Saturday, February 25, 2012

Currently Reading: Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist"

This Dickens classic is perhaps his second best-known book, following A Christmas Carol.  But how many have actually read the original?  I, for one, knew the story primarily from an abridged version of the novel in my younger years, followed by seeing the story both on stage in its well-known musical theater production as well as in the multiple movie versions that exist.  I never actually read the original until now.  And it's my first full read on my new Nook e-reader.  And I'm loving it!  I have the complete Dickens on my Nook, and I can't wait to read more.

Dickens has an incredibly witty and sarcastic way of criticizing the social and cultural absurdities of his day, even while telling tragic stories of abuse and deprivation.  One can easily see why he is considered one of the great writers of the past 200 years.

When I finish the book (and I'm about two-thirds of the way through now), I hope to post some reflections and thoughts.

I should mention now, though, that while I am enjoying the story, there are some parts of it that I find disturbing and troubling, especially his anti-Semitic stereotypes of Jewish characters in this particular novel.  While I understand that one needs to place this in its proper temporal context, it still doesn't diminish the blatantly shocking way this portrayal offends modern sensibilities of basic human decency.  I would have expected better of Dickens.