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Nico87
11-12-2007, 11:41 AM
Hello. I've been planning to get a book by Charles Dickens, just one, at least to start with. So, which one should I begin with? I plan to buy a book from Everyman's Library, and they have published these books;

Barnaby Rudge
Bleak House
A Christmas Carol
David Copperfield
Dombey and Son
Great Expectations
Hard Times
Little Dorrit
Martin Chuzzlewit
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Nicholas Nickleby
The Old Curiosity Shop
Oliver Twist
Our Mutual Friend
The Pickwick Papers
A Tale of Two Cities

I have thought about either A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist, Bleak House, David Copperfield or Great Expectations, but I'm open for further recommendations.

Would also be nice if a Dickens reader could make a little top 3-list of his work.

All answer would be much appreciated.

Thanks

To mods; I also made a thread in the Dickens sub-forum, but I would want this thread to be in the General Literature forum aswell!

manolia
11-12-2007, 11:57 AM
I have read so far

Bleak House
David Copperfield
A Christmas Carol
Great Expectations
Oliver Twist
The Old Curiosity Shop

and that is my order of preferance ;) There is a kilted fellow floating somewhere out there who has read all Dicken's books and he can be of great help if he happens to pop his head in your thread ;)

leynabituin
11-12-2007, 01:59 PM
I really like Dombey and Son and Great Expectations, although I haven't read everything of his. His longer works tend to be more interesting, since he can sustain a story really well and you really feel like you've gone through something with the characters afterward.

Then again, Xmas carol is a classic, too.

LadyWentworth
11-12-2007, 02:48 PM
The first book that I ever read of his was A Tale of Two Cities. I was 12 when I read it, and I loved it. It is in my top 5 of all-time. Going from your list, this is how I would choose it:

A Christmas Carol (eh, it is Christmastime, why not start with that? :) It is also a quick read!)
A Tale of Two Cities
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Nicholas Nickleby
David Copperfield
Oliver Twist
Great Expectations
Bleak House
Little Dorrit
Hard Times
Martin Chuzzlewit
Barnaby Rudge
Dombey and Son
The Old Curiosity Shop
The Pickwick Papers
Our Mutual Friend

Now this was just my own order that I preferred his novels, anyway. I always think it is "safe" to start out with one of the best known like A Tale of Two Cities, though. It would be a good choice if you want to read only one of his stories. I am not just saying that because it is my favorite. :)

bouquin
11-12-2007, 03:00 PM
My favorites are A Tale of Two Cities
and Great Expectations.

Nico87
11-12-2007, 03:44 PM
Think I might get A Tale of Two Cities and Bleak House, then I'll buy A Christmas Carol for my mum, as she loves to read aswell, then read it myself later on! The Mystery of Edwin Drood sounds interesting from what I've read about it. Amazon.co.uk sells it for £8 (about $16,5), which is pretty cheap in Europe, so I might get that one aswell.

blackbird_9
11-12-2007, 04:20 PM
Despite the fact that I haven't read it yet (about the only Dickens book I haven't read), I hear A Tale of Two Cities is the best to start out with. :)

IrishMark
11-12-2007, 04:50 PM
You Can't go far wrong with 'Great Expectations'. I recommend that if you like it then read more of his works.

LadyWentworth
11-12-2007, 05:04 PM
Think I might get A Tale of Two Cities and Bleak House, then I'll buy A Christmas Carol for my mum, as she loves to read aswell, then read it myself later on! The Mystery of Edwin Drood sounds interesting from what I've read about it. Amazon.co.uk sells it for 8 (about $16,5), which is pretty cheap in Europe, so I might get that one aswell.

Well, if nothing else, "A Christmas Carol" is a familair story, too.

As for "The Mystery of Edwin Drood", I loved it! I don't know how much you read about it, or how much you know about it, so I won't say too much if you're really considering buying that one. If that story had ended up the way that it should have "ended up", I would most definitely have put that above "A Tale of Two Cities"!!! Alas, it didn't "end up" the way a story should! But it does add to the mystery of the story! ;) If you read it, you will know what I am talking about! Anyway, that is how "A Tale of Two Cities" remained my favorite! :)

Charles Darnay
11-12-2007, 05:21 PM
Personally, it doesn't get much better for me than A Tale of Two Cities - however, I would add the recommendation that if you have little background with the French Revolution you be cautious about it. If you have background with that great Revolution than go right ahead.

