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              Charles Dickens

              A picture of the author Charles Dickens

              Rising from a difficult childhood, Charles Dickens became one of the world's most famous writers. With the difficult experiences of his childhood in mind, he was also a prominent social critic and used his fiction to illuminate many of the social problems of his times. Dickens described his first eleven years as idyllic, but his father's bankruptcy brought a swift end to those days. When Dickens was twelve years old, his father was thrown into debtor's prison; and, as was customary for the times, his family joined him. He was soon boarded with a family acquaintance and found himself working ten hours a day, under cruel conditions, in a blacking factory where he was set to the task of pasting labels to pots of boot polish.

              "My work was to cover the pots of paste-blacking; first with a piece of oil-paper, and then with a piece of blue paper; to tie them round with a string; and then to clip the paper close and neat, all round, until it looked as smart as a pot of ointment from an apothecary's shop. When a certain number of grosses of pots had attained this pitch of perfection, I was to paste on each a printed label, and then go on again with more pots. Two or three other boys were kept at similar duty down-stairs on similar wages. One of them came up, in a ragged apron and a paper cap, on the first Monday morning, to show me the trick of using the string and tying the knot. His name was Bob Fagin; and I took the liberty of using his name, long afterwards, in Oliver Twist."

              Coming up through school, I was always happy to learn that we would be reading a Dicken's novel in one of my classes. In the United States we often segregate classes by ability in middle school and high school. As a result the advanced readers in the same grade would sometimes read different books by the same author. While my class was assigned Great Expectations the other class was reading David Copperfield. As a result, there were several works that I "skipped" because they were not assigned in my class. When I was older I sought to remedy the situation and started to read the books that I had missed while in school. After my first brush with it at Christmas time one year, It became my habit to re-read David Copperfield every Christmas. I probably kept to that custom up for the better half of a decade. If you "missed" some of works in school as well, I hope you will follow my lead and investigate them now.

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              Short Stories

              A Child's Dream of a Star
              A Christmas Tree
              A Flight
              A Good-Humoured Christmas Chapter
              A Message from the Sea
              A Monument of French Folly
              A Poor Man's Tale of a Patent
              A Walk in a Workhouse
              Births. Mrs. Meek, of a Son
              Boots at the Holly-Tree Inn
              Christmas at Fezziwig's Warehouse
              Doctor Marigold
              Down with the Tide
              Familiar Epistle from a Parent to a Child Aged Two Years and Two Months
              Full Report of the First Meeting of the Mudfog Association
              Full Report of the Second Meeting of the Mudfog Association
              Going into Society
              Hunted Down
              Lying Awake
              Mr. Pickwick's Romantic Adventure to Meet with a Middle-aged Lady in Yellow Curl-Papers
              Mr. Robert Bolton: The 'Gentleman Connected with the Press'
              Mrs. Lirriper's Legacy
              Mrs. Lirriper's Lodgings
              Mugby Junction
              Nobody's Story
              On Duty with Inspector Field
              Our Bore
              Our English Watering-Place
              Our French Watering-Place
              Our Honourable Friend
              Our School
              Our Vestry
              Out of the Season
              Out of Town
              Plated Article
              Prince Bull
              Public Life of Mr. Tulrumble--Once Mayor of Mudfog
              Sketches by Boz by Charles Dickens
              Sketches of Young Couples
              Sketches of Young Gentlemen
              Somebody's Luggage
              Some Particulars Concerning a Lion
              Sunday Under Three Heads
              The Baron of Grogzwig
              The Begging-Letter Writer
              The Child's Story
              The Detective Police
              The Ghost of Art
              The Haunted House
              The Lamplighter
              The Long Voyage
              The Magic Fishbone
              The Noble Savage
              The Pantomime of Life
              The Perils of Certain English Prisoners
              The Poor Relation's Story
              The Schoolboy's Story
              The Seven Poor Travellers
              The Signal Man
              The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton
              The Trial for Murder
              The Wreck of the Golden Mary
              Three Detective Anecdotes
              To Be Read at Dusk
              Tom Tiddler's Ground
              What Christmas Is As We Grow Older

              Anton Chekhov
              Nathaniel Hawthorne
              Susan Glaspell
              Mark Twain
              Edgar Allan Poe
              Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
              Herman Melville
              Stephen Leacock
              Kate Chopin
              Bj?rnstjerne Bj?rnson