Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Charles Dickens Month -- Post the First

Last night, once the baby was in bed, I made a large mug of hot cocoa and listened to the wind whipping the tree branches outside.  I scooped up the cat and made for my Comfy Spot on the sofa.  I thought that the cold wintery night would be PERFECT for finishing the last 30 pages of The Night Circus.  I settled in and then looked at my books stack.  Oh.  Right.  There, beneath The Night Circus, Our Mutual Friend was waiting patiently.  Waiting as he has been for the past five years that he has lived on my TBR shelf.  I love Charles Dickens, but I have to be "in the mood" and I really wanted to finish my current book. 

I did the Responsible Thing and put The Night Circus back on the table and picked up Our Mutual Friend.  "After all," I said to the cat, "I can't host a Dickens month and then cease participating."  I decided to give myself thirty minutes.  Thirty minutes of large Victorian novel and THEN I could go back to reading a delicious tale concerning a magical circus. 

I set a timer on my phone, cracked open Our Mutual Friend and read:

"In these times of ours, though concerning the exact year there is no need to be precise, a boat of dirty and disreputable appearance, with two figures in it, floated on the Thames, between Southwark Bridge which is of iron, and London Bridge which is of stone, as an autumn evening was closing in." 

I was hooked.... I read and read and read.  I shut off the timer to squeeze in a few more pages and before I knew it an hour had passed.

I'm less than 50 pages in (teeny print and I'm a slow reader), but already my mind is turning over the story.  I've been introduced to a bevy of  characters and I haven't really read enough to truly know how all the stories are linked.  I will say that this book, like many of Dickens's novels, is about money.  In fact, it is reminding me of Little Dorrit which I read last year and adored.  I hope to plunge deeper into the novel this week and write more on the plot and characters next Tuesday. 

 I can't wait to hear about what you all are reading (or watching or listening) concerning Charles Dickens. 

Okay, now a bit of housekeeping:

Originally I said that everyone should post about Dickens every Tuesday up to and including February 7th.  I now realize that this is kinda silly.  I know that people have schedules and plans and lives.  So instead I propose that you can write a post concerning Dickens whenever you jolly well feel like it and then simply leave a comment on my most current Dickens post with a link to your Dickens post. However, the cut off for posting for giveaway purposes will be 11:59pm on Tuesday, February 2nd. I will be posting every Tuesday.  Does that work for everyone?  I believe we have close to 30 people participating.  Yay! 

Alright folks, leave your URLs in the Comments section and I'll do my best to visit your posts by the end of the week.  Happy Reading!


Jillian said...

Ah, you make me want to read Our Mutual Friend!! I love that opening -- and absolutely adore the opening of Bleak House.

This is an awesome project. I'm taking part in Allie's Shakespeare Month at A Literary Odyssey this month, so I can't dip into Dickens in full until February. (I hope to read A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations and David Copperfield next month in honor of Dickens' 200th.)

But I did manage to read and post about some Dickens this morning: The Christmas Books.

Cheers, and thanks for hosting!

TBM said...

Our Mutual Friend is on my list for this year. I'm happy to hear that it hooked you right away! I started reading Oliver Twist and I'm enjoying it. I'm looking forward to this event:


Rebecca Reid said...

From what you say about the beginning of Our Mutual Friend, I must say I felt similarly to the opening of Bleak House! Dickens is so great.

I have posted today about the very beginning (I'm only 15% in) of Bleak House today! http://reviews.rebeccareid.com/bleak-house-by-charles-dickens-thoughts-at-the-beginning/

In addition to working my way through that book this month, I also plan on reading a biography or two of the man. Thanks for excuse to put Dickens at the forefront of my reading!

Ted said...

I am joining you in reading Our Mutual Friend, which I posted on this morning.


How bizarre, the word verification needed in order to post this comment reads "humbugh," it's prophetic!

Susan in TX said...

I'm about 100 pgs into Bleak House, and as you said, just starting to get to know some of the characters. I've been wishing I had Our Mutual Friend "in house," but I've got Great Expectations, Nicholas Nickleby, and the Tomalin bio of Dickens queued up, which is probably WAY more than I will get through this month. :)

Mandy said...

I would love to read Our Mutual Friend, but it won't be for a while! I think my current reading of Bleak House might extend into the spring! Here is my reflection on Bleak House's first chapter and my research findings on the Court of Chancery, the seemingly bad guy of Bleak House.

