Anyone on for a “group read” of “Our Mutual Friend”?

Recently, it was suggested that we celebrate the Dickens bicentenary next year by having a group read. For no better reason that that I was planning to re-read Our Mutual Friend, we decided to go with that one. (At least, I think I did – please correct me if I am mistaken on that.)

I hadn’t previously considered a group read on this blog, but if anyone is interested – well, why not? Our Mutual Friend, is, after all, among Dickens’ finest works, and it should be as good a one to read as any. So I suggest that we start reading this together in the New Year.

Of course, it is long, and if anyone starts this and feels at any point they don’t want to continue, then that’s fine: there’s no obligation. But in the meantime, let us by all means have a go at reading it together.

I don’t want to be the only one putting up posts as we’re reading. Anyone who wants to take part in this, and has their own blog, can, if they wish, put up posts on their blog and cross-reference to here. (I’ll be happy to put up links to posts on other blogs as well.) And anyone who doesn’t have their own blog can always send me their posts, and I’d be happy to put them up as “guest posts”. (With the usual provisos of course … no spam, no abuse, and nothing one wouldn’t wish one’s wife or servants to read!) And, of course, one could always join in with the discussion in the Comments section at the end of each post.

As I say, even if no-one goes for this, I’ll definitely be reading it myself. But the more the merrier, so please do join in if you feel at all inclined!

17 responses to this post.

  1. It’s a good idea, it’s nice to do readalongs.
    Hélas. This one isn’t available in French, except in a pricey La Pléïade edition. I would take me ages to read a long book in English.
    I’ll read your review.

    BTW : I’m reading A Hero of Our Time with Sarah this month. If you’re interested. (you probably have already read it, but who knows ?)


  2. Sign me up. Starting 1/2012?
    I’m currently reading Trollope’s Can You Forgive Her? 800+ pages so the timing should be good (plus German Lit Month in Nov)


  3. You bet. Sounds good.

    If I am really cooking with a long Dickens novel, I finish it in 3 weeks. But I am not always cooking, so to speak. 4 or 5 weeks is my more likely pace.


  4. Party of 3?


  5. Posted by lizzysiddal on October 8, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Any advances on a party of 4? The only way to read Dickens (for me) is to have a party and read in chunks as per the original publication schedule. Is that how it’s going to work?


  6. Posted by Erika W. on October 8, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Add me to your number of readers. I have placed it on my Kindle in readiness.


  7. In theory I’d love to, but I can only cope if it’s a very regimented schedule, plus it’s only about three years since I read it, so I will look on with interest and contribute in the unlikely eventuality that I think of something worth writing. An excellent choice for a group read.


  8. Good news! I’ve found a kindle version in French!!! Count me in.


  9. Thanks, everyone. Sorry for having taken so long to reply, but I have been away for a few days to my mother’s, and there I am most definitely offline!

    I think I have a party of five – more than enough to be getting on with! (and Lizzie Siddal – it’s good to see you on here!) As for how it’ll work – I honestly have no idea … Let’s start in the New Year, and I’ll put up a few posts as we read on. As I said, I’d be happy to put up ” guest posts” anyone sends to me – and we can, of course, all add comments and get into discussion after each post. And if anyone wants to post on the book on their own blog, I’ll provide a link to it from here. This way, it can all stay fairly informal.

    I don’t want to set reading targets: it’s a fairly long novel, and I am not really a very fast reader – I guess it’ll take me 4-6 weeks or so to read through this. So let’s just read at our own pace, and comment on any aspect of it as and when we feel like it. I’m sure discussion will develop: I do aim to live up to my screen name and be argumentative!

    And Emma – it’s been many years since I read Lermontov, and when I tried looking for my copy, I couldn’t find it. I think I’ll place an order on the newish translation in Penguin Classics. I would like to finish the book I am reading now (Amelia by Fielding), and I should be finished that in about ten days or so, and will then start reading the Lermontov. So, even if that’s too late to join the group read, I’ll hopefully have a few things to say about it on your blog in a few weeks’ time.

    Anyway, looking forward to getting on to Dickens in the New Year!


    • We’ll be posting on the Lermontov by the end of the month. It will be interesting to read your thoughts on this one, I’ll read your review and link it to mine, of course.


  10. Emma
    Our host


  11. Pretentious, moi?


  12. I have been thinking about reading another Dickens novel and this is one I haven’t read. I’m terribly bad at group reads however – perhaps I’ll read it anyway.


    • Oh – it’ll be on a very informal basis. If a few of us do read it at around the same time, it would be interesting to link all the various posts (in, presumably, various blogs) together, and, maybe, get some discussion going. It’s best just to play it by ear, I think. It is a terrific novel!


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