Wednesday, 29 January 2019, and the fifth Shelf Control post this year. Shelf Control is a feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles. If you’d like to participate, simply pick a book from your pile, write a post about it, and link back to Lisa’s page. Do leave you links below if you do participate, as I’d love to check out your selections as well.

This week, once again I continue my ‘theme’ with a selection from my oldest pending books. There are a couple of further once agains this week–one again my selection is a classic title, and once again from a writer whose books I really enjoy. The writer, as I’m sure you’ve noticed already is Dickens and the book is Sketches by Boz. (Last week was Trollope, Dickens’ contemporary, whose books I also really like; post here)

What it’s all about: This book, first published in 1836, is as the title suggests is not a novel but a collection of sketches. A friend describes it in her review as a time machine that takes you back to 1830s England, mostly London. There are 56 different sketches of places and people, in which we see shades of characters from the novels he went on to publish. The sections include “Our Parish”, “Scenes”, “Characters”, “Tales”, “Sketches of Young Gentlemen”, “Sketches of Young Couples”, and “The Mudfog and Other Sketches”. (The version I downloaded from Project Gutenberg seems to have a few extras.)

The Streets-morning by George Cruikshank via wikimedia commons

The Author: Charles Dickens (1812-1870), author of fourteen (and a half) novels as well as novellas and shorter works, essays, articles, and non-fiction. Seen as a literary genius, he enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime. His works continue to be read and celebrated, adapted on screen and in the theatre.

Jeremiah Gurney [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Why I want to read it: For starters because I love his books. While I think I read A Tale of Two Cities first, it was Nicholas Nickelby in which I really started to enjoy Dickens’ storytelling–he really drew me in and kept me hooked–and at a time when I was still getting used to reading the classics unabridged 🙂 But more than that, one aspect that I enjoy in Dickens’ books are his characters–Madame Defarge, Quilp, Pecksniff, Mr Micawber, Mr Pegotty, Mrs Gamp, Mr Chokumchild, Wackford Squeers, Ebenezer Scrooge and many many more. And this was largely what Sketches is–portraits of characters and places. So I think I am going to enjoy this a lot.

Dickens Dream by Robert William Buss [Public domain] via wikimedia commons
(Dickens with various characters from his books)

So, do you enjoy Dickens? Which is your favourite, and what do you love about it? Looking forward to hearing about it! And if you know of any retellings (books), I’d love to hear about them as well!

4 thoughts on “Shelf Control #32: Sketches by Boz

  1. I’ve barely got into Dickens—over the years I’ve only tackled the biggies like ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, ‘Great Expectations’, ‘David Copperfield’ and ‘Oliver Twist’—and I do mean to get back to him. I’ve got his Italian travelogue on my Classics Club list for example, and I think I’d enjoy ‘Sketches’ too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve ended up reading a fair few-most of the novels with one book group or other. Our Mutual Friend, Bleak House, and Martin Chuzzlewit are also really enjoyable. I didn’t care as much for Great Expectations essentially since I just couldn’t take to Pip (or any of the others for that matter) 🙂 But this one does sound promising. Let me see when I get to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds terrific! I’ve been wanting to read more Dickens. So far, I’ve only read A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. I loved them both, so I’m eager to explore more. Can’t wait to hear what you think of this one!

    Liked by 1 person

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