• Maeve Binchy, Quentins

  • Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

  • Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

  • Sophie Kinsella, The Undomestic Goddess
Book Review from Marion

For the past month at my bookclub, we have been reading some of the novels of Charles Dickens. I think there was a general consensus that some of his books could be a little hard going!

Mr Dickens was born in Landport, Portsmouth, my home town on the south coast of England. It is interesting that this area of Portsmouth is now quite run down and has been for some time. I feel I want to some research and try and find out what it was like at the time of Dickens. Of course at that time, Portsmouth was probably made up of small villages, Landport being one of them.

We asked ourselves the question as to whether his books were popoular during his lifetime. It is evident that he had a great social conscience which was probably not shared by most of the population that were able to read, bearing in mind that many of those he wrote about did not have this skill. I suspect that his books became more popular following his death, but something else I will include in my research.

Although, much of what he wrote was rather bleak, he did display a great sense of humour, even in the naming of some of his characters. Mr Pumblechook in Great Expectations speaks to me of a round bumptious man, exactly what he was. Compared to more modern writers he could seem a little long winded (not economical with words as one bookclub member put it), but his descriptions really set the imagination reeling and you can really feel that you are there on the page with the characters.

I always thought that the "National Debt" was something of our generation, but Pip says, "...a money box was kept on the kitchen mantel-shelf, into which it was publicly made known that all my earnings were dropped. I have an impression that they were to be contributed eventually towards the liquidation of the National Debt, but I know I had no hope of any personal participation in the treasure."

I am hopeful that through my research I will learn more of the man and come to appreciate his writings to a great degree. In the meantime, I will seek to finish "Great Expections".


Blogger Julia said ... (9:21 PM) 

Thank you for an interesting article on Dickens. Just a few months ago I saw a biography on PBS which was very much in debt as well as very intersting to watch his fascinating persona whcih seems to have been told a lot through many of his books, especially his childhood. I am looking forward to hearing more about your research.
Here's the site that tells about the biography I watched.


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