Tea or Books? #6: mothers vs fathers in fiction and Dickens on page vs screen


Tea or Books logoFictional mothers vs fictional fathers and Dickens on the page vs Dickens on screen in this episode of Tea or Books? – and I think Rachel and I are at our most rambling. What can I say, we had a lot of thoughts and a lot of books to suggest – but we would obviously love to hear your thoughts too. Jump in the comments if you have strong feelings on either of the topics we discuss – or if you have ideas for future discussions.

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The books we mention in the podcast (and there are a lot this time!) are:

The Middle Window by Elizabeth Goudge
The Thirteen Guests by J. Jefferson Farjeon
The Lake District Murders by John Bude
Quick Curtain by Alan Melville
Death of Anton by Alan Melville
The Majestic Mystery by Denis Mackail
When We Were Very Young by A.A. Milne
Little Women by Louisa M. Alcott
The Railway Children by E. Nesbit
The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge
The Runaways by Elizabeth Goudge
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
Harry Potter series
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
Famous Five series
Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield
Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons by Shirley Jackson
M for Mother by Marjorie Riddell
Please Don’t Eat the Daisies by Jean Kerr
Man and Boy by Tony Parsons
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker
Guard Your Daughters by Diana Tutton
Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting by Penelope Mortimer
The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Vet’s Daughter by Barbara Comyns
To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
Alas, Poor Lady by Rachel Ferguson
Thank Heaven Fasting by E.M. Delafield
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
South Riding by Winifred Holtby
Virginia Woolf by Winifred Holtby
The Crowded Street by Winifred Holtby
Mrs Miniver by Jan Struther
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

13 thoughts on “Tea or Books? #6: mothers vs fathers in fiction and Dickens on page vs screen

  • October 13, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    You mentioned Marilynne Robinson several times, but another book that might have featured in your discussion of fathers and mothers is Housekeeping (mothers, actually, and female relatives in general), which is quite different from Home and Gilead, but has some similar themes to Lila.

    • October 18, 2015 at 11:05 pm

      I loved Housekeeping as well – she can do no wrong in my eyes! – but I have to confess to not remembering a huge amount about it. One I’ll definitely have to revisit.

  • October 13, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Always Dickens on the page. Although there have been some wonderful adaptations, they don’t capture his absolutely wonderful writing, which I wouldn’t miss for the world!

    • October 18, 2015 at 11:05 pm


  • October 14, 2015 at 1:10 am

    I always prefer Dickens on the page, though I enjoy most of the adaptations. In the case of “Great Expectations”, the David Lean movie from the 1940s is the only adaptation I have liked.

    • October 14, 2015 at 1:11 am

      I forgot to add that “Oliver”, the musical does have some nice songs which is of course something you do not get from reading Dickens.

    • October 18, 2015 at 11:06 pm

      I certainly remember being impressed by the Lean adaptation – though I suppose that’s hardly surprising, given how great Lean always is!

  • October 16, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    When talking of father’s in books you neglected to mention the Scouse father in the Book of Numbers, half of the duo Eldad and Medad. “Me dad” being how a Scouser might refer to his father!

    As for Dickens adaptations for screen, I have to inform you this was not as recent as you suggested. It was actually a decade ago, 2005. Where does the time go?

    • October 16, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      Sorry that should, of course, have read fathers in books not father’s. I’m blaming auto correct.

    • October 18, 2015 at 11:07 pm

      Oh, David David David…

      And which was a decade ago? Surely not Great Expectations??

      • October 19, 2015 at 7:06 pm

        Apologies for the awful quipp, and for forgetting to mention which Dickens adaptation I was alluding to which was the 2005 version featuring Gillian Anderson and Timothy West.

        • October 21, 2015 at 7:04 pm

          I was talking about the Bleak House adaptation. Somehow I forgot to mention the title not once but twice, sorry!

  • November 2, 2015 at 1:34 am

    New listener . . . enjoyed the podcast! Noel Streatfeild’s Saplings had an interesting parental dynamic – rather negligent mother, but attentive father.

    There was a 1998 mini-series adaptation of Our Mutual Friend that was quite good (Keeley Hawes, David Bradley, Paul McGann). There were characters excised, but Jenny Wren did make the cut. Just talking about it makes me want to rewatch it. And of course the 2005 Bleak House was excellent. And I’m a fan of the books as well. I think I read them after seeing the mini-series. And you’re absolutely right – so much of the humor doesn’t make it to the screen. But Dickens is hilarious.


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