Charles Dickens

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Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit 2013 – The Round-Up

Published January 6, 2014 by bibliobeth

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2013 is over, and so is our Kid-Lit challenge but I think I can speak for us both when I say we both really enjoyed it. Here are the twelve books we read with the links to my reviews! Please check out Chrissi’s blog HERE for her fabulous reviews.

JANUARY – Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

FEBRUARY – The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley

MARCH – The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

APRIL – Stig of the Dump by Clive King

MAY – Heidi by Johanna Spyri

JUNE – A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

JULY – Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

AUGUST – The Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat

SEPTEMBER – A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

OCTOBER – Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

NOVEMBER – Northern Lights/The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

DECEMBER – The Railway Children by E. Nesbit

So, in the style of the “Talking About…” reviews we normally do, we thought we’d answer a quick few questions about our first year blogging in Kid-Lit.

1) What was your favourite Kid-Lit book of 2013 and why?
BETH: This is tough, there were quite a few that I really enjoyed. I think it would have to be A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, simply because I had forgotten how beautiful the story was.
CHRISSI: This is a tough question. I’m torn between two that I thoroughly enjoyed. They are The Railway Children and A Little Princess. I think I’d have to go for A Little Princess, because it just gave me such a lovely warm feeling when I read it. The writing is beautiful.
2) What was your least favourite Kid-Lit book of 2013 and why?
BETH: There were a couple that also fitted this category! Probably The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley as I found it quite odd, and was bitterly disappointed by the story in general.
CHRISSI: We seem to have similar answers Beth! Mine would be Children Of The New Forest though. I was disappointed with it. I really thought I’d enjoy it! The Water Babies was an odd read.
3) What was the Kid-Lit book that surprised you the most?
BETH: This has to be Northern Lights/The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. I loved the imagination behind this story, and some of his ideas (like having your own personal daemon) just blew me away. That reminds me, I must put the second book on my Coming Up list soon!
CHRISSI: I was surprised at how long Oliver Twist was. I think I’m so used to the film which condensed the book quite a bit.
4) Have you been inspired to read any other books from a Kid-Lit author of 2013?
BETH: I have! After The Little Princess, I decided to look into what else Frances Hodgson Burnett has written, as I know only of this book. I then went on a trip to Persephone Books in London, and found a copy of her novel The Making of A Marchioness, which I am looking forward to getting round to at some point!
CHRISSI: I want to read more of Frances Hodgson Burnett. Other than that I don’t think I’d read books from the same authors, besides Dickens, who I will hopefully read more of on the future. It has made me want to continue this challenge, and also think about other features around children’s literature!
Coming soon…. (Thursday to be exact) Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit – The Twelve Titles for 2014!

Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit – OCTOBER READ – Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Published November 7, 2013 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

The story of the orphan Oliver, who runs away from the workhouse only to be taken in by a den of thieves, shocked readers when it was first published. Dickens’s tale of childhood innocence beset by evil depicts the dark criminal underworld of a London peopled by vivid and memorable characters — the arch-villain Fagin, the artful Dodger, the menacing Bill Sikes and the prostitute Nancy. Combining elements of Gothic Romance, the Newgate Novel and popular melodrama, in Oliver Twist Dickens created an entirely new kind of fiction, scathing in its indictment of a cruel society, and pervaded by an unforgettable sense of threat and mystery.

What did I think?:

This novel by Charles Dickens is an undeniable classic, and has been immortalised in a lot of people’s minds by the excellent film that was directed in 1968 starring Ron Moody, Harry Secombe, and Oliver Reed. Dickens opens our eyes to a very different London, reeking of poverty and pickpockets to tell the story of a young orphan named Oliver, who runs away from his apprenticeship to a coffin-maker. After meeting the notorious Artful Dodger on the road, he is taken under the wing of Fagin, a “gentleman” who runs a gang of thieves – mainly young boys. Poor Oliver does not do too well on his first outing as a potential pickpocket, he is mistakenly arrested, but then taken into the house of the kind Mr Brownlow, once it is realised that he is not a thief. But life never runs smoothly for Oliver as while carrying out an errand for Mr Brownlow, he is re-captured by Fagin’s gang and forced to complete a burglary assignment with the menacing and terrifying Bill Sikes. He has one friend in this criminal web thankfully, the wonderful Nancy, who has a soft spot for Oliver and assists him as much as she can which leads to incredible dangers for her. At the end of the novel, a lot of mysteries regarding Oliver and his parentage are tied up, leading to hope and happiness for the young orphan in the future.

I do love the story of Oliver Twist and it was a “must pick” for our Kid-Lit challenge this year. The way in which Dickens announces the poverty and hardship of the poor, and the cruel treatment of orphans is almost revolutionary, and his analysis of the social classes in comparison is second to none. Morally speaking, Oliver is the perfect child and resists the many opportunities thrown his way to turn to the dark side, and become just another pickpocket on the streets. The characters written in this novel are also absolute classics – the gang leader Fagin with his jewel-hoarding and fondness for a silk handkerchief, the loveable and tragic Nancy and the evil Bill Sikes are just a few in a list that remain fondly etched on my memories. What did surprise me whilst reading was the anti-semitism displayed by Dickens, as he rarely refers to Fagin by his name, but just as The Jew! And obviously, there is the old stereotype of hoarding treasures like a miser that he attributes to the character, which our current times would claim to be discriminatory and racist. That aside, this is a beautiful classic that I think everyone should read, and that I think will continue to delight readers for years to come.

Please see Chrissi’s fabulous review HERE

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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WWW Wednesday #21

Published October 30, 2013 by bibliobeth

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

It’s that time again… WWW Wednesday. Thanks as ever to MizB at Should Be Reading for hosting.

To join in you need to answer 3 questions..

•What are you currently reading?

•What did you recently finish reading?

•What do you think you’ll read next?

Click on the book covers to take you to a link to find out more!

What are you currently reading?

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I’m reading this book as part of a Kid-Lit Challenge I am doing this year with my sister @ChrissiReads. This is our October choice!

What did you recently finish reading?

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This is a great book with such an intriguing plot which I can’t wait to share with everyone. My review should be up in the next couple of days.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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I’m really looking forward to this one, as I loved the first in the series, Delirium. It’s taken me a while to get round to it!

What are you reading this Wednesday? Please leave your link and I’ll come take a look. Happy Reading Everyone!