I have been intending for the longest time to start at one end of the bookshelf and read all the way across to the last volume, but I haven’t mustered up that kind of discipline yet – or maybe I have. I’ve picked up various volumes and begun reading, relishing Dickens’ delightful mastery of character development and meticulous detail, but now I’ve picked up David Copperfield and started reading it again, and this time I’m determined to go through all 23 volumes. These books are a gold mine chocked full of ore for anybody interested in writing.
For anyone interested in literature and what it can contribute toward an inwardly better, richer, and wiser life, and especially for anyone interested in creating literature of one’s own, there are three writers worthy of regular re-readings, each reading revealing something fresh and wonderful – William Shakespeare, Marcel Proust, and Charles Dickens. Shakespeare is a master of pure story whose plots have influenced countless stories over the past few centuries, Proust is the quintessential guide into the magical wonder of ordinary life, and Dickens excels in capturing humanity and helping us to love it. The advantage of Dickens lies in his accessibility. Shakespeare and Proust take a bit more work than the average reader cares to invest (although the investment carries rich rewards). Dickens, on the other hand, will take you by the hand and lead you like a caring friend into his remarkable world. His loveable characters become intimate friends, and his villains leave you fuming at injustice and unkindness, but you will not walk away from Dickens without being deeply moved – perhaps even changed.