Book Review: Dickens by Stefan Majchrowski

the book


dickens-majchrowski
Original Title: Dickens
Author: Stefan Majchrowski
Publisher: Obzor
First published: 1977
Pages: 299
Language: Slovak
Format: print. (library copy)
My rating: 4/5

 

the author

“Stefan Majchrowski (1908 – 1988) was a Polish writer who fought in the Invasion of Poland of 1939. He was later captured and incarcerated in the German POW camp. After his liberation by American forces, he served in the Polish Armed Forces in the West. In 2009, he was posthumously awarded by President Lech Kaczynski the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta “for outstanding contribution to the independence of the Polish Republic, for activities on behalf of democratic change in Poland as well as veterans and social activities for their performance in the work undertaken for the benefit of the country and social activities”. // wikipedia

the review

I will start off by saying that this was the first biography of Charles Dickens I have read, so I realize I have nothing to compare it to, therefore, my giving this 4 stars is solely based on my enjoyment of Majchorwskis book and not on comparison with other Dickens biographies.

Majchrowski provides a great insight into the life and work of one of the world’s most famous and beloved authors. Despite the fact that I’ve only ever read one, I would say this is a pretty good introduction to Dickens‘ biographies. It has a nice mix of Dickens‘ personal life and the political and historical situation in England as well as France, so you are able to put things into further context with regards to happenings and events of that time.

Along with describing and introducing Dickens as a man of the 19th century, he provides some brief analyses of his literary works in relation to his current situation and his motives and inspirations for his works.

The book is divided into 21 parts/chapters according to several periods of Dickens’ life, which make it fairly easy to read. It is written in chronological order starting with Dickens’ difficult childhood which is critical in understanding his later works. Same goes for Dickens’ writings – Majchrowski mentions them chronologically and spends some time introducing and analysing each of his works.

The reason I did not give this biography 5 stars is the lack of pictures and visual evidence. There were no pictures or photos in this book and even though it is still an interesting read, if the author would have provided some photos, it would have been a more enjoyable book.

Dickens’ fame & success

What makes Dickens different from many other world-famous authors is the fact that he was incredibly famous & beloved even in his own time. Many writers that are now considered the best in their field were not, infact, quite as popular when they lived. But Dickens was. He was very much appreciated and every one of his novels (then released in monthy installments) was anxiously expected by the whole England. That is why I find reading about Dickens and his success not only intellectually enriching but also quite motivating. He knew what he wanted and he worked hard for it.

“My meaning simply is, that whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do well; that whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself to completely; that in great aims and in small, I have always been thoroughly in earnest.” – Charles Dickens, David Copperfield.

Overall, I consider this biography a great and insightful material to study the ever fascinating Charles Dickens and his interesting and eventful life.

my rating

4 stars black

 

Thank you for reading!

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Autumn 2016 Book Releases

buff got paris

xmas rothfus sun

beasts girl-online talking

I can’t wait for the illustrated edition of A Game of Thrones even though it is too expensive for me so I know I won’t buy it but I just can’t wait to browse through it in the bookstore.
Also, I am a huge fan of Gilmore Girls (and by huge I mean HUGE – even just hearing their theme song makes me teary-eyed!) so I’m really excited for Lauren Graham’s second book despite the fact that I haven’t even read her first one yet… oops.

Tell me, which of these are you most excited for?

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The Autumn Reading Tag

Hello there!

Recently, Jen Campbell made a video tag about Autumn reading plans, which I found very interesting, so I am now doing it in the form of a blogpost. Feel free to answer these questions yourself, either in the comments or on your own blog!

So, make yourself a nice hot cup of tea, sit back and enjoy!

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1) Are there any books you plan on reading over the Autumn season?

Well, I’m in the middle of a Jane Austen “read-along”, so I plan on finishing Northanger Abbey. After that, I have to decide which specific books I want to read next, because I got quite a lot from the library and there is no way I will be able to read all of them in the course of one month (that is for how long they lend you books in my local library), so I will have to pick some. Either Hopeless by Coleen Hoover, or a very popular Slovak fantasy series The Adventures of Captain Bathory, which is definitely a commitment, because it is a very long series…

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2) September brings back to school memories: what book did you most enjoy studying? And what were your favourite and least favourite school subjects?

