Thursday, October 09, 2008

Drood Review

Well, I shall be popping the champagne cork. No, not the Toastmasters speech contest, that's Saturday. Rather, last night I turned the last page of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, thus ending my 14-month project of reading all 15 of Charles Dickens' novels (in order) which, you may recall, began following my August 2007 visit to the Charles Dickens Museum in London. (And there was also the Charles Dickens walking tour Steven H. and I took last April.) I wanted to finish it within a year, but I got bogged down in Our Mutual Friend, which was rather like swimming across the Thames (appropriately). In retrospect, it wasn't so much that it was a bad book, but I think it had more to do with the fact that Penguin tried to save money on paper by printing the type really small (either that, or I need new glasses).

So, then, which was my favorite Dickens novel? Bleak House, by far. My least favorite? Probably The Old Curiosity Shop; Little Nell got on my nerves and I just wanted to slap her grandfather for 300 pages. I liked the evil dwarf, though.

In order, from favorite to least favorite, I would probably rank them:

1. Bleak House
2. Great Expectations
3. David Copperfield
4. Martin Chuzzlewit
5. Barnaby Rudge
6. Dombey and Son7. Little Dorritt
8. Nicholas Nickleby
9. The Pickwick Papers
10. A Tale of Two Cities
11. Our Mutual Friend
12. Hard Times
13. Oliver Twist
14. The Old Curiosity Shop

And since Dickens died exactly halfway through writing The Mystery of Edwin Drood (which I call The Mystery of Edw—), it's hard to know where to rank it, since the entire second half is missing. I would probably put it in the top 10. Anyway, that's the ranking now. I'm sure I shall reread them some day--but not for a while, though!

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