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Charles Dickens which from this list?


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Posted (edited)

My kids have already read A Christmas Carol.

They will read A Tale of Two Cities with an outsourced class.

If you had your choice, which if the remaining Dickens novels would you assign (or in what priority, if you think more than one)? Or, if none, please tell me why. 😃 Thanks hive!

ETA: I have boys. This would be for either a read aloud or their personal reading. 

Oliver Twist

Great Expectations

David Copperfield

Our Mutual Friend

Little Dorrit

 

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Posted (edited)

A lot of people recommend Great Expectations as a first read, but I really don't like that one.  It always felt like a weird start to his material.

We started with David Copperfield.   To me, it seems to contain all of Dicken's greatest abilities wrapped up in one novel.  Plus, I think my kids could connect with characters better in that one than others.  Many younger characters so I think it's easier for kids to get into their heads.  It's got the whole range of emotions from serious to tragic to funny to quirky.  There are also a couple really good David Copperfield movies that you can watch after you read the book.

After that (from your list), I'd read Little Dorrit.  That one is a little more serious but still has quirky, tender moments in it of course, and seems to take you a little deeper.  There's a really terrific Little Dorrit BBC series you can watch when you're done.  (I think each episode is 30 minutes.)

I'm glad they'll be reading A Tale of Two Cities.  That's a favorite of mine.  It felt very different to me than the others!  I also really enjoyed Bleak House, but I wouldn't recommend it at this stage.

 

 

Edited by J-rap
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4 minutes ago, J-rap said:

A lot of people recommend Great Expectations as a first read, but I really don't like that one.  It always felt like a weird start to his material.

We started with David Copperfield.   To me, it seems to contain all of Dicken's greatest abilities wrapped up in one novel.  Plus, I think my kids could connect with characters better in that one than others.  Many younger characters so I think it's easier for kids to get into their heads.  It's got the whole range of emotions from serious to tragic to funny to quirky.  There are also a couple really good David Copperfield movies that you can watch after you read the book.

After that (from your list), I'd read Little Dorrit.  That one is a little more serious but still has quirky, tender moments in it of course, and seems to take you a little deeper.  There's a really terrific Little Dorrit BBC series you can watch when you're done.  (I think each episode is 30 minutes.)

I'm glad they'll be reading A Tale of Two Cities.  That's a favorite of mine.  It felt very different to me than the others!  I also really enjoyed Bleak House, but I wouldn't recommend it at this stage.

 

 

I *love* the Little Dorrit series, which is one reason I thought of it.  

I did find a couple of adaptations of David Copperfield movies I liked too. 

I didn't even think of Bleak House!

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I love David Copperfield, but it is long.  Very long.  And it does not have the same narrative pace that Oliver Twist or Great Expectations has.  It meanders a little more.  But it has great descriptions, great humor. 

Oliver Twist has a "faster" plot, as does Great Expectations.  There is a little more of "what's going to happen to this kid?" that keeps you reading. 

So, it depends on what you want.  Or what you think you can make your boys do. 😉  I haven't made anyone read Copperfield.  I like it too much to listen to a teenager whine his way through it. 

And I second the BBC versions of Dickens.  My husband (not a classic lit kind of reader) enjoyed watching Bleak House so much that he actually read the book after!

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Posted (edited)

Oliver Twist
Yes. It is shorter. It's one of the most well-known, and quintessentially Dickens (rags to riches Victorian tale). It's pretty much a straight-up adventure tale (it was published in the papers and he was paid by the chapter), with cliffhangers, and not the depth of some of his other novels. But as always, there are memorable Dickens characters in it.

Great Expectations
Maybe. Shorter, and well-known. But...sigh...SO depressing and really ends on a "downer" IMO. I know it was his last novel, written when Dickens' himself was reflecting on his life and feeling depressed about his own "expectations" for his life and how they had failed to materialize, BUT, still, he DID have success and financial security and wife/family at that time, so that kind of thinking is a bit of "wallowing" about in "I wish it could have been different". I iremember reading this one in my 20s, and being so annoyed at the characters: as a Christian, I am very aware that God is the God of infinite possibilities! So, NO I totally did NOT connect with those characters who just sighed, and said "oh well, we tried", and stumbled along for the rest of their lives in their stuckiness  and focused on how they wished their grand dreams could have happened. Ug.

David Copperfield 
YES! BUT -- VERY long.

Our Mutual Friend
No. Longish, lesser known. No personal experience, but I've heard this one is more... complex? odd? At any rate, one to read after reading through most of Dickens' other works to have context of the author/world to get it figured out.

Little Dorrit
No. Too long, and frankly, IMO, the heroine Dorrit is a bit annoyingly too self-sacrificing to the point of NOT being a good role-model IMO. Watch that mini-series instead, which is quite well-done.


