Not much happens in terms of plot in Bleak House. But I found it sticking with me after I'd finished it. Here are some examples:
- My girlfriend recently explained that since we hadn't gone out to dinner at this one expensive place, we could totally buy this other not-too-expensive thing, and I thought, "Ah! It's Richard Carstone economics!"
- Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies includes a drunk Major who owes the protagonist like 35,000 pounds; I was aware that the drunk Major was the Jarndyce & Jarndyce of that book.
- I'm prone to hyperbole; sometimes I sit on the train, think about how the person snapping his fingers loudly to his blaring iPod buds is the worst person ever, and tell myself, "You're pulling a Boythorn right now."
And we've all met a Jellyby or two, haven't we?
Dickens works like this, for me anyway: he's often underwhelming as I read him, but he gathers strength the further I get from him. He's always pleasant to read, but not always mesmerizing. His impact sneaks up on you. His characters are so finely, iconically drawn that they end up defining things that happen to you later.
Not much happens in Bleak House, but lots of Bleak House happens in my life.