Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Tale of Two Cities

I get the book cover images for our blog posts from Google Images. This is the first time that I've been swamped with cover images - that's how many imprints this book has had. The library had a display in the entry celebrating Charles Dickens 250th birthday and it was just by coincidence that we had chosen to read Dickens this month. They guestimate his birthday to be February 7, 1812.

We chatted for a bit and then Mary asked if she could speak to the book before we began our discussion. She apologetically acknowledged that she had been the strong supporter of this title, and had spend a ghastly number of her pennies on this vote. She said she read the first 100 pages, and then realized that she didn't understand them, so read them again. She said that she felt like she had nominated another Salmon Rushdie, and I had to laugh at that since I'd felt this to be our second most challenging book after Midnight's Children.

I had the pages I printed from Wikipedia to help me understand that time period. Mary was relieved to hear that we all felt enriched from reading this book, even though it was a challenge. I said that I would never think the French Revolution in the same way again - the desperation! Talk about the 1% and the 99%!!! We talked about La Boheme and Les Misérables, also artistic depictions of the desperation in France before the Revolution. Carolyn made me laugh when she likened the small circle of coincidences to Downton Abby. Mary loved the tension at the end when Madam DeFarge was marching toward her goal of eliminating all Evrémondes and Miss Pross's determination to stand in her way. The tension was brilliant.

I would never have started or finished this book without the expectations of our discussions. Thanks for pushing me outside my comfort zone. It wasn't easy but it was good.