Posts Tagged Charles Dicken

What I’m Watching

I just finished watching episode five.  Little Dorrit is my favorite movie of all time.  I’ll be posting a review once I’m done watching it.


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What I’m Reading

Bleak House - Full Version (Illustrated and Annotated)

I found Bleak House a little hard going at first but now I’m really enjoying it.  Have you read it?



The Classics Club

Jillian is starting a Classics Club.  The challenge is to read a minimum of 50 classics in a maximum of five years.  I plan to read 50.  I’m going to re-read a lot of books (which is perfectly alright with her).  She put a big list of rules and regulations but I just want to read the classics.  I will post five different posts at different times with ten book titles in them.  Once I’m done the ten books, I will post a new list.  I think it will be easier to keep track of everything that way.

Here are my first ten books.

Northanger Abbey (Jane Austen)

Persuasion (Jane Austen)

Bleak House (Charles Dickens)

Jane Eyre and Wuthering Hights (The Brontës)

Little Dorrit (Charles Dickens)

Anne of Green Gables (Lucy Maud Montgomery) 

The Inheritance (Louisa May Alcott)

Little Women and Little Men (Louisa May Alcott)

If you have any other classics that you think I should add to my list, just let me know.

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Little Dorrit

Little Dorrit with illustrations

Author: Charles Dickens

Genre: Historical

My rating on a 1 – 10 scale: 10

Type: Classic

Time Period: Victorian

Main Characters: Little Dorrit, Arthur Clennam

My Review:  Little Dorrit lives in debtors prison with her father.  When an unexpected find brings them unexpected riches, will it become a blessing or a curse?

My overall opinion:  The reason I did such a short review is because I honestly can’t find words to describe this book.  I recently watched Little Dorrit 2008 and I like the book even better.  This book is a great read, although quite long.

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What I’m Reading

Little Dorrit with illustrations

After watching the wonderful Little Dorrit 2008 miniseries, I resolved to read the book.  I had heard such good reviews of it from other bloggers and so far I’ve not been disappointed.  It’s a very interesting book.  When I’m done it, I will definitely post a review.

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Another Charles Dickens Birthday Week Tag!

All these wonderful CD birthday celebrations!  This one is hosted by Alexandra of Of Trims and Frills and Furbelows.

1.       How were you first introduced to Dickens?  Watching the old black and white A Christmas Carol was my first introduction to Dickens.  This year is the first year I’ve ever read an unabridged copy of one of his books.

2.       Which is your favorite Dickens novel?  Little Dorrit

3.       How many Dickens adaptations have you seen?  2008 Little Dorrit, The black and white version of A Christmas Carol, and a musical Oliver Twist 

4.       Which Dickens adaptation is your favorite?  2008 Little Dorrit wins hands down

5.       Have you seen multiple versions of A Christmas Carol? Which version is your favorite?  I’ve only seen the black and white version.  I kind of like it

6.       Who is your favorite Dickens hero and (if applicable) who does your favorite portrayal of him?  Arthur Clenam.  I’ve only seen him played by Matthew Macfayden but I think he does a really good job

7.       Who is your favorite Dickens heroine and (if applicable) who does your favorite portrayal of her?  Amy Dorrit (do you see a theme here).  I’ve only seen Claire Foy’s portrayal but she did an excellent job.

8.       Who is your favorite Dickens villain and (if applicable) who does your favorite portrayal of them?  How can you have a ‘favorite’ villain?  Fagin would probably win out…

9.       Have you seen any musical adaptations of any of Dickens’ stories? If so, which is your favorite song from it?  I’ve seen the Oliver Twist musical – my favorite song is Who Will Buy?

10.   Do you have a favorite Dickens quote? If so, what is it?  

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
~~A Tale of Two Cities
Thanks for reading!


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Charles Dickens Birthday Week Tag Questions

Old-Fashioned Charm

As you all know from my post, Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm is hosting a Charles Dickens Birthday Week.  Here are the tag questions for CDBW.

