So many books (you know the rest)
Hard Timesby Charles DickensPublished in 1854 (I finished it on August 01, 2010)
Sandwiched between Bleak House and A Tale of Two Cities, Hard Times is not bad, but not terribly exciting either. It starts at a slow pace and maintains the same speed until the final chapters. Once there, it takes off and has a very heart-warming and inspiring ending. Some of its more interesting themes involve a young lady leaning towards adultery (shocking considering it’s the Victorian Era) and workers upset at factory conditions.
So I would recommend it, just to get acquainted with another Dickensian aspect of that time period. As well, it’s shortroughly a third of what Bleak House is. Feels almost like a pamphlet when comparing both.
If you read the B&N Edition, avoid the Karen Odden introduction until afterwards as she gives a little too much away. However, do be sure to read it. Many great observations are made, especially regarding binary viewpoints and modes of thought. Also the idea of fact versus fantasy (or imagination) is discussed. Great stuff!