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Read and tell Mondays

And so another week begins – and it’s time again for our weekly Read and Tell Monday. I have been thoroughly glued to this all weekend:

With Dickens fever sweeping the nation, and our new Hot Key home Clerkenwell being an old haunt of the revered author, I rediscovered this complete gem of a book on my shelves at home. It’s utterly gripping: a completely brilliant biography/social history/detective story all rolled into one. Turns out that Dickens, as well as turning out the odd good novel, was also a dab hand at acting, and had a whole other career on the stage, writing for the stage, and supporting and befriending those on the stage. One of whom was the enigmatic Nelly Ternan, who was eighteen to Dickens’ forty-five when they met – and who completely captured his heart. Out of virtually nothing – not a single letter between Nelly and Dickens survives – Claire Tomalin somehow manages to paint the most astonishing portrait of a young woman almost entirely written out of history.

It’s a book that asks us to dig under the surface to be reminded that things are not always as they seem; a book that brings nineteenth-century London so vividly to life that you can almost smell the gaslights flickering on the stage.

Ooh, and what’s more, I have just seen that this wonderful book is to be made into a film directed by Ralph Fiennes, scripted by Abi Morgan – a treat to come in late 2012.

So, what have you been glued to this weekend – let’s hear …