Over the past few weeks I’ve hoovered up a lot of books. Many of them have been just awful, a few have been forgettable and a couple were wonderful. But they were all written in the last five years or so, and I was beginning to feel as though I needed a change.
So I flipped through my poorly-organised* Kindle home screen and settled on Charles Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend. I’m told this book is the size of a concrete block, but on the Kindle the only estimation of size is that it has more dots than any other book I’ve got. (On the Kindle home screen, the size of the book is summed up by the number of tiny dots under the title.) I’ve since been merrily reading through this wonderful book, even though the first couple of chapters were hard-going.
My husband is one of the countless people who loathe Dickens and Dickens’ endless prattling. But this weekend as I waded through two thousand words describing a small taxidermy shop in London I realised again just how much of Dickens’ talent was to create a movie before movies were invented. When his books came out there was no tv. There were no movies. Plays were staged but not always attended and often looked askance at as a morally suspect endeavor. Stories were the only reliable form of diversion and Dickens diverted better than anyone else. If he were alive today I suspect he would be someone like George Lucas or James Cameron or Sam Raimi who tried to control not only the story of his film but the visuals as well.
Fall is a good time for Charles Dickens to be re-explored, because Fall is the time when you gather your outdoor endeavors inward, when you settle down against the crispness of the day and look for entertainment by the fire. There is no better sort of entertainment than to pick up one of his deliciously satirical, colourful and adventuresome books for another try.
Only please don’t read Great Expectations which is the most annoying book I’ve ever laid eyes upon. Pip is a fool, Estella is a bitch and Miss Havisham is now a pop-culture cliche.
*Seriously, Amazon. Fix this. The Home Screen is the biggest drawback and disappointment to me as a Kindle-lover. There is no deeper level of organisation available. The only way to see books displayed is alphabetical by author’s last name–and this isn’t always reliable as some books sourced from the public domain end up thrown in by author’s first or middle name. There are no folders and no way to sort the view. There’s also no cover-view on the home screen. This issue was better handled by the Kindle for iPhone app, which at least displays the cover alongside the title. As a book junkie looking at just titles on the home screen makes me feel like I’ve got a bunch of stripped books on hand. I know you’re not supposed to judge books by the cover but I enjoy cover art as a form of visual entertainment. Without seeing the cover I don’t feel completely consumed by the book.
As a person who routinely sets up spreadsheets to chart everything from weight to pain levels to movies I’ve seen, I’m an organisational freak who is very let down by the inability to organise the
softwarebooks on my computerKindle.