What Dickens should I read?

I have never managed to finish a book by Charles Dickens and I feel the need to correct this oversight in my life. But the man was prolific and I’m not sure what to read. In younger days I tried tried to read A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations and didn’t finish but that was a long time ago and my tastes have changed so I might find them readable now. So any suggestions to what I should read?

Do you mean “What the Dickens Dickens should I read?”

I was forced to read those same two books in high school, and developed a deadly hate for Dickens that lasted until I was thirty. When, forced to find something to read on a looong plane trip, I picked up a copy of “Bleak House” at the airport. And completely loved it! I went on to read just about everything else Dickens wrote, and liked the majority of it. However, I still hated - on rereading them - “Tale of Two Cities” & “Great Expectations.”

In the interests of full disclosure, I’m not a fan of Dickens. I think the stories might be good if they were written down by someone who could write. I finished Oliver Twist only because I refused to be beaten by a book.

It sounds as if you may be like me – not really terribly interested in Dickens, but feeling a little as if you should read some to be a well-rounded person. So far, I’ve found A Tale of Two Cities to be the most readable for me.

I’ll be following this thread with great interest. KatiRoo, thanks for the Bleak House recommendation.

I quite liked Oliver Twist and David Copperfield, but I was pretty young when I read them (11 or 12) so I identified with the ages of the characters. You really didn’t like Great Expectations? That was one of the most readable books we were assigned in college. Maybe you could try it again and see if it’s improved. I’m with you on Tale of Two Cities, though, I’ve never gotten more than 5 pages into it.

Everyone should read “A Christmas Carol.” It’s just damn good.

Here is an almost identical thread I started in the past.

None. Skip them all. Dickens was a hack. I’ve hated every one of his books I’ve ever tried to read.

I’ve always loved Dickens, because he is a master at what I’m not (description), but for the life of me, I can never finish his stuff either. I’ve read 3/4 of ofOliver Twist, 1/2 of Great Expectations, and some of I can’t remember what else…

…But really, I should read a whole Dickens sometime. I just finished Good Omens, so looks like the time is now.

I’m interested in Bleak House, but unfortunately I associate it with that Stephen King/Someone Else monstrosity Black House, which references the former every five pages.

…Thanks for the wonderful suggestions. BTW, I rather liked both of the books I started reading. I just inexplicably stopped reading them. I do this frequently.

You mean which and the answer is :

Monica, all great stuff.

Between that thread, and the even previouser thread I linked to in that thread, I said almost all I have to say on the subject.

But here I’ll add (partly inspired by this recent thread) that you might want to try listening to Dickens in an audiobook. You might find that his writing “works better” that way.

I like Bleak House and Our Mutual Friend. They’re both big hunks of book, but how can you not like a story containing spontaneous human combustion and one that opens with an atmospheric description of folks making a living by looting drowned corpses in the Thames.