Reading Dickens

I’ve recently finished up Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, and I’ve had more than one person ask me how I’ve managed it. Some readers will be confused by that kind of question, but I can see how people who don’t read classic British literature could have a hard time. Dickens is one of those authors that sits on the top of the world. He’s considered the pinnacle of English Literature.

So my advice is to Work Your Way Up To It.

Start with shorter or easier classic British Literature works. You could start with Jane Austen or the Bronte sisters. You could also work your way back with Rudyard Kipling and D. H. Lawrence. Read some of the shorter works from Dickens, like A Christmas Carol, which I’m sure you were required to read in school, or a collection of his short stories.

Once you’ve read some of the smaller works from Dickens, or read some of the shorter works from his peers, his name won’t intimidate you anymore.

That’s all it is, really. The name Charles Dickens, and Great Expectations, are intimidating. If you’ve grown up hearing that A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations were these major works that were hard to read, you’ll approach them feeling that way. In reality, Charles Dickens writes at around a 9th grade level. You could be reading Dickens before you even graduate High School.

So don’t let Dickens scare the Dickens out of you.

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