Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • Hayley

      Signing Up   11/06/2018

      Signing Up is once again available. New members are very welcome
    • Hayley

      January Supporter Giveaway   01/16/2019

        I'm thrilled to (finally, sorry for the delay!) announce the January giveaway, with a Sherlock Holmes theme! Supporters can win a beautiful little hardback edition of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as well as a stylish a5 print by www.thestorygift.co.uk/, featuring some witty advice from the great detective.     As always, if you support on patreon or if you supported before patreon (and did so less than twelve months ago), you'll be entered into the giveaway automatically. If you're not a supporter but want to take part, you can support for this month here: https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum .   The winner will be selected at random on January 31st. Good luck!  
Michelle

Charles Dickens

Recommended Posts

Yes it's definitely great to be able to get so many free classics .

 

I'm a fan of the Delphi Classics collections, and bought the complete works of Dickens for the princely sum of £1.67.  The vastly improved formatting, the inclusion of the original illustrations, and other bits and pieces make this definitely worth paying the peanuts charged compared to the freebie downloads, which I've found so inconsistent and skeletal in their format. 

 

Finished David Copperfield a couple of weeks ago for my book group.  Has to be one of the greatest collections of characters in a single book ever, and worth it for them, even when the plotting flagged a tiny bit in places.  I'd still put Bleak  House out in front, but it's a thoroughly worthy contender, and a possibility for my top 20 favourite book list!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the way that scenes and main topics  change during a Dickens novel. Am reading Barnaby Rudge, it alters the scene a lot, with sudden in depth information on the United Bulldogs, a band of Protestant fanatics wanting to rid the world of Catholics. Dickens takes a swipe at all forms of bigotry, in a sarcastic and humorous way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try Bleak House next, Ben, it's got a great cast of characters - some you'll love, some you'll hate, but all memorable.

 

I'd totally agree there..I read it recently..but came to it by a circuitous route.There's a fairly recent book out by Lynn Shepherd called Tom All-Alone's which is a victorian detective story based on some of the characters who appear in Bleak House. I'd heard this discussed on The Readers podcast, and it inspired me to read Dickens first, so that when I did get to it I'd 'get all the references' (although you could read it as a stand-alone' work )

The upshot of this long story is that I read both, and surprised myself because apart from reading the usual 'Great Expectations' and 'A Christmas Carol', I hadn't got past the idea that Dickens was too long-winded, or complex.  I was wrong on both counts..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm reading A Christmas Carol right now. Only a few pages in and it seems alright so far. I'm not entirely sure what's going on yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A Christmas Carol is a beautiful, haunting story. Everybody knows that one whether they've read the book or seen one of the many adaptations. I think The Chimes is even better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Chimes is certainly scarier in my opinion, Lau Lou! I do love the film's and novel of a C.C. .

Maybe familiarity cushions the scariness, though??

 

Enjoy your Dickens reading L L.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Possibly because we were force fed Dickens at my school, I have

 a deep aversion to his works. I can understand why people revere

them, and have no wish to argue, each to their own; but for me, just

the mention of his name brings down a curtain of boring tedium in my

mind. If you like them, then enjoy them. Sadly, not for me though!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have read the following:

  • Great Expectations
  • Hard Times
  • A Christmas Carol
  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • Oliver Twist
  • Bleak House
  • David Copperfield

So far I have liked Great Expectations the best, followed by Bleak House. I find him patchy, but there is usually some great writing in there somewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd suggest The Pickwick Papers (Dickens's first novel) . It starts off a bit silly (Dickens was criticised at the time), but once it gets into its stride and Dickens develops Mr Pickwick's character it becomes a wonderfully entertaining picaresque - with its dark episodes (Dickens was all too familiar with the reality of imprisonment in a debtors' prison, for instance), his satirical, knowledgeable and (to me, at any rate!) fascinating depictions of legal practice in the 1830s - and Dickens is responsible for our romantic ideas about stagecoaches. Here they are, in their reality, not always romantic (he was writing, as a young man, at the end of the stagecoach era, and they never again get so much attention in his books). Anyway, I think you'll love it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am very tempted to start reading Dickens this year. From what I've heard about his writing style (verbose & detailed) I think I would enjoy his novels.

 

Do you guys think his novels are the types of works which stay with you after you've finished them? In other words, do they reflect things about humanity/society that make you see the present world in a different way? 

 

Perhaps a bit of an odd question, but am very curious!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Angury Personally I would say yes, definitely. All the Dickens novels that I've read have some kind of specific social criticism, but as Dickens was very anti-Utilitarian, they also always have a focus on the importance of the individual. Simple acts of kindness are often shown to have a sort of ripple effect, influencing the way things turn out in a big way. They're hopeful novels, telling us that even though there are terrible things and horrible people in the world, there are also kind and misunderstood people, and that you can make a big difference in the world just by being one of the good people. 

 

Hard Times is probably my favourite in terms of the social criticism. It mainly looks at why we need imagination and fancy, not just fact and science, but it's also about class imbalances and has a pretty scathing portrayal of nineteenth century divorce laws. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/31/2018 at 8:24 PM, Hayley said:

@Angury Personally I would say yes, definitely. All the Dickens novels that I've read have some kind of specific social criticism, but as Dickens was very anti-Utilitarian, they also always have a focus on the importance of the individual. Simple acts of kindness are often shown to have a sort of ripple effect, influencing the way things turn out in a big way. They're hopeful novels, telling us that even though there are terrible things and horrible people in the world, there are also kind and misunderstood people, and that you can make a big difference in the world just by being one of the good people. 

 

Hard Times is probably my favourite in terms of the social criticism. It mainly looks at why we need imagination and fancy, not just fact and science, but it's also about class imbalances and has a pretty scathing portrayal of nineteenth century divorce laws. 

 

This is exactly what I was looking for - thanks Hayley!

 

I will add Dickens to my growing list of books to read.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dickens often..... everywhere from Sketches by Boz to  Bleak House....lambasts charity and specifically self appointed helpers and self styled humanitarian help that is riddled with hypocrisy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, itsmeagain said:

Dickens often..... everywhere from Sketches by Boz to  Bleak House....lambasts charity and specifically self appointed helpers and self styled humanitarian help that is riddled with hypocrisy.

 

Yes, Bleak House has such a good example of this! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Hayley.

I forget the name of the woman philanthropist in Bleak House, who he lampoons for hypocrisy, meanness of spirit, and absolutely base cruelty too.

Puts me in mind of the risks of charity in general, when I read of the Oxfam abuse revelations etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finished my first ever Dickens this week, in the form of A Christmas Carol, which I got as a free download from Amazon on my Kindle a while back.

 

I enjoyed it, but I read it in fits and starts so I don't think I got the most out of it (getting back into the language took a few pages each time).

 

I think I will try this again next year and actually read it in the run up to Christmas rather than starting it on Christmas Eve!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, you're not too late finishing "Carol" this week Raven. We had 12th Night on Sunday 6th (Epiphany) and it's the Baptism of the Lord day on the 13th, so actually you were still within the traditional Christmas period.😀

It's only in what we call "real life" that everything disappears with new year. 😕

 

Yes, give C.C. another read a bit earlier maybe, next year. I read it, or watch at least one of the films every year. 

Scrooge may be a miser but he's courageous too, and honest enough to acknowledge the worst in himself, and actually do something about it when the Spirits shake him out of his rut. 

 

Dickens dropped a hint to his readers through the story for us to care more for each other in life. Like back then, it seems to work mostly in spasms nowadays, too.

 

Happy New Year :readingtwo: everyone!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



×