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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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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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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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
I have been toying with picking up "A Sentimental Education" by Flaubert. Does anyone here have a well-considered opinion on this book?
Yes, I do. It is a masterpiece, one of the greatest experiences that French (or any) literature has to offer. But it is a very different sort of experience than the classic English Victorian novels -- harder, cooler, drier. Be open to what you find, and the novel will repay your investment immensely.

The Penguin translation is excellent, and the notes are helpful. Reading a few Wikipedia articles on the French and European political background couldn't hurt.
 
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