1. How were you first introduced to Charles Dickens?  My first introduction to Dickens was watching the old black and white A Christmas Carol with my dad on Christmas eve.

2. Which Charles Dickens novels and stories have you read? Which are your favorites?  I have read Oliver Twist, an adaption of Great Expectations, and an adaption of Tale of Two Cities.  My favorite was Great Expectations.

3. Which Charles Dickens novel(s) do you most want to read?  Little Dorrit!

4. What are your favorite Charles Dickens quotes (up to three)?  “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”  “Train up a fig tree in the way it should go, and when you are old sit under the shade of it.”  “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.”

5. Which Charles Dickens film adaptations are in your top three favorites? (If you’ve never seen one which three film adaptations do you most want to see?)  Oliver!, Little Dorrit, and I want to watch Bleak House

6. Who are your Top 3 favorite Dickens heroines? and why?  Amy Dorrit first and foremost – she’s so sweet and kind.  Estella Havisham – I don’t really know why I like her.  Lucy Manette – a courageous heroine.

7. Who are your Top 3 favorite Dickens heroes? and why?  Arthur Clenam – very gentlemanly and polite, Oliver Twist – he’s a very interesting character, Pip – sort of shy but in a nice way.

8. Which three Dickens villains do you most love to hate?  I wouldn’t say I love to hate them but here are my top three Dickenson villains- Fagin, Bill Sikes, and Rigaud.

9. Which Dickens characters (up to three) do you find the most funny?  Um…I can’t say that I have many that I find truly funny – just one – Mr. Casby’s daughter, Flora Finching…(“But we will not talk of those dear departed days, Arthur…or should I say Doyce and Clenam.”  I’m quoting from the movie.)

10. If you could authorize a new film adaptation of one of Dickens’s novels, which would it be and why?  I actually have no book I would like to see made or re-made into a film.

11. If you could have lunch with Charles Dickens today, what question would you most like to ask him?  If he ever got writer’s block…seriously!  

12. Have you ever read a Dickens biography or watched a biographical film about him?  Sadly, no…but I hope to soon.

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Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Author: Charles Dickens

Genre: Classic

My rating on a 1 – 10 scale: 7

Type: Down-to-earth

Time Period: Mid-1800′s

Main Characters: Oliver Twist, Fagin

My Review: I enjoyed reading Oliver Twist for the Charles Dickens Reading Challenge.  Oliver Twist is a young orphan who, after running away from his cruel master finds himself in London.  He is taken in by a pack of thieves who try to make him steal.  But Oliver refuses to do their bidding…This story of good triumphing over evil makes for a fascinating read.

My overall opinion:  I was surprised at how easy Oliver Twist was to understand.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading it but for one thing…Charles Dickens seems quite anti-Jewish and constantly referred to Fagin as ‘the Jew’.  But other than that, it was an interesting read.

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Cover Image

Oliver! is the only Dickenson film I have watched beside Little Dorrit.  I’ve watched Oliver! several times and each time, I found new things to enjoy.  Oliver! is a musical/movie.  It has great casting and lots of funny, sad, or beautiful songs in it.

From Wikipedia:

The musical opens in the workhouse, as the half-starved orphan boys are entering the enormous lunchroom for dinner (“Food Glorious Food”). They are fed only gruel. Nine-year-old Oliver (actually identified as thirteen in the libretto but generally played as much younger, as in the Dickens novel) gathers up the courage to ask for more. He is immediately apprehended and is told to gather his belongings by Mr. Bumble and the Widow Corney, the heartless and greedy caretakers of the workhouse (“Oliver!”). Mr. Bumble and Widow Corney are left alone, and Mr. Bumble begins to make amorous advances. Mrs. Corney pretends to resent his attentions (“I Shall Scream!”), but ends up on Mr. Bumble’s lap, kissing him. Oliver comes back and is promptly sold (“Boy for Sale”) and apprenticed to an undertaker, Mr. Sowerberry. He and his wife taunt Oliver and Mr. Bumble (“That’s Your Funeral”). He is sent to sleep in the basement with the coffins, something which makes him visibly uncomfortable. (“Where is Love?”).

