Charles Dickens? Check!

I finished the Charles Dickens books I had planned on, before my birthday! I cut it closer than i ever have before, by two days, but i also had 4x as many books to read!

I found a great resource, particularly for those Dickens which were a bit dry! It’s called the Friendly Dickens by Norrie Epstein, She explains the plot and subtleties so i can understand Dickens (at least a little more!)
Here’s the highlights!

Favorite: Bleak House and Little Dorrit
I don’t know if i would like these books quite as well as if i hadn’t seen the movies based on these! They’re sweet, but with a bit of that classic dark dickens in them. Also Bleak House is the ONLY Dickens to be written (at least partly) from a female’s perspective!

Most thought-provoking: A Tale of Two Cities
I was VERY intimidated with this book. I was afraid that all those subtle under-lying themes would be lost on me. But, i took my time with it and found that it was quite enjoyable… if a little heavy šŸ™‚

Least Favorite(s): Martin Chuzzlewit
I never got fully invested in this book. It seemed like it had the driest characters out of Dickens. It just seemed to drag!

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Charles Dickens? Check!

  1. arati7490

    I agree with u on ‘Tale of Two Cities’. Though intimidating, the book has a refreshing feel than the other usual protagonist-centred works of Dickens.

  2. kberke

    Perhaps my favorite was Our Mutual Friend, then Bleak House, then I’m not sure. OMF is up there in part because OMF was the subject of the first Dickens Universe I attended.

    On the subject of Tale of Two Cities: Very difficult on first reading–it seemed as if it had been written by someone else. Yet, I read and re-read and re-read. I’m finally comfy with it. The end still confuses me, but now it’s very high on my favorites list.

    Got to say that I liked Chuzzlewit. I found Pecksniff among CD’s most hateful characters–born so that we’d know the meaning of the word hypocrite.

    I’ve got a blog here on WordPress. Mostly Trollope, so far, but I’ve just finished and commented on a current book by Ian McEwan. Here’s the URL: http://kberkeblog.wordpress.com/.

  3. kberke

    A question regarding Little Dorrit and Bleak House being your favorites: What in each novel particularly appealed to you?

    • rebornbutterfly

      For the most part, It was the fact that women were actually a part of the story, and end up being crucial to the end.
      For one, Bleak House is the only Dickens novel narrated by a female protagonist. Plus, i just think it’s an all round good example of the best work of Charles Dickens. He has a touch of romance, politics, law, early death, everything that makes a Dickens so Dicksonian. šŸ™‚

      As for the other, Little Dorrit.
      Though it’s not as romantic as the Matthew Macfadyen version would wish you to believe, it still held a bit of that mystery the other Dickens seem to lack for me.
      Little Dorrit also had a personal tie to Dickens the others didn’t. His father was also a debtor in the Marshalsea prison, like Amy’s father William.
      I remember hearing in various reading about the fall of the house of Clennam, and after reading Little Dorrit, I got it!
      I have other reasons, but i think those are the best šŸ™‚

      • kberke

        I so agree with your comments.

        BH: Dickens had his share of trouble with law, mostly with copyright, if I remember correctly–so a tie to that theme is present in Dickens’s life too.

        Wish I could recall the details of that scene in which Esther and Lady Dedlock are out of the rain in a cabin at Chesney Wold. Lady Dedlock speaks, and someone thinks it was Esther who had spoken. How clever was that?

        LD: Very true about Dickens and debtors’ prison. Talk about a timeless book: LD seems like a Madoff book, a century and a half before Modoff’s time. Another Victorian Madoff book is Trollope’s The Way We Live Now.

      • kberke

        Google books is wonderful. I just found that passage with Lady D and Esther out of the rain. Ada’s in the scene too. Here it is:

        “The lodge was so dark within, now the sky was overcast, that we only clearly saw the man who came to the door when we took shelter
        there and put two chairs for Ada and me. The lattice-windows were all thrown open, and we sat just within the doorway watching the
        storm. It was grand to see how the wind awoke, and bent the trees, and drove the rain before it like a cloud of smoke; and to hear the
        solemn thunder and to see the lightning; and while thinking with awe of the tremendous powers by which our little lives are encompassed, to consider how beneficent they are and how upon the smallest flower and leaf there was already a freshness poured from
        all this seeming rage which seemed to make creation new again.

        ‘Is it not dangerous to sit in so exposed a place?’

        ‘Oh, no, Esther dear!’ said Ada quietly.

        Ada said it to me, but I had not spoken.”

        Gives me chills again.

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