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A Tale of Two Cities Paperback – March 3, 2011
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From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—Charles Dickens's classic tale of one family's suffering during the French Revolution is brought to life in this audio adaptation. The voice of Audie Award-winning narrator Simon Vance sets the tone for the characters and creates the Dickensesqe mood of the times when the rich and the poor were far apart and no one was exempt from the ensuing wrath during the Revolution. Vance's stone varies from soothing to animated while creating different voices for the characters and using appropriate accents. A bonus feature on the last CD is an e-book in pdf format that can be printed or used as a read-along while listening to the audio. This easily navigated feature would be particularly helpful for struggling readers.—Jeana Actkinson, Bridgeport High School, TX
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Novel by Charles Dickens, published both serially and in book form in 1859. The story is set in the late 18th century against the background of the French Revolution. Although Dickens borrowed from Thomas Carlyle's history, The French Revolution, for his sprawling tale of London and revolutionary Paris, the novel offers more drama than accuracy. The scenes of large-scale mob violence are especially vivid, if superficial in historical understanding. The complex plot involves Sydney Carton's sacrifice of his own life on behalf of his friends Charles Darnay and Lucie Manette. While political events drive the story, Dickens takes a decidedly antipolitical tone, lambasting both aristocratic tyranny and revolutionary excess--the latter memorably caricatured in Madame Defarge, who knits beside the guillotine. The book is perhaps best known for its opening lines, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," and for Carton's last speech, in which he says of his replacing Darnay in a prison cell, "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." --The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
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Anyway, here's the deal: Lucie loves Charles. Charles, who has a dark secret, loves Lucie. Sydney loves Lucie, but that's tough for him. Lucie's father, Dr. Manette, is a nut job (certifiable) about half the time, but the rest of the time he's a respected physician. Mr. Lorry is the grandfatherly friend of the family who helps out with just about everything. Madame Defarge is just a rotten bitch. Charles lives in London but must travel to France to rescue an old family employee from the apparatus mentioned previously. He picks a rather bad time to make the trip (probably had an agent who booked him on one of those cruises we hear about on the news). Charles's mother had died when he was young and had never told him that it's not nice (or in his case, smart) to keep secrets. Stuff goes downhill fast. God Bless You, Sydney Carton!
It's really a good story. It'll make you wish the Bastille were still in business. This novel is relatively short and free to Kindle users.
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Dickens timeless novel, "Oliver Twist" is about an orphan who was born in a workhouse. As soon as Oliver dares to ask for more food in the orphanage, he consequently finds himself in dire circumstances. Determined to make his way into the world, he runs away to London after his unhappy encounter. When he leaves the workhouse, he hopes it would be an endurable adventure. Now, Oliver finds himself taken under the wing of a snub-nosed 'Artful Dodger', caught up with a group of pickpocket juveniles. As he tries to free himself from their clutches he becomes immersed amongst criminals and the homeless. Rescued by Mr. Brownlow, the gang kidnap him back. But the gang is exposed, and Oliver discovers his parents identity.
Charles Dickens was the second of eight children in a needy family burdened with debt. Despite difficult early years, he became the most successful British writer of the Victorian age. In 1824, 12 years old Charles was taken out from school to work at a boot-blacking factory when his imprudent father, together with his mother, were sentenced to three months in a debtor's prison. Charles attended a private school for three years, after they were released. The young lad then became a shorthand solicitor's clerk, and was then employed as a Parliamentary reporter.