Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Announcing the February “Dickens of a” ReadaThing!

Mark your calendars! Coming up is a weeklong February ReadaThing, and with the bicentennial of Charles Dickens‘ birth on February 7 occurring right in the middle, we thought it would be fun to include a voluntary “Dickens of a ReadaThing” option this time. All are welcome: you don’t have to read Dickens if you don’t want to, and of course you don’t have to read for the full week: the goal is to have a few people from around the world reading at any given time during the ReadaThing.

The official start time will be at 1 p.m. on Friday, February 3rd in New Zealand: midnight GMT and 7 p.m. Thursday, February 2nd, in the Eastern US/Canada time zone. This ReadaThing will run for a full week!

For more information, see the announcement thread; to sign up, head right to the ReadaThing wiki. As we get closer to the date, consider posting your reading selection in the “What will you be reading?” thread, and during the ReadaThing you can use the “Log Book” thread to document your ReadaThing experience.

For more on ReadaThings, and to participate in planning future events, join the ReadaThing group.

Edward Pettit is spending the entire year reading books by and about Dickens, and charting his course at Reading Charles Dickens, so I asked him to weigh in on his experiences and offer some suggestions of Dickens-related books LibraryThing members might want to consider reading:

“For the Charles Dickens Bicentennial in 2012, I’ve decided to become a Charles Dickens Ambassador. First, I’m finishing a reading project I began on Sept 15, 2011 to read all of Dickens’ published work in just one year. Having read only a few of Dickens’ novels over the years (including A Christmas Carol a dozen times), I had always hoped to get to the rest of them, but never seemed to find the time, so what better time than the Dickens Bicentennial. And as reading is such a solitary activity, I thought I’d invite everyone along for the ride, so you can read (and comment) about my Dickens endeavours online.

Second, you can also join me at The Free Library of Philadelphia for events every month of the year as the FLP opens its amazing Dickens collection to the world in several exhibitions. We’re hosting literary salons, speakers, performers. We’ll follow Dickens’ foosteps on his visit to Philadelphia in 1842. We’ll even have some Drinking with Dickens events in local bars to imbibe the many Victorian beverages featured in the novels.

To further my duties as a Charles Dickens Ambassador, I also carry around a bag full of Dickens novels, which I freely give to anyone who asks for a copy. So join me in 2012. Become a CD Ambassador. Spread the joy of reading Dickens.

If I could recommend a starter Dickens work, it would be A Christmas Carol. It doesn’t need to be Christmas time to read this extraordinary tale of ghosts and transformation. I am moved by it every time I read it (and my kids are still scared to death of Marley’s ghost).

Or you could try The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, Dickens’ first novel (and first serial). This book is a pleasure to read with vibrant characters, especially Mr Pickwick and his manservant Sam Weller. The novel is not just funny, but there’s also a kind of innate joy and goodwill that rises out of its pages. I never wanted to leave this Pickwickian world.”

Ed (EdwardGPettit on LT) will be around during the ReadaThing as well, so look for more suggestions and recommendations from him as we get closer to the ReadaThing dates.

I’m already looking forward to this ReadaThing: I haven’t picked what I’ll be reading yet, but it’ll probably be some Dickens (maybe American Notes), along with whatever else I happen to be reading that week.

Reminder: For more information on the ReadaThing or to sign up, see the announcement thread. Have fun, and happy reading!

Labels: readathon, reading


  1. maureen says:

    maybe ill read pickwick papers again or finish bleak house .

  2. Katherine Scully says:

    Jane Smiley’s brief biography of Dickens is worth a read for its novelist’s view on Dickens’ work and life, and for a recommended list of which Dickens novels are, in her view, the best to read if you’re not going to read them all. Dombey & Son was new to me and has proven as riveting as Downton Abbey.

  3. David Callahan says:

    Nevertheless, you don’t have Dickens’s birthday listed on “Born Today” for February 7th!!

    • Jeremy says:

      Yeah, I think the cutoff for displaying in the homepage module is later, unfortunately! I think we need a “popular” exception for that, though …

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