When you think about the idea of “dating Dickens,” you’re probably thinking something along the lines of What? You can’t date Dickens—he’s a dead guy! You would be right in that assumption—Charles Dickens is most definitely dead. However, what does dating a person actually mean? It means getting to know that person through regular interactions and planned activities. Dickens left behind many novels and short stories that are infused with his life. Why can’t I still get to know him, or date him, through his writings? That’s the beauty of the written word—it lives on even when the person dies.
So this is my project: I’m going to read fifteen novels by Charles Dickens in one year and blog about my interactions with him in my everyday life. I’m also going to let you get to know him better through this blog, as I think he is a man who many people should know.
By now you might be thinking, Cool idea! But why Dickens? All of his novels are long and tedious because he got paid per word, so why would you want to read all of his novels in one year? Why not a different author?
Great point! We’re not exactly talking about books that I can read in one day, even if I did read for 24 hours straight. I might be in the minority, but I have always loved Charles Dickens ever since I read Great Expectations in high school and then read A Tale of Two Cities for fun. If someone put a gun to my head and forced me to say who my favorite author is, I would say Charles Dickens. (I hate favorite questions, so I wouldn’t answer if it wasn’t a life-or-death situation.) I’ve only read a few of his novels, but I have loved every one of them. Why? Because his novels are very character-driven, and characters are my favorite part of a story. That’s the main reason why LOST will always be my favorite T.V. show and that’s why I decided that I wanted to read all of Dickens’s books. However, I’m not very good at keeping on top of things unless I give myself motivation—and seeing as how his books can be long and tedious, I definitely need the motivation for this endeavor. Hence, the idea for this blog was born, and I gave myself a time limit. I did decide to only read his novels and not his short stories or other writings because I’m not that crazy.
Look at him. What a stud.
I also now have time for this kind of idea because I recently graduated from university and no longer have homework in the traditional sense of the word. In addition, this project will allow me to interact with a text and, hopefully, people in a similar way that I did in the Torrey Honors Institute, the honors program at my college. I don’t want my learning to end just because I’m done with school.
I will be reading the novels in the order in which they were written and will also research background information in order to best understand where Dickens was coming from in writing the plot, characters, story, etc. I will blog about my thoughts towards the novel or perhaps how the novel had an effect on my day-to-day life or anything at all that relates to my reading of the novel. I may even go on “dates” with my book to the beach or a park or somewhere that Dickens would have enjoyed. I’m also open to suggestions if you, as the reader of this blog, want to know anything in particular related to Dickens or have an idea about where I should go on a date with him. If this is a successful and enjoyable year dating Dickens, I may decide to try this with another author, and I will probably be open to suggestions about which one, too.
I officially started this dating venture last night, on August 4, 2014, with The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, also known as The Pickwick Papers. Here’s to a great year.