Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I know I'm getting basically nowhere reading a few pages at a time. But it's better than nothing... right? I don't know. I don't think the episodic nature of Pickwick is helping much, because there's not really a story I'm sucked in to, at least not yet. I'll try to block out a bunch of time this weekend to get through most of it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Talking - like this- all the time

A new character, "the stranger," has appeared, and he speaks entirely in disjointed phrases separated by dashes. It was funny at first, but honestly, it's getting a little old.

But now I'm on to Pickwick's description of a town, which is, of course, actually Dickens's description of the town with a few "(Pickwick wrote)" thrown in. So that's something.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A dog who can read!

I knew Dickens was funny, I guess, but this has been funnier so far than I expected. I just came upon a little story about a dog who could, apparently, read, and this was barely treated as anything out of the ordinary by the characters. There's an awful lot of humor involving people dying, too.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I keep meaning to read but getting distracted by other books. So I'm going to try reading a few pages first thing in the morning, before I let myself do much else. If I can read more later, great, but if not, I'll have at least made a little progress.

A few pages this morning, so that's something. It's already hilarious, if kind of bizarre. Word looked up: portmanteau. (A type of suitcase. I'd heard it before but couldn't exactly place it.)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Introductory Material

Well, that went on more or less forever. (66 pages, in fact.) There was a long introduction, a dedication, several prefaces, a table of contents, a list of characters, etc. But I persevered and now I am into the actual novel! The introduction was very interesting, but I felt that parts of it would have been more useful to read after I'd read the book, as many of the references to characters and plot points were going totally over my head. This seems like a common thing; perhaps with classics it is assumed that readers have either read the book before or know a lot about it, and so can understand these introductions? And yes, I know that I could skip it and read it afterward (or skip it entirely) but I'm afraid the ability to do that just isn't in my make-up. It would bother me too much, knowing I'd skipped something, and I'd be distracted for the rest of the book.

After all that, I was only able to read the first chapter of the novel today, but it was pretty hilarious already, so that's a good sign. But boy, are the sentences complicated. That's one of the things I like best about Victorian writing, actually: it makes me slow down and really concentrate, and I think it's a good exercise. I feel like it uses a different part of my brain, or something.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Well, okay. So that whole plan of starting during the Christmas season was clearly a fail. I'm not sure what I was thinking. But! The original plan was to start on New Year's Day, so that is what I am doing! Pickwick, here I come!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Done with The Man Who Invented Christmas

Okay, I finally finished last night. This book took WAY longer to read than I'd expected. It was interesting enough, but kind of felt like a stretch, overall. I think the material would have done better as a long introduction to A Christmas Carol plus maybe a few nice long New Yorker or Atlantic essays - the history of Christmas in England; Dickens and the evolution of publishing; how Dickens's childhood informed his writing, etc. It felt like the author didn't really have enough material for the book he wanted to write, so he threw it all together and put references to A Christmas Carol on the front because he knew that would make it sell.

But it certainly wasn't bad, and if you're interested in this stuff, go ahead and read it. One thing I learned: several of the "Christmas books" don't actually mention Christmas. Hmph!

On to A Christmas Carol itself today!!