The next morning bully Noah Claypole, who oversees Oliver’s work, insults Oliver’s dead mother, whereupon Oliver begins pummeling him. Mrs. Sowerberry and her daughter, Charlotte run in, and become hysterical. Mr. Bumble is sent for, and he and the Sowerberrys lock Oliver in a coffin, but during all the commotion Oliver escapes. After a week on the run, he meets the Artful Dodger, a boy wearing an oversize coat and a top hat. He beckons Oliver to join him (“Consider Yourself”). Dodger is, unknown to Oliver, a boy pickpocket, and he invites Oliver to come and live in Fagin’s lair. Fagin is a criminal, and he is in the business of teaching young boys to pick pockets. Oliver, however, is completely unaware of any criminality, and believes that the boys make handkerchiefs rather than steal them. Oliver is introduced to Fagin and all the other boy pickpockets, and is taught their ways (“You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two”).

The next day, Oliver meets Nancy, the live-in girlfriend of the evil, terrifying Bill Sikes, a burglar whose abuse she endures because she loves him. Nancy and Oliver take an instant liking to each other, and Nancy shows motherly affection toward him. Bet, Nancy’s younger sister (her best friend in Dickens’ novel and the 1968 film), is also with her. Nancy, along with Bet and the boys, sing about how they don’t mind a bit of danger (“It’s a Fine Life”). Dodger humorously starts pretending to be an upper-class citizen, (“I’d Do Anything”), along with Fagin, Oliver, Nancy, Bet, and the boys mocking high society. Nancy and Bet leave and Oliver is sent out with the other boys on his first pickpocketing job (“Be Back Soon”), though he still believes that they are going to teach him how to make handkerchiefs. Dodger, another boy pickpocket named Charley Bates, and Oliver decide to stick together, and when Dodger and Charley rob Mr. Brownlow, a wealthy old man, they run off, leaving Oliver to be arrested for the crime (“The Robbery”).

The next morning, at Mr. Brownlow’s house in Bloomsbury, Ms. Bedwin, the housekeeper (who sings in the stage version, but not in the film), sings to Oliver, (“Where Is Love? [Reprise]”), and Oliver wakes up. Mr. Brownlow and Dr. Grimwig discuss Oliver’s condition. They come to the conclusion that he is well enough to go outside, and Mr. Brownlow sends Oliver on an errand- he asks him to return some books to the library. From his window, Oliver sees a group of street vendors and joins them in song once he steps outside (“Who Will Buy?”). As the vendors leave, Nancy and Bill show up and grab Oliver. They bring him back to Fagin’s den, where Nancy saves Oliver from a beating from Sykes after the boy tries to flee but is stopped. Nancy angrily and remorsefully reviews their dreadful life, but Bill maintains that any living is better than none. Fagin tries to act as an intermediary (“It’s A Fine Life [Reprise]”). When Sykes and Nancy leave, Fagin, who also wants out, humorously ponders his future (“Reviewing the Situation”). However, every time he thinks of a good reason for going straight, he reconsiders and decides to remain a criminal.

Back at the workhouse, Mr. Bumble and the Widow Corney, now unhappily married, meet up with the dying pauper Old Sally and another old lady, who tell them that Oliver’s mother, Agnes, left a gold locket (indicating that he comes from a rich family) when she died in childbirth. Old Sally stole the locket and now gives it to the Widow Corney. Mr. Bumble and Widow Corney, realizing that Oliver may have wealthy relatives, visit Mr. Brownlow in order to profit from any reward given out for information of him (“Oliver! [Reprise]”). He throws them out, knowing that they have suppressed evidence until they could get a reward for it. Brownlow looks at the picture inside the locket, a picture of his daughter, and realizes that Oliver, who knows nothing of his family history, is actually his grandson (Oliver’s mother had disappeared after having been left pregnant by her lover, who jilted her).

