A Tale of Two Cities A Tale of Two Cities discussion

Dickens is one of the greatest authors ever

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message 1: by Bonnie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:45PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bonnie It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

Dickens is unbelievable!!!

message 2: by Vidya (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:47PM) (new)

Vidya I truly agree with you. Actually this was the first book by Dickens i read when i was in school and it motivated me to read the others. Can't say i enjoyed the others as much as i enjoyed this one. The whole scenario, the style of writing, the characters all seem so life like that even today when i close my eyes i can see them come alive. Truly Dickens best.

Ruth I really liked a Tale of Two Cities.

message 4: by Meels (new) - added it

Meels I love Dickens, Great Expectations is a particular favorite. I have started this one several times and just haven't been able to get into it. Maybe I'll have to give it another try.

Coalbanks Dickens was a great author, literary promoter, social activist, advocate for fair & honest treatment of paupers, children, women, authors, the working class etc. He had experienced many of the hardships which he portrayed in his novels including the strict rules governing courtship & marriage in Victorian times ( and the allowable un-mentioned exceptions to those rules ). All were grist for his mill & he made the most of it.

Rick Woodbury Frankly, the first 40 pages is about as confusing as in any book, but endure that and it may become a far, far better read than you have ever read before.

Norman It was the best of reads; it was the worst of reads...

message 8: by Meh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Meh This was the only Dickens I actually liked. All the others are way too wordy, he spends pages just describing the situation. Maybe it's just my upbringing, but I want something meaningful to be going on all the time. Character development, action, conversation, something. Some description is good, it helps create a world, but Dickens goes overboard most of the time. But I did like A Tale of Two Cities. It felt more real to me, the characters mattered a lot more to me.

Coalbanks It was the style of the times to be so wordy, besides Dickens was paid by the word.

message 10: by Meh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Meh Heh, I'm actually online right now...Yeah, I know it was the style and he was paid that way. But that doesn't excuse him in my eyes. I'm not going to make allowances for a book based on how the author was paid. Time period does have some bearing, true, I'd be an idiot if I claimed it didn't, but in my narrow mind I still prefer books that have a quicker pace to them.

Coalbanks agreed, must you be soooo loquacious? LOL!

Penelope Marzec Dickens' characters are so vivid. How can anyone forget Madame Defarge? Whenever I see someone knitting, I think of her. :^)

message 13: by Zulfiya (last edited Apr 11, 2011 03:30PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Zulfiya Norman wrote: "It was the best of reads; it was the worst of reads..."

I liked your comment. It is neat, precise, and absolutely right. It is the best of reads, and it is the worst of reads. It has a strong beginning, and a strong drama, and a significant and powerful element of sacrifice, but it also has its blah moments and truly Dickensian ramblings.
I think Dickens is wonderful when he portrays his ugly, wretched, despicable characters, weirdos and old crones, but his angelic characters make me truly mad:-(. They are sexless, unappealing beings.
I love Dickens, and he is one of my all-time favorite writers, but I do think his masterpiece is 'The Bleak House'; and his 'Pickwick Papers' is truly hilarious.

message 14: by Timothy K. (last edited Apr 11, 2011 05:33PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Timothy K. Oliver Twist holds a very special place in my heart.

message 15: by Keatlaretse (new)

Keatlaretse Sepheko The first Dicknens book i read was Oliver Twist, i can still remember some of the incidents in that book very clearly eventhough i read it back in 2003.his characters stick to my mind.His descriptive language is very good.his characters are one of a kind.i can't forget Miss Havisham in Great expectations,she could not change out of her wedding dress after being abandoned on her wedding day. then there is Mrs Joe,another character, cruel and bossy.i could go on and on...but the fact remains, Dicknens is the greatest...his writings can be confusing at first but it gets better as you go on reading.

message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm currently reading The Old Curiosty Shop and it is taking me a while to get through it. The Dickens I can most liken it to is Oliver Twist. When reading 'OT' I found I was less interested in Oliver's story than I was in some of the minor characters, still a brilliant plot though. I think on the whole I prefer Dickens's later work, particularly A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. It struck me the other day when I was re-reading GE that his early protagonists were often young hopeful, virtuous and innocent, and his later protagonist tended to be older and often on a quest for redemption. I definitely think this progression throughout his work may reflect his own life experiences. It would be interesting to read a good biography to see if I'm right.

