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Found 13 results

  1. Anyone here read this one? I'm chugging my way through this as a kind of bedtime read, one chapter a day - it's a long book! Only about a third of the way through so far. Initially I thought it felt very like a "novel" that was produced in parts, with fairly artificial divisions between episodes. But as it goes on, I find I'm more and more hooked on the ongoing experiences of Mr Pickwick. A bit random, but does anyone else think Tolkien's Samwise Gamgee is a bit derivative of Sam Weller, Mr Pickwick's man-servant? Or does using the name Sam make it homage, and therefore okay? ;-)
  2. I know that Dickens is one of the big names of English literature and all that - but whenever he comes up in conversation the only response I hear is people saying, "I know he's supposed to be good.....but I find him really, really hard going" I'd love to hear from those who do genuinely enjoy reading him. What are the rest of us missing out on? Why is he such a good read? Have tastes changed, so he's temporarily out of favour? Anyone else struggle with him? I tend to get stuck after a couple of pages and give up, I'm afraid. Though somehow, I made it all the way through "Great Expectations" and I really enjoyed it - especially the first half with the convict and the moorland and the grave yard. It was wonderful stuff - so why do I struggle with the rest of his novels so much?
  3. I read the Wordsworth Classics version because it had illustrations and said that it was complete and unabridged. The phrase 'hear me out' was used quite a lot and I wondered if Dickens had actually written that. It certainly seemed to jar with the other more formal prose. I struggled a little bit with the more formal prose but I like to struggle with my reading so enjoyed it all the more. The story is the life and times of one Nicholas Nickelby. Too long to even surmise here and anyway it's well enough known. The characters (and their names!) were flawless and the story also so. It had a cast of thousands but I didn't need to write them down in order to feel I knew them and their respective roles. My copy was very long, some 769 pages so it's a time investment, but one worth making, imho. Recommended.
  4. I have been listening to an audiobook read by Wanda McCaddon. At first I wasn't to sure about the narator because I had previously listened to an excellent version of David Copperfield read by Frederick Davidson. However Ms McCaddon grew on me. As for the story, well for a change there weren't any characters that I really disliked. And that is unusual for Dickens. He usually manages to have at least one annoying cloying person in his novels. In this case he didn't. Also, the villain of the piece was not black and white but had shades of grey making him less clichéd.
  5. This is my favourite of Dickens' novels, it's so complex. It's long but if you're thinking of reading Dickens for the first time I don't think you can really go wrong with this novel. The story is complex and intriguing. It's maybe a bit predictable to the modern reader, but at the time readers would have been on tenterhooks, especially as it was published episodically! I do think the main narrator, Esther is a bit of an old priss, but it doesn't affect my enjoyment of the book. What do other people think? Do you think Esther is a bit two faced or just a wet rag?!
  6. Well, I'm a few chapters into this and quite enjoying it. I do try to read a few classics in between my fantasy/sci fi novels so I look slightly better read than I actually am! I have very little to compare it to- having only read 'A Christmas Carol' by Dickens before.
  7. If you asked someone to name three Dickens novels off the top of their head, the chances are that Hard Times would not be one of them. People would tend to go for Great Expectations and David Copperfield (or whichever one had been serialised on the telly most recently). But it is certainly one of the easiest of the novels to read. I mentioned in my review of Little Dorrit here that I found Dickens distinctly uneven, and I would maintain this position. It is true from novel to novel, and also within a particular novel. But Hard Times, stylistic unevenness aside, is a highly unified piece of writing, and the unity is contained in the way it throws into conflict the wisdom of the head and the wisdom of the heart, the way in which the ferociously, fanatically utilitarian Mr Gradrind has to face the consequences of his "philosophy" when his own children make disastrous messes of their lives. I originally struggled through Hard Times when I was too young to cope with it, but reading it today I am struck by how relevant its themes remain today, just over 150 years since it was originally published. Presumably some of the people being blamed right now for the state the economy is in would easily recognise Mr Gradgrind and Mr Bounderby as their forbears. Always supposing they were ever likely to open a "serious" novel in the first place, of course.
  8. I've just finished listening to an excellent audiobook of this novel that was read by Frederick Davidson. It was unabridged and lasted for 36 hours 13 minutes. The narrator handled all of the characters very well even if some of the female characters sounded a bit weak. I haven't read any Dickens for a long time. I have problems committing to long works. So I thought I would try an audiobook. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it worked really well. The medium could have been made for Dickens. This is a fantastic story which I thoroughly enjoyed. It tells the story of David Copperfield (in the first person) from childhood to adulthood. That summary doesn't do the story justice. The characters (minor and major) and so well imagined that you can't help but believe that they could be real. The villains of the piece are particularly well drawn and believable. But what stood out for me was how Dickens used the comedic features of many of the characters. This book is so funny.
