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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thank you, Andy, for starting "White Tie." Since I was one of those who asked for it, I will try to be a vigorous participant!

Reading and book-collecting are great passions of mine, and I always have numerous books in progress at any given time. One of my reading "slots" lately has been reserved for 19th century novels, which I read long chunks of on Saturday and Sunday mornings at my local coffee-shops. So far this year I have finished Charles Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit, Anthony Trollope's Can You Forgive Her? (the first in the six-volume Palliser series), and (completed just last weekend) George Eliot's Middlemarch -- all magnificent books. This weekend I start on William Makepeace Thackeray's Vanity Fair.

More later, but I wanted to kick the thread off.
 

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Tremendous list, topbroker.. not a dud in that group! I love 19th century literature myself. Some of my favorites that I have re-read recently for the nth time: The Count of Monte Cristo (Dumas), Oliver Twist (Dickens). Currently re-reading The Annotated Sherlock Holmes - Baring Gould edition.
 

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Thank you, Andy, for starting "White Tie." Since I was one of those who asked for it, I will try to be a vigorous participant!

Reading and book-collecting are great passions of mine, and I always have numerous books in progress at any given time. One of my reading "slots" lately has been reserved for 19th century novels, which I read long chunks of on Saturday and Sunday mornings at my local coffee-shops. So far this year I have finished Charles Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit, Anthony Trollope's Can You Forgive Her? (the first in the six-volume Palliser series), and (completed just last weekend) George Eliot's Middlemarch -- all magnificent books. This weekend I start on William Makepeace Thackeray's Vanity Fair.

More later, but I wanted to kick the thread off.
Try Dickens' Bleak House and Trollope's The Way We Live Now. The later could easily be transposed to the present day.
 

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Twain

Travelling With the Innocents Abroad is another 19th century book that could be transposed to today. Just a bunch of Americans on a cruise ship seeing the sights.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Tremendous list, topbroker.. not a dud in that group! I love 19th century literature myself. Some of my favorites that I have re-read recently for the nth time: The Count of Monte Cristo (Dumas), Oliver Twist (Dickens). Currently re-reading The Annotated Sherlock Holmes - Baring Gould edition.
I'm an enthusiastic Sherlockian and love the Baring-Gould Annotated. I haven't checked out the newer Annotated yet -- are you familiar with it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Try Dickens' Bleak House and Trollope's The Way We Live Now. The later could easily be transposed to the present day.
Bleak House is my favorite novel! I haven't read The Way We Live Now yet, although I hear it is tremendous (and also that the BBC adaptation was excellent). Another great Trollope novel, that I have read, is Orley Farm -- highly recommended.
 

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Travelling With the Innocents Abroad is another 19th century book that could be transposed to today. Just a bunch of Americans on a cruise ship seeing the sights.
Ditto for Arthur Conan Doyle's 'The Tragedy of the Korosko'. This one features an international cast of characters and it's interesting to consider how the national archetypes have and have not changed in the last 100 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The newer annotated is fantastic, definitely check it out! I myself spent a summer reading all of Dickens, it was quite a long summer!
I'm spacing my Dickens project over a period of years. Next up is either The Pickwick Papers or Dombey and Son. I need to re-visit the Dickens novels I read in adolescence: David Copperfield, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities.

In recent years I have been concentrating on the dense masterpieces of Dickens's maturity: Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend, Little Dorrit, and Martin Chuzzlewit (as well as the atypically tight, but great, Hard Times).

Other gaps: Oliver Twist (how have I never read this?), Nicholas Nickleby (I once saw the eight-hour theatrical adaptation), The Old Curiosity Shop, Barnaby Rudge (the least read of the novels), and Edwin Drood. I have read all five Christmas books.
 

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Dickens

For a Dickens novice, what would you advise to read first?

Topbroker, I can relate to your Dickens project. The past two years I've been working my way through Dostoevsky's great novels. I'm not sure if my approach was best though. I started with The Brothers Karamazov, which is considered his magnum opus, if not the greatest work of the 19th century. Next was Demons, which is also popularly known as The Possessed. Demons was more openly ideological than any of Dostoevsky's other works. Then came Crime and Punishment, which was good, but was dwarfed by the greatness of The Brothers Karamazov, and oddly Demons as well, at least for me. And my last was The Idiot, which was also very good, but possibly my least favorite thus far.

As for Dickens, my only exposure to him was playing Oliver in a school play in grammar school. But I have read so many comparisons between Dickens and Dostoevsky that I decided Dickens would be my next project.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I think that David Copperfield is the place to start. It was Dickens's own "favourite child," and is perhaps his most highly approachable novel.
 

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I think that David Copperfield is the place to start. It was Dickens's own "favourite child," and is perhaps his most highly approachable novel.
+1000. Absolutely. A masterpiece and very accessible to a new Dickens reader. Another good one in a very different vein is The Pickwick Papers.
 

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Topbroker, I can relate to your Dickens project.
I can't, and I'm envious.

When I read a book, I read it all the way through in one night, no matter how long it is. I might get very little sleep, but I finish it.

When the last Harry Potter book came out, I read it in its entirety twice in the first week.

The problem, of course, is that it's difficult to set aside an entire evening to a book. But I really enjoy it when I can.

The only book I ever set down was Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley. I didn't care for the way she dismissed all the plot points that were in the GWTW book that weren't in the movie, usually by Scarlett throwing money at them, and how the author clunkily inserted historical events to make it seem more historically accurate. But I put it down when she got on the boat to Ireland thinking it was passable.

The second half was absolute science fiction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
But as Dickens goes, Bleak House was his ultimate work. Worth reading. Immensely grand.
No argument from me. Bleak House is the peak. Lawyers especially --I know there a lot of attorneys on the board -- should read it, because it is the finest and most realistic novel of the law.
 

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What do the Annotations cover? I adore Holmes, but the *Baker Street Irregulars* is as far as I've got with commentary on it.
I found it full of endlessly interesting facts and indispensable for putting the canon of Sherlock Holmes in the real context. There are numerous details relating references in the stories to actual happenings or to the London of the era.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
When the last Harry Potter book came out, I read it in its entirety twice in the first week.
I haven't read any of the Potters yet, but I have just one book to go in Lemony Snicket's 13 volume A Series of Unfortunate Events -- truly one of the drollest works in the language, and it deepens as a work of art as it goes along. Not just "kid stuff" by any means.
 

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I'm an enthusiastic Sherlockian and love the Baring-Gould Annotated. I haven't checked out the newer Annotated yet -- are you familiar with it?
As a Sherlockian I have both the Baring Gould and Leslie S. Klinger editions. The Klinger edition includes new data and the print is better. You might also be interested in "The Oxford Edition". Also consider the Canonical Compendium by Stephen Clarkson. Have you ever heard the BBC radio series with Clive Merrison (as Sherlock) and Michael Williams (as Watson) Michael Williams died shortly after finishing the series and his wife (Judi Dench) played Mrs Hudson in one of the broadcasts.
 
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