In case it helps, here's the word count for Dickens' novels:
1. David Copperfield: 357,489
2. Dombey and Son: 357,484
3. Bleak House: 355,936
4. Little Dorrit: 339,870
5. Martin Chuzzlewit: 338,077
6. Our Mutual Friend: 327,727
7. Nicholas Nickleby: 323,722
8. The Pickwick Papers: 302,190
9. Barnaby Rudge: 255,229
10. The Old Curiosity Shop: 218,538
11. Great Expectations: 186,339
12. Oliver Twist: 158,631
13. A Tale of Two Cities: 137,000
14. Hard Times: 104,821
15. The Mystery of Edwin Drood: 96,178 (first 6 of 12 parts only)

Edited by Lori D.
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5 minutes ago, Lori D. said:

Oliver Twist -- maybe; shorter; it's one of the most well-known, and quintessentially Dickens (rags to riches Victorian tale)
Great Expectations -- maybe; shorter, and well-known, but...sigh...SO depressing and really ends on a "downer" IMO
David Copperfield -- maybe; GREAT, but VERY long
Our Mutual Friend -- no; longish, lesser known
Little Dorrit -- no; too long, and frankly, IMO, the heroine Dorrit is a bit annoyingly too self-sacrificing

😆 Tell us what you really think! Your top rating was “maybe” !!!!

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Personally, I have made/will make everyone in the house read A Christmas Carol (not just watch the movie) and A Tale of Two Cities (nice historical tie-ins). 

My kids who are readers have been made/will be made to also read either Oliver Twist or Great Expectations.  Their choice.  The non readers can be excused from this.  The world is full of other books I want them to read as well, so I'm saving their energy (and mine) for other books.

Anything else by Dickens is bonus points/ only if they really want to/ just for fun.  🙂

 

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Reading this with interest because I also need a Dickens book for reading aloud this year.  My daughter (nearly 13) hasn’t read any, and I was considering some of the same books, along with The Pickwick Papers, because of the link to Little Women. Any thoughts on this one?
 

Also, would Tale of Two Cities be high on the recommended list if the OP wasn’t already reading it?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Eilonwy said:

Reading this with interest because I also need a Dickens book for reading aloud this year.  My daughter (nearly 13) hasn’t read any, and I was considering some of the same books, along with The Pickwick Papers, because of the link to Little Women. Any thoughts on this one?
 

Also, would Tale of Two Cities be high on the recommended list if the OP wasn’t already reading it?

Pickwick Papers is a series of loosely connected misadventures. Besides the mention of it in Little Women, I don't think there would be a lot to connect this novel (characters, events, "the world" of travels in Europe) with a young teen reader, but YMMV. 😉 

If the student is younger (tween/young teen), and hasn't done any Dickens before, I recommend A Christmas Carol first, as it is shorter and very familiar, and that helps with clearing the Victorian vocabulary and complex sentence structure hurdles. If wanting to go with a novel, then I personally think Oliver Twist is the most straight-forward and easiest to read, plus a young person as the protagonist. And it is among the shorter novels. JMO. -- Oh, and some people recommend Dickens' other short Christmas story of Cricket on the Hearth as a first outing with Dickens. There is also the fun and humorous fairy tale by Dickens: "The Magic Fishbone".

re: Tale of Two Cities
Yes, it's definitely high on the list to recommend it -- BUT, it can be tough. When we did it, DSs were mid-high school years, and no slouches at literature by that age, and they were VERY lost for the first 10 chapters. Once we cleared that initial hurdle, they were fine, but as a result, I tend to recommend doing Tale of Two Cities later in high school, rather than earlier. Or, maybe first watch a good film or TV mini-series version first, so as to not feel so lost and overwhelmed by the opening chapters of the novel. -- JMO! 😄 

Edited by Lori D.
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Our Mutual Friend was my favorite novel growing up. I don’t know what that says about 14 year old me, but boy did I connect with a certain character there. 

But yes, I would probably go with David Copperfield if I was assigning a novel.

I disliked Great Expectations.

 

Loved Pickwich Papers though 😋 

 

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1 hour ago, Lori D. said:

Pickwick Papers is a series of loosely connected misadventures. Besides the mention of it in Little Women, I don't think there would be a lot to connect this novel (characters, events, "the world" of travels in Europe) with a young teen reader, but YMMV. 😉 

When Anne Shirley is at teachers’ college, she reads Pickwick Papers and enjoys the descriptions of food.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Eilonwy said:

Reading this with interest because I also need a Dickens book for reading aloud this year.  My daughter (nearly 13) hasn’t read any, and I was considering some of the same books, along with The Pickwick Papers, because of the link to Little Women. Any thoughts on this one?
 

Also, would Tale of Two Cities be high on the recommended list if the OP wasn’t already reading it?

The two books of Dickens that we enjoyed the most were David Copperfield (it's long, yes, but we took it slowly), and Tale of Two Cities.  If I were to recommend just two, it would be those.  They seemed so very different (from each other) to me, and I think that's part of the reason I liked that combination.

