Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Giveaway: The Haunting of Charles Dickens by Lewis Buzbee

Title: The Haunting of Charles Dickens
Author: Lewis Buzbee

I read this as an ARC in November, but was sent the finished book as well. I truly enjoyed it and would like to pass it on (the finished book) to another reader. Read my review and then enter the contest.


1. Leave me a comment telling me whether or not you think Dickens should be required reading in high school and why.

2. Live in the US.

3. Deadline: Friday, February 25, 2011. Winner chosen by and announced on Saturday, February 26. I've extended the deadline. The last couple of weeks have been really busy and I haven't been able to promote this as much as I would like.

I'm an Amazon Associate now. If you click on the Amazon links & buy anything I might make a tiny bit of money.


Mary Ellen said...

Yes I think Dickens should be required reading. In general I think that students should be introduced to classics. And they should be told that they aren’t classics because they’re old, they are classics because they are good. Dickens is among the best of authors for young people to start with. I’ve read that all of life is contained in a library of Dicken’s works. I believe it! He writes with such descriptive realism that the reader is swept into the story. His characters are so unique, so evil, so humorous, so real, that they are never forgotten. I’m only sorry that most schools require reading A Tale of Two Cities first. It’s a wonderful book, it stays in your heart forever, but it hasn’t the humor that I think would draw that age group into becoming life long readers of classics.

Dewey Review said...

No, I don't think Dickens should be required reading in high school. I know in high school I hated reading books that used older English language. It made it hard to read, and even harder to be engaged with. I high school literature should stick to books that high schoolers might actually enjoy. Isn't the point to get them to enjoy reading? I don't think Dickens holds that intrigue for younger people nowadays. That's not to say I don't think they should learn ABOUT Dickens, his works, and his mark on literature, I just don't think they should have to READ it. =)

Jennifer said...

I tend to side with the first post over the second, but with a qualifier: college-bound kids NEED to read the classics, for all of the reasons stated and ALSO because the difficulty is another teaching element, but not ALL kids need to read Dickens.

Reading Dickens doesn't just teach kids about England, or life, or any of the subject topics; it also teaches students how to dissect a difficult read, how to think critically about it, and that there is a reward at the end.

That being said, I qualified my position to say that not ALL kids need to read Dickens. If we're trying to reach at-risk kids, we don't need to throw the hardest works at them. As the second poster said, we want to encourage kids to read, period. A creative teacher might go the route of a graphic novel version of Dickens, maybe, if Dickens was a requirement. And if it wasn't, I don't know that Dickens is an appropriate choice for a struggling student.

Kate Linnea Welsh said...

I think Dickens should be required for at least advanced/college-bound students, because familiarity with a variety of classics helps understand cultural references and ideas. And, of course, because I LOVE DICKENS AND HE'S AWESOME.

Amy said...

On the opposite end of Katie's statement, I found myself overwhelmed with the "white English" authors in advanced/college bound curriculum. If I had to assign Dickens vs. Langston Hughes, I think we need more Hughes. So if it's balanced with a broader diversity, then sure, bring on the Dickens. But if he's being piled on with Austen & Bronte, then that's just too much.

CPatrick said...

I loved reading Great Expectations while in high school. I look back on that experience in disbelief. However, I do not believe it should be required reading. Perhaps on a recommended list of classics for college-bound students.

susan259 said...

My comment disappeared--having a hard time getting it to authenticate me, so trying again. I only read Dickens in high school, 9th grade, even though I was an English major. 9th grade teacher really made the difference, cringe to think about all the other ways I could have been introduced. Another required book later in high school, The Scarlet Letter really didn't make sense to me until I read it in college...

Anonymous said...

I believe that Charles Dickens should be required reading on any list of classics. Since the majority of Dickens characters were not aristocrats, they are easier for students to relate to than most classics. The plots of Dickens novels are also more in tune with today's students than most classics. Although I do not think all students should be required to read Dickens, Dickens would be my choice of classic author for students who are not college bound.

Unknown said...

This is kind of a hard question to answer. Personally I hated reading Dickens in high school, I know we had to read A Tale of Two Cities in 9th grade and I have no memory of the actual story (I even used Cliffs Notes!).

Aside from my personal feelings, I think they should stay part of the curriculum for 11th or 12th grade students. At that level I feel they would be a little more accepting of it could show more interest in the stories.

Deb said...

When I was 12 years old I found "David Copperfield" by snooping around my father's library. It was fascinating and so readable that I never turned back. I've been a lifelong reader and lover of Dickens. Of course Dickens should be required reading in our high schools! Dickens is life and love, mystery and mayhem, struggle and victory, morals and villany, etc... It's strange, beloved characters with fascinatingly odd names, and it's so much that anyone from children, teenagers, adults and older adults will find worthy and enjoyable and applicable.
Dickens is timeless and worthy of reading at any time in life. He was one of the reasons I fell in love with literature and not just "fluffy" writing.
I would love to receive a copy of this book.

Megan Earley said...

I do think Dickens should be taught at the high school level, but only if the teacher is enthusiastic about it and can present it in an exciting way. I was an avid reader in HS but struggled with Great Expectations as a freshman because I had a teacher who was uninteresting and probably himself uninterested in it. In college I was reintroduced to Dickens and fell in love.
mearley1979 at gmail dot com

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