Otherwise, Great Expectations is a great starting point.

Nico87
11-12-2007, 05:44 PM
I don't know much about the French Revolution but I know that my grandfather got a book or two about it, so I'll read them first. I'll have a look on wikipedia aswell.

Odi_Et_Amo
11-12-2007, 06:18 PM
Great Expectations is his most influential novel and arguably his "best" novel. Of course this is defined by critics. I would recommend starting there, it's a great book.

Nico87
11-12-2007, 07:09 PM
Oh well, just ordered A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. That's my weakness obviously, I can't buy only one book at the time.

kilted exile
11-13-2007, 12:33 PM
Everyone else around here is probably fed up hearing me say this (reading me write this dont sound right) BUT Dickens achieved perfection with Hard Times. It is definitively Dickens - memorable characters, scathing criticism of social happenings, laugh out loud humour & a dark underbelly.

For a person new to Dickens however I would usually recommend David Copperfield, and would definitely steer them away from starting with Bleak House (which while excellent is perhaps the one of his novels I took longest to get fully absorbed in - save it for later)

My top 3 of Dickens:

Hard Times
Great Expectations
Bleak House

bazarov
11-13-2007, 12:54 PM
I've read only Great Expectations and it's really a bad book, I don't remember when was the last time I was so disappointed with some book.

LadyWentworth
11-13-2007, 02:21 PM
Oh well, just ordered A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. That's my weakness obviously, I can't buy only one book at the time.

Well, I have to admit that I really like your choices. :) Which one do you think you will read first?

Nico87
11-13-2007, 02:33 PM
Probably The Mystery of Edwin Drood as it's the shortest book of the four except A Christmas Carol. Then I think I'll read Bleak House, which I forgot to put in my list, and then Great Expectations. I'll read A Tale of Two Cities somewhere in between or last.

I don't know when I'll read them though. I'm going in the army in january and I already have a list of about 15 books I will bring with me (everything from Dostoevsky, Gogol, and Nabokov, to Franz Kafka and Jane Austen).

bazarov
11-13-2007, 03:52 PM
I don't know when I'll read them though. I'm going in the army in january and I already have a list of about 15 books I will bring with me (everything from Dostoevsky, Gogol, and Nabokov, to Franz Kafka and Jane Austen).

Reading in the army? That will be an adventure! :D

manolia
11-13-2007, 04:23 PM
Probably The Mystery of Edwin Drood as it's the shortest book of the four except A Christmas Carol. Then I think I'll read Bleak House, which I forgot to put in my list, and then Great Expectations. I'll read A Tale of Two Cities somewhere in between or last.

I don't know when I'll read them though. I'm going in the army in january and I already have a list of about 15 books I will bring with me (everything from Dostoevsky, Gogol, and Nabokov, to Franz Kafka and Jane Austen).

Good choices ;)
Good luck with the army :) .

Nico87
11-13-2007, 07:06 PM
Hehe yeah, Afghanistan actually. Heard the norwegians are having a boring time there, so will def be time for some reading.

LadyWentworth
11-13-2007, 07:59 PM
Probably The Mystery of Edwin Drood as it's the shortest book of the four except A Christmas Carol. Then I think I'll read Bleak House, which I forgot to put in my list, and then Great Expectations. I'll read A Tale of Two Cities somewhere in between or last.

I don't know when I'll read them though. I'm going in the army in january and I already have a list of about 15 books I will bring with me (everything from Dostoevsky, Gogol, and Nabokov, to Franz Kafka and Jane Austen).

Wow! From Dostoevsky to Austen, huh? That really is a variety. :)

Well, whenever you get along to reading "Edwin Drood" I would be extremely curious to hear your opinion!

Good luck in the army! :)

glenn71
11-13-2007, 09:04 PM
i have only read a handfull of his novels but the pickwick papers really did make me laugh a lot . and great expectations i have since reread as i enjoyed it so much , i couldnt finish little dorrit though .

Charles Darnay
11-20-2007, 11:29 PM
Everyone else around here is probably fed up hearing me say this (reading me write this dont sound right) BUT Dickens achieved perfection with Hard Times. It is definitively Dickens - memorable characters, scathing criticism of social happenings, laugh out loud humour & a dark underbelly.

