A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens’s popular novel A Tale of Two Cities is the first Dickens novel I chose to read. I knew I wanted to read a Dickens novel, and Maggie helped me select this one. While it was very well written and some characters were particularly well-drawn, I had more difficulty following the plot and caring about some of the characters than I expected. I suppose I like complicated characters, and the line between the “good guys” and the “bad guys” was so clearly drawn, they might as well have been wearing white hats and black hats. They weren’t particularly interesting for that reason. Dickens also used the novel as a platform to moralize about the violence, and when it waxed poetic, it was interesting, but the frequency verged on annoying, even though I agreed with Dickens’s views about the violence.

Unfortunately, though this book was shorter than others I’ve read on DailyLit, I became overwhelmed with work in the middle of reading it and had to suspend my subscription for an extended period. I think perhaps the long gap between when I began this novel and when I finished it may have increased some of my confusion. I can’t say, however, that I didn’t enjoy it or that it was badly written, for it is clear to me that Dickens is a master of characterization, and I definitely plan to read more Dickens.

My next DailyLit read, however, is Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, a book I initially tried reading in high school (for fun, no less) and discovered was over my head at the time. If you’ve not tried DailyLit, you should check it out. You can keep track of my DailyLit books progress in the sidebar to the immediate right under the DailyLit section (beneath Reading and Recent Books).

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4 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Cities

  1. I read huffenglish.com and was pleased to see you on goodreads. I am reading Crime & Punishment right now and am dazzled by Dostoyevsky's genius. It is difficult to read on some days, though, with the intensity of both language and subject. I am not sure it is the best novel ever written, as one of my fellow teachers believes. I can't wait to read your review.

    • Hi Leslie! I really enjoy Goodreads. DailyLit has divided Crime and Punishment into 240 parts, so it will be quite a while before I finish it as I read one part a day. However, reading books like this has enabled me to get through several works I didn't ever think I would read, so even though it's slow going sometimes, I feel accomplished in the end.

  2. Sometimes I have difficulty with Daily Lit because of these interruptions in flow. I read Tale of 2 Cities years ago when I was on a Dickens kick and in a romantic phase. (I was in my 20's). The black and white nature of the characters at that time did not bother me.

    • I know what you mean, Vic. On the other hand, I think some of the books I've read via DailyLit, including my current pick Crime and Punishment, I only could have read in little pieces or not at all.

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