  9. Just a brief note to mention that I really enjoyed this. I've read a lot of Dickens but this is one novel that I've left out until now. Starting a new job, I needed to read something quite enjoyable. Who needs Valium ? Just pick up Dickens ! I understand that the serial caused a sensation at the time, akin to Harry Potter mania. Harry never had this effect on me but the story of Little Nell captured my attention and I felt that the story rolled along very nicely. Recommended. The title of the story intrigues me, though. Not spoiling anything, the old curiosity Shop features very little in the story and I wonder whether the title was intended to be a metaphor for something. Phoebus
  10. Restored Thread #1 17th September 2006, 10:32 PM Phoebus I'm going to start reading Little Dorritt in about six weeks. Is anyone interested in reading it with me? Phoebus Post Script: Have just realised that I've already asked this in another post but never got around to starting it with anyone... #2 19th September 2006, 07:01 PM Barblue I am on a Dickens trip at the moment. After getting involved with the Great Expectations thread I feel totally immersed in it. Added to this my local reading group has decided to read Hard Times over the next few weeks. I have also promised myself I will go back to The Old Curiosity Shop if only to look at Nell following some comments made by David recently. I have never read Little Dorritt but would love to. Provided I can find the time in a few weeks, I will start to read it and watch for any further comments on this thread. #3 21st September 2006, 06:41 PM Phoebus Thank you Barblue. I'll look forward to reading this with you. Let me know when you're thinking of starting it about two weeks before and I'll try and pace myself to finish the books that I'll be reading in time. PM as well just to make sure that I see your post. All the best, Phoebus #4 1st November 2006, 07:57 AM Barblue You know Phoebus, I really do intend to read Little Dorrit just as soon as I can, but somehow a lot of other books have got in the way lately. I have two reading group reads, one of which is Middlemarch - slightly time consuming - and also some other reads I have committed myself to for various reasons. It looks, at this moment in time, as if I will be making Little Dorrit a New Year's Resolution. Not sure if you want to wait that long, but I thought it only fair to let you know my situation. Many apologies for my tardiness. Barblue #5 5th November 2006, 12:10 PM Phoebus No worries Barblue. I've lot of other reads to ge through. Ready when you are ! Phoebus #6 5th January 2007, 08:13 PM Phoebus I've been moving house in the last couple of weeks so haven't had much time for reading and posting. I started Little Dorrit on New Year's Day and having read a couple hundred pages, I'm loving it. I'll keep you all informed. Phoebus #7 5th January 2007, 08:45 PM Mungus Well done, Phoebus. There seems to be a general groundswell of good vibes towards Dickens on the forum at the moment so I'm sure someone will join you soon, especially if you are able to tempt us with an effusive review. #8 Yesterday, 07:46 PM Barblue Phoebus, I am so sorry that I have not joined you on this exercise. I will try and start it this week, but can't promise anything. Great to know that you are enjoying it though and like Mungus I will be delighted to hear more of your comments in due course.
  11. I have started this book today. I'm only a few pages in and already I'm feeling low level outrage at the treatment of the poor big sister of the Son in the title! I'm expecting it to increase! It's rather odd entering into a Dickens book with only the sketchiest of outlines of the plot.
  12. The Classic Serial adaptation of Dickens' litte known collection of short stories, Mrs Lirriper's Lodgings and Mrs Lirriper's Legacy starts on Sunday 7th October at 3pm on Radio 4, starring Julia McKenzie as Mrs Lirriper and John Fortune as The Major. Is anyone familiar with this lady, and the stories of her lodgers? Why are Dickens' short stories not better known?
  13. Having been encouraged to read this book by the lively discussion about Dickens that have recently taken place on BGO, I feel I should start a new thread. This seems like an onerous responsibility. How to summarise the plot...? Amazon have this neat one-liner: Anyone who has read this book will realise that this is a succinct but woefully deficient summary of this wonderful, complex novel. I'm (very) slowly getting to know Dickens and his work and I'm hoping that others will enter in to discussion on this book to help me appreciate it more. To me, this seemed like a social commentary, rich with minor characters (caricatures?) allowing Dickens to satirise the extremes of the class system of the time. It explores the effect of money, the lack of it and the desire for it on human nature and human relationships. There are also many examinations of the institution of marriage, both good and bad, and the effects that this has on people. Plenty, in fact to exercise the mind. The book itself is 900+ pages and I did find it hard going at times, especially the third of the four books into which it is subdivided. By the end, I was keen to find out how it all worked out (and was nicely surprised by the ending) but I really sat and forced myself to get it finished. This is not to say that I didn't enjoy it, just that long books do take a toll on me personally. I did like the way that all of the loose ends were tied up so neatly (which I understand was required of Victorian authors) and that the goodies generally did well and the baddies got their comeuppance in a number of appropriate and amusing ways. There was a lot of humour running through the book, but a fair dose of cynicism too, not a bad thing. To summarise, a fantastic read, worth sticking with. I will be attempting more Dickens, but a little light reading will do me fine for now.
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