A Dickens Christmas with the Frog in the Coconut Shell – Gop Cartoon Strip #9
Click to Enlarge Gop Strip #9
I am reading Hard Times by Charles Dickens for the first time. The novel was first published in serial form 100 years before I was born. Unlike many of the critics back then, I rather like it. It is the 10th and shortest of the Dickens novels. I picked it up new as a Signet Classic for 150 baht. (About $4.20 US.)
The hard times Dickens writes about of Victorian England are still recognizable today, anywhere, particularly his take on capitalism, education and the use of one’s imagination. He bashes, as many do, but he bashes fairly as some don’t. The book is in three parts: 1. Sowing 2. Reaping 3. Garnering
From the introduction by Frederick Bush:
Dickens was a man of great courage who took on his nation and his times. He also challenged a shadow of himself, thrown onto the pages of his novel, as he wrote the humiliation of Josiah Bounderby, a “writer” who imagined a new life for himself, and lied it into existence while he wrote his mother out of it. Dickens, then, confronted his harsh, hard times, and he confronted any writer’s cruelest opponent: himself.
My lone book, Bangkok Beat has now been out six months. I do think anyone who writes a book, if my experience counts, will learn a great deal about their cruel opponent. In my case most of the things I learned I liked – some I did not. The key is to learn and make adjustments where necessary.
To authors like Timothy Hallinan who writes two novels a year, and Christopher G. Moore who has penned over 25 novels and 30 total books in his writing career, and Charles Dickens too, who was incredibly prolific at a young age and for a long time, I have no idea how they did it but I am glad that they did. I am also thankful and grateful that I was able to write and publish one book of non-fiction in 2015 before my 61st cycle around the sun was completed. That’s the pace I will stick with. Look for my second book shortly before my 121st birthday. The blog will continue into 2016 with a little luck from the gods or the actuaries.
Here is to wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. These continue to be hard times if not horrific times for many around the globe. That makes it a good time to count your blessings and do what you can for who you can. Read a good book. Buy a good book. Give a good book. There are plenty of them out there.
I’ll leave you with the Bing Crosby / David Bowie YouTube video of Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy recorded in 1977. Bing Crosby died the following year if memory serves. You never know which Christmas season will be your last. Enjoy it while you still can. The song and the season. Peace on Earth. Wouldn’t that be a miracle?
And for those compulsive shoppers who want/need an original piece of art from a cartoonist living down south, (some of the art is even heavy) click the link below. Probably too late for this Christmas but there is always next year. He’s a bit busy writing a novel or something. But, if you feel lucky …. click link below and let the games begin:
2 Responses to “A Dickens Christmas with the Frog in the Coconut Shell – Gop Cartoon Strip #9”
Lovely post Kevin, I’m a huge Dickens fan so you had me at …..’Hard Times”. About 10 years or so ago I started to read a Dickens a year and have kept to that promise for most of those 10 years. I read Our Mutual Friend 18 months ago while living in Phang Nga and absolutely loved it. Waiting on my small but perfectly unformed bookshelf is……………..Hard Times which I will probably get to very shortly now you’ve nudged me. Seasons greetings and wishes to you too I shall complete my 56th cycle very near the day christians will be celebrating and will studiously to attempt to ignore both bah humbug 55555.
Thanks, Gary. Read any page of Dickens and you can pretty much tell he is a great writer. Maybe I’ll do that one Dickens novel a year pledge. I could live a long time 🙂