The Pickwick Papers: Illustrated Edition (Paperback)
In Charles Dickens’ first (and, I find, most endearing) book, we follow
the ludicrous Mr. Pickwick and friends as they ramble about England
to “observe things” for the club that they are a part of. Along the way
they meet up with the quintessential Dickensian array of insane
characters. The format of having them wandering about without a clear
purpose besides observation really gives Dickens the chance to stretch
his legs comedically. hilarious, even for Dicken, though it is equally
wise. I would not recommend it on that basis alone. It contains some of
his best social commentary, a thing which he became well known for,
mocking a decadent aristocratic class that is just a blown up version of
those we see today.
Samuel Pickwick, Esquire, a kind and wealthy old gentleman, and the founder and perpetual president of the Pickwick Club, decides to extend his researches into the quaint and curious phenomena of life. He suggests that he and three other "Pickwickians" should make journeys to places remote from London and report on their findings to the other members of the club. They travel throughout the English countryside by coach, on hunting, fishing and other expeditions.