Friday, December 5, 2008

Classic for a Reason

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

I am always refreshed when I pick up and read a classic. A book that's been treasured for a hundred years or more is almost always of value. I made the mistake of reading Great Expectations when I was not ready for it and I think it soured me on Dickens for far too long. I am so thankful I decided to give him another chance because this book was magnificent. The prose was wonderful, the action was riveting and the depiction of the French Revolution (though horrible) was a wonderful example of a living book. I won't bother giving a proper review (though it would be good for my "narration" skills) because you can find thousands of them on your own. Instead, I will let G. K. Chesterton speak (from the Introduction reprinted at the back of my copy from the library):

Yet with everything against him [Dickens] he did this astonishing thing. He wrote a book about two cities, one of which he understood; the other he did not understand. And his description of the city he did not know is almost better than his description of the city he did know. This is the entrance of the unquestionable thing about Dickens; the thing called genius; the thing which every one has to talk about directly and distinctly because no one knows what it is.

So, anyone have a favorite Dickens book they recommend I read next?


  1. Yes. Read A Christmas Carol. It's just a novella, so you can finish it in a few days. We actually read it to Aidan and Wesley, and Aidan at least could follow it.

  2. We bought a copy of this at the library book sale last year and I just pulled it out and starting flipping through it. I wondered about reading it to the kids, but I think I'm going to read it first. First Son seems to be a little sensitive to "scary" imagery and I'm not sure what he'd think of it.


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