I occasionally ask myself what my favorite novel is. Often it might be whatever I am currently reading. No, it would definitely be something by Charles Dickens or George Eliot. But then, what about Huckleberry Finn? Hmmmmm. I think that when wondering about my top favorite novel ever, I most often return to David Copperfield. I first read it when I was in grammar school and was staying at the home of my mother’s friend while my parents were away. Mrs. Kilduff, was, in my mind the essence of kindness, combined with a certain exotic mystery and elegance. Her house was huge, surrounded by trees, and now I always picture it as if at night. The room where I slept was in a little turret, and had been the room of one of her sons. His childhood books were there, and one of them was a huge (just like the house) edition of David Copperfield. As I read it, I felt just like little David in his happy room in the Rookery at Blunderstone. The wind whistled and wailed about me, but I was snug with my literary friend. Now, every time I reread it, I return to that room, which was quintessential cozy. The edition was illustrated with stills from the Freddy Bartholomew and WC Fields movie, and these two star yet in my metal movie as I read the book. I love the engravings of Phiz, but between illustrations I return to Freddy and WC. Oddly, I have never seen this movie, but have pictured the whole thing in my mind as I read. I reread it every few years, and relatively recently listened to a CD audio book while I knitted. I had tried to download audio e-books from the library, but never could manage it. Finally, a week ago, I was totally out of books to listen to. Desperate, I gave it one more try. I conquered. What should be the first one? Well, of course, David Copperfield. Dickens’ novels were, to some extent, meant to be read aloud, and I have to say that I enjoy listening to them even more than reading them. This audio book is narrated by Fredrick Davidson, and it is beyond wonderful. He is a genius. Aunt Betsy has never been more wise and wonderful, Dora has never been more darling, nor Heep more wicked. And Mr Murdstone – Brrrrr. Pure evil! Listening, I have cried in spots (Peggoty at little David’s keyhole, for instance) where I never cried before. Now, as I approach the final chapters, I expect to have a very teary evening. I am quite looking forward to it.
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