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17 hours ago, cintinative said:

ETA: I have boys. This would be for either a read aloud or their personal reading. 

How old are your boys? I somehow assumed around Gr. 9, but now I see you didn’t say that.

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11 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

But yes, I would probably go with David Copperfield if I was assigning a novel.

Somehow I never thought of this as “assigning” a novel at all.  It’s always a book we are going to read together, because we like to. 

 

12 hours ago, Belphoebe said:

If you want something slightly "Dickensian" that might appeal to someone who liked Little Women, you might check out North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. It's more substantive (in terms of wider social commentary) than Austen, but not as heavy as Dickens. 

Thanks for this recommendation, someone on another forum had mentioned Gaskell but no specific books. 

13 hours ago, Lori D. said:

If the student is younger (tween/young teen), and hasn't done any Dickens before, I recommend A Christmas Carol first, as it is shorter and very familiar, and that helps with clearing the Victorian vocabulary and complex sentence structure hurdles. If wanting to go with a novel, then I personally think Oliver Twist is the most straight-forward and easiest to read, plus a young person as the protagonist. And it is among the shorter novels. JMO

I’m not too concerned with vocabulary and sentence structure for this kid, but Oliver Twist does seem like a reasonable  choice for the reasons you listed.  I was thinking I might read A Christmas Carol to everyone including the two younger siblings sometime next year.

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I was very close to being a ~Dickensian~ in grad school. Have read every single one of his novels, many more than once 😁

You've already gotten a lot of good advice/ input so I won't go on at length, but I think a lot of the shorter novels that are typically assigned in HS are harder to read than some of the longer ones. Our Mutual Friend is the book that made me fall in love with Dickens, but it is weird (probably why I liked it). Of his mid-career doorstoppers, Bleak House is the one I'd read aloud. There's an excellent adaptation with Gillian Anderson.  

 

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2 hours ago, Eilonwy said:

How old are your boys? I somehow assumed around Gr. 9, but now I see you didn’t say that.

I guess you can't see my signature? They will be 10th and 9th in the fall. Currently we are finishing 9th and 8th grades and they are 15 and 13.

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Well, I'll put in a vote for Oliver Twist for all the reasons already stated. I read it with my kids and just read it with my high school class this year. It also is useful for discussing the insidiousness of anti-Semitic stereotypes, but I don't feel like they overwhelm the book or make it unusable or anything.

But my bigger question would actually be... your kids are reading two Dickens already. Why are you introducing another at all? I mean, there are just so many works, especially 19th century British works, that I feel like there's not time to do a ton of a single author unless you're trying to... do a single author study or your kids just really gravitate toward Dickens.

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9 minutes ago, Farrar said:

 

But my bigger question would actually be... your kids are reading two Dickens already. Why are you introducing another at all? I mean, there are just so many works, especially 19th century British works, that I feel like there's not time to do a ton of a single author unless you're trying to... do a single author study or your kids just really gravitate toward Dickens.

The short story is I'm not sure yet what we are doing. I have the feeling that they will not enjoy Austen as much (who is by far my favorite). I could be wrong! My oldest will be reading Pride and Prejudice next year, and A Tale of Two Cities the following year. I am just trying to go through my list of widely recommended classics over multiple providers and figure out what we should try to fit in versus not.  😃  Presently I have a list of over 29 titles from Rennaissance to present (a list that I will probably add to) including three Dickens titles, and I know I/we won't get to them all.  😃 During the school year they will mostly be reading for their outside classes. I feel like it's so hard now that we are to high school. There are so many books I would love us to read but I know we are running out of time.  

We have read a lot of Tolkien, MacDonald, and Lewis, and we have read Sir Conan Doyle, Poe, Agatha Christie, Stevenson.  

What 19th century American/French/other would you recommend? We did read The Count of Monte Cristo. 

 

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, cintinative said:

The short story is I'm not sure yet what we are doing. I have the feeling that they will not enjoy Austen as much (who is by far my favorite). I could be wrong! My oldest will be reading Pride and Prejudice next year, and A Tale of Two Cities the following year. I am just trying to go through my list of widely recommended classics over multiple providers and figure out what we should try to fit in versus not.  😃  Presently I have a list of over 29 titles from Rennaissance to present (a list that I will probably add to) including three Dickens titles, and I know I/we won't get to them all.  😃 During the school year they will mostly be reading for their outside classes. I feel like it's so hard now that we are to high school. There are so many books I would love us to read but I know we are running out of time.  

We have read a lot of Tolkien, MacDonald, and Lewis, and we have read Sir Conan Doyle, Poe, Agatha Christie, Stevenson.  

What 19th century American/French/other would you recommend? We did read The Count of Monte Cristo. 

