For the next 365 days I’ll be reading ALL of Dickens (or at least as much as humanly possible). Here’s my Dickens of a Year plan:
1. I’ll read all the published works of Dickens: novels, short stories, journalism (all that has been identified), as well as many Dickens letters as
I can (there are over 15,000).
2. I’ll read the texts in as many formats as possible. Most of the books will be part of my Oxford Illustrated Dickens set, but I’ll also read a couple paperback formats and at least one ebook. I’ll read one of the shorter works (probably one of the Christmas stories) aloud to my family. I probably won’t listen to an unabridged audio edition, but I do have several radio dramatizations I’ll listen to. And the Free Library of Philadelphia has given me permission to read their first serial edition of Little Dorrit in their Rare Book Department.
3. I’ll read as many biographies as I can— definitely the ones by Claire Tomalin, Michael Slater and Robert Douglas-Fairhurst— as well as literary essays and books of criticism.
4. I’ll watch as many television and film adaptations as I can— definitely one adaptation for every novel— but there are also TV documentaries— Charles Dickens’ England (2009) and Dickens in America (2005)— and series based on Dickens life and characters— Dickens of London (1976) and Micawber (2001). Basically, if Dickens or his characters is featured in any way in a show or movie, I’ll watch it.
5. I’ll read as many prose adaptations as I can— novels that feature Dickens or his characters, like Jack Maggs, The Last Dickens and Mr. Timothy.
6. I’ll attend as many Dickens events as I can. As I’ll be part of many events at the Free Library of Philadelphia as their Dickens Ambassador, this shouldn’t be hard. However, I hope to also attend some events in places that require me to travel. If you have an event and invite me, I just
7. I’ll frequently write about each of the above points on this website as well as for the Free Library of Philadelphia (and for anyone else who wants a guest post or feature).
8. I’ll also continue my life as an at home parent, writer, adjunct professor, book club moderator, and lecturer/participant in many other
literary endeavours (Poe, Shakespeare, NoirCon, Goodis Remembrances).
Basically, I’ll be giving over my life to Charles Dickens for one year, but still expecting to keep my usual activities and relationships intact. I’ll either go crazy or have the best year of my life (or both?). I’ll definitely not sleep much.