Zulfiya There is a very interesting biography of C. Dickens written by Peter AckroydDickens: Public Life & Private Passions . In this book he nicely correlates the facts of his life with the characters and plot lines of his books. The book also focuses on the topic of London as a certain benchmark in his novels.
If you are interested in a fictional account of his life you might enjoy the acclaimed book
Drood by Dan Simmons. It offers an interesting perspective on the life of two prominent writers in the most unreliable (a biased first-person narrator with the clouded judgement), but very entertaining, enlightening, and stimulating way.

message 18: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark Lawrence I'm a Dickens fan. He gives such a window onto times made alien by the passage of years, so it's great social commentary. On top of that - characters! In the end any story survives on its characters and Mr D could really nail them.

Charlie Thornton David Copperfield was, in my mind, his most accessible, focussed, and effectively tragi-comedic effort of all of his great novels. I hold David Copperfield as one of the greatest efforts of any written in the English language.

Jenbebookish Tis a far better thing then I have ever done...

gahhhh, I love Tale of Two Cities! Granted, it takes awhile to get into and Dicken's is undeniably wordy... But the way he ties everything together at the end! With this explosive ending! He is absolutely amazing, and there is nobody like him. Everybody should read this book!

message 21: by Toby (new) - rated it 5 stars

Toby C I absolutly love the ending!

Connor The ending made the whole book!

Peachy David Copperfield ranks high with me; I'm always trying to get people to read it.
It's true that, as with many books written in the not too distant past, one must preserver through the set-up to enjoy the sweets, but they can be sweet indeed.

Allysia My Sophmore English teacher in High-School was in love with Charles Dickens, and pretty much anyone who was on board the Charles Dickens Brigade was all wrong and such. Personally, I don't mind his books, they are decent lessiure reading but as far as high-school assignments went..it was tourtous.

Stavros Halvatzis Great Expectations is my favorite, too. I remember reading it as a child, pacing up and down in my parent's back yard. For two weeks, I was in another world. This is what the novel has over film - the ability to swallow you whole and keep you there for a while longer.

Long live the novel, despite all the Doom Sayers!

Dominique I am the official advocate for Our Mutual Friend. It's long, yeah. It is quite properly labeled a tome. But so awesome. It's my favorite.

Larry Moniz Meh wrote: "Heh, I'm actually online right now...Yeah, I know it was the style and he was paid that way. But that doesn't excuse him in my eyes. I'm not going to make allowances for a book based on how the a..."

Life was slower then. You worked six days a week, sometimes seven and all 12 or more hours per day. you went home ate read and slept. Reading was relaxation and books were costly. Thus you savored each page like a sip of fine wine. If you read his books and emulate that mindset rather rushing to get through them, you might enjoy them more.
When it comes to Drama there was plenty with public be-headings and cries for the guillotine as each trundle arrived with prisoners. Then there was Ebenezer, disturbed night after night by ghosts display his transgressions to others and teach him the benefits of being a proper boss, friend and relative.

Brian Leach I became a little less of a Dickens fan after reading Bleak House - it was a chore!

Katie Stewart I think the only Charles Dickens book that I found difficult to read was Martin Chuzzlewit.
I just love the characters in his books. They are so much larger than life, yet so real.

message 30: by Kate (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kate Li I think he's pretty dry like most British authors. Nevertheless, he has his redeeming moments.

QueenAmidala28 I must say that I wouldn't have read ANY Dicken's books without my formal education. There are so many themes and character analyses that you really DO need another mind to help you de code it all. Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities are my favorite.

Matar Mohammad Fiction was really great and enthusiastic . Thou it was melodramatic , I still consider it one of dicken's

message 33: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Ard Absolutely! I still recall an elderly man offering me A Tale of Two Cities in the Fremont Library in Seattle over 20 years ago. It was completely unsolicited. He handed the book to me and said, 'this is the best book I've ever read'. I took it home and devoured it. I have to agree with him.

message 34: by Robin (new)

Robin I haven't read Tale of Two Cities, have read Bleak House and Little Dorrit. Found them both well-written.

