Classics Challenge – January

It’s the fourth of the month and time to post on my current classic for A Classics Challenge! This month’s prompt asks participants to post about their views on the author of the classic they are reading. My current book is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. From my days of having to read A Tale of Two Cities in middle school I have abhorred Dickens. I very vehemently avoided reading anything by him all during my teen years, but I couldn’t escape him in college. Little Dorrit was assigned in my Victorian Lit class and I reluctantly skimmed the book – just enough to be able to participate in discussions and act like I knew what the professor was talking about. I left the class and never looked back on Mr. Dickens. I had no intention of ever reading any of his novels again until my thoughts started to change after watching the wonderful Bleak House tv series that aired a few years ago. I started to think that maybe his stories weren’t as boring and convoluted as I feared.

Now with 2012 upon us and Dickens making a splash (due to his Bicentenary) I decided the time is right to read one of his novels. I started Great Expectations a few weeks ago and have been really enjoying it. I didn’t anticipate the humor of it, the very funny scenes and amusing characters. I am about 1/4 of the way through and appreciate Dickens’s keen sense of human weakness, his marvelous talent for description and his powerful way of conveying the motivations of his characters and the conflicts Pip is tortured with.

I am enchanted with this book and so pleased that I chose to read it as part of the Classics Challenge. I can’t wait to see where Pip’s adventures take him.

Do you like Dickens? What is your favorite Dickens novel?

33 thoughts on “Classics Challenge – January

  1. I have enjoyed every Dickens novel I have read, although perhaps I was fortunate in not having to read any in High School or at Uni, so I first read him when I was ready. My favourite is definitely Bleak House, and my favourite character is Mrs Jellyby.

  2. That’s funny, I posted about the humour in Dickens’ Great Expectations only a few weeks ago. He had me laughing out loud in places – who knew Dickens was a comedy genius? Glad you’re enjoying it.

    I have only ever read GE and A Christmas Carol and the latter is my favourite – I adore that book. I also have plans to read more Dickens this year.

    • I completely forgot that I have read A Christmas Carol!!! I read it last year and really enjoyed it. How could I forget that?
      Dickens IS a comedy genius – totally unexpected for me, but very welcome.

  3. I’m not a huge fan of Dickens – it feels like heresy to even say that! I used to be, but once I started reading Anthony Trollope, I found that I didn’t enjoy Dickens as much. I do still have Great Expectations on my shelves, though my favorite is Nicholas Nickelby.

    I’m glad we have all month to post about our books – since I haven’t started reading mine yet!!

    • Is Anthony Trollope humorous also? I know a lot of people who don’t like Dickens so I will suggest they try Trollope instead.
      And I’m also glad we have the month to post – I’m sure there will be months when I can’t manage a post on the 4th!

      • I think Trollope can be funny, but it’s a more subtle humor than Dickens, because I think he’s a more realistic writer. I don’t know that I’ve ever laughed out loud over a Trollope book.

  4. I actually am a Dickens fan and seem to read one of his novels every couple of years. I think Bleak House is my favorite so far. Like you, I probably being influenced by the great miniseries adaptation. This year, I’m hoping to tackle Our Mutual Friend.

  5. I’m so glad to hear you’re enjoying Great Expectations as it’s the second book on my list for the Classics Challenge and I’m planning to read it next month! I’ve only read four Dickens books so far and my favourite is Our Mutual Friend, though I really enjoyed The Mystery of Edwin Drood too.

  6. I love dickens have read all of them we had a complete collection when growing up ,my favourite book is david copperfield uriah heap and micawber are two of my favourite dicken character as they are total opposites ,all the best stu

    • I wish I would have been exposed to Dickens at a young age – maybe I would have liked him better! I have a cousin who loves David Copperfield so I’ve heard only good things about it.

    • I really think teachers ruin a ton of literature for people! I also dislike The Great Gatsby because I had a teacher who made us dissect every page of that novel. Ugh! I’m glad you’re enjoying Great Expectations!

    • Oooh that would be a great discussion – what authors will you never read because you are personally disgusted by them? Maybe it’s best not to know about an author’s personal life?

      • I think you’re right about that. Authors and artists are often horrible, esp to their nearest and supposedly dearest. I could have lived with Mark Twain though, esp if he took me on a riverboat!

  7. I loved Great Expectations – Pip’s friend Handel was one of my very favourite characters (not least because of his nickname!). I hope you enjoy it! Dickens is marvellously funny: I recommend The Pickwick Papers for some good laughs!

    P.S. I love, love, LOVE your new header!!

    • Oh I’m glad to hear that you love Great Expectations! I am still enjoying it and am anxious to move forward.
      Glad you like the header too! I am quite taken with it myself.

  8. I can’t wait to read this one — and A Tale of Two Citoes and David Copperfield in February. I ADORE A Christmas Carol and just read all of the Christmas books by Dickens over December. I read Oliver Twist last year and really struggled with it, but the more I read Dickens, the more I like him. 🙂

  9. I don’t know if I will ever read all of Dickens’s novels, but I do think that the more you read him the more he grows on you. I might be persuaded by his writing to read at least two or three of his books!

  10. I’m going to be reading Great Expectations later on this year. At the moment I’m reading a biography of Dickens by Peter Ackroyd, as I’ve never read anything by Charles Dickens before.

  11. Okay, maybe I’ll keep reading…beside that famous opening sentence, nothing else about Great Expectations really drew me in the 3-4 times I tried to read it! I did see the Bleak House movie (loved that one)…maybe I should just start w/Bleak House. Did he also write Nicholas Nickelby? That was a good movie and made me want to read the book.

    • He did write Nicholas Nickelby, which I know nothing about! Everyone told me to start with either Great Expectations or David Copperfield – I do eventually want to read Bleak House too, but I’m glad I started with something shorter!

  12. I read some of Dickens work years ago including Great Expectations but nothing recently. Considering the bicentenary I should plan to read something this year – maybe Bleak House.

  13. I’ve given Dickens a few tries, but so far I never really liked him. The strange thing is that I’m still influenced by him when I think of Victorian London (a time and place I have a passion for). I’m going to give A Tale of Two Cities a try for the Classic Challenge later this year.
    Have you ever seen the Doctor Who episode with Simon Callow as Charles Dickens? That was brilliant.

    • I’ve never seen Doctor Who! I’ve heard much about it, but have never seen an episode. How awesome that Charles Dickens made an appearance!
      He really did influence the Victorian era so I think it is essential to read him if you love that time period (I do!).

  14. I have such a soft spot in my heart for Dickens! My two favorites are Great Expectations (mostly for the humor) and David Copperfield (great story, and more humor). I loved the Bleak House miniseries!

    • Another Dickens fan! As I read further into Great Expectations I can see why he is so beloved. And I love the Bleak House miniseries also – one of my favorites.

  15. Overall Bleak House is my favorite but there are great characters in most of the books — for example, I love Aunt Betsy in David Copperfield. I also loved Oliver Twist though they’re quite different — OT is from the beginning of his career and BH is towards the end, so I can sort of see his development as a writer. I sort of wish I’d read the books in order of publication — maybe someday!

    Bleak House is quite a committment, but worth it.

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