Recently, after a couple of years of spending way too much time thinking and talking about it, I finally buckled down and read another Dickens novel. The reason it took me so long to get around to it is that most novels by Dickens are SOOOOO long – editing was a lot different in the 19th century, if there even was any – and I knew it would take me a few weeks before I’d be able to finish it and add it to my list of books read, so I would not get the quick (though superficial) gratification that would come with finishing several shorter books and watching my numbers grow. My lovely Folio Society edition of “Little Dorrit” weighed in at 2 or 3 pounds, I’m guessing, and over 800 pages. But it was such a pleasure to read, both for the story and for the attractive edition, that I toted it along on long and short trips while I was in the middle of it. Definitely more satisfying than reading 800 pages of several not-so-great novels!
Reading a Dickens novel was on my list of New Year’s resolutions, so I feel especially pleased about finishing it. And because I enjoyed it so much, I’ve decided to reread “The Pickwick Papers,” which is a total delight, and also, finally, make headway in Claire Tomalin’s biography of Dickens, which I’ve had on my nightstand for a couple of years. Learning more about the real-life details of Dickens’ life that inspired his plots, themes, and characters brings even more meaning into the novels for me. And, of course, it’s neat to learn a bit about the law offices where he worked briefly. Proving Nora Ephron’s observation that everything is copy, Dickens put his experiences and observations there to excellent use in his fiction.
I have more thoughts on Dickens and “Little Dorrit” that I’ll post another day. In the meantime, you can read 2 articles that I wrote last month for the ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual On Professional Conduct on the ABA website, one on a blogging lawyer and the other on the death and dissolution of law firms.