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Friday, May 26, 2017

5 Books I Want to Read...Charles Dickens

I keep a wish list on Goodreads called "want to read". Currently, it's up to 2752. Yeah. I also have several stacks of books tucked against walls throughout my house. Each is probably at least 3 feet high of books I haven't read yet. I periodically go through my list and purge it, but it still is not slowing down. Nor are the books that keep appearing on my Kindle. They're all still on my wish list, I just haven't gotten to them yet.

Each month I highlight 5 books I want to read. I don't set out to plan themes, but somehow patterns creep into my viewing and this month is no different. For someone with an English degree, my classics reading is woefully deficient. Charles Dickens has always been on my list and I just haven't read anything past A Christmas Carol. So, Mr. Dickens receives recognition on my Wish List this month!

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The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

Few first novels have created as much popular excitement as The Pickwick Papers–-a comic masterpiece that catapulted its 24-year-old author to immediate fame. Readers were captivated by the adventures of the poet Snodgrass, the lover Tupman, the sportsman Winkle above all, by that quintessentially English Quixote, Mr Pickwick, his cockney Sancho Panza, Sam Weller. From the hallowed turf of Dingley Dell Cricket Club to the unholy fracas of the Eatanswill election, via the Fleet debtor’s prison, characters and incidents sprang to life from Dickens’s pen, to form an enduringly popular work of ebullient humour and literary invention.

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

David Copperfield is the story of a young man’s adventures on his journey from an unhappy and impoverished childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a successful novelist. Among the gloriously vivid cast of characters he encounters are his tyrannical stepfather, Mr Murdstone; his formidable aunt, Betsey Trotwood; the eternally humble yet treacherous Uriah Heep; frivolous, enchanting Dora and the magnificently impecunious Micawber, one of literature’s great comic creations. In David Copperfield—the novel he described as his “favorite child”—Dickens drew revealingly on his own experiences to create one of his most exuberant and enduringly popular works, filled with tragedy and comedy in equal measure. Originally published as a monthly serial, from 4/1849 to 11/1850.

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

'Let him feel that he is one of us; once fill his mind with the idea that he has been a thief, and he's ours, - ours for his life!'

The story of the orphan Oliver, who runs away from the workhouse only to be taken in by a den of thieves, shocked readers when it was first published. Dickens's tale of childhood innocence beset by evil depicts the dark criminal underworld of a London peopled by vivid and memorable characters — the arch-villain Fagin, the artful Dodger, the menacing Bill Sikes and the prostitute Nancy. Combining elements of Gothic Romance, the Newgate Novel and popular melodrama, in Oliver Twist Dickens created an entirely new kind of fiction, scathing in its indictment of a cruel society, and pervaded by an unforgettable sense of threat and mystery.

This is the first critical edition to use the serial text of 1837-9, presenting Oliver Twist as it appeared to its earliest readers. It includes Dickens's 1841 introduction and 1850 preface, the original illustrations and a glossary of contemporary slang.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

'Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death; the last, much the easiest to bestow, O Guillotine!'

After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Dickens's magnificent novel of guilt, desire, and redemption The orphan Pip’s terrifying encounter with an escaped convict on the Kent marshes, and his mysterious summons to the house of Miss Havisham and her cold, beautiful ward Estella, form the prelude to his “great expectations.” How Pip comes into a fortune, what he does with it, and what he discovers through his secret benefactor are the ingredients of his struggle for moral redemption.

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What about you? What books are on your "want to read/wish" list?

5 Books I want to Read is a monthly meme started by Stephanie at Layered Pages. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their wish lists look like, you can do that here: A Bookaholic Swede, Layered Pages, The Maiden's Court, Flashlight Commentary and A Literary Vacation.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Cover Crush...The Longest Night


I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.


So evocative. This cover brings more questions than it does answers. Who are these people? Why are they sitting by a tree? They are obviously comfortable with each other. What is he writing? Where are they? I love how the red of her dress subtly stands out among the gray and white landscape.

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's Court, Flashlight Commentary, A Bookaholic SwedeLayered PagesindieBRAG, A Literary VacationQuills and Vellum.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Friday, May 19, 2017

Childhood Favorites...Frances Hodgson Burnett

Childhood favorites. Everyone has a favorite book or author from childhood. A book that touched them or changed them. A book that perhaps initiated their love of reading and put them on the path of libraries and learning.

Childhood Favorites is a monthly series focusing on beloved books from the past. 

Donald Zolan, Quiet Time.

Reading Frances Hodgson Burnett is like a right of passage.


Like many children, I adored A Little Princess. Who doesn't love Sara Crewe? Her imagination, her kindness, her ability to find joy even in the midst of drudgery? The story is mesmerizing and my favorite edition is the one with Tasha Tudor's gorgeous illustrations.


The image of Sara coming back to her rooms to discover poor, exhausted Becky is one of my favorites. Not only because of Sara's gorgeous pink dress, but because it captures so perfectly the scene as it is written.

I could sit and look at these drawings all day long. I read and reread Sara's story over and over.


I didn't read The Secret Garden until I was an adult. I don't know why, because I loved it. And I adore the musical that is based on Mary's story.

Mrs. Burnett wrote so many more books than just these two, but these are the two I read and The Little Princess is one of my all-time favorite stories of all time.  I love Sara's goodness and her imagination. I love how she loved and cared for everyone when she was poor, just as she did when she was rich.

So many wonderful life lessons.

What about you? What is one of your childhood favorites?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Cover Crush...The Book of Summer


I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.


Happy. This cover just makes me happy. A weathered wall, a bicycle with a basket filled with flowers an a book. Is it a journal or a novel? Who are the flowers for and where is the rider headed or has she arrived? Bicycles with baskets are cheerful and bring smiles as you see them.

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's Court, Flashlight Commentary, A Bookaholic SwedeLayered Pages, indieBRAG, A Literary Vacation.