TWO hundred years after the birth of Charles Dickens, the English writer and journalist still holds sway over the Sunshine Coast.
After Shakespeare, Dickens is the greatest creator of characters in the English language.
His books, from A Christmas Carol and A Tale of Two Cities to Great Expectations and David Copperfield, are still popular with Coast readers, figures released by the Coast libraries have revealed.
Yesterday would have been Dickens' 200th birthday.
"I'm a big fan," Nambour library co-ordinator Cass Bradshaw said.
Ms Bradshaw said Dickens had a huge impact as a writer and a social commentator.
Dickens was born in Portsea, on England's southern coast, in 1812.
His birthday was marked with book sales everywhere, some readings and even a Charles Dickens doodle introducing the Google search engine website.
Ms Bradshaw said Dickens' novels, despite being out of copyright and readily available on the internet, seemed to have stood the test of time.
She said Sunshine Coast Libraries held about 20 Dickens titles, many multiple copies, in its adult print collections.
It has a further 12 audio titles on CD and three e-audio titles, abridged for young adults, for download from home.
"The unabridged print versions of Great Expectations and David Copperfield are probably our most borrowed," Ms Bradshaw said.
"Both have been on loan about 160 times in the past five years.
"Little Dorrit has been borrowed 155 times over the same period."
Ms Bradshaw said the libraries' DVD film and TV adaptations of Dickens were constantly on loan.
"Various versions of Great Expectations on DVD have been borrowed about 930 times over six years."
Meanwhile, reformed miser Ebenezer Scrooge has been voted the most popular Charles Dickens character, according to a new poll.
Many of the 10 characters chosen by Penguin readers were villains or some of Dickens' darker creations.
The vengeful Miss Havisham from Great Expectations was second pick.
"People love villains and Dickens' villains are so well-drawn," Dickens' biographer Claire Tomalain said.
"He filled them with such energy.
"They are more striking than his good characters.
"Scrooge's popularity is surprising, since his modern equivalent might be a banker."
WHAT THE DICKENS ...
The top five most popular Dickens characters chosen online at the Penguin Books website:
- Ebenezer Scrooge - A Christmas Carol
- Miss Havisham - Great Expectations
- Sydney Carton - A Tale Of Two Cities
- The Artful Dodger - Oliver Twist
- Fagin - Oliver Twist
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