A classic search

"Please, sir, I want some more." Fro...
“Please, sir, I want some more.” From Oliver Twist, illustration by George Cruikshank. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I promised myself at Christmas that I would read Oliver Twist. Then, in true me fashion, I forgot all about the promise. Today, I remembered and decided to remedy this truly appalling lack of discipline I seem to possess. Quite honestly, it is a wonder I get anything done at all. I start out with good intentions, convince myself that this time I’ll do things differently and actually finish something but, before I know it, I find myself distracted by all the other brilliant, shiny and good things in life and…what was I doing? Was I going to search the internet for a holiday? Look for some new shoes? Was I going to grab a biscuit and make a cup of tea? Oh yes, I remember now – I was writing. See what I mean?

I decided that, instead of taking the easy option and ordering the book from the internet (thus avoiding the temptation to look at anything but the thing I had originally wanted), I would head to the local library and see if they had a copy. I thought they probably would, it’s such a classic, well-know and loved story, but they didn’t. The only Dickens’ book they had was Great Expectations and I have already read this twice. In fact, I own a copy of it. In fact, I rescued the copy I now own from being sent to a charity shop by my brother who was clearing out his things when he left my parents’ home. The recollection of this shameful event reminded me that there was a charity, not too far away, that had a very good selection of books. As it was a nice day (well, it wasn’t raining), I decided to take a stroll and see if I could find a copy of Oliver Twist.

The book section of the charity shop in question is quite large and there is an extensive range of titles, authors, subjects and themes to choose from. I began searching for the book I so desired but couldn’t find it. Nor, could I find anything by Dickens. Feeling very disappointed, I half-heartedly searched the shelves for something else to read. I’d set my heart on buying a book today and I didn’t want to leave without one. But nothing grabbed my attention. Nothing shouted out at me, “Read me!” I pulled random books from the shelves and reluctantly read the blurbs but nothing enticed me to buy it. I was just giving up hope and about to leave, when I saw what I was looking for – the Classics section.

It had escaped my attention before as it was tucked away on the bottom three shelves of a bookcase and had the tiniest sign on it. I had to get down onto my knees to look at the authors and the titles, which seemed a fitting tribute. Three shelves of classic tales. Three shelves of the most well-known authors ever. Three shelves of total greatness. There was Gaskell and Collins and Scott Fitzgerald and Orwell and Austin and Steinbeck, and Thackeray. And, of course, there was Dickens. And, of course, there wasn’t a copy of Oliver Twist. Instead, there were two copies of Great Expectations.

I was about to get up with a heavy-heart when something caught my eye. A name I knew very well and loved. And there was a title I hadn’t read before. A book that, going by the author’s previous works, I was bound to love. I reached out my hand and carefully lifted it from the shelf. I reverently carried it to the counter and paid my £3. I left the charity shop feeling very pleased with myself and couldn’t wait to get home to start reading. I impatiently opened the door, threw down my things and kicked off my shoes. I threw myself onto the sofa and opened the first page. I began to read… this was going to be good. If only I can stay focused long enough to finish it.

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