Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Nicholas Nickleby...

Next to A Christmas Carol and A Tale of Two Cities, this has been my favorite Dickens novel. I painted a lot of boxes listening to the unabridged version of this book on tape, but what fun! I just loved it. If you get a reader who can do all the voices and accents, this book just comes alive.

I have so much admiration for Dickens, his characters become so real. I've decided to go back to my college days studying literature this year and teach myself a class in a favorite author or two, but I think I could study Dickens all year and not make it through to the end of his work. I would really like to read Great Expectations again this year and Hard Times for the first time.

It's such a privilege to read these books. They changed the world. Dickens was a very effective social reformer. The Victorians did not have 60 Minutes to take them visually inside schools, orphanages, poor areas of town, prisons and the like. But Dickens, with his incredibly visual language, showed his countrymen and ours as well the things they would never have noticed without him.

I read once that most of Dickens work has never been out of print. Part of the reason for that is he can still show our generation a few things and not just about characterization and great writing, but even more about the responsibilities of being a human being and the courage required to be a good one.