Joseph Young I saw Bleak House in film quite an overall sad story, definitely fits the title. Read a little of Tale of Two Cities. It is on the finish up list of things to do.

message 36: by Robin (new)

Robin I liked the movie of Bleak House, and you must also watch Little Dorrit, it is a dark and mysterious tale. The books are even better. I have Tales of Two Cities, haven't begun to open the book up yet.

Kelly I hate every Dickens novel I've unwillingly read. I can't understand why they are so adamant about forcing it on students.

Michael Anson The comment "Dickens is the one of the greatest writers ever," seems so much like a fact that it's hard to debate. He's definitely part of the canon of great literature. Having said that, however, he is also a product of his time, and his style is a bit dated. I imagine, actually, that he might have found his work harder to get published in today's society, now that people are driven by more "readable" works, often throw-away literature quickly forgotten. Dickens' work resonates, but can make for a bit of a difficult read.

message 39: by Robin (new)

Robin I found that Bleak House and Little Dorrit were tough reads, but well worth reading. He seems to cram alot of stuff into his writing and leaves no detail out. He is a master in that regard.

Lady Jane I wholeheartedly agree! I love Charles Dickens, and "Tale Of Two Cities" is one of my favorite novels ever! The tensions between France and England are reminiscent of modern-day tensions between the "1%" and the rest of us. I daresay, somebody ought to write "A Tale of Two Classes!" Also, the love stories within this historical fiction are truly "a Romantic's dream" as somebody else mentioned in this thread. Indeed! Swoon. Regarding the young gentleman in the novel-- in the beginning it is easy to admire Charles Darnay, but by the end, one cannot help but fall hopelessly in love with Sydney Carton! It is all so tragic indeed.

Novel Nymph I agree--best MALE author of course. ;)

message 42: by Robin (new)

Robin Nothing to be ashamed of Jerry, I too being of the older persuasion have found Dickens works in Little Dorrit, Bleak House, and find him to be quite entertaining to read.

message 43: by Karl (new) - added it

Karl Dickens is certainly great in the sense of being the grandfather of the English Novel. I also see his gothic characterisation (e.g. Miss Haversham) as having a positive influence on fantasy writers such as Mervyn Peake. Having said this I enjoy his descriptive passages more his plots and I think his style can be a little turgid for the modern reader(at least for this particular modern reader.)..

David I, too, am a big Dickens fan. Once "Great Expectations," "A Christmas Carol," and " A Tale Of Two Cities" was required reading for all high school students. Now I get to re-read them as my daughter reads them for the first time. Recently, we both read "A Christmas Carol"; this time I read it on my Kindle. I enjoyed reading more than the first time.

Valerie Great Expectations was one of the first I read of his works, I was 9 or 10 at the time and watched the movie at school. When I learned that he wrote A Christmas Carol I devoured all of this books. So many wonderful stories. I love the settings and his favored time. They always cut out so much from the movies, but it's understandable since his books tend to be long. A Tale of Two Cities was the third we read in that school year of his. I recently read Our Mutual Friend and it may be my favorite but they are all so good. Although David Copperfield gets a bit long dull at times.

David I love the opening of "A Tale of Two Cities": "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." That applies to our times when the rich get richer and the poor and middle class get poorer.

message 47: by Richard (last edited Dec 22, 2011 08:33PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Richard David wrote: "I love the opening of "A Tale of Two Cities": "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." That applies to our times when the rich get richer and the poor and middle class get poorer."

The opening and closing sentences of this novel are so well known that they are widely quoted--even by some who don't know the source!

message 48: by Bernadette (last edited Jan 03, 2012 03:20PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bernadette I love Charles zdickens and definitely agree that he is one of our greatest storytellers. I don't even remember the obligatory high school reading of AToTC but recently read it as a "grown up" and now see why it is considered a classic. To me, it is the perfect novel. It's also a way to learn about the French Revolution, which may be why it is required reading, Dickens is a wonderful teacher, using his wonderful characters to tell the story. Madame DeFarge is one of the greatest villains ever. Did I mention that I love Dickens...

David I can join in the chorus of praise for Dickens. He understood the plight of poor people during the Victorian era as the Industrial Revolution and Capitalism were in full swing. Many of his novels are apropos today with Wall Street bankers and the Koch Brothers running amok."This is the best of times and it is the worst of times...."

Shelley Has anybody read the new Claire Tomalin biography of Dickens? I'm on the library waiting list for it. I think we have yet to see a truly great bio of this man.

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