A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (Part One)

1200x630bbFiction — eBook. Project Gutenberg, 2010. Originally published 1859. 501 pgs. Free download.

Charles Dickens never made it onto the required reading list when I was in high school. The pre-Advanced Placement (equivalent of Honors) English class my freshman year read Great Expectations while my gifted and talented class read contemporary classics. I have read A Christmas Carol but I’ve never read something else by Dickens that hasn’t also been made into a Muppet movie.

I’ve been reading along to the audio version of this novel while at the gym. As in this past Sunday Salon, I was struggling to follow the story by just listening to the tale and I think switching over to both reading and listening really helped increased my comprehension.

The novel is divided into three parts: part one entitled “Recalled to Life” has six chapters, part two entitled “The Golden Thread” with twenty-four, and part three entitled “The Track of a Storm” with fifteen. I just reached chapter nine of part two so I’m not exactly halfway through the book. Page number wise, I am not even a third of the way through the book.

But a lot is going on and I thought I would take some time to write down some thoughts. Plot wise, Monsieur the Marquis has struck and killed a child with his carriage and then had the gall to blame the father. The introduction of this character seems to have been the turning point for me: up until now I was “meh” about the book. A horrible place to start liking the book, don’t you think?

A friend of mine who’s an English major pointed out that she felt like the plot of A Tale of Two Cities has been given away by the titles of the chapter. I honestly hadn’t noticed it until she pointed it out and now I find myself not looking at the titles so as to avoid this problem. Has anybody else noticed this?

Overall, my first non-Muppet Dickens is going better than I anticipated. I’m not in love with the book but I don’t hate it either. However, I imagine it will take me a while to finish this book, though. It’s been almost a month since I started this book and the only time I listen to it is while I’m working out. And I don’t make it to the gym nearly as much as I probably should.


  1. ‘my first non-muppet Dickens’ made me smile. ‘Fraid I’m not fond of Dickens. Couldn’t stand Hard Times. Of course, A Christmas Carol is a very good book, but somehow Dickens just doesn’t speak to me.


    • I think A Christmas Carol speaks so well because it’s been adapted so many times. Not just in Muppet form but the story has been redone so many times for modern times. His other works — not so much.

      I can’t really say that he’s speaking to me but at least I’m not hating it.


  2. I haven’t started yet — I’m sorry to be slow on this one! I’m working on clearing up review commitments so I can give my full attention to reading with people like this. Thanks for bearing with me. I didn’t read your full post, as it looked like you got into some plot stuff. I’m hoping to start soon. I’m glad you’re getting to experience some Dickens!


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