Charles Dickens died on 9 June 1870, but 150 years on from his death, the characters he created in his novels remain some of the most memorable and vivid in the whole of English literature. His characters, as Jenny Hartley puts it, like the characters of very few other writers, “step out of the novel and roam the world”. Hartley chooses her Best Charles Dickens Books, two novels, his letters, a biography and some criticism and discusses his place in English literature, and his works’ relationship with Victorian society and with his own life.
Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, professor of English literature at Oxford, looks at Dickens and Christmas and how the author contributed to the modern culture of Christmas, not just through A Christmas Carol, but through his other writings.
Illustrative of the breadth of Dickens’ popularity and appeal is not just that A Tale of Two Cities is one of our most widely recommended books, but that it has been chosen to illustrate The Best Books on Progressive America, Bestsellers, Life in Iraq During Invasion and A World Without Poverty. It’s testimony to the fact that Charles Dickens’s books remain relevant to today’s readers.
Books by Charles Dickens
Interviews where books by Charles Dickens were recommended
Christine L. Corton describes how Londoners loved and hated the fog that defined their city for over 200 years. Fog bought confusion, suicide and death; but also anonymity, mystery and beauty. Here, she picks the best five books on the pea-souper
A city of hidden depths and morbid fascination, by turns respectable and savage. Iain Sinclair picks five novels that capture the spirit and rich history of London.
The best books are the ones that tell great stories, says bestselling author and former British politician Jeffrey Archer. Here, he shares some of his favourites, popular novels that went down well with readers but are sometimes still looked down on by the literary establishment.
In the last of our series of interviews on American progressivism, the mayor of Los Angeles chooses five novels and biographies that provide lessons from the past and show what a democratic society should aspire to be
My Year in Iraq
by L Paul Bremer III with Malcolm McConnell
The Assassination Attempts against President Saddam Hussein
by Barzan al-Tikriti
Cultural Cleansing in Iraq
by Raymond W Baker, Shereen T Ismael, Tareq Y Ismael
The Old Man and the Sea
by Ernest Hemingway
A Tale of Two Cities
by Charles Dickens
Iraqi academic May Witwit tells of the horrors of US-occupied Iraq: “We were being shot at, and for three days a body lay at my front gate and nobody dared to move him”
The 2006 Nobel Peace Prize-winner talks about his creation of micro-credit and walks us through his five books on poverty and how to eradicate it – includes Zola’s Germinal and Dickens’ A Tale Of Two Cities
The historian and biographer of London Peter Ackroyd picks five books that shine a light on parts of this vast, complex and confusing city where, he says, pathos and pantomime meet.
The chairman of the Equalities & Human Rights Commission says discrimination and social injustice won’t be changed by what happens in courtrooms or parliament but by how we all behave
When it was published on December 19th, 1843, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol was an instant classic. As families settle in front of the fire to read it aloud on Christmas Eve, Oxford Professor of English Literature Robert Douglas-Fairhurst runs through the best of Dickens’s prolific writings about Christmas.
He was the most popular novelist of the Victorian era, a convivial family man who always championed the underdog. But he also harboured dark secrets that only came out after his death. Jenny Hartley recommends the best books by and about Charles Dickens and discusses Dickens the phenomenon, past and present.
The stories we tell ourselves affect our decision-making in profound ways, says psychotherapist turned bestselling author Salley Vickers. Here, she recommends five novels that delve into the psychology of the self—and of society.
The Victorian era was a golden age for fiction, says Victorian literature specialist John Sutherland, Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London. He talks us through the some of the best novels written during the Victorian period, and what they reveal about the people who wrote them.
What makes the most successful societies tick? The RSA’s Matthew Taylor says we should recognise that relationships and values are more important than scientific or economic advances
Teachers play an important role in our educational and emotional development. But we have a complex relationship with them: one marked by firm boundaries and an unequal power dynamic. Here, novelist and former schoolmaster David Hargreaves discusses five classic works of fiction that portray teachers walking this line with varying degrees of success.
Did you know that Santa Claus was a 4th century bishop in what is now Turkey? That Puritans tried to outlaw Christmas? Or Tiny Tim was originally Little Fred? Religious scholar Bruce Forbes recommends books that shed light on Christmas’s pagan past and consumerist present.
Scary children’s books give kids the pleasure of immersing themselves in an exciting page-turner, and are an excellent way to get reluctant readers to read novels. As long as you pay attention to individual children’s sensibilities, it shouldn’t be hard to find books that give them thrills rather than nightmares. Children’s author Jack Meggitt-Phillips talks us through his favourite scary books for kids.