and that was hard going. It's been a while since I read anything where the average sentence has more than three clauses. Anyway, once I got into the swing of it, I loved it. It was funny and I found myself laughing and smiling a lot. I loved the snarky portrayal of the characters and the swipes at broader societal hypocrisy. It's a huge read - even by comparison with today's epic fantasy novels - and covers the doings of a family of nefarious characters, anyone of which could have had a book all to themselves. It's not an easy read, but well worth it.