Habitual Mood

Project Dickens

Charles Dickens is one of my favourite writers, and as such I have spent a lot of time not reading his work. This must be a common thing: you develop an enthusiasm for a writer's work, but instead of feasting upon their corpus like some word-hungry zombie you take occasional nibbles, perhaps to forestall running short.

With Dickens, there's also the consideration that most of his books are extremely long and occassionally tedious. In my teens I read David Copperfield and Hard Times and found them to be - yes - a hard time. In early adulthood I read Great Expectations and enjoyed it more. (It is now one of my favourite novels.) These days I read masters of turgidity like Thomas Mann for fun, so Dickens's brick-like works are slightly less forbidding. Still, he's not exactly a breezy writer.

Anyway, in 2013 I decided to work through Dickens's major works, including rereading the ones I read in my youth. I started out chronological, but ended up skipping around quite a lot. As you can see from the list below, I haven't tackled any of the big books since 2018.

The Pickwick Papers (2013)
Oliver Twist (2014)
Nicholas Nickleby (2016)
The Old Curiosity Shop
Barnaby Rudge
A Christmas Carol (2020 & 2023)
Martin Chuzzlewit
Dombey and Son
David Copperfield
Bleak House (2019)
Hard Times
Little Dorrit
A Tale of Two Cities (2018)
Great Expectations (2018)
Our Mutual Friend
The Mystery of Edwin Drood

The plan for 2024 is to read, at minimum, The Old Curiosity Shop. This is a big one because for years I have been doing my best not to read The Old Curiosity Shop. As for Barnaby Rudge, has anyone ever read it?