 

It all just depends. I tend to like spreading out the attention on a lot of works so you get a huge diversity. But if one was going to stick with the classics and stick with the 19th century, I'd lean toward doing as many authors as possible and the problem is that there are so many, you can't get to them all... Frankenstein, Dracula, Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment, Les Miserables, Jane Eyre (JANE!), Moby Dick (ugh), Huck Finn, Tess, Vanity Fair, Wuthering Heights, Thomas Hardy, Hawthorne, Poe... I mean... it's such a huge time period. And that doesn't even touch on the earlier works or the 20th century works. But some people would rather spend a lot of time on a specific author or time period or type of literature and there's nothing wrong with that either.

ETA: Ack, and I didn't even think of plays... Ibsen, Chekov... Poets... You get the drift. The 19th century was busy.

Edited by Farrar
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2 minutes ago, Farrar said:

Frankenstein, Dracula, Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment, Les Miserables, Jane Eyre (JANE!), Moby Dick (ugh), Huck Finn, Tess, Vanity Fair, Wuthering Heights, Thomas Hardy, Hawthorne, Poe... I mean... it's such a huge time period. And that doesn't even touch on the earlier works or the 20th century works. But some people would rather spend a lot of time on a specific author or time period or type of literature and there's nothing wrong with that either.

ETA: Ack, and I didn't even think of plays... Ibsen, Chekov... Poets... You get the drift. The 19th century was busy.

This is helpful. They have read Huckleberry Finn but not many of the rest. I do have some plays on my list of to reads.  😃  

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, cintinative said:

... We have read a lot of Tolkien, MacDonald, and Lewis, and we have read Sir Conan Doyle, Poe, Agatha Christie, Stevenson.  
What 19th century American/French/other would you recommend? ...

NOTE: by 19th century, I mean that's when they were writing/published -- not when they were born

classic 19th century American authors
novels:
- Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter or The House of Seven Gables -- or -- short stories)
- Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
- Louisa May Alcott (Little Women or Little Men -- or nonfiction: Hospital Sketches)
novella
- Henry James
short stories:
- Washington Irving ( "Rip Van Winkle" and/or "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"")
- Nathaniel Hawthorne ("The Minister's Black Veil" and "Rappacini's Daughter")
- Herman Melville ("Bartleby the Scrivner" -- or -- novella Billy Budd -- or -- novel Moby Dick)
- Ambrose Bierce ("Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge")
- Bret Harte ("The Luck of Roaring Camp", and/or "The Outcasts of Poker Flats")
- Sarah Orne Jewett ("A White Heron", and possibly another)
poets:
- Emily Dickinson
- Walt Whitman
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Interesting go-along books:
- The Day They Came to Arrest the Book (Hentoff) -- YA book to go with Huck Finn
- The Diamond in the Window (Langston) --  late elementary aged fantasy book that touches on Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Louisa May Alcott

classic 19th century World authors
French

- Jules Verne
- Guy de Maupassan
- Victor Hugo
Russian
- Alexander Pushkin
- Nikolai Gogol
- Leo Tolstoy

[NOTE: I will finish fleshing out the 19th century world authors later -- I have to run right now]

other 19th British authors not mentioned in your post:
- Elizabeth Gaskell -- North and South, or possibly: Wives and Daughters, or, Cranford
- a Bronte sister novel -- Jane Eyre (Charlotte); Wuthering Heights (Emily); The Tennant of Wildfell Hall (Anne)
- George Elliot (pen name of Mary Anne Evans) -- Silas Marner, or possibly: Mill on the Floss, or, Middlemarch
- Mary Shelley -- Frankenstein
- Robert Lewis Stevenson -- Treasure Island; The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
- Wilkie Caulkins -- The Moonstone, or, The Women in White

Edited by Lori D.
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15 minutes ago, Lori D. said:

NOTE: by 19th century, I mean that's when they were writing/published -- not when they were born

classic 19th century American authors
novels:
- Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter or The House of Seven Gables -- or -- short stories)
- Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
- Louisa May Alcott (Little Women or Little Men -- or nonfiction: Hospital Sketches)
novella
- Henry James
short stories:
- Washington Irving ( "Rip Van Winkle" and/or "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"")
- Nathaniel Hawthorne ("The Minister's Black Veil" and "Rappacini's Daughter")
- Herman Melville ("Bartleby the Scrivner" -- or -- novella Billy Budd -- or -- novel Moby Dick)
- Ambrose Bierce ("Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge")
- Bret Harte ("The Luck of Roaring Camp", and/or "The Outcasts of Poker Flats")
- Sarah Orne Jewett ("A White Heron", and possibly another)
poets:
Emily Dickinson
- Walt Whitman
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Interesting go-along books:
- The Day They Came to Arrest the Book (Hentoff) -- YA book to go with Huck Finn
- The Diamond in the Window (Langston) --  late elementary aged fantasy book that touches on Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Louisa May Alcott

classic 19th century World authors
French

- Jules Verne
- Guy de Maupassan
- Victor Hugo

Russian
- Alexander Pushkin
- Nikolai Gogol
- Leo Tolstoy


[NOTE: I will finish fleshing out the 19th century world authors later -- I have to run right now]

other 19th British authors not mentioned in your post:
- Elizabeth Gaskell -- North and South, or possibly: Wives and Daughters, or, Cranford
- a Bronte sister novel -- Jane Eyre (Charlotte); Wuthering Heights (Emily); The Tennant of Wildfell Hall (Anne)
- George Elliot (pen name of Mary Anne Evans) -- Silas Marner, or possibly: Mill on the Floss, or, Middlemarch
- Mary Shelley -- Frankenstein
- Robert Lewis Stevenson -- Treasure Island; The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

- Wilkie Caulkins -- The Moonstone, or, The Women in White

Thank you for this!

