Part One: Lessons on Family Life from Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield

by | Feb 1, 2012

I could divide my life into pre-Kindle and post-Kindle, so important is this little device in my life.

Mine is supposed to hold 3000 books or some such and it is the size of a regular paperback.  Wherever I go, I can have a library that 50 years ago would be the envy of the world.

What is really amazing are these classical collections from the world’s great literature for literally pennies:

The Complete Works of Mark Twain (300+ works for 99 cents)

The Works of Charles Dickens (200+ worksfor $2.39)

-The Complete Works of Jane Austin for (Her 6 major novels and one short novel for $1.99)

-And, of course, my favorite, The Works of G. K. Chesterton (36 books) for 1 buck!

There you go. For under $10 I have over 500 works to carry around.  But that’s just the beginning.  I’ve wanted a copy of the ESV Study Bible, which is as big as bale of hay (2752 pages, 2 million words and the equivalent of a 20-volumn Bible library).  I wanted it in premium calfskin at over $160 bucks online or $240 in the store, but I picked it up for my Kindle for only $8.54!  $8.54?  Crazy.  That’s not to say I wouldn’t want the calfskin version (Hint, hint).

And that doesn’t even count that I’ve added the works of John Bunyan, The Sermons of George Whitefield, The Whole Bible Commentary of Matthew Henry, the World’s Best Classics (originally ten volumes, which, for the Kindle was $3.19!) and many others and I can take them wherever I go.

You can pick up a Kindle for $79 now, so you really have no excuse.  My wife and I both have one and we can read the same novel or work, which is a nice, little touch to life.  We not only can travel together to different places in our car.  We can travel the world and history in our Kindles.

If you get a Kindle, be sure to search for the classical works you might be interested in using the phrase “Mobi Classics”  It’s a company that has taken many of the classical works of literature of the world and converted them into format for the Kindle.   There are other companies that do this, as the old volumes are considered public domain, but I’ve found out the hard way that unless the company that does the formatting includes an “active Table of Contents” the material is virtually worthless: You can’t find your way around.  Mobi’s done a great job of making the material accessible.  Mobi’s versions cost a little more, but they are very much worth it.

I just spent the last month or so reading Charles Dickens’, David Copperfield.  In a regular book it would be over 800 pages, so you won’t finish it in a weekend.  It’s a major commitment.  Dickens came to mind because of the accessibility of his books on my Kindle, as well as having stood by his grave and memorial in Westminster Abbey a couple of years back and reading the statement there that said he was  “a sympathizer with the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death one of England’s greatest writers.” 

You can find this picture of Dickens on the Internet with him writing either right or left handed. Rumor has it he was left handed.

David Copperfield was viewed by Dickens himself to be his favorite work and is considered the most autobiographical of his novels.  It follows David Copperfield from his birth through middle age with most of the book occurring before Copperfield is 20 years of age.  Being that February 7, 2012, is the 200th anniversary of Dickens’ birth, it’s a good time to be reading him.

“I make myself known to my aunt”

I try to read a few novels in the winter to escape the monotony and it helps me get out of our self-absorbed modern day with our narcissistic perspective that we are somehow superior to previous generations (NOT! There’s nothing new under the sun!). Reading a novel of 150 years ago (Copperfield appeared over 19 monthly installments around 1850 in a series in a magazine) helps to escape for a moment own day and to see the truths that have stood the test of time and also to chasten us in our own narrow and often shallow mindset. It broadens my horizon. I sit in a little office all day. I need to get out of there and soar above once in awhile to get a bigger picture. A novel from a different era does that for me. It’s also cheaper than a vacation to a different part of the world.

This little diversion is good for me, I think. Dickens’ David Copperfield was an enjoyable journey and I thought I’d share a few of his insights about marriage and the family with my readers in the days ahead. I was both encouraged and admonished, a good combination.

So stay tuned.

Dr. Bing Wall

Dr. Bing Wall

Dr. Bing Wall is a marriage therapist with a practice in Ames and Urbandale, Iowa. To set up a time to see Dr. Wall click here or call 888-233-8473.

Related Posts