2012, Quarter 1: Charles Dickens

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2012, Quarter 1: Charles Dickens

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Edited: Jan 12, 2012, 12:37pm

Dickens does not need an introduction (although I will update this thread in a bit -- forgot that I had to post it...)

So what are you reading this quarter?

Jan 1, 2012, 5:49am

Quite by chance (i.e. not prompted by this thread) having finished A Christmas Carol just before Christmas I moved on to Great Expectations. I'm both reading and listening to it - I have a wonderful audio version read by Anton Lesser - and I have watched the first episode of the current BBC adaptation.

Jan 1, 2012, 5:54am

I have the new DLE of David Copperfield from Easton Press - publishing the novel in the original parts with all the advertisements and what's not - as they had been published back in the days - but now bound in one book. That is what I plan on reading - I love such editions... :)

Jan 1, 2012, 6:42am

I'm not yet organised enough for Dickens, but I did have a taster by reading A Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve. Charming stuff, now I have to try one of his longer novels! I've got a copy of Great Expectations somewhere, that would be the obvious one to pick up, only my husband had to study it at High School and did NOT enjoy it, and last time I mentioned it he gave me a very thorough and spoiler-laden rundown on why it was so dreadful. Harrumph. (He has been forgiven, of course.)

Edited: Jan 1, 2012, 12:22pm

>3 AnnieMod: That sounds like an awesome edition! David Copperfield is my favorite Dickens's novel and I hope you'll enjoy (although you may have read it already, knowing your voracious reading habits.)

>4 wookiebender: I had to read Great Expectations in both high school and college and enjoyed it both times (in fact, I think I liked even more the second time even though I knew what was going to happen). But you know what they say - 'to each his own'. At any rate, I hope you'll like it!

Most recently, I read A Christmas Carol, a graphic novel version of Oliver Twist (Campfire Graphic Novels), and a children's level biography of Dickens - Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London. Earlier in the year, I re-read Hard Times and in the not-so-distant past (2010), I read Oliver Twist and finally, finally finished A Tale of Two Cities - third time is the charm! So far, A Tale of Two Cities is the only Dickens's novel that I haven't liked, even though it is probably one of his most popular.

My next reads for Dickens are probably Bleak House and Nicholas Nickleby but I've been saying that for a while and I'm really not sure when I'll get to either. My TBR pile is always increasing much faster than I can keep up!

Jan 1, 2012, 12:59pm

I plan to read Oliver Twist, but I probably won't get to it until February. I read a Dickens a year, and this is year 6.

Jan 1, 2012, 7:55pm

I'm reading Barnaby Rudge. It was my very least favorite the first time through the novels, but now I'm older, so maybe this time I'll get it!
Sweetie, Bleak House is my Dickens #1, so I hope you'll make time for it in his bicentennial year. And, oh dear, Joyce, Oliver Twist is my second from the bottom although I did enjoy my reread of it a bit more than the first time through. And, oh dear, yet again. Great Expectations is in the bottom half rather than the top of my list too, Tania. I'm a bit daunted that you all have mentioned some of my least favorites when I am at core such a Dickens Disciple. At least, David Copperfield ranks high with me too.
O.K. I'll leave quietly.

Jan 1, 2012, 8:09pm

>5 sweetiegherkin:

Oh, I've read it. In 2 languages -- I had read all Dickens' novels. But I like him enough to reread and this edition just called to me. :) For the record - I like both NN and BH a lot (but then... I like pretty much anything he had written so.... )

>7 LizzieD:

Leave? Where are you going? Do I need to tie you to a chair so you stay with us?

Jan 1, 2012, 10:36pm

#7 - I don't have high hopes for Oliver Twist, but I'm working my way through the eleven Dickens from the 1001 list.

Jan 2, 2012, 10:57am

>8 AnnieMod: Oh, Annie, now you've done it. I'm like a stray puppy: pet me once and I'm yours for life!

Jan 2, 2012, 3:44pm

I love Charles Dickens' works!

A Tale of Two Cities and The Pickwick Papers remain all time favourites.

Great Expectations I have learned to love more with time.

Hard Times is a much maligned book for no apparent reason. I liked it when I read it in 2010.

Little Dorrit was long drawn out but overall enjoyable.

Some of his more obscure works like Mrs. Lirriper's Lodgings, Mrs. Lirriper's Legacy and A House To Let are also very enjoyable!

The only Dickens book I didn't enjoy was surprisingly David Copperfield. I was really disappointed by it.

Jan 12, 2012, 12:33pm

I just noticed that there will be a (sort of) Dickens-themed ReadaThing at the beginning of February.


