Cured of My Aversion to Dickens

My introduction to Charles Dickens, like most people, came in the form of watching A Christmas Carol.  In my case, the adaptation starred Alastair Sims as Scrooge, whose performance has yet to be surpassed.  At some point in my early teens, the idea struck me that I should tackle one of Dickens’ novels.  For this purpose, David Copperfield seemed best, only this choice bored me to tears.  (At least, it did not bore me so much that I drooled on the page, as occurred while I read a history of early Japan.)  A few years later, another Dickens novel was tried and produced the same effect.  From that point, I decided A Christmas Carol, the short story, was the only work of Dickens worth reading–and it is a masterpiece.

Alastair Sims as Scrooge

Lately, that A Tale of Two Cities stood as the bestselling novel of all time–at least, according to Wikipedia–came to my attention.  Curious, I checked out the audio book from the library in order to listen to it as I drove.  Well, my dear readers, I began not to want my drives to end.  Unlike certain previous experiences of Dickens, I found the characters and writing very vivacious.  This book well deserves to be among the classics of world literature.  Great personalities fill its pages, suspense practically drags the reader willy-nilly through the book, scenes of towering moral courage delight the audience, and it offers a great historical perspective of the times before and during the French Revolution.  A true work of genius!

And so, I find myself ready to give other works of Dickens a shot.  But, I need to whittle away more on my private library before I take more books out from the public one.

4 thoughts on “Cured of My Aversion to Dickens

  1. Nami says:

    Ah, I’m so glad you gave Dickens another try! I’ll have to give A Christmas Carol another try myself: I love Dickens, but that was one of the first books of his that I read and I did not like it at all, can’t recall why.

    • Sounds like we had exactly opposite experiences! When I was growing up, it was our custom to watch A Christmas Carol every New Year’s Eve, so that gives an indication of how much I love that story. Which of his novels would you recommend after reading A Tale of Two Cities?

      • Nami says:

        I should say, I like the *story* (we watch versions of it around Christmastime too) but when I read the book it just didn’t impress me. I was only about 15 though, so a reread is certainly in order.

        Hmm…something to read after A Tale of Two Cities? I can’t think of what Dickens wrote that’s quite like A Tale of Two Cities, it has a different feel from his other books. But Little Dorrit and Hard Times are two of my personal favorites. Bleak House is also good, but it can get dry and the heroine a bit annoying at times.

      • Thanks for your recommendations! Now that you say it, it does strike me that A Tale of Two Cities is markedly different from Dickens’s other works. A Tale of Two Cities is likely his magnus opus too, but I shall give his other works a shot.

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