I couldn't put in check marks so I did strikethrough. 😃  I'm so happy that we have covered a lot of this list already!  LOL. Possibly because of the boardie who created that excelled Figuratively Speaking with short stories list. 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, cintinative said:

...I couldn't put in check marks so I did strikethrough. 😃  I'm so happy that we have covered a lot of this list already! ...

lol! You guys have rocked the reading! 😄 

Really, don't feel you MUST do everything on the list. You have covered a LOT of 19th century lit. AND, as you say, you have limited time left in high school to read through to contemporary classics/great works.

 Of the ones on that list, or mentioned by you or @Farrar , you might enjoy:
- Dracula -- YES! 
- The Moonstone -- if you enjoy mysteries; and this has a fun/light gothic feel to it
- Silas Marner -- decades ago, this was a standard classic, but not done as often; strong Christian themes throughout the story
- Jane Eyre -- such a big classic, right up there with reading something by Dickens and Austen
Northanger Abbey -- speaking of Jane Austen, while this wasn't on the list above, I think this is the funniest; some scenes reminded me of the social boy/girl antics at my public high school, LOL; however, Pride and Prejudice is the shortest and best-known, so either one would be great; another thought: WATCH a good film version! my boys actually enjoyed watching these:
   • Pride & Prejudice (2005 film with Keira Knightly)
   • Sense & Sensibility (2008 TV movie with Hattie Morahan, or, 1995 film with Emma Thompson)
   • Northanger Abbey (2007 TV movie with Felicity Jones) 
   • Persuasion (1995 film with Amanda Root)
   • Emma (1996 TV movie with Kate Beckinsale)

Same with plays -- they were written to be watched in performance, so you might connect better with 20th century plays seeing them in performance rather than reading them. Just a thought.


Another thought is to do a semester or year of lit. that is all around a theme, and use books from various authors / time periods / places / genres to dig into the ideas around that theme. 

Just rambling... And totally agree: too many great works and too little time. 😉 Guess that leaves something for our kids to read once they are adults. 😂

 

Edited by Lori D.
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3 hours ago, Lori D. said:

classic 19th century World authors
French

- Jules Verne
- Guy de Maupassan
- Victor Hugo
Russian
- Alexander Pushkin
- Nikolai Gogol
- Leo Tolstoy

Any recommendations for specific  books by these or other world authors from this period, reasonable for late middle school/ early high school?

3 hours ago, cintinative said:

I couldn't put in check marks so I did strikethrough. 😃  I'm so happy that we have covered a lot of this list already!  LOL. Possibly because of the boardie who created that excelled Figuratively Speaking with short stories list. 

I’m really impressed by what you have covered.  Any not to be missed books from world authors you have read with your boys?

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Eilonwy said:

Any recommendations for specific  books by these or other world authors from this period, reasonable for late middle school/ early high school?

I’m really impressed by what you have covered.  Any not to be missed books from world authors you have read with your boys?

For a read aloud, I would not skip The Count of Monte Cristo. We all really liked it. It's a great book for boys too.  😃  I might wait a bit if you were just going to assign it because it has a lot of characters and can be confusing that way, but reading it aloud we could all discuss and remind each other, and that worked well.

We really liked The Invisible Man (H.G. Wells) and War of the Worlds.  

We did enjoy Kidnapped too.  

I liked Around the World in 80 Days more than I thought I would.  LOL. 

Keep in mind, since I have boys, that influences their likes/dislikes.

This past year all we really got through was the space trilogy by Lewis (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength).  They were good, but they are not for everyone.  

If you have time, do the figurative language through short stories selections. I created my own merged Word file. You can get it here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/19swYUON806PgBVfmV-__nhc64n_xkVWk/view?usp=sharing (ETA: replaced link 2x. If this one doesn't work, let me know. I can always PM it)   Figuratively Speaking is a 7th/8th grade resource but that doesn't mean you can't also touch on the figurative language other years, or use something else like the Norton book https://wwnorton.com/books/Essential-Literary-Terms/  or just read the stories you want.  This list also has novels which we read some of, and some we skipped.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Lori D. said:

lol! You guys have rocked the reading! 😄 

Really, don't feel you MUST do everything on the list. You have covered a LOT of 19th century lit. AND, as you say, you have limited time left in high school to read through to contemporary classics/great works.

