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The Holidays and the regretful respect of Dickens

I cant believe it’s been over a month since the last post!  It’s back into the busy times again, with work piling up, the mornings getting earlier and the evenings getting later.  Still, despite all that, there is something truly wonderful about this time of year.  There is a hum in the air, a mysticism floating on the wind.  From Halloween through Christmas day there is a definitive nostalgia, and lately I’ve been wondering about what books to read to feed into this nostalgia.

The strange thing for me is that whenever I think of a Christmas read, I always come back to Dickens  What’s surreal about this is I don’t even really like Dickens.  To me it seems a shame that the man got paid by the word to write his novels in serial form, because invariably his books became droll and drawn out.

Even with this realization, we have have a trope named after the man, and there’s no better nomenclature for December other than Dickensian.  It’s dreary, but somehow hopeful.  Totally overwhelming, but somehow comforting.  Completely serious, but somehow infused with whimsy.

I’m in the process of reading Bleak House by Dickens, and where the name is apropos, it is also completely ridiculous.  This is something I’m finding more and more with Dickens the more of his work I read.  As droll as he can be.  As long winded.  He still hits the notes he’s striving for.

This brings about the regretful respect, because I keep getting brought back to him.  After every book I read of his (Bleak House will be my fifth), I think how bored and angered I am at his writing style.  Then time passes and the only thing that sticks is those characters and events and the recollection of the rabbit holes he falls into disappear.  What remains is the whimsy and pride and adventure infused within the pages.

This is why Dickens reminds me so much of the Holiday season.  Though there may be hard times, there may be strife, there may be frustration, but once you’ve been through it, the only thing that sticks is the whimsy and the wonder.

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