Saturday, September 5, 2009
Why Are We Still Reading Dickens?
I read this article titled "Why Are We Still Reading Dickens?" recently and thought I'd share, especially since it mentions one of the books I just read. I agree with his basic answer that we read because it teaches us to think, although any number of books can do that. But Dickens is one of those authors that does help us understand why we are how we are. I like that. I also think it's impressive that Picoult manages to do that as well. Her books should be studied in literature programs, although they get flack for being popular. Well, Dickens was unbelievably popular during his time. Does that mean he's not literary or worth reading? Both authors are excellent at the psychological aspects of writing. They take you into their characters heads. Dickens managed this well before the advent of modern psychology or psychoanalysis. As I mentioned about Picoult, Dickens makes his characters understandable, even they ones you don't necessarily agree with or support their actions, like Mr. Micawber or Mrs. Jellyby or Harold Skimpole. But I think the article missed something. We still read Dickens because he is entertaining. He knows how to tell a good story. He makes you laugh, he makes you cry, he makes you feel. His stories bring you enjoyment. That helps him stand the test of time.