The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Tale of Two Cities

       I just read that Oprah has chosen two of Dickens' books---Great Expectations  and A Tale of Two Cities---for her next book club.  I am thrilled that hordes of people will run out and buy these classics.  Sadly, it took a talk show host to make it happen...

       When I was in junior high, I had a marvelous teacher named Mr. Greg Gates.  He saw in me a hunger for fine books, he saw that I dabbled in anarchy, and he saw that I was extremely self-motivated (at least when it came to reading and writing).  The rest of the class read Great Expectations; for some reason, I looked disdainfully down my nose at Pip and the old lady (Mrs. Haversham?) and got to read A Tale of two Cities instead.  It has been one of my favorites ever since.

        That school year, I embarked on a journey of independent study.  Mr. Gates allowed me to choose the books I read, and I kept track of my observations and meanderings in a journal.  (I imagine the journal entries were quite entertaining to my teacher--full of angst and puffed-up self importance, probably.)  I fell in love with J.R.R. Tolkien, Alan Paton, and Let Us Now Praise Famous Men as I finished up junior high.

        I was listening to Oprah as I typed this, and she admitted she had never read anything by Dickens.  That is sad as well...


  1. Books are a diversion and sometimes I lose all sense of time when I read a good book.

  2. Hi Sioux - I have to admit I don't have a fondness for Dickens. I didn't have the patience to delve into the background of so many of his terms and phrases, when doing so enhances the richness of the story. A Tale of Two Cities is one I did read through and enjoyed. I had a tough time with Nathanial Hawthorne, but my oldest daughter, Stephanie, ranks The Scarlet Letter as one of her faves. (She has a BA in English, though, and is working toward a degree in History, and she likes to combine the two subjects in her reading.) I sheepishly confess that my reading leans more toward thriller/mystery/suspense/romance, though if I'm without a new book to read I've been known to read cereal boxes just to get a "written word" fix. No joke.


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