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Christmas Books by Charles Dickens
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  1. 00
    Körkarlen / Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness! by Selma Lagerlöf (andejons)
    andejons: It's almost like Lagerlöf set out to write a follow-up to Dicken's five Christmas stories: Set at Christmas or New Years Eve: check. Social commentary: check. Supernatural mechanisms: check. Reformed characters: check. Her book is a bit more scary and less cheerful, though.… (more)
  2. 01
    The Greatest Gift: The Original Story That Inspired the Christmas Classic It's a Wonderful Life by Philip Van Doren Stern (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: The Greatest Gift is the book that was turned into It's a Wonderful Life, probably the second best Christmas story after A Christmas Carol!
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A Christmas Carol has been adhered to fairly well in the adaptations I've seen -- I was a bit surprised. All of the others had a disturbing bent as well. The Haunted Man, though, would be the one I considered to be the best. The basic premise is that one can not truly appreciate the good things in life unless one has experienced adversity and hardship. Otherwise the good just doesn't mean as much. Powerful imagery throughout. I liked the line, "My mind is going blind." ( )
  AliceAnna | Oct 19, 2014 |
I have to be honest. I bought this volume just for A Christmas Carol. I'm sure one year at Christmastime I will read the others.

But I love A Christmas Carol, it is one of my all time favorite Christmas stories. ( )
  TracyRae | Feb 6, 2014 |
The Christmas Books, while not always being set during the festive season, each exemplify some aspect of the spirit of charity and "goodwill to all men" that Dickens felt so important in the celebration of Christ's birth, and which he did so much to forge into what is now seen as "a traditional Christmas".

The Battle of Life: Self-sacrifice and familial love are the messages here. Some wonderfully drawn characters in Clemency Newcome (servant) and Messrs. Snitchey and Craggs (lawyers). Expectations are nicely confounded in this one. ( )
  Michael.Rimmer | Mar 30, 2013 |
I've seen the movie countless times; in fact, I've seen countless versions of the book countless times. There's no denying it's a classic in Western Literature; perhaps one of the best-known stories in the English language.

Not that anybody's ever read it.

I hadn't, up until this year. But last spring I found it at the Borders Going-Out-Of-Business sale, and decided it was about time to hear it as Dickens intended.

It's a difficult book to read, both because we're not used to reading Victorian English, and because it's impossible to avoid hearing the voices of Kermit the Frog and Michael Caine and George C. Scott. And yet, it's such a necessary book.

It's become important to the pantheon of "necessary items for Christmas," along with "A Christmas Story" and The Carpenters and ugly sweaters. But even more so, I think it's necessary for our world today. It's a little unfortunate that it's become window dressing for the festive season, because the message is entirely prophetic, judgmental, and yet hopeful. It's a message we need once again.

I don't need to rehearse the story or themes for you, but think about it for just a second - there's a message here about the proper place of money in relationships, there's a message of the importance of all people, whether they are rich or poor, there's a message about the voluntary redistribution of wealth; but it's all couched in a story of redemption. Yes, there is strong judgment against selfishness and greed (perhaps echoes of the Rich Man and Lazarus), but rather than simply condemn that man, Dickens paints a picture where even the worst can be redeemed and restored. That is a message sadly lacking in the 21st Century.

It's interesting to read the story, as so many familiar lines pop off the page; at the same time, there are tender and poignant scenes that I have yet to see in the movie versions; young couples in love, ships' crews huddled in their cold cabin celebrating Christmas far out at sea. The Ghost of Christmas present even gets in a pretty direct shot at the church of Dickens' day.

In the end, though, we're left with the familiar story of an angry, bitter, broken man who has all the money in the world but has lost all human connection, and the work of spirits to save him. Dickens reminds us that there is hope for even the worst of sinners, if repentance is found.

The bonus of this book is the addition of two lesser-known Christmas tales penned by Dickens - The Chimes, and The Cricket on the Hearth. The Chimes tells us of a broken-down man beset with terrible dreams while (accidentally) locked inside a church steeple; it's a mystic, visionary tale, lacking a bit of the clarity of A Christmas Carol. It's a cold story, and yet hopeful and redemptive. The Cricket on the Hearth is a warmer tale, with brighter characters and (in my opinion) a more interesting story. There's an old cartoon version of this one out there; I remember seeing it some years ago. Like Carol, it can be a little difficult to follow simply due to the Victorian English vernacular, but it's a fun story full of lame dogs and old horses and mysterious strangers and inept babysitters and blind saints and grumpy old men. And yes, in keeping with the others, it brings a surprise redemptive end, complete with a homespun party.

So Borders, I'm sorry you went out of business. But your sale finally convinced me to pick this one up, and for that I'm grateful. ( )
  rpdan | Jan 21, 2012 |
I reread A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens just about every Christmas. I love the story of personal redemption as Ebenezer Scrooge learns from his past, recognizes the facts of the present, and learns to hope for the best in the future. For me, the appeal of this ghostly tale is the recognition that I likewise forget the past, present, and future; hopefully I can recognize my errors before I become a “ba-humbug!”.

More on my blog

Some of the other Christmas novellas were more interesting than others. The superiority of A Christmas Carol makes it clear to me why it has lasted as a “classic” through the years, and while most of these others have not. Thoughts on the other novellas here
  rebeccareid | Jul 19, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Dickensprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Birch, ReginaldIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chesterton, G.K.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Farjeon, EleanorIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Glancy, RuthEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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(Preface) The narrow space within which it was necessary to confine these Christmas Stories when they were originally published, rendered their construction a matter of some difficulty, and almost necessitated what is peculiar in their machinery.
(A Christmas Carol) Marley was dead, to begin with.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Includes the five Christmas novels: A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life, The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain
2 volumes: [v. 1] Christmas carol -- [v. 2] Christmas stories.
Contains the five novels: A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life, The Haunted Man
Includes the five Christmas novels: A Christmas Carol (1843), The Chimes (1844), The Cricket on the Hearth (1845), The Battle of Life (1846), The Haunted Man (1848). This is a 349 page facsimile edition of an unidentified previous work.
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A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life and The Haunted Man
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192545140, Hardcover)

This is an EXACT reproduction of a book published before 1923. This IS NOT an OCR'd book with strange characters, introduced typographical errors, and jumbled words. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:57:58 -0400)

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"This volume is a compilation of short novels that Charles Dickens wrote annually for the holiday season during the 1840s."--P. [4] of cover.

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