Monday, April 29, 2013

Pickwick Papers Vol 1 Chapters 9-11

Latest installment. I received it yesterday but thought I'd post my review of the last one first. 

Dear valued subscribers:
Enclosed, please find the latest installment of Mr. Dickens's Pickwick Papers: chapters 9-11.  The next issue is expected to arrive on May 7th and should include chapters 12-14.
There have been very exciting developments in Mr. Johansson's ongoing adventures.  He enjoyed the Wisconsin trip so much that he has become a bit of a statehood party devotee.  Undeterred by his recent blindness, he took off for Arkansas this past month to help them celebrate their newly attained status.  Miracle of miracles, the hot springs of the Ozarks have restored his sight!  As such, the timely delivery of upcoming Pickwick installments has become more likely.
Best regards and happy reading,
A.B. Ysmal
I think it's quite interesting to discover the number of states that became states during the publication of this novel.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Review Pickwick Papers Vol. 1 Chapters 6-8



This installment involved stubborn horses, the charming maidens of the Wardle family, intrigue and cricket. Frankly this book does nothing to dissuade me that cricket isn't all about the drinking salmon.

The Pickwickians set off for Dingley Dell to visit the Wardle family. While there they hook back up with the scoundrel Mr. Jingle and attend a cricket match, later scandalizing the ladies when they arrive home late and very drunk, er, I mean suffering from the effects of the salmon. Mr. Jingle sets out to steal the heart of the spinster Rachel Wardle from Mr. Tupman.

It did strike me as I reading the installment that the Pickwickians could use a Jeeves to keep them out of the trouble. Although one Bertie Wooster is probably enough to handle, I'm sure Jeeves could handle three Pickwickians.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Review Pickwick Papers Vol.1 Chapters 3-5



I have to admit I'm not really sure how useful it is to review each installment. The story is ongoing. I'm glad to see that characters aren't just going to disappear (looking at you Mr. Jingle) and will thus continue to cause mayhem, it is to be hoped, for our dear Pickwickians.

We get treated to a rather sad story by a friend of Mr. Jingle's who appears in a few scenes. Mr. Pickwick collects stories and is eager to hear the sad tale.

Mr. Wardle and his family is introduced at the climax of rather funny scene that talks about the foolishness of a man chasing his hat.

Overall, I'm still enjoying it. I'm still sort of waiting to go through the whole rhythm of the story to settle into when each new installment appears.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Pickwick Papers Vol. 1 Chapters 6-8

Realized that I am not nearly as prompt as Mr. Ysmal. Of course I did spend some time reminding Mr. Ysmal that it was the 19th. I owe you a review of chapters 3-5. It will be coming soon, I promise. For now here's the intro for the next installment.

Dear valued subscribers:
Enclosed, please find the latest installment of Mr. Dickens's Pickwick Papers: chapters 6-8.  The next issue will arrive on April 28th and is expected to include chapters 9-11.
Thank you for the many letters of concern we have received inquiring of Olaf Johansson's health and well-being.  Our esteemed distributor recovered from Wisconsapalooza only to go blind watching the recent solar eclipse.  We advised him to use caution but, as the old saying goes, keeping a Swede from his telescope during a solar eclipse is like...  well, you know the rest.

Best regards and happy reading,
A.B. Ysmal

I had no idea the Swedes were so fond of telescopes.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pickwick Papers Vol. 1 Chapters 3-5

Well I'll say at least Mr. Ysmal is prompt.

Dear valued subscribers:
We are delighted to bring you the next section of The Pickwick Papers from Charles Dickens.  He's huge in Bulgaria from what we understand.  Enclosed, please find chapters 3-5.
You'll also be relieved to know that we have hired a new distributor for your area: Mr. Olaf Johansson.  However, we already have some concerns.  Mr. Johansson recently went off on a cheese, sausage and beer bender to celebrate Wisconsin's newly established statehood.  Assuming he sobers up in time, you should receive the next installment - chapters 6-8 - on April 19th.
Best regards,
A.B. Ysmal
Managing Editor

Although I'm not sure why anyone in Vermont would be celebrating Wisconsin's statehood. A review of chapters 3-5 will appear once I've read them.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Review Pickwick Papers Vol. 1 Chapters 1-2



Two things struck me as I was reading the first 2 chapters.

1. How long has the amiable idiot narrative been around? Is this an early example? My favorite one is Bouvard et P├ęcuchet by Gustave Flaubert. Although the Pickwick Club does have a pleasant grouping of idiots.

2. I kept coming back to all the current debate about watching tv one episode at a time or overdosing and watching all the episodes of a season in one go. Were there groups in the Victorian era who waited until all the installments were in to begin reading the book? Did they cover their ears and scream "SPOILERS" when friends who were on the installment plan began to talk about the book? Or in thinking about comic books were there people pestering Charles Dickens for if and when the installments would be published as a trade? Sometimes debates that we think are modern have been around for a lot longer than we expect.

Back to the book itself. The first chapter is an introduction to the Pickwick Club and it's new found purpose of exploring places around London and reporting back to the club on various matters. The second chapter takes the main group to Rochester. On the way they fall in with a shady character who gets one of their members into serious trouble and of course the chapter ends with a nice cliffhanger.

So far so good. Amiable idiots are pleasant, we'll have to see if they become grating. It is early days after all but I'm looking forward to the next installment which I've already asked Mr. Ysmal to send on or around April 10.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Pickwick, Vol. I Chapters 1-2

Received this this morning. I feel fairly certain that my former profession is being made fun of. I'll post a review of Chapters 1-2 once read. 
Dear valued subscriber,

We hope you will enjoy the work enclosed: the first two chapters of The Pickwick Papers, a novel by a promising young writer named Charles Dickens (Chazzy D to his homies at the local pub).

Under normal circumstances, you would not receive the next Pickwick installment for another month hence. However, if you respond now, within the next 30 minutes through this special, one-time, available-only-by-telegram offer, you will receive chapters 3-5 on April 10th, give or take.

We apologize for any delays you may experience in the coming weeks. Our local distributor in your area recently ran off with some chap named David Crockett to an exotic land of mystery called Texas. His most recent postcard was from a sketchy looking resort known as The Alamo. We fear the worst. Efforts to find a temporarily replacement are well underway but, as yet, unsuccessful.

Best regards,
Aaron B. Ysmal, MBE Managing Editor