I was recently discussing my reading challenge with a colleague when he asked whether reading my way through the BBC Top 100 had changed my life in any way. And while I would hasten to say my reading challenge has changed my life per se, it has certainly impacted it a great deal.
First and foremost, the challenge has had a colossal effect on my free time – so much so that I am left quite at a loss for words when I read about judging panels of book prizes; many of whom read well over a hundred books in less than four months. Granted, they may not be thumbing through books in excess of a thousand pages, but the amount of time they must dedicate to reading is undoubtedly quite incredible. I’ve spoken before about my early mornings, extended commutes and absence from many a social pursuit in order to get my reading done, and despite the number of books I have left depleting, the time I have to set aside never seems to.
That said, nothing quite rivals the satisfaction of finishing a book’s final page, and crossing another of the nation’s best loved books from my list. Most recently: David Copperfield.
With no less than five novels on the BBC Big Read, David Copperfield is the fourth of Dickens’ that I’ve read, having begun with A Christmas Carol, before reading A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. Dickens wrote of David Copperfield: ‘Of all my books I like this the best’ and by the end of the novel it is clear to see why. A simple, yet lengthy, story, David Copperfield is the tale of a young boy and the obstacles he faces as he navigates adulthood and the eventualities of love, loss and death that come with it. With a wonderful cast of characters typically Dickensian in nature – from mad aunt Betsy Trotwood to the foolish Wilkins Macawber – and a loveable protagonist, David Copperfield truly is one of Dickens’ finest works.