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Re: Year-End Ranking
As to Barchester Towers and The Warden, you are quite correct that BT can certainly be read and fully understood as a stand-alone novel. All the plot that takes place in TW is covered in two or three brief paragraphs. However, I think that the book is made much richer as a result of reading The Warden. Mr. Harding is not the central figure in BT; if anyone is, it is his daughter Eleanor. But Mr Harding's actions (as well as those of Dr. Grantly and Eleanor) are made deeper and more meaningful after reading The Warden. What is the point in writing a series of novels if they do not complement one another? Not having had the experience of reading Barchester Towers without reading The Warden, I can't say how I would respond, although I think I just thought it was much funnier than you did. Humor is, after all, very individual. Most books (or movies, plays, or TV shows, for that matter) that are supposed to be funny leave me cold. Barchester Towers both touched my heart and made me laugh out loud. That doesn't happen to me very often.