Jan 13, 2012, 10:26pm

Thanks, Bernadette. I signed up since I've started Barnaby Rudge. Much as I love Dickens, this is my least favorite, and I'm still finding the writing not sharp. I haven't read much, however.

Edited: Jan 13, 2012, 10:40pm

I've heard of a Christmas carol hmm sound interesting!

Jan 14, 2012, 1:04am

Oh, it looks like they set up a Dickens-specific thread for the ReadaThing. I guess I shouldn't have been so quick off the draw. :-)


Jan 15, 2012, 12:03am

I will most likely read Great Expectations. I have never really read Dickens and my elder daughter has been reading and rereading him since she was in 5th grade. She can't understand why I don't love him. I think I have just never given him a chance. I will start one of his books and put it down after a few pages. Perhaps this time I will actually read the entire book. hope so........

Jan 15, 2012, 12:05am

>16 rainpebble:

Ugh... If you accept advices, try his Christmas books instead - the Christmas Carol is probably the easiest for new readers; the rest are good as well. Or some short stories.

If you had started his books and did not like them enough to continue, you probably will have issue with that one as well. All of his books take a while to pickup and the only thing that holds them together until them is his language. And it seems like that did not work for you.

PS: I might be wrong of course and you might become the biggest Dickens fan in the world. But from experience...

Jan 24, 2012, 1:07am

Hi all, I plan on starting Bleak House next week and hope to read a few more before the year is out.

Jan 24, 2012, 7:10am

Finished Great Expectations and am now about a quarter of the way through audio and kindle editions of The Old Curiosity Shop. The reading, by Anton Lesser, is wonderful but I'm not finding the book as enjoyable as GE.

Jan 25, 2012, 5:12pm

Bleak House is my very, very favorite Dickens, Bonnie. Just typing the words makes me want to start it all over again. Belva, I don't know that I'd start with Great Expectations either. The Old Curiosity Shop was my first, and since I loved it, I may just be strange - it's on the bad list for a lot of people. Meanwhile, I'm making no progress with old Barnaby, but in my defense, I'm trying to finish 1Q84 in January, and it's a whopper, so there's really not time for much of anything else.

Feb 4, 2012, 3:26pm

I've been listening to Sketches by Boz (audiobook from librivox) and really enjoying it.
I also stumbled upon this interesting piece from the BBC on Dickens' 1842 trip to America:

Feb 5, 2012, 4:35pm

Hi all. I just joined the group. I'm reading David Copperfield and loving every minute. A Christmas Carol and Bleak House are two of my favorites. A Tale of Two Cities was great in parts and a bit of a slog in others. That's the extent of my Dickens experience, but I'm encouraged by the remarks on this thread to read more of the great CD.

Feb 8, 2012, 12:24am

Just discovered this group via the Virago Modern Classics group--I'm sorry I've missed out on so many good conversations here! I've read quite a few of Dickens' novels, and was actually just thinking about re-reading David Copperfield. Last year I read Nicholas Nickleby and Little Dorrit for the first time, and loved both of them. The recent BBC adaptation of Little Dorrit was wonderful, and actually made me enjoy the book more. I also started Our Mutual Friend, but didn't get very far; maybe I'll try that again after David Copperfield.

Feb 17, 2012, 11:53pm

Halfway through David Copperfield. I've been taking lots of breaks from it, since it's just as I remembered--LONG, and not just in number of pages. It's more readable than some of Dickens' other works, since he doesn't bog down in descriptions as often, but at the same time it's lacking the mystery or action of his other books. If only David were a little more interesting in himself, I'd enjoy reading about his life more, but even the plethora of memorable characters surrounding him are not quite enough to keep me enthralled.

Feb 19, 2012, 1:18pm

>24 kdcdavis: Interesting comments. David Copperfield is certainly lengthy and I remember it took me quite a while to get through the past 100 pages or so, but after that I read the remaining ~800 pages in a week. I was enthralled at that point, but maybe a second time around and knowing how it all ends, it might go slower. (Then again, I think I read Great Expectations faster the second time around when I knew what would happen because I appreciated the book so much more than when I had to read in high school.)

Feb 21, 2012, 2:15pm

I'm not sure if I can get to reading Dickens just now, but he is one of one of my favorites. I think that he padded his work (e.g. the chapter on footsteps in Tale of Two Cities) because he was being paid by the installment and he wrote happy endings that don't really fit (e.g. the end of Bleak House)in order to pander to his fans, but in the end, none of that matters, because he's still so wonderful. Maybe, after all, I will try to read one of the shorter books that I haven't yet read.

Feb 22, 2012, 10:29am

I am halfway through Great Expectations and I have gone from liking Pip (and feeling sorry for him) to hating him. Now I heart Joe and want to adopt him instead.