Charles Dickens

I’m reading Oliver Twist and enjoy it. I’ve read A Christmas Carol and also love it. However, I have a hard time (pun intentional) reading Great Expectations or A Tale of Two Cities.

What makes Dickens inaccessible in these novels? What other works are easier to read? I thought I might try The Pickwick Papers or *Nicholas Nickleby *next.

I didn’t find Great Expectations or A Tale of Two Cities to be inaccessible, so I’m not sure what you’re looking for. Have you looked at David Copperfield?

Read Bleak House. It took me a month to read the first chapter. Never did finish it. :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue:

You might want to take a look at this thread: Dickens - Recommend where I should start (even though you’ve already started).

I thought Great Expectations was okay and I enjoyed it well enough but I loved A Tale of Two Cities. The insight into the French Revolution and the Zeitgeist of the time was moving. No trouble getting through that one for me.

I have a degree in English literature, specializing in 19th century novels, so I have spent a lot of time discussing Dickens with people who are committed to reading him in his entirety–and over and over again, I run into people who have a strong preference either for his early novels or for his late novels, and can hardly tolerate the other end of the timeline. I myself prefer the late ones, and the later the better–I loathed Oliver Twist, and Our Mutual Friend is my very favorite. The dividing line seems to fall between Dombey And Son, and David Copperfield. So, I suggest you try The Pickwick Papers or The Old Curiosity Shop–they might be more up your alley.

My dad has an ancient edition of this book, and I find that it is literally impossible to sit down with the objective of reading it from start to finish. It is written so beautifully, though, that once I pick it up I like to flick through and read a ‘scene’ or two from it (like the death of the Law-writer for instance).

Otherwise I highly recommend The Pickwick Papers - you never get bored with it as it isn’t a novel so much as a series of set-pieces - and it’s very funny (I particularly liked Bob Sawyer the debauched medical student).

I really liked Dombey & Son as well, but that’s the last Dickens I’ve managed to finish. I’m still meaning to read Our Mutual Friend but I never get round to it. :o

I read *Bleak House * while I was doing the equity subject for my LLB degree last year. I found it a bit hard going to start with, especially keeping track of the different characters as they were introduced. But once the characters all started to become intertwined it was much easier and the pace began to pick up.

One warning about Pickwick Papers: in my opinion, which is shared by others, the beginning is kind of weak, and it doesn’t really start to get good until one or two hundred pages in when Sam Weller first appears. This was Dickens’s first novel, published serially, and when he started out he was still kind of feeling his way; he had a few characters but wasn’t quite sure where he was going with them. But once the book gets going, it contains some of Dickens’s funniest stuff.

Thanks for that insight. I have started Pickwick Papers twice and was bored with it to the point of putting down. Apparently I didn’t get far enough into the book.
I’ll try to go back to it. Thanks

It was when Carton climbed into the apache helicopter that I lost all respect for Dickens.

Although it’s a kicker of an end line: “'Tis a far better butt-kicking than ever I have butt-kicked!”

Pickwick Papers and Our Mutual Friend are among my favorite books. I consider them both rewards for learning to read.

To the OP- sometimes Dickens falls into an excruciating obsession with physical detail that I find maddening.

I found A ale of Two Cities pretty easy going myself. I’ve read it three times already (once for a high school course, twice on my own). The Dickens I find impossible going is Hard Times, which I had to force my way through for a course.

I also can’t stand The Pickwick Papers.

I certainly agree with that last statement. I’m not a “laugh-out-loud” kind of person, but whenever I read about Sam Weller, his dad, Mrs. Weller and the parson in the prison bar having glasses of “wanity warm”, I shriek with laughter. I also giggle over Alfred Jingle’s antics with the older ladies who find him so fascinating. Pickwick Papers and Nicholas Nickleby, are, I think, my two favorite Dickens novels.

I’m bumping my own zombie thread.

I’ve finished Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist, and Great Expectations.

Should I read Nicholas Nickleby or David Copperfield next? I’d like to read whichever one has interesting characters like Oliver Twist, which has been my favorite Dickens novel.

Copperfield. Copperfield is very good.

And The Old Curiosity Shop is damn near irresistible, once you get as far as Daniel Quilp.

I think the difference is Oliver Twist and *A Christmas Carol *, use the same language type as Great Expectations, but Great Expectations is BORING.

If something is really interesting you can cope with the language being a bit different, but when something is boring you lose interest trying to translate the meaning to comtemporary English

Dickens is the single most entertaining writer in the history of, well, writing. But I can’t finish The Pickwick Papers.

I’ve read Bleak House at least three times; Little Dorrit twice; Our Mutual Friend twice; Great Expectations and Tale of Two Cities at least 4 times each. But I’ll never try Pickwick again.