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Top 5 Charles Dickens Novels

Charles Dickens wrote more than a dozen novels; if you love classics, you should read them all. But it’s a short life, so here’s our pick if you are running out of time:

charles dickens david copperfield

David Copperfield

This was Dickens’ personal favourite. David Copperfield is partly autobiographical and many incidents in the book echo those from the author’s own life. The title of the book has the same initials as that of its author (in reverse order though). David Copperfield is the story of a boy who fights against incredible odds and manages to turn his luck. This is arguably Dickens’ masterpiece; strong character development, brilliant imaginative quality and an emotional touch that can make you weep.

Great Expectationscharles dickens great expectations

Dickens’ 13th novel is a compelling rags-to-riches story and is unusually slim compared to his other works. It’s a tale of a young orphan boy called Pip, who tries to get accepted into society by being rich and gaining status. Dickens poses a question to the readers: does the society accept immoral sources of wealth? In Great Expectations you come across a seasoned writer with a dark perspective. Check out the great film adaptation by David lean.

charles dickens Bleak House Bleak House

Bleak house can be read as a social commentary, a love story, and a detective novel. It is certainly not Dickens’ most popular novel, but is widely regarded as one of his most mature works. The highly complex plot, the curious use of both first person and third person narrative, the gripping melodrama works together to produce what Time magazine describes as Dickens’ “…grandest, most virtuosic achievement.”

A Tale of Two Citiescharles dickens a tale of two cities

A timeless classic that delineates an intriguing drama set in Paris and London during French Revolution. A Tale of Two Cities is a love triangle and a historical novel that sold more than 200 million copies and became one of the most well known novels ever written. And yes, who could forget the remarkable opening paragraph: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

charles dickens oliver twistOliver Twist

Dickens’ second novel and a grand successor to the popular classic — The Pickwick Papers. Oliver Twist is a gloomy book depicting endless villainies of Fagin, who uses orphan kids for criminal purposes. Dickens highlights social injustices in Victorian London through unforgettable characters. If you are new to Dickens, start with Oliver Twist. And don’t miss the Roman Polanski film based on the book.

What is your favorite Charles Dickens novel?

13 thoughts on “Top 5 Charles Dickens Novels

    • Reading Dickens for the first time can be an unforgettable experience. So be happy Annie 🙂 Dickens can easily scare you off with his dictionary sized books. But once you get started, he starts growing on you.

    • Hard Times is one of my favorites too. I recently read two other books with somewhat similar themes: Émile Zola’s Germinal and Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. They were pretty good as well. Looks like we both enjoy depressive stuff Ste J 🙂

      • I started Germinal in Mansfield library – a very Dickensian place indeed, where there are ore computers, with jobless and homeless and noisy kids all ignoring thee books – It’s a bleak place to go and actually read so naturally I thoroughly enjoyed it. I will hunt out The Jungle but perhaps with tranquilliser darts as the harpoon really does damage the books.

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