Yes, yes, I’ll admit it: I do harbour one or two prejudices. Nothing serious. Nothing shocking. All to do with books and writers. And not in the way you might think. It’s not a genre thing; I’ll happily give pretty much anything a go (have yourselves a look at my Goodreads page, if you like). But there are some authors I’ve decided I don’t like, and, in a few cases, it’s a little unfair as I’ve not actually read anything by them. Yes, Nik: very unfair. I know, I know. Shaun Hutson, Adrian Mole, and Mossflower it wasn’t.
Until yesterday, I even had a thing about Dickens. I tried ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ when I was younger – twelve or thirteen, I think. I didn’t get very far. There were so many WORDS and, from what I could tell, nothing actually happened.
I tried a couple since – ‘Great Expectations’, and ‘Bleak House’ (I think) and again, I ended up giving up for similar reasons. I just couldn’t get into it.
And since becoming a writer, I’ll be honest, I’ve kind of avoided his work. As I’m more in the Hemingway school of story and sentence construction, for my own work, (less is more) Dickens’ work didn’t really fit with me. So, with the memory of my twelve year old self still vivid, I left him unread. Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t a conscious thing – there were simply other authors I was more interested in.
So. To Tuesday. I was buggering about on my Kindle and I happened upon a Dickens book: ‘A Christmas Carol’. It was free (God bless ya, Amazon) so I thought I’d take a punt. I downloaded it. And, to my surprise, I found that I was really, really enjoying the experience and the story AND the writing.
So, I popped back to Amazon (there were no copies in my library and I didn’t have time to visit an actual book shop) and I ordered a paperback. It arrived yesterday and I read it, pretty much, from cover to cover. And, I LOVED it. I mean, the story telling is pretty much perfect. Masterful. The characterisation and the description are wonderful. And I can see now, even from one very short novella, why Dickens is held in such high regard. He is a true master and I doubt it’ll be too long before I dip into his back list again. Any recommendations? And do any of you have any prejudices as unreasonable as mine?