Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens!

As part of coursework, I had to read David Copperfield when I was 11. Thus began a relationship with Dickens, an author with whom I could instantly connect and understand. When I was 15, I had to do Great Expectations, again, coursework. By then, I had read pretty much all of the famous stuff he had ever written, and I couldn’t be more excited! I have seldom had to read anything else so many times, they did give us tough questions, but every read I have enjoyed.

Dickens had a poor childhood, he led the life of a workhouse mongrel, faced harsh truths about life and debt too early, but from those experiences were born amazing characters, Estella and Fagin, Agnes and Miss Havisham, Uriah Heep and Magwitch.

This is the list that I haven’t read. But I’m sure our paths shall keep crossing.

  1. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club
  2. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
  3. The Old Curiosity Shop
  4. Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of ‘Eighty
  5. A Christmas Carol
  6. The Chimes
  7. The Cricket on the Hearth
  8. The Battle of Life
  9. The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain
  10. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit
  11. Dombey and Son
  12. Bleak House
  13. Little Dorrit
  14. Our Mutual Friend
  15. The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Have you read any of them? What do you think?

Pictures from Italy …a review

For the last couple of weeks, I have been juggling Discrete Time Signal Analysis, Power Electronics, and Principles of Microelectronic Devices. When I took breaks from the insanity, I dove into this book, a travelogue by Dickens; his account of travelling in Italy, along with parts of France and Switzerland.

I have always loved Dickens’ style, his slow ways of painting pictures, grim and bleak scenes, and an all-pervading melancholy. Definitely my type of writing! And I have always associated that lilting style with him. I was taken aback by this book!

Not only is it lively and fast paced, it has none of the usual melancholy! In fact, if I hadn’t known who the author was and was told to guess, I would have said “Definitely familiar, but I can’t place him!” The accounts are beautiful, to say the least. He describes nature and architecture with a simplistic grace that is trademark of the language of the greats.

The edition I have is a 200th birthday edition of Tara Books, and the artwork is stupendous! This has been a lovely lovely read. I had forgotten how much I loved Dickens, while I read this, it was like coming up for fresh air. I can’t wait for these exams to get over!


The coloured pages are double folded into the book.

Quote: “Floating down narrow lanes, where carpenters, at work with plane and chisel in their shops, tossed the light shaving straight upon the water, where it lay like weed, or ebbed away before me in a tangled heap. Past open doors, decayed and rotten from long steeping in the wet, through which some scanty patch of vine shone green and bright, making unusual shadows on the pavement with its trembling leaves. Past quays and terraces, where women, gracefully veiled, were passing and repassing, and where idlers were reclining in the sunshine, on flag-stones and on flights of steps. Past bridges, where there were idlers too; loitering and looking over. Below stone balconies, erected at a giddy height, before the loftiest windows of the loftiest houses. Past plots of garden, theatres, shrines, prodigious piles of architecture — Gothic — Saracenic — fanciful with all the fancies of all times and countries. Past buildings that were high, and low, and black, and white, and straight, and crooked; mean and grand, crazy and strong. Twining among a tangled lot of boats and barges, and shooting out at last into a Grand Canal! There, in the errant fancy of my dream, I saw old Shylock passing to and fro upon a bridge, all built upon with shops and humming with the tongues of men; a form I seemed to know for Desdemona’s, leaned down through a latticed blind to pluck a flower. And, in the dream, I thought that Shakespeare’s spirit was abroad upon the water somewhere: stealing through the city.”

~ from the chapter ‘An Italian Dream’