 Of the ones on that list, or mentioned by you or @Farrar , you might enjoy:- Dracula -- also not on my list but mentioned by @Farrar -- YES! you all will love it
- The Moonstone -- if you enjoy mysteries; and this has a fun/light gothic feel to it
- Silas Marner -- decades ago, this was a standard classic, but not done as often; strong Christian themes throughout the story
- Jane Eyre -- such a big classic, right up there with reading something by Austen
Northanger Abbey -- speaking of Jane Austen, while this wasn't on the list above, I think this is the funniest; some scenes reminded me of the social boy/girl antics at my public high school, LOL; however, Pride and Prejudice is the shortest and best-known, so either one would be great; another thought: WATCH a good film version! my boys actually enjoyed watching these:
   • Pride & Prejudice (2005 film with Keira Knightly)
   • Sense & Sensibility (2008 TV movie with Hattie Morahan, or, 1995 film with Emma Thompson)
   • Northanger Abbey (2007 TV movie with Felicity Jones) 
   • Persuasion (1995 film with Amanda Root)
   • Emma (1996 TV movie with Kate Beckinsale)

Same with plays -- they were written to be watched in performance, so you might connect better with 20th century plays seeing them in performance rather than reading them. Just a thought.


Another thought is to do a semester or year of lit. that is all around a theme, and use books from various authors / time periods / places / genres to dig into the ideas around that theme. 

Just rambling... And totally agree: too many great works and too little time. 😉 Guess that leaves something for our kids to read once they are adults. 😂

 

Thank you!! My kids know that part of  how I got through the pandemic is watching movie versions of every Austen book multiple times. I couldn't quite get them on board with my pandemic survival plan. Maybe they will grow into it.  😃 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Eilonwy said:

Any recommendations for specific  books by these or other world authors from this period, reasonable for late middle school/ early high school?

Jules Verne:
- Around the World in Eighty Days -- most well-known work by him, often done in middle school
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 
- possibly: Mysterious Island -- sort of a sequel to 20,000 Leagues
- possibly: Journey to the Center of the Earth

Here's an OLD WTM thread with ideas for what translation: "Jules Verne: favorite translation/translator?" -- the link posted by WTM @nmoira (who passed away some years ago 😪 ). Alas, her link no longer functioning, but I did manage to find this online translation of 20,000 Leagues that is part of the gilead translation that nmoira linked.


Middle school into early high school is an ideal time to introduce a lot of short stories for practicing "digging deeper" and discussing "big ideas" and literary elements at work in the stories. Check out combining Figuratively Speaking for learning literary devices, and then practicing with poems and short stories -- see the list of suggested works to go with the individual literary devices in this past thread "Figuratively Speaking paired with short stories".


Guy de Maupassant -- pen name of Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant known as a master of the short story; he was not a novelist
- "The Necklace" -- story by him most often done in middle/high school
- "A Piece of String" -- another frequently done story
- possibly: "The Hand" -- gothic tale
- possibly: "Ball of Fat" -- considered to be his best story: mature topic, but delicately presented: prostitute is pressured by her traveling companions to let the Prussian officer who has stopped their carriage to have his way with her so they can continue their escape from the occupying Prussians, and when she does, they shun her

Russians -- short stories are best for first introduction to these authors; these are some I've seen listed as do-able with teens:
- Alexander Pushkin = "The Queen of Spades"
- Nikolai Gogol = "The Overcoat"; "The Nose"
- Leo Tolstoy = "How Much Land Does a Man Need"

Edited by Lori D.
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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, cintinative said:

...If you have time, do the figurative language through short stories selections. I created my own merged Word file. You can get it here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/19swYUON806PgBVfmV-__nhc64n_xkVWk/view?usp=sharing ...

Hi Cintinative -- VERY kind of you to share that. 😄  However, when I clicked on the link, it says a password is needed? -- ETA: sorry, it says: need to "request access"...

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9 minutes ago, cintinative said:

Thank you!! My kids know that part of  how I got through the pandemic is watching movie versions of every Austen book multiple times. I couldn't quite get them on board with my pandemic survival plan. Maybe they will grow into it.  😃 

Esp. if they know that you're willing to have them go with exposure to Austen through a 2-hour movie version, versus days/weeks of reading to get through the book version... 😂

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, Lori D. said:

Hi Cintinative -- VERY kind of you to share that. 😄  However, when I clicked on the link, it says a password is needed? -- ETA: sorry, it says: need to "request access"...

Hmm. Let me check.  Can you try this one? https://drive.google.com/file/d/19swYUON806PgBVfmV-__nhc64n_xkVWk/view?usp=sharing

 

Edited by cintinative
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45 minutes ago, cintinative said:

Thank you!! My kids know that part of  how I got through the pandemic is watching movie versions of every Austen book multiple times. I couldn't quite get them on board with my pandemic survival plan. Maybe they will grow into it.  😃 

I did the SAME thing! I also listened to the audiobook of at least 2 or 3 of them. They were good company during the endless cleaning, cooking, and laundry that went along with having my whole crew together under one roof for months!