I could choose a few different books to answer this question, but to pick the main one: I especially loved Bleak House by  Charles Dickens when we were studying it in college. I remember that I fell in love with Dickens’ characters and his enormous, well thought out plots that somehow always made sense in the end.
Another one that I really enjoyed in school was Anne of Green Gables, which we read in sixth grade. This was the first book that made me fall in love with literature and reading in general, and I have re-read it quite a few times since then. Anne Shirley, with her sincere kindheartedness and wild imagination, is definitely one of my favorite protagonists in literature in general.

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3) October means Halloween: do you enjoy scary books and films? If so what are some of your favourites?

To be honest, I am a huge wuss when it comes to scary stuff. I scare very easily, I have a crazy imagination, and even though I’m 23 years old, I often get scared in the dark, too.  Which is funny because I also regularly work night shifts in a hotel, where I am completely alone and it gets pretty scary for me sometimes. I don’t know why I agreed to this job… (Btw, this is why I can’t read The Shining right now, even though I really want to – I hear it takes place in a haunted hotel?! Nope, not reading that while I work there!) So, given that I avoid these types of books – no, I don’t have a favorite scary book. But, I can share with you my absolute favorite movie that could be considered eerie. Donnie Darko. Phenomenal!

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4) With November it’s time for bonfire night & firework displays. What’s the most exciting book you’ve read that really kept you gripped?

It’s old news, but Gone Girl was definitely one. But also, more recently, The Girl in The Ice by Robert Bryndza was something I could not put down until I found out what exactly happened and who was behind it! I definitely recommend this book and the whole series to everyone.

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5) What book is your favorite cosy comfort read?

Harry Potter! I mean, what other answer is there?! For our generation, at least. In this time of year I always re-read Harry Potter (accompanied with watching the movies, of course) and it just makes me feel so calm, so at home. Yes, it also reminds me of my childhood, but its not only the nostalgia that makes me appreciate Harry Potter books. It’s the way it’s written, and the amazing and complex wizarding world we’re thrown into, and the wonderful cozy feeling Rowling managed to create in the first, more children-appropriate books.

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6) Curled up with a good book, what is your hot drink of choice?

Honestly, it depends on the book itself. If it’s fiction, and a fun read for me, I love drinking hot chocolate while reading. But if it’s something about productivity, or something I’m reading for study purposes, I like to drink coffee with it, because it puts me in a different mindset, and makes me more alert.

autumn-divider

 

Would you like to do this tag as well?
Feel free to share your answers with me!

Thank you for reading!

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September 2016 WRAP-UP

september-wrapup

 

Hello there!

Today, I’m bringing you my September reading wrap-up, i.e. all that I’ve read in the month of September. I read 4 books in total. Which is not a lot, but I have already surpassed my Goodreads Reading Challenge for this year, so I consider this whole reading year a success already, haha.

This month has been a “Classics” month for me. Maybe it is because of all the Back to School influence on the internet, even though my school hasn’t started yet. But I guess I was in the mood for some classics, for something intellectual.

pycha-a-predsudokFirst, I read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. (In Slovak: Pýcha a Predsudok)
This was probably my fourth time reading this book. I read it in Slovak and afterwards, I re-read some of my favorite chapters in English. I just can’t help it, I absolutely love this book! (Also, I got two English copies of Pride and Prejudice this month because I didn’t own any… I guess book haul is coming soon, haha)
The book cover pictured here is the beautiful edition by Slovart – a popular publishing house here in Slovakia. They really did a great job with these covers! ♥

 

 

laska-slecny-elliottovejI guess I was really feeling Jane Austen, because the second book I read was Persuasion. (In Slovak: Láska slečny Elliotovej)
This was my first time reading Persuasion, and I really enjoyed it! The only copy of this book I own is the Dover Thrift edition, which I call my “study copy” – I allow myself to write in the margins, underline my favorite quotes and passages, basically I don’t have to be careful with this one because I’m definitely planning to get myself a nicer copy in the future. I read this one exactly like Pride and Prejudice – first I read it in Slovak and then I read some parts in English.

 

a-christmas-carolAnother classic I read, was A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
Who doesn’t love Dickens? His characters, his enormous yet engrossing plots, his talent for portraying and describing anything and everything – who wouldn’t love that? Of course for many, the off-putting quality about his works is their huge length, but this one was a very short story about Christmas and their true meaning.

 

 

 

aristotle-and-dante-discover-the-secrets-of-the-9781442408937_hrAnd finally, I read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin A. Saenz.
And by finally, I mean – FINALLY! This one has been sitting on my desk for several months, waiting to be read. And I finally read it this month. But to be honest, for the hype it got, I expected much more… But I’ll save it for my review.

 

So there it is – the books I managed to read in September. 
What have you been reading these past few weeks? 

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