For a person new to Dickens however I would usually recommend David Copperfield, and would definitely steer them away from starting with Bleak House (which while excellent is perhaps the one of his novels I took longest to get fully absorbed in - save it for later)

My top 3 of Dickens:

Hard Times
Great Expectations
Bleak House

I definatly agree with you about "Hard Times", it is an excellent novel (it struggles for close 2nd for with (with Barnaby Rudge - a very under-rated Dickens')...but I would suggest that Hard Times can be appreciated much better by one who has a bit of experience with Dickens and would not recommend it as a starter.

marakatsu
12-23-2007, 07:57 PM
I cannot cannot believe no one recommended David Copperfield. The novel touches me deeply more than his other novels.

Etienne
12-23-2007, 08:00 PM
I cannot cannot believe no one recommended David Copperfield. The novel touches me deeply more than his other novels.

I would but it's the only Dickens' I've read beside Christmas Carroll in french translation...

Virgil
12-23-2007, 08:02 PM
David Copperfield is a good novel, but I think Great Expectatons is the novel I would recommend. It truely ranks with the great ones. I can't understand why Baz was disappointed.

kiz_paws
12-24-2007, 02:21 AM
Everyone else around here is probably fed up hearing me say this (reading me write this dont sound right) BUT Dickens achieved perfection with Hard Times. It is definitively Dickens - memorable characters, scathing criticism of social happenings, laugh out loud humour & a dark underbelly.
Here Here! I second this thought. A brilliant work indeed! :)


Nico87, the books you purchased are good choices, you won't be disappointed. :)

ballb
12-24-2007, 03:47 AM
To be honest I am not a great fan of Dickens. But if pushed to recommend some titles I suggest you start with Tale Of Two Cities and follow up with Pickwick Papers. Good luck in the army. Stay safe mate.

AARONDISNEY
05-20-2008, 10:03 PM
I've spent the past year and a half on practically nothing but Dickens.
I only have Our Mutual Friend and Little Dorrit to go through. I got half way through Pickwick and got so lost in the bazillion characters that I gave up.
This is the order I go with

David Copperfield
Bleak House
Nicholas Nickleby
Dombey and Son
Oliver Twist
Great Expectations
Hard Times
Barnaby Rudge
A Tale of Two Cities
The Old Curiosity Shop
A Christmas Carol
Mystery of Edwin Drood (I liked it alot but would prefer to have a completion)
Martin Chuzzlewit

Aprilfool
05-20-2008, 10:23 PM
It's many years since I read Dickens, but I seem to recall Our Mutual Friend as a standout. Also the one with the Circumlocution Office (which I discovered to be an accurate portrayal of the National Health 35 years ago) - Little Dorritt, I think? Loved Pickwick Papers - especially the part where Pickwick's friends go through the lawyer's bill and decide which parts of it he should pay. Loved all of them, I think - must be time to start rereading . . .

fuzzer1
05-22-2008, 08:02 PM
Oliver Twist is one of my all-time favourite novels. Read it. Now.:yawnb:

Anthony57
02-25-2009, 08:17 AM
I have to look at all the writen books by dickens, now usualy it would be best to start reading from the first novel. i.e. BOZ
I have BOZ but have not started it yet. You have to read David Copperfield first, this gives an outline of Charles Dickens life as a boy to adult.
Once read you will observe his lust for words as a youngster and why.
As he matures his method of writing becomes more relaxed.
Try it, tell me if i am wrong.

hoope
02-25-2009, 09:20 AM
Oliver Twist is really worth to read.
David Copperfield is great.. Great Expectation... i just can't forget that novel too..

optimisticnad
02-25-2009, 05:36 PM
I've read only Great Expectations and it's really a bad book, I don't remember when was the last time I was so disappointed with some book.

Yikes! I loved it!

I've not read all of his novels but I would recommend 'Great Expectations' if you're starting out. Haven't you heard? Angelina Jolie is reading it! :lol:
http://www.online-literature.com/forums/blog.php?b=6820

seanlol
02-25-2009, 06:35 PM
Great Expectations. Without a doubt.

Lynne Fees
03-04-2009, 02:53 PM
A Christmas Carol is short & sweet and gets you used to Dickens's style. My favorite is probably Great Expectations after that.