Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Featuring Melissa of Dear Mr. Dickens

Today please welcome Melissa, 
who blogs at Dear Mr. Dickens.


What's the meaning behind the name of your book blog?

The blog started as a way to document my self-imposed Dickens reading challenge and motivate me to stay on track. The name refers to the fact that each entry is written as a letter directly to Dickens himself.

How long have you been blogging?

Since August of 2012. I'm kind of a newb.

Tell us a bit about your book blog. What makes it unique?

I'm not sure how common the letter-writing style is in the blog world, but it works for me. :-) Also, I'm not particularly reverential. If Dickens annoyed me, or wrote something awesome, I’d tell him so.

What genres do you write about most, and why?

The blog was set up to document a very specific challenge I set myself: to read all of Dickens’ published works in a year. So it’s 90% Charles Dickens and 10% some other books I read and other tangential ramblings.

What's your earliest memory of reading?

Other than my mom reading me bedtime stories, my earliest memory of reading on my own is reading "Charlotte’s Web" at the same time as my best friend when we were in elementary school. It turned into a bit of a competition to see who could finish it faster, so reading quickly became an early skill, for both better and worse…

What was the first book you read over and over, or the book you've reread the most?

I have so many books to be read that I don’t usually go back and re-read anything these days. But I must’ve read Susan Kay’s "Phantom" at least half a dozen times.

Writing in books: Yes or hell to the no?

I don't do it myself, but I'm not averse to it. Finding a second-hand book full of interesting notes is great!

What's your favorite place to read?

Near a sunny window.

Do you have any reading accessories you can't do without?

A purring cat in the lap is preferred, but not absolutely essential.

Finish the sentence: My bookshelves are...

filled to overflowing, which is exactly how I like them.

My TBR pile is...

Now much more interesting! I wrote all the titles on pieces of colored paper and put them all in a fancy schmancy jar. This year I’m going to reach in and randomly pick my next reads. This makes me weirdly excited.

What's a book that's changed your life?

"If On A Winter's Night A Traveller" by Italo Calvino absolutely turned everything I thought I knew about writing on its head. It was so unlike anything I'd ever read before.

One book you like that no one else seems to, or vice versa?

Dickens: "Barnaby Rudge" (but that could be because I know no one who’s actually read it).

Not Dickens: They’ve sort of fallen out of the public consciousness a bit, but I love Leslie Charteris’ "Saint" books, especially the ones from the 20s and 30s, in spite of the unhealthy doses of racism/sexism/homophobia. Way more fun than James Bond.

To DNF or not to DNF?

Maybe I take it as some sort of weird challenge, but I find I have to finish even abysmal books.

What's one book that intimidates you?

"Tom Jones" and "Don Quixote" have been glaring at me from my bookshelves for over a decade. So big. So old. So intimidating.

If you could go to any literary destination, where would you go?

The Bodleian Library, the Dickens Museum and The Shire.

How about non-book related hobbies? What do you do when you don't feel like reading?

Since it’s winter, when I’m not reading I’m playing video games or choosing the next room in the house to decoratively drag out of the 1980s. Summer is camping and gardening.

What's your least or most favorite book to movie adaptation?

Gosh, there are so many is both categories! I love "The Maltese Falcon," though, because black and white perfectly captures the gritty, noir feel of the book, and the script lifts huge chunks of wonderful dialogue verbatim. Also: Humphrey Bogart.

What are 3 of your must-read blogs?

Bauman Rare Books Blog
The Virtual Growlery
The Perpetual Page Turner

What is your reading personality? (via quiz at http://www.bookbrowse.com/quiz/)

The Eclectic Reader. Yup, sounds about right! 


Thank you for joining us today, Melissa! 
Remember to check out Melissa's blog, Dear Mr. Dickens
and leave a comment or question.


  1. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your blog with us Melissa!

    I have to finish almost every book that I begin as well. There really have only been a couple that I haven't, and they were abysmal. I HAD to let them go.

    You've got me curious ... who won the reading contest of Charlotte's Web?!?

  2. Fun idea for blogging! I should try a letter sometime!

  3. I'm a fan of this blog! Enjoyed the interview!



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