I can’t remember how many times I have read that TV has destroyed the book and the love of reading. I can understand why people have this opinion. I don’t happen to agree with it, for two reasons.
First, I spent all of my children’s youngest days and yes even the days before they were born reading to them. There are more books in our house than anything else. I have memorized my library card number I am on the site so much. All my efforts seemed to have been wasted when at a certain age, my children simply just stopped reading unless you made them.
I have to admit I didn’t understand it. One of my earliest memories is my mother reading to me, reading by myself in my closet at age 4 so that no one would interrupt, reading to my sister and the teacher even made me read to the class. I would rather have a book card than anything else on any occasion.
So what did I do? I fought back. I used the close caption option on the TV and every DVD. They didn’t want to read a book, they were going to read the TV. I bought my son game manuals and video game guides. I bought my daughter manga. They both scored 5’s on the FCAT last year, so it must be working. I hope someday they will read books again.
The second reason I don’t think TV has destroyed reading is that TV helped me to rediscover Charles Dickens. I was like most people, overexposed to A Christmas Carol. It was the thing we were made to read over and over again. I stared in three theatrical productions of Christmas Carol. I have been the Ghost of Christmas Present, Mrs. Cratchit, and one of the Cratchit children. Needless to say, I was tired of it. I tried reading Oliver Twist and David Copperfield. I did not enjoy them.
Then a few years ago, I heard that Gillian Anderson was in a Masterpiece Theatre production. That was all I knew. I tuned in about half way through and was hooked. Her Mrs. Deadlock was captivating. When I found out this was Dickens, I was shocked. I stopped watching because I wanted to start from the beginning of the tale. I ran out and bought Bleak House. I loved every single word. I learned that this is from what Dickens scholars call his “mature period”. This is the Dickens I love and can’t get enough of.
Again this year Masterpiece Theatre went back to the Dickens well and this time chose Little Dorrit. It has won many awards and is available on DVD. It will no doubt find a place on my shelf along with the DVD of Bleak House, Claire Foy and Matthew Macfayden are perfect as Little Dorrit and Arthur Clennam.
It also helped me decide to write The Last Governess, which will be my first published piece.
So once again I am reading Little Dorrit.
I have seen so little happiness come of money come of money; it has brought within my knowledge so little peace to this house, or to any one belonging to it; that it is worth less to me than to another. It can buy me nothing that will not be a reproach and misery to me, if I am haunted by a suspicion that it darkened my father’s last hours with remorse, and that it is not honestly and justly mine.-p.63, Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens.