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Langley, BC, Canada
I love to read. I love books. I like to talk about books and recommend them. I read everything including cereal boxes and junk mail! I heard once that if you're not reading at least 3 books at a time you're not reading enough! This blog will keep track of the books I've read and whether or not I liked them. It will be a little bit of everything from Christian fiction to Science fiction and fantasy. Feel free to participate by suggesting books to review and giving your comments. Occasionally I am given free books by Publishers in exchange for a review. I am not told how to review them or compensated in any way for the review.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

In 1836 Dickens was asked to write some captions for a story about a Sporting club that would be mainly told in pictures by a famous artist. Dickens grumbled about the theme wanting it to be a travel and investigation club instead. This became a serial called the Pickwick Papers. The first seven installments were completed and then the artist committed suicide. The widow of the artist charged that it was her husband and not Dickens that had written the story. Dickens was incensed by this charge and laboured hard and long to prove it false.

The Pickwick Papers are about the adventures of Samuel Pickwick. Mr. Pickwick and his 3 friends form the Pickwickian club, whose sole purpose is to travel around London and the surrounding countryside, meeting people and reporting on their adventures. It’s good to keep in mind that this was written as a monthly serial so each chapter is a story unto itself although there is continuity to some of the stories.

I was interested to note that Dickens employed the cliff hanger ending to many of his stories; obviously as an enticement to readers to anticipate and buy the next installment. I found it hard to get into the stories but eventually was able to enjoy them for what they were; illustrations of the life and times of an elderly gentleman in the mid 1800’s. There’s romance, duels and much eating and drinking and interspersed among the travel adventures is the occasional ghost story.

I’ve read many of Dickens novels over the years but had never read the Pickwick Papers. I confess that at times I found it a bit tedious but overall enjoyed the adventures and characters in this book. One of the things that Dickens is famous for is his ability to create memorable characters and this book was early evidence of that.

While he was finishing up the Pickwick Papers he was also beginning to write Oliver Twist. That will be my next novel to read.


  1. Good Heavens! I had no idea. Sort of an early comic book. Was it printed in a magazine or was it printed more like a series of comic books?

  2. I think it was more like a series of comic books. A lot of early publishing was in serial form like that.