Happy October everyone!

 

Like December was Dickens’s favorite month and Christmas his favorite holiday, October is my favorite month of the year and Halloween/Day of the Dead my favorite celebration. It also happens to be my birthday month, so that just adds to the fun.

This is why I am so incredibly happy that I will be reading one of my favorite of Dickens’s novels this month. So, here it is, my next adventure: The Old Curiosity Shop.

When I first started this project, I had intended to read all the Dickens’s novels I had yet to read, which were mostly his early novels. But I got so invested in the project I decided to re-read them as well and this will be my first reread. My goal is to finish reading all his novels before I turn thirty, which will be in October two years from now, that will make it 11 books in two years! I hope I can make it!

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But back to my next read.

The Old Curiosity Shop is, sadly, not a popular Dickens’s novel and it hasn’t been read as often, probably because Nell’s plot is quite sentimental (a popular thing for the time). But it truly is a very rich novel and, in my opinion, definitely worth reading.

In the Preface to the First Cheap Edition of The Old Curiosity Shop published in 1848, Dickens writes:

I had it always in my fancy to surround the lonely figure of the child with grotesque and wild, but not impossible companions, and to gather about her innocent face, and pure intentions, associates as strange and uncongenial as the grim objects that are about her [in the curiosity shop]

And this is truly the best summary of the story. However, as it often happens in Dickens’s novels, some of the minor characters take the story and run away with it and, in this case, make a fantastic side story happening alongside Nell’s. You just have to read it to believe me.

I first read this novel in April of 2013, when I had just begun my affair with Dickens, so it was due for a reread.

It has some of my favorite elements of Dickensian fiction: the presence of the supernatural, the grotesque, the fairy-tale-esque in its “Realism.”

To me, Dickens is the only author who can have imps, ghosts, ghouls, and just any kind of supernatural element in a very realistic setting without us having to call it Fantasy. It is simply real in the realm of the novel and quite possible in our own realm. I argue that, in Dickens’s fiction, this presence of the supernatural actually enriches the realistic elements of his fiction (like his social criticism and political satire, for example) and he can be more critical about his culture and his world when he is writing supernatural stuff. But, by all means, disagree with me, just read the novel.

Actually, I am planning to become more active in the months and years to come. I am really excited about this project and I just want to be more involved. This is why I decided to open an Instagram account, which you are welcome to follow, and to encourage you to read along with me.

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In lieu of this last point, I decided to share my reading schedule with you, dear reader.

If you have always wanted to read this novel or you haven’t read it yet, please join me and share your thoughts with me!

I am going to try to commit to this reading schedule so I don’t suffer like I did with Nickleby which took me longer than expected and to post every Saturday (Master Humphrey’s Clock was out on Saturdays) with some discussion points.

So, dear reader, have you read The Old Curiosity Shop? Would you like to? Let me know in the comments.

And, as always, thank you for reading and may we meet again!

A.

5 thoughts on “Week 44: In which I continue my journey

  1. I have read this (in all fairness, I think I’ve read every Dickens book) back in 2008. I’m pretty sure I read it in college in the late 90’s as well, but I wasn’t recording or reviewing what I was reading at the time so I can’t be 100% sure. Now, are you going to be reading his non-fiction stuff as well, like his travelogues and histories?

    However, since I am currently doing a Dickens re-read, I’ll read this next when Dickens turn comes up on ye olde ereader. I tend to read a book through though, so I won’t be able to participate as such in your journey. But I am hoping to be able to interact a bit more intelligently since it will be fresh in my mind 🙂

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    1. That is so awesome that you have read all his work! To be honest, this is why I am blogging about my experience, I would like to remember what I am reading someday, looking back! And no worries! I am sharing my reading schedule so I can be held accountable 😛 but I started it and read past my goal! It’s just really interesting. I love this one so much.

      I haven’t decided yet if I will do the non-fiction and his travelogues. I might read about his travels to America when I get to Martin Chuzzlewit, but we shall see. The goal for me is to read the novels and then maybe I will continue to Sketches by Boz and his essays, which I also loved.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cool. Well, I’ll chime in on Shoppe as the fancy strikes.

        I’m not reading his non-fiction again on my re-read. I barely made it through them the first time. His travelogue really did me in, as I’m not a traveller but it taught me to stick to the novels.

        I think it is cool that you are doing this whole blog. It is nice and lowkey. I tend to hang out with the SFF crowd on wordpress, so following a Dickens fan is great.

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      2. I’m going to jump in here because I have no idea what I did but I seem to have deleted one of your comments, I’m so sorry! I’m not as good with technology as I claim to be. I apologize also for my late response. I was out of the office for a while. I was saying that I am not very familiar with SFF and it seems really cool they are trying serialization. Unfortunately, I think our society today just wants to binge everything (I could blame Netflix for this but I do it too lol). I am also guilty of not starting a series unless it’s finished (it’s why I haven’t read Game of Thrones), which is silly because I think Mystery of Edwin Drood is brilliant!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. No worries. I’ve done that myself when using my laptop, moving the cursor and suddenly the comment is somehow marked as spam or deleted or something.

        I concur completely with your assessment of the netflix’ing of our world. I think it has alot to do with people having no purpose in life and so they try to fill the void with pleasure, fun, etc.

        Have a good week…

        Liked by 1 person

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