I just finished a five-month long romp through the entire set of Anthony Trollope's Barchester Chronicles. Each one builds on the last, with earlier characters forming the background for the protagonists of the day. The final book (The Last Chronicle of Barset) is perhaps the best, as he has rounded out his style and he does not give everyone a happy ending. The Warden contains a good bit of social commentary about the power of the press, and in particular the power of a celebrity op-ed columnist. As with all of the books in this set, the characters are vivid and their conversations wonderful.
I have always suspected that Scientology was not an honest religion. I had heard of its unrelenting fight with the IRS that led to it being recognized by that agency as a church. It is not a church. What this book reveals is the very ugly underside of Scientology's formation and evolution. An important book to read and refer to others.
This is Charles Dickens at his best. What a lovely story, memorable characters, and fulsome plot! You simply must read this book, and the narration is superb.
Remember that this is Dickens' first stab at writing anything for publication, and he's just a teenager. The book is anecdotal rather than all of a piece. You'll scratch your head as you try to find a common thread running through it, but as a taste of the young Charles Dickens who matures in his subsequent books, the Pickwick Papers is where it's at.
This is a wonderful story and well told. It will help your understanding of the book to go to Wikipedia first, where you can get a list of the characters involved.
I have labored long and hard to finish this book. I started on a non-iPod that managed to skip and break the flow. I then listened straight from my computer. I finally bought an iPod with the fierce determination to finish the book. It was worth it. This is a tour de force for David Timson, who is brilliant.
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