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So... you've covered a lot. And I agree with Lori that Northanger Abbey is weirdly more... fun than P&P - especially maybe for non-Austen lovers.

I would mostly just say... with having covered all that, I'm guessing you probably should additionally focus your attention on more recent significant works. And also, consider doing AP Lit down the line.

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Posted (edited)

One last try on this link for @Lori D.https://drive.google.com/file/d/19swYUON806PgBVfmV-__nhc64n_xkVWk/view?usp=sharing

or https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Pi5ML4cUBtF3gwCwlYYiRoeiuueiobci?usp=sharing

If this doesn't work, I am going to try just PM-ing you. I have no idea what I am doing wrong.

Edited by cintinative
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5 hours ago, Lori D. said:


Here's an OLD WTM thread with ideas for what translation: "Jules Verne: favorite translation/translator?" -- the link posted by WTM @nmoira (who passed away some years ago 😪 ). Alas, her link no longer functioning, but I did manage to find this online translation of 20,000 Leagues that is part of the gilead translation that nmoira linked.
 

All these ideas are great.

I miss nmoira. 

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On 5/21/2021 at 2:34 AM, stripe said:

When Anne Shirley is at teachers’ college, she reads Pickwick Papers and enjoys the descriptions of food.

I thought it was one of her roommates, but that is my connotation with pickwick papers too 🙂

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Loesje22000 said:

I thought it was one of her roommates, but that is my connotation with pickwick papers too 🙂

 

Ha! You’re right! Anne is reading it, but it’s her roommate who gets hungry. From Anne of the Island, Chapter 20

Quote

“This has been a dull, prosy day,” yawned Phil, stretching herself idly on the sofa, having previously dispossessed two exceedingly indignant cats.

Anne looked up from Pickwick Papers. Now that spring examinations were over she was treating herself to Dickens.

“It has been a prosy day for us,” she said thoughtfully, “but to some people it has been a wonderful day. Some one has been rapturously happy in it. Perhaps a great deed has been done somewhere today—or a great poem written—or a great man born. And some heart has been broken, Phil.”

“Why did you spoil your pretty thought by tagging that last sentence on, honey?” grumbled Phil. “I don’t like to think of broken hearts—or anything unpleasant.”

....

“What are you reading?”

“Pickwick.”

“That’s a book that always makes me hungry,” said Phil. “There’s so much good eating in it. The characters seem always to be reveling on ham and eggs and milk punch. I generally go on a cupboard rummage after reading Pickwick. The mere thought reminds me that I’m starving. Is there any tidbit in the pantry, Queen Anne?”

“I made a lemon pie this morning. You may have a piece of it.”

Phil dashed out to the pantry and Anne betook herself to the orchard in company with Rusty. It was a moist, pleasantly-odorous night in early spring. The snow was not quite all gone from the park; a little dingy bank of it yet lay under the pines of the harbor road, screened from the influence of April suns. It kept the harbor road muddy, and chilled the evening air. But grass was growing green in sheltered spots and Gilbert had found some pale, sweet arbutus in a hidden corner. He came up from the park, his hands full of it.

 

 

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22 hours ago, cintinative said:

For a read aloud, I would not skip The Count of Monte Cristo. We all really liked it. It's a great book for boys too.  😃  I might wait a bit if you were just going to assign it because it has a lot of characters and can be confusing that way, but reading it aloud we could all discuss and remind each other, and that worked well.

Thanks, this is not one that I had considered.  I would read it aloud because we all enjoy that, and the time period it is set in would be perfect for my intended theme next year (literature to go with history from 1750-1850). 

22 hours ago, cintinative said:

This past year all we really got through was the space trilogy by Lewis (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength).  They were good, but they are not for everyone.  

If you have time, do the figurative language through short stories selections. I created my own merged Word file. You can get it here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/19swYUON806PgBVfmV-__nhc64n_xkVWk/view?usp=sharing (ETA: replaced link 2x. If this one doesn't work, let me know. I can always PM it)   Figuratively Speaking is a 7th/8th grade resource

I have read the first two in Lewis’ space trilogy, she might enjoy those too, as well as Verne and Wells. 
 

Thanks so much for the link to the Word file! The download did work for me.  This is also not something I had thought of.  I don’t have a very structured literature plan, usually I don’t even specifically plan the next year but just pick books as we come close to the last one.  Did it help your kids to understand significantly more in what they read and hear to formally cover these concepts?

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22 hours ago, Lori D. said:

Middle school into early high school is an ideal time to introduce a lot of short stories for practicing "digging deeper" and discussing "big ideas" and literary elements at work in the stories. Check out combining Figuratively Speaking for learning literary devices, and then practicing with poems and short stories -- see the list of suggested works to go with the individual literary devices in this past thread "Figuratively Speaking paired with short stories".

