A Tale of Two Cities

I know, it’s been a while since I’ve written about anything I’ve read. It’s not that I haven’t been reading, but more that I’ve been reading several things at once and just haven’t finished much until this past week. In addition, the holiday break saw me reading slowly, chewing and digesting the words in a new way, and I’ve kept that up in some fashion as I’ve read this month. But, this week I did finish some things and wanted to record a few thoughts here.

First up is A Tale of Two Cities, which has been sitting on the “to read” shelf for quite some time and I remember picking it up as an idea of something to read on a vacation and that never happened. So, during the holidays I began the book. Dickens writes in a wordy fashion, his books are dense, but thankfully the chapters are shorter as it was originally a series. So I slowly read bit by bit before bed most nights and this past week I finished.

If you don’t like lots of back story and set up, then I’m afraid you shouldn’t read this one. It takes quite a long time to get to the meat of the story and the conflict and we don’t find out the big secret until just pages before the end of the book. But I enjoyed it. I enjoyed experiencing my first Dickens book, since I’ve never read him and only know his stories through plays and movies. I also enjoyed the view of the French Revolution, while I have no idea how completely accurate his portrayal is, it was interesting to see that piece of history from a different set of eyes, an aristocrat who had left France and returns trying to save someone.

The one funny thing about all this is that I saw the Mel Brooks movie A History of the World, Part One when I was quite young (possibly too young to see it, but such is life when you are the youngest), and, if you’ve seen the movie, you know there is a section on the French Revolution. In that section there is a character who constantly knits, even without yarn, and it’s based on a character from A Tale of Two Cities. I will admit, I had a hard time not seeing that actor’s face whenever the character of Madame Defarge came up in the book.