Nancy, terrified for Oliver and feeling guilty, visits Brownlow and promises to deliver Oliver to him safely that night at midnight on London Bridge – if Brownlow does not bring the police or ask any questions. She then ponders again about Bill (“As Long As He Needs Me [Reprise]”). Bill suspects that Nancy is up to something. That night, he follows her as she sneaks Oliver out, although in the stage version it is never made clear how he knew exactly when to do this. At London Bridge, he confronts them, knocks Oliver temporarily unconscious, and brutally clubs Nancy to death (in alternative stagings of the show, he either strangles her, stabs her, or slits her throat, but the musical’s original libretto follows the Dickens novel in having her beaten to death). He then grabs Oliver, who has since revived, and runs offstage with him, presumably back to the hideout to ask Fagin for getaway money. Mr. Brownlow, who had been late keeping the appointment, arrives and discovers Nancy’s body. A large crowd soon forms, among them the distraught Bet. Bullseye, Bill’s fierce terrier, returns to the scene of the crime and the crowd prepares to follow him to the hideout. After they exit Fagin and his boys, terrified at the idea of being apprehended, leave their hideout in panic. Not finding Bill at the hideout, the anxious crowd, now whipped up into a thirst for justice, returns to the Thames Embankment, when suddenly Bill appears at the top of the bridge, holding Oliver as hostage and threatening to kill him if the crowd tries to take him. Unseen by Bill, two policemen sneak up on him. One of them fatally shoots Bill and the other grabs Oliver as Bill releases him. Oliver is then reunited with Mr. Brownlow. The mob, still eager for vengeance against this underground criminal network, begins a mad search for Fagin. When one of the members of the crowd suggest that he may be at the Three Cripples pub, they disperse offstage in order to track him down. As the crowd exits, Fagin sneaks on and decides that, after years of pickpocketing and training junior pickpocketers, the time has never looked better for him to straighten out his life.

If you want to check out the official website for all the productions of Oliver! go here.

I’m sorry I couldn’t get any pics of the movie…


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Charles Dickens Birthday Week

Old-Fashioned Charm

Charles Dickens Birthday Week is being hosted by Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm.  It promises to be a week filled with excitement and entertainment.  Here is what Miss Laurie suggests you do on your blog:

During this week I encourage you to post about Charles Dickens on your own blog. Tell about your favorite Dickens novel, share favorite moments from a Dickens film adaptation, write about a favorite Dickensian character, pen a birthday letter or poem to Mr. Dickens, or make some fan art with screencaps and quotes.  If you post something related to Charles Dickens life or works be sure to let me know!    

I plan to do all of these – I hope I can at least!  By the way, Charles Dickens’ actual birthday is February 7th.  


2012 Charles Dickens Reading Challenge

Miss Abby from Newly Impassioned Soul is hosting a Charles Dickens Reading Challenge since 2012 is the 200th anniversary of his birth.  She challenges you to read 3, 5, or 10 of Dickens’ books.  I have decided to read five books seeing as I am only just now being introduced to his work.

1.  Oliver Twist – I’ve already started reading this and it is really interesting.

Oliver Twist (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

2.  Great Expectations – I’ve read an abridged version of this novel and I enjoyed it so I think it’s time I read the full version.

Great Expectations (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

3.  Little Dorrit – I am going to be watching the miniseries in a few days, so I thought I should read the book too.

Little Dorrit

4.  The Olde Curiosity Shop – I’ve heard of this book and it sounded interesting.

The Old Curiosity Shop

5.  Our Mutual Friend – This is my mom’s favorite Dickens so I want to see for myself what it’s like.

Our Mutual Friend (Dodo Press)

I hope that you will join the challenge – Dickens’ books are well worth it.  

For more info on Dickens’ 200th birthday check this website.

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