Saturday, December 30, 2023

1000 Books Project 2024 - Collins/Dickens

Challenge Backstory:
I picked up a copy of James Mustich's amazing 1000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life Changing List and upon looking through it, I realized it really is a well-rounded reading recommendation book. I was pleased to discover I have read quite a few of the books he lists, and that many of them are on my personal reading lists (and they are books I own). So, to ever expand my reading horizons, and include others in the journey, I decided to create a read-along challenge, or project, if you will.

Very proud of myself because this year I managed to read and post discussions for all four 2023 1000 Books selections! You can take a look at discussions for all four books under the 1000 Books Project label here.

One thing I did realize is that it's not a good idea to schedule these read-alongs during the holidays so in 2024, I will avoid that. This year we will only be reading two books with the first read-along January to April, a month break between, and then the second in June to September.

So, what are we reading? Well, in honor of Wilkie Collins' birthday on January 8, 2024, we will be reading The Moonstone. Now you're probably wondering where Dickens comes in. Well, since Collins and Dickens were good friends (until a late-life falling-out), we will be reading a Dickens book for our second selection which is The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.

You can reference The Moonstone in the 1000 Books to Read Before you Die book on pages 168 - 169. To sum up Mustich's summary of the book, it is considered Collins' masterpiece, and "Psychological acuity, formal virtuosity, the social and human amplitude of a Victorian novel, and the narrative pulse of a thriller add up to make The Moonstone the prototype of (as T.S. Eliot said) 'the book you can't put down.'"
Since we are starting The Moonstone on January 1st, I'm posting the reading schedule for it now. 

My edition: Open Road Media Mystery & Thriller (April 22, 2014) - Kindle edition, 384 pages.

Discussions will be posted here on the blog on the dates indicated in the schedule. Feel free to stop by the discussions any time. Post your thoughts in the comments, or share a link to a blog post.

Note: Because of the way the chapters and sections in this book are arranged, the reading may be heavier some months. Since this Kindle edition does not give page numbers, it's very difficult to determine the number of pages. Hence, the lack of page numbers in the schedule.

Reading Schedule
  • January: Prologue - First Period Ch XXIII (Ch 23)
    Discussion post: January 31
  • February: Second Period, First Narrative, Ch I - Ch VIII (Ch 8)
    Discussion post: February 29
  • March: Second Narrative, Ch I - Third Narrative, Ch X (Ch 10)
    Discussion post: March 31
  • April: Fourth Narrative - Epilogue, Ch III 
    Discussion post: April 30
I hope the schedule isn't too confusing. Strange arrangement of sections and chapters!

Our second selection for this year's project is The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens. Because he is Dickens after all, Mustich does not focus on just one book by the prolific author. His write up about Dickens in 1000 Books can be found on pages 215 - 222, with commentary on Nicholas Nickleby on page 218. He refers to the book as "Pure Storytelling Bliss."

This read-along, as stated above, will run from June to September. I will post the reading schedule in May.

If you would like to join us, sign up by leaving a comment below (and a link, if you post about it on your blog or social media).


  1. Those are two great selections and a great combination because of the authors' friendshop and business association, as you mentioned. I look forward to your posts about them. I have read both of them but they are both worthy of a second reading!

  2. I wanna do this too. I'll be behind but looking forward to these this year!

    1. Probably not too terribly behind. I haven't even started Moonstone yet, but I know I can read the first section by the end of the month. Trying to do better this year.
      Glad you're joining us!

  3. I'll try to get a post up this week...

  4. I should try to join in for the Dickens book later in the year!


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