No, it's not the big day yet -- not for another two-and-a-half weeks -- but we're drowning in birthday news tonight!
- How and where to celebrate: Here's a list of Dickensian things to do and see in Philadelphia, Seattle, New York City, Baton Rouge, Dallas, the University of Leicester, and the University of Delaware. And of course there are all kinds of birthday bashes going on in Portsmouth. But this one's my favorite: The Groundlings Theatre in Portsmouth is turning into a "living museum," complete with a reenactment of the ball -- held at that very theater -- where Dickens's mother went into labor with him. Now that's what I call an authentic celebration.
- In my neck of the woods, there are a couple of historical walks, one in February and one in April.
- TIME magazine pays tribute with an article about Dickens (online it's subscriber-only; I haven't been able to find the print version yet) and a promise to blog about "his ten best books," starting Jan. 26. It also has a brief rundown of celebrations going on in London, Portsmouth, and New York.
- Britain's National Schools Partnership has created a new student resource pack, "What the Dickens?" The Times Educational Supplement promotes it here.
- The Wall Street Journal gets into the act with this article. It too is subscriber-only, but since I'm a subscriber, I'll treat you to a sample: ". . . Dickens is not safe, he is not 'heritage.' He is fierce, ferocious and formidable. No one has depicted the homeless with more sorrow and pity and terror than Dickens. He depicted them from both sides: from middle-class safety, looking outward, and from their own point of view, looking at a world that seems to offer such richness and happiness to everyone else. And then, as an act of mediation, he moves us between the two worlds so that we understand both."
- Star Jeremy Irvine talks up the forthcoming Great Expectations feature film in this short interview.
- One more thing: We need readers for the charity fundraiser, folks! We've had several people express interest, but no one (except yours truly) has actually signed on yet. If you need help, just ask -- I'm more than happy to do whatever I can.