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Dickens Novels Ranked By What They're Willing to Do for Me

I've read just over half of Dickens's novels/novellas, and if we leave out some of the Christmas ones, here they are, ranked mostly by how much I like the couples in them:

1. Bleak House. Bleak House is the best of all Dickens's work, do not debate me, I will fight you. You've got a take-down of the civil law courts, scheming French ladies, and INSANE colonization ideas. Sir Leicester's love for Lady Dedlock is tear-inducing, and we all appreciate Ada's super-gay love for Esther, I am sure.

2. The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Dickens didn't even finish this book and I love it. There's a possible murder! Mysterious twins! An opium-addicted church choirmaster! 10/10 for Rose/Helena scenes, Dickens.

3. A Christmas Carol. As previously stated, A Christmas Carol is perfect.

4. Our Mutual Friend. I should knock this down the list because Dickens pulls a nasty trick on the reader and cheapens the whole book, but Mature Dickens is so good and I cannot put it below 4. Our Mutual Friend deals with avarice and London's East End and there is a SHOCKING death at the end.

5. Little Dorrit. I know nothing about this novel other than the fact there's a pretty obvious lesbian in it, which has given me HIGH EXPECTATIONS, as it's also in Dickens's late period, so it's probably gonna be pretty great.


6. Pickwick Papers. Pickwick is hilarious. It's the Earliest Dickens Novel, so it's episodic (that was his style back in the day) and is just about a group of older Englishmen getting into ridiculous situations. Fan-tastic.

7. Dombey and Son. I know nothing about Dombey and Son, but I again have high hopes for it. I think I heard at some point that there is no Son part of Dombey and Son? Or maybe there is one and he just doesn't want to do the family business. Regardless, there are definitely some super-fun characters in it with great names. #Dickens

8. The Old Curiosity Shop. I LOVE RICHARD SWIVELLER. Oh what a wonderful and unexpected turnaround of a character. The death of Little Nell is ridiculous and Victorian and no one cares anymore, but Richard Swiveller. I love him.

9. Martin Chuzzlewit. What are you about, Book With a Fun Name! I'm wary of you because you're pretty close to Barnaby Rudge in terms of publication date, but maybe you'll surprise us all and be great.

10. David Copperfield. I'm pretty sure that my extreme wariness re David Copperfield stems from the fact all these people say it's the closest thing to Dickens's autobiography, and I don't really like Dickens. I'm pretty sure it's going to involve a lot of anger towards his mom, because oh man, he had a LOT of anger towards his mom.

11. Nicholas Nickleby. One time I decided to walk the two miles from my apartment to the downtown Chicago library branch, and I packed some cheese and bread in my bag and I felt like Nicholas Nickleby going on the road and it was the FUNNEST.

12. Oliver Twist. While the character of Oliver is an idiot, this book did provide the framework for the musical Oliver!, which has the very complicated and wonderful character of Nancy. She's ok in the book, but not nearly as fleshed out, as this book is by Dickens and Dickens only cares about you as a woman if you're 16 and virginal.

Kate Beaton gets it.

The last four are hard because I dislike them all. So the order's pretty arbitrary.

13. Hard Times. This is Dickens's rant against Utilitarianism. It's extreeeemely preachy. Louisa Gradgrind's pretty cool and has a kickass name, but he still basically punishes her at the end, because he is Dickens.

14. A Tale of Two Cities. The Victorians need to stop writing about previous centuries, because they all pretty much suck at it. No, I haven't READ Tale of Two Cities and yes, I THOROUGHLY love the musical version by Jill Santoriello, but I've skimmed excerpts and ugh. Ugh. Dickens sometimes has this tendency to make these characters who are Bland Heroes or Misunderstood Dudes Who Just Wanted to Bang That 16-Year-Old, and I am occasionally sick of it.

15. Great Expectations. My brother after I read this: "I guess it didn't up to your expectations? Ahahahaha." But for serious, I hate this book.

16. Barnaby Rudge. BUT NOT AS MUCH AS I HATE BARNABY RUDGE. As I say in Barnaby Rudge: The Phantom Menace of Dickens Novels, fuck Barnaby Rudge. That book took me 3 years to read. It's all about the Gordon Riots of 1780 -- GOOD TOPIC FOR A NOVEL, DICKENS -- and it is super-boring and the worst. Never read it ever.


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