Adventures in Borkdom

Thanks for hosting this!

Cassandra said...

Great, now I am in the Dickens mood again, although I have to finish Hamlet for Allie's Shakespeare month at A Literary Odyssey! Don't get me wrong, Hamlet is fantastic, but like you, I am hooked on Dickens now. And how could we not be? :)

Anyway, for this week I have written a little post about my childhood which was indeed influenced by Mr Dickens very much:


I am trying to start A Tale of two Cities this week, so I can write about an actual book next week. Thank you for hosting, by the way!

Lindsey Sparks said...

I'm currently reading Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin and restarted Oliver Twist. I'm enjoying Oliver much more this time around. I usually like Dickens, but this one just wasn't doing it for me when I started last year. I posted about my recent attempt to go to the Dickens Musuem - http://lindseysparks.blogspot.com/2012/01/charles-dickens-museum.html.

Joan Hunter Dunn said...

I won't be able to read Dickens in January but I'd love to join in by posting favourite quotes from the Dickens I've read. I've missed today but shall do so on following Tuesdays. I loved Our Mutual Friend so will start with that.

Becky said...

Our Mutual Friend has to be my favorite, favorite Dickens. It's just oh-so-good.

Here's my review of David Copperfield.

Ruthiella said...

I have a hold on Tomalin biography. I need to pick that up after work tonight. I recently finished "Great Expectations" (thought is was very good - love Miss Haversham and Joe Gargary). I was planning on reading another Dickens between now and Feb. 7, I have Our Mutual Friend on my shelves aleady...It will be a toss up between that and Dombey and Son.

Anonymous said...

Hi Amanda:Great idea, thanks! I read some Tale of Two Cities and posted about it here http://yearofreadingmybooks.wordpress.com/


harriet said...

I left a link to my first Dickens post on your announcement page but here it is again. http://harrietdevine.typepad.com/harriet_devines_blog/2012/01/disappointed-expectations.html

Anonymous said...

I'm just finishing my current reading before starting the Dickens project. Thanks for hosting. I'm a slow reader and the original choice of Little Dorrit doesn't seem practical at the moment because of the length. Instead, I thought I would
read a biography as I'm fascinated by the man himself.

aloi (guiltlessreading) said...

Ms. Responsible, I truly admire your spunk at following through. I haven't been able to go to the library and don't have any Dickens in the house (sad but true)!

I love that line from Mutual Friends - who were those two in the dinghy? Ahh, the atmosphere!

Please don't laugh too much at my post. It was the best I could do with one day prep :)


wutheringwillow said...

Now I want to read Our Mutual Friend. Thanks to you!

I do love Charles Dickens's works! Here's my first post,


Sandra said...

I'm at the mercy of my public library so I started reading Hard Times last night. On page 28. I will post at some point-and read all the other participants' posts, of course. Thanks for making the challenge easy.
I've already read Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities twice in the past. I recommend them both highly to anyone who hasn't tried them yet.

Anonymous said...

Here is my link for the first week of the challenge in which my approach is to read a Dickens' biography. http://allthedifference-books.blogspot.com/2012/01/book-beginnings-6012012.html.
I couldn't get hold of biography of Charles Dickens and instead have found in the library a wonderful biography of his artist daughter, Katey, in which there is a lot of relevant information for sharing later on.
My post is in association with a meme - Book Beginnings on Friday.

o said...

I've written two so far, one's more of a general post which mentions Pickwick Papers (I won't link it because it is so general), and the second one is about Miss Havisham and Great Expectations, as well as about how I'm coming to really love Mr. Dickens.

I'm really enjoying your Dickens month, it's come at the right time, as well: I'm working through his major works for the first part of this year so this is an encouragement :)

neer said...

I enjoyed your post. Here's mine:


Anonymous said...

I'm so happy when I read that I didn't have to post on Tuesdays since I really wasn't able to get anything done last Tuesday. :)

Here is my Charles Dickens post for the week:


ChrisCross said...

I can't remember if I said I wanted to join in or not, and I missed Tuesday - my mother has been ill, so I'm all behind with everything. Anyway, I have now posted a piece on 'My Father as I Recall Him', by Mamie Dickens, his eldest daughter, which is fascinating, so I hope that is OK. http://chriscross-thebooktrunk.blogspot.com/2012/01/dickens-and-daughter.html