A Tale of Two Cities Read-Along: Master Post

Get ready for the best of times and the worst of times, with the whitest and deadest of Dead White Dudes, Mr. Charles Dickens, and his Tale of Two Cities.


Why A Tale of Two Cities?
My brother-in-law threw down the challenge. Yes, this is exactly how the Moby-Dick read-along came about. I feel like he really wants to be a book blogger, but doesn’t know how to start. Poor guy. Maybe we’ll convert him this year.

I was less than excited about his choice at first. But then I realized that I don’t know if I’ve ever read Dickens, really. I own some books, but I don’t know if I actually read them, or I just think I did because I’ve seen adaptations, or just know the stories because they’re part of our culture. At 33 years old, I think I should know whether I’ve read any Dickens or not, you know? Time to get serious!

And as much as I support things like #readwomen2014 and reading diverse authors and local authors, sometimes, you gotta hand it to the dead white dudes. I understand this Dickens fellow was pretty good at writing.

I actually have no idea what TOTC is about. But with that opening line, and that title, I’m thinking it’s got to be good. Or at least, make for some good mocking.

What do I have to do?
Nobody has to do anything. But it would be super cool if you did some of the following:

  • Sign up by leaving a comment on this post.
  • Grab the button and put it on your blog.
  • Swing by on Mondays for my weekly recaps.
  • If you are so inclined, post your thoughts on your own blog too.
  • Visit other read-alonger’s blogs. I’ll update the list right here in this post.
  • Tweet your thoughts/frustrations/Simpsons references at #1Tale2Cities

When do we start? (Schedule and links to update posts)

What’s in it for me?
You knew there would be some swag (bribes.)  I’ll randomly choose one participant to win a sweet TOTC shirt from Out of Print Clothing. For some reason, which I’ll assume is sexism, it’s only available in men’s sizes, but, you know, it’s a t-shirt. I think it’ll be okay. Or you can choose a different shirt, whatever.


If you want even MORE Dickens swag, check out this Book Riot post.

Still not convinced?
How about shout outs in both The Simpsons and Clueless?

“It was the best of times, it was the… BLURST of times? Stupid monkey!” in reference to, of course, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

via lesimpsons.tumblr.com

via lesimpsons.tumblr.com

“It’s like that book I read in the 9th grade that said “’tis a far far better thing doing stuff for other people.'” A reference to “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

via clothesonfilm.com

via clothesonfilm.com

How about Emma Donoghue naming Dickens as her favourite author?

That’s all I got for now. Tell me in the comments, why are you excited to read A Tale of Two Cities?

Who’s Reading Along?




  1. ebookclassics

    Count me in! I’m going to read the actual book too, not the audio. A Tale of Two Cities will be the second Dickens for me. I read Great Expectations last year.

  2. Cedar Station

    Oh, I think I will do this with you, too! I have read a lot of Dickens, but ToTC was my far-and-away favorite when I read it back in high school (ten years ago, dear god). About time for a re-read, don’t you think? 🙂

      • Cedar Station

        I don’t think all of the classes in my high school read Dickens, but it was usually that book if they did. It’s much shorter than the rest. 😉

  3. Heather

    Oh, man! I really want to read this with you, but I have so much else going on at the same time. I just can’t.

    When I read this in high school (I can’t remember what grade), I memorized the first paragraph-sentence for extra credit. I still remember it, word-for-word. Seriously. Heh.

  4. Naomi

    I’m in! I read Bleak House a couple of years ago and really liked it, so I have been planning to read more. It might as well be Tale of Two Cities!

  5. romanoir

    I’m in! I was planning on reading A Tale of Two Cities this month anyway. It’ll be fun reading with others I’ve never done that before.

  6. writereads

    I just don’t have the time to add to my reading list, and also I have already read TOTC and it is awesome. I’ve read a lot of Dickens actually, and I do believe he is has earned his high ranking amongst the dead white dudes 🙂

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  8. chiggins82

    Got a little head start since I am a slow reader…. I am already confused. Looking forward to your first post, so I know what is going on again!! 😉

    • lauratfrey

      Have you stalled? I don’t think I’m going to start early this time, I was in the mood for a specific book which I just started and will probably take me through next week, and I’m reading Madame Bovary for another read-along (it’s pretty good so far, lots of scandals coming up.)

  9. Cleo @ Classical Carousel

    Oh, so sad! I would have loved to have participated but I just recently read this book. I will be following along with your posts though and get to re-live the experience. I really enjoyed A Tale of Two Cities! I hope you all have a great read! 🙂

  10. DoingDewey

    I’m in! The only Dickens I’ve read is A Christmas Carol and Great Expectations, so I’d like to read more of his work. It’s always nice to read another classic 🙂

    • lauratfrey

      Excellent! You’re a few up on me then – though I feel I could quote A Christmas Carol pretty accurately based on A Muppet Christmas Carol and the several million times I’ve watched it…

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