After declaring I could never be seduced away from the joys of hard copy books I found it beautifully easy to read in this format. I'd read David Copperfield at my grammar school. Although an avid reader, I didn't enjoy the process of reading books in class much, analysing, going over the same passages, writing essays etc. And what's more, I reckon I didn't really appreciate Dickens fully until I'd seen a bit more of life, struggled a bit, worked through some difficult times and fallen at a few waysides.
Having said all that, I have to say that our son Tom, when quite a small child, used to listen with rapt attention when my husband read A Christmas Carol to him - guess that RADA training had its uses!
I loved reading David Copperfield again. The language is naturally of its period, and some passages can be a bit less dynamic than modern readers may be used to, but it was a rich treat. I found myself, often, laughing and weeping in the same chapter. There are too many memorable characters and descriptions in the story to mention, but the chapter dealing with the tempest on the Norfolk coast and its aftermath was truly thrilling. And I will always love Betsey Trotwood!
I gave away copies of The Tale of Two Cities on World Book Day last year. One of the readers, a very nice man who delivers at my office, who had enjoyed reading All Quiet on the Western Front (my first World Book Day give-away) the year before, confessed that he had not been able to get very far with it. He found he couldn't work out what was going on in the story. I admired his honesty, but was sad he hadn't been able to finish the book - it's such a magnificent story.
Dickens gave public readings of his own work which, by all accounts, were gripping, and apparently exhausting, as he put so much into them. These were frowned upon by the literary classes and considered to be populist and rather vulgar. In an age before television, film, radio, or even recorded music, it must have been a powerful experience to witness his dramatic rendering of scenes like the murder of Nancy from Oliver Twist. I have read that his performances often lasted over three hours, that he held his audiences spellbound and had the ability to transform himself into the character he was describing.
Occasionally I think a really good film version can convey the author's purpose. My Dad played Samuel Pickwick in the 1952 film version of Pickwick Papers (the original Dr Who, William Hartnell, appears briefly as an Irate Cabman). Dad didn't study the book, but picked out a scene from the script and based his performance on that. Somehow he seemed to capture the big-hearted spirit of Pickwick. The wonderful cast of British actors bring out the whimsy and comedy in Dickens' characters as well as their innocence, and the mayhem that often ensues as they are taken in by the villains of the piece. I watched the DVD again recently and found myself highly amused and deeply moved.
I'm sure Dickens' great legacy, the beauty and power of his prose, will continue to be discovered by countless generations to come. I plan to make good use of my Kindle and carry on reading!