Thanks for the ideas of books and short stories!  Do you find that short stories/poems work better for becoming familiar with literary devices than longer pieces, and that they then improve understanding of the longer books?

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Posted (edited)
50 minutes ago, Eilonwy said:

Thanks for the ideas of books and short stories!  Do you find that short stories/poems work better for becoming familiar with literary devices than longer pieces, and that they then improve understanding of the longer books?

Yes! For a novel, some students just struggle to keep all of the characters and in-depth plot events straight, and can't get beyond that to see that there may be something else going on in the work as well. Short stories are so short, a student can actually annotate as they read and start seeing things going on while simultaneously reading for "what happens." Or, the stories are short, so it's not burdensome to have the student re-read -- first time for plot / characters / what happens, and the second time for details, images/descriptions, repetition, literary devices, etc. -- and they can see how more "subtle" things, such as description, word choice, etc., are all working to create mood, or point to a theme, or foreshadow a character choice...

And: an even easier stepping stone is using movies (and cinematic devices) for discussion/analysis. For example: it's sometimes easier to see symbolism in a movie (filmmaker cuts to close-up of something that is significant, or frames a character so that something significant is in the background with the character), than it is to see symbolism in a short story (is the sun just an object as part of the story in "All Summer in a Day", or does it represent something bigger as well). 

And yes, once they start "getting it" with short stories or films, it gets easier to see with novels.

Enjoy! 😄 

Edited by Lori D.
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29 minutes ago, Eilonwy said:

 

Thanks so much for the link to the Word file! The download did work for me.  This is also not something I had thought of.  I don’t have a very structured literature plan, usually I don’t even specifically plan the next year but just pick books as we come close to the last one.  Did it help your kids to understand significantly more in what they read and hear to formally cover these concepts?

I have a hard time myself taking a work by itself and noting all the different figurative language in it. It was helpful to have that pointed out in the curriculum (Figuratively Speaking). Other than that, it was easy enough to cover because the short stories didn't take long to read aloud.  

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, cintinative said:

I have a hard time myself taking a work by itself and noting all the different figurative language in it. It was helpful to have that pointed out in the curriculum (Figuratively Speaking). Other than that, it was easy enough to cover because the short stories didn't take long to read aloud.  

Quoting you @cintinative as a springboard for a general comment to anyone reading this thread, not addressing you specifically. 😉

Just to reassure (both students AND parents 😉 ) -- you do NOT have to see EVERYTHING. Don't even try to comment on everything. That's the fast track to killing love of a book or an enjoyment of literature. 😵

Also: while the poems/short stories in that thread I linked above (which overlaps with your Word list @cintinative) do show that particular literary device, just about every work of literature will also have other elements you can discuss. That is helpful for students just getting started out -- they can easily see the literary device that is really standing out, but they might see other things as well. Run with whatever *the student* is seeing and wants to discuss... And if they're not seeing much or just not "feeling the love" for discussing that day, then stop. The key is to keep alive an enjoyment of the literature. 😉

 

Edited by Lori D.
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29 minutes ago, Lori D. said:

 

Just to reassure (both students AND parents 😉 ) -- you do NOT have to see EVERYTHING. Don't even try to comment on everything. That's the fast track to killing love of a book or an enjoyment of literature. 😵

 

 

I totally agree.  

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4 hours ago, Lori D. said:

That is helpful for students just getting started out -- they can easily see the literary device that is really standing out, but they might see other things as well. Run with whatever *the student* is seeing and wants to discuss... And if they're not seeing much or just not "feeling the love" for discussing that day, then stop. The key is to keep alive an enjoyment of the literature. 😉

Thanks for the guidance on this! Sounds like moderation is key. I’m okay with this, since I don’t want to go overboard with short stories either. 

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On 5/20/2021 at 9:28 PM, Roadrunner said:

Loved Pickwich Papers though 😋 

 

15 hours ago, stripe said:

Ha! You’re right! Anne is reading it, but it’s her roommate who gets hungry. From Anne of the Island, Chapter 20

I am intrigued by the wild & long term popularity of this one, so I may read it myself.

On 5/20/2021 at 8:05 PM, Lori D. said:

Pickwick Papers is a series of loosely connected misadventures. Besides the mention of it in Little Women, I don't think there would be a lot to connect this novel (characters, events, "the world" of travels in Europe) with a young teen reader, but YMMV. 😉 

This could be right up her alley...anything with misadventures has potential. But maybe not as the first book.  

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  • 4 months later...

Update on Dickens progress following discussion on this thread: currently about a third of the way through Oliver Twist with my 13 yo (read aloud).  And it is grim, grim, grim.  Between the child abuse and anti-semitism on every page, we’re not sure we should keep going.  For anyone that has read it with a young teen, does it get better?  
 

Or should we bail out now?

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