Happy birthday, blog!

Birthday candle

December marks one year of blogging for me here at Misprinted Pages, and I’ve had a great time!

This isn’t my first anniversary as a blogger, though. I’ve been doing this going on five years now, and my portfolio has expanded into other avenues of web writing. But this is the first time in a long time that I’ve felt part of a community — not only a group of readers but of bloggers as well, and in a way, WordPress’s design has helped make that possible. But much more of that is you.

I want to extend an opportunity to you now. Please, ask me anything! Or give me some feedback on how I’m doing and what I can do to improve. I want to learn to connect better with those of you who have given so much to this blog through your comments, likes, shares, and tweets, and meet new people in the process. Go ahead and be as honest as you want, but try to be constructive, too. :)

Thanks for a great year. If I get a nice response from this, I’ll address all your questions/feedback in a roundup post. I’m also interested in swapping blog links — an “I list yours, you list mine” kind of deal, so let me know if you’d like to coordinate.

Happy 200th birthday, Charles Dickens!

Google and the book world are celebrating Charles Dickens’ 200th birthday today. Why not honor the literary great by reading one of his classics? He’s written fiction, non-fiction, short stories, and even a play (No Thoroughfare, a collaboration with detective novelist Wilkie Collins). And hey, many of them are free for Kindle (and priced low for Nook)!

English Victorian author Charles John Huffman Dickens lived from 1812–1870 and was born on February 7 in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England (now the Dickens Birthplace Museum). Often considered a spokesman for the poor, Dickens is famously remembered for his characters and his contemporary depictions of social classes, mores, and values. Critic and author Gilbert Keith Chesterton, who wrote several introductions for the author, described him as “the voice in England of this humane intoxication and expansion, this encouraging of anybody to be anything.”

His first book, a collection of stories, was titled Sketches by Boz (“Boz” was his pseudonym) and published in 1836. He and his wife Catherine Hogarth welcomed ten children to the family—that’s ten little Dickens running around. Charles was busy at the desk and in the bedroom.

He later left Catherine for actress Ellen Ternan, whom he met while performing in Collins’ The Frozen Deep. “The good, the gentle, high-gifted, ever-friendly, noble Dickens—every inch of him an honest man,” the Scottish historian and author Thomas Carlyle called him upon hearing of Dickens’ passing—but not so much for the marriage bonds.

For a full bibliography of Dickens’ works and a biography of the author, visit The Literature Network.

Cassie at the blog Books and Bowel Movements shared a link to an article about how college students who grew up reading Harry Potter are more prepared for classic literature, especially works by Dickens.

Blogger Caorthine wished Dickens a happy birthday today, too. And Literary Wonderland sent him a birthday letter.

Love Dickens? Feel free to drop a link to your happy birthday post or share a memory of reading his books in the comments.