Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Currently Reading: Charles Dickens

Today is Charles Dickens birthday, the big 2-0-0. I know  this for a fact because of 3 things: I really did pay attention in most of my English Literature classes, Old Charlie is on the cover of the current Smithsonian magazine (we keep it around the house to impress visitors), and the Google doodle.

For a long time I had a hard time with Dickens. Sometimes I just can’t take all the orphans and/or crimpled children.   Or in the case of Nicholas Nickleby, a cripple orphan with a mysterious mistaken identity past, the Dickens trifecta. But then came a point where I finally understood that social commentary mixed with humor actually can make a powerful point. And that the somewhat whimsical plot twists (What? I’m not really an orphan, but the nephew of some rich family who wants to save me from the mean streets of London? Huzzah!) prove that good triumphs, sometimes in unexpected ways, over darkness.

So Happy Birthday Charles, and thank you for writing these pretty words:

Great Expectations is my least favorite of popular Dickens, but within it is probably my favorite quote:

“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before--more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.”  (Great Expectations)
A Tale of Two Cities is my  favorite Dickens, in fact I am reading it right now.  A little part of me hopes that Charles  Dickens and Victor Hugo get together in the afterlife to discuss their tales of the French Revolution.

 “You have been the last dream of my soul.” (A Tale of Two Cities)
And somewhere in between my most favorite, and my least favorite, is David Copperfield

“The most important thing in life is to stop saying 'I wish' and start saying 'I will.' Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities.”  (David Copperfield)


  1. I know its not as cool, but did you know that BBC did Charles Dickens "Bleak House"? I've been watching it on netflix and am loving it.

  2. No, that IS cool! The BBC productions are usually really good and you don't have a lug around a big fat book around. I haven't read Bleak House, but it has been recommended to me by several people, and of course, I have to ask if there are crippled orphans in it.

  3. I haven't read the book either but if its anything like the BBC production, its good. I would recommend the BBC movie.