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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
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A Christmas Carol (original 1843; edition 2003)

by Charles Dickens

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12,236267207 (4.07)3 / 974
fyrefly98's review
The only Dickens I've ever read. This story has become part of our cultural lexicon much more than most other classics, but reading the original version gave me a better insight into the moral and messages, beyond the top layer that everyone knows about. I think this book better encapsulates what should be "the Christmas spirit" than any holiday special will ever be able to do. Familiar, comforting, and moving... and excellently narrated by Jim Dale, who was flawless as always. ( )
  fyrefly98 | Dec 8, 2006 |
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Showing 1-25 of 256 (next | show all)
I adore this story. ( )
  VincentDarlage | Jan 30, 2015 |
Patrick Stewart's one- man "A Christmas Carol" is a delight to hear. He does all the voices and sound effects. A splendid performance of a true classic. ( )
  VincentDarlage | Jan 30, 2015 |
This is an every Christmas classic. ( )
  Kelley.Logan | Jan 16, 2015 |
This was a short easy book to read, or in my case listen (narrated by Jim Dale). I've known of the story for years and years and have seen many renditions of it in film but had never actually read the book. Having known the story beforehand there was nothing here that was new or exciting but it is nice to have got through it. And it's such a classic, that if you haven't read it, I highly suggest getting a copy while the season is right. ( )
  Kassilem | Jan 2, 2015 |
When it comes to Christmas books, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is probably the first book that comes to mind. Published in 1843, this novella was an instant success and has been a beloved classic since then. I am not going to go into a plot summary because I believe most people know the story but if you don’t, go watch A Muppet’s Christmas Carol. Told in five staves (similar to stanzas or verses) this book has been adapted so many times that A Christmas Carol has just become a part of the Christmas period.

While compassion, forgiveness and getting into the Christmas spirit is the major theme of this novella, one thing that really stuck with me is Dickens’ ideas of isolation and loneliness. While it is true that Ebenezer Scrooge never indicates he is feeling alone, since the death of Jacob Marley seven years earlier there is a sense that he has falling in despair. Marley died on Christmas Eve and appeared to be Scrooge’s only companion, which leads to a disdain for the holiday period.

Charles Dickens wanted to emphasise the importance of being with friends and family, especially during Christmas. However I got the sense that he may have treated the idea of isolation poorly. Sure, Scrooge was a grumpy old man who was tight with his money but I got no real indication that he was unhappy to be alone. Scrooge could have been an introvert and enjoyed the quiet solitude; is that really such a bad thing?

Then all of a sudden Scrooge is cured from his rationality and becomes an extravert. This is a little strange, Scrooge’s emotional and psychological makeup might not be pleasant or agreeable to the popular worldview but they were his own thoughts. Scrooge was a financial supporter of The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 and didn’t want to give money to a charity that worked against his political ideology.

I am not bagging out A Christmas Carol, I do enjoy it but as I was re-reading this novella I kept wondering what this story is saying if we take out the element of Christmas. Basically this is the story of curing someone of his or her personality. I had a lot of fun looking at this book from another point of view, it just gave me a lot more to think about. A Christmas Carol is a nice quick story about the importance of being with your friends and family during this holiday period. Next year I might try Truman Capote’s collection of stories about Christmas.

This review originally appeared on my blog; http://literary-exploration.com/2014/12/30/a-christmas-carol-by-charles-dickens/ ( )
  knowledge_lost | Dec 30, 2014 |
Jim Dale nails it! This is a wonderful audiobook edition of Dickens' A Christmas Carol! ( )
  baystateRA | Dec 29, 2014 |
Obviously I meant to finish reading and review this before Christmas Eve, but I spent too many evenings drinking and on Christmas Eve itself I fell asleep watching Howl’s Moving Castle instead. So never mind that.

But anyway! Christmas! Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is one of his most well-known and influential works, and indeed one of the most well-known and influential pieces of literature in the human canon. We all know how it goes. Even if we haven’t read it, we’ve picked up bits and pieces from the dozens of films and parodies and cartoons and retellings (if I have to think, probably the first version I remember is A Muppets Christmas Carol). Ebeneezer Scrooge is a miserly old rich man who sneers at the concept of Christmas, is visited by the ghost of his old business partner on Christmas Eve, is subsequently visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, and learns to change his ways for the better. Timeless.

I’ve been avoiding reading Dickens because he’s one of those authors you feel obligated to read, but whom you fear will also be dry and dull and tedious – I mean, he was born more than two hundred years ago. Apart from it being timely, I read A Christmas Carol because it’s slim, and if I hated it then I could at least say I’d read Dickens. I was pleasantly surprised to find his prose accessible and readable and even witty.

“At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,” said the gentleman, taking up a pen, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.”

“Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge.

“Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

“And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”

“They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, “I wish I could say they were not.”

“The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?” said Scrooge.

“Both very busy, sir.”

“Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,” said Scrooge. “I’m very glad to hear it.”


Dickens’ literary legacy is obvious, but I was fascinated to learn that much of what we associate with a modern Christmas – feasting, merriment, family gatherings and generosity of spirit – is a relatively recent trend, as the holiday morphed from a purely religious observance in the early 19th century to something more broadly festive. It’s a stretch to say that Dickens invented modern Christmas, but the massive popularity of A Christmas Carol was certainly an enormous influence on it.

I enjoyed A Christmas Carol quite a bit. It’s a charming, pleasant story about generosity, love for your fellow man, and redemption. It deserves its enduring, iconic status, and I’m relieved to find that Dickens is a relatively approachable writer. I’ll next read his first full novel, The Pickwick Papers. ( )
  edgeworth | Dec 29, 2014 |
Due to circumstances beyond my control, I have not completed the ritual reading of this tale in the run up to the festive season, for the past three years. This year I have and Christmas seems complete!

I doubt there is a single reader in the world, nay, the universe who does not know the story of the miser forced to face his own unpleasant nature and so, I shall not bore you with a resume of the plot: suffice to say, that after more readings than I would care to admit (well into double, if not quite triple figures!), Dickens still manages to supply that warm glow of Christmas. We are lead to believe that, having turned over a new leaf, Scrooge is forgiven his past and yet, we still associate the name with penny pinching, rather than the generosity of the reborn Scrooge: perhaps we have to be a little more forgiving.....

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!! ( )
1 vote the.ken.petersen | Dec 24, 2014 |
His writing is so full of personality; it's wondrous! This is my favorite holiday story, and after viewing dozens of movie versions I finally took time to read the book. Charles Dickens is a grand writer; his verbal illustrations are vivid. 'A Christmas Carol' is an untouchable and timeless tale I think everyone should read. ( )
  REGoodrich | Dec 10, 2014 |
Writing: 4.5
Theme: 4.5
Content: 4.5
Language: 5.0

Overall: 4.5; Great classic novel. What a wonderful theme: Ebenezer Scrooge lives a reclusive and wretched life and treats others (including family) with disdain and vitriol. At least that's the case before he is visited by three ghosts on Christmas. These visions manifest to Scrooge his repulsive life and lead him to make a drastic change in his personality and actions with others. Highly recommend, especially at the Christmas season.

***December 5, 2014*** ( )
  jntjesussaves | Dec 5, 2014 |
review to follow ( )
  Jemima_Pett | Nov 11, 2014 |
I was able to get a copy of this book at the library with beautiful pictures y Roberto Innocenti. The language of Dickens just flows as poetry even though it is prose. Although it is classified as a children's book, it is really a family book, made for a parent to read to their children. I can see smaller children asking many questions, because he doesn't talk down to them, but uses a vast vocabulary. I found myself going to the dictionary a few time. There are many more details than would fit any movie or play adaptation (or else I just forgot them.) I'm going to try to make point of reading this at least every other year if not each year from now on. ( )
  eliorajoy | Oct 25, 2014 |
Muppet version is somewhat superior. ( )
  humblewomble | Oct 19, 2014 |
(7)
  mshampson | Oct 15, 2014 |
I actually read most of this fable whilst simultaneously watching the 1999 film adaptation with Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: Next Generation, X-Men).

I didn't realise until I read this that some of the humorous bits had passed me by in the adaptations and found myself laughing at Scrooge's
very uncharitable and gloomy nature, and later the reactions to his death.

My absolute favourite character was Scrooge's nephew and his persistent attempts to befriend his uncle, always offering an invitation to Christmas dinner every year. I loved his perceptiveness in observing and understanding Scrooge's behaviour (and taking it without offence). It was spot on.

Scrooge: "What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to merry? You're poor enough."
Nephew: "What right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be morose? You're rich enough."
Scrooge: "Bah! Humbug!"

However, the narrative was very wordy so I did resort to skimming quite a bit of the descriptions to get to the good stuff i.e. the dialogue.

It was a good seasonal read to get me in to the spirit of Christmas. 'And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!' ( )
  Cynical_Ames | Sep 23, 2014 |
Mend your ways. NOW. ( )
  aeromaxtran | Sep 17, 2014 |
review 2morrow gtg to sleep or i might choke on my tiredness
  sarafwilliams | Sep 13, 2014 |
review 2morrow gtg to sleep or i might choke on my tiredness
  sarafwilliams | Sep 13, 2014 |
This is an okay book, but I don't understand the reason why it made it to the "1001 Books to Read Before You Die" list (in fact, I don't understand why majority of the books are in the list). I do accept the fact that some people may have a moment of insight (which doesn't necessarily need to happen in the Christmas holidays) and completely change their personalities in a couple of hours, but I still thought the book was very... forceful in these terms. But then again, this seems to be a book meant to be read by the end of the year, when everybody has that fuzzy feeling within their hearts. Or maybe just to give some hope to children, whatever. This book is not bad. It's not even THAT boring. But I also don't see what's the big deal with it. ( )
  aryadeschain | Aug 26, 2014 |
See my review on [b:A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Stories|7153379|A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Stories|Charles Dickens|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1260552417s/7153379.jpg|18659151] ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
A popular favorite and deservedly so. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
This feels more like a book Dickens discovered than one that he wrote. Worth re-reading every few years. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
I am a big fan of this classic. The themes presented by Dickens are still found in today's society (greed, judgement, obsession with work and money, classism, poverty, etc.), which makes its message always relevