Agonson’s Top Ten: A Tale of Two Cities

It has entered my mind to formulate a list of books which have been meaningful to me, both in the pleasure they offer and also in the effect they had. These are books which stand above.

A Tale of Two Cities

Well, let’s step back into the classics. Charles Dickens is a staple of my childhood, but only for a single book, A Christmas Carol. In an entirely neutral opinion, my mom is obsessed with the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge. It has to do with her own story and life, but needless to say, I feel I know the book fairly well. However, to the rest of Dickens’ work I’ve paid little heed. In fact, of his books there is only one other which I have read, A Tale of Two Cities.

It was a difficult read, but one of the most rewarding conclusions I’d ever experienced.

I have only read this book once, and that long ago. Subsequently, I fear I’m underprepared to review it. The story is simple and yet complex; it is about love and yet about hate; it chronicles the nobility of man and plainly reveals his depravity; It is a tale of two cities, of two extremes, of two values, of opposing truths. It’s a lot like the Bible, in a way.

I remember putting this book down and realizing I didn’t know what to say. In a sense, the book was beyond me; while reading it, I felt a little like a child again in the sense that I struggled to read it like a child struggles to read a book which is a little advanced for him. I realized I had encountered something grand, something deep, and I didn’t know how to respond.

A Tale of Two cities was, for me, like a stepping stone onto a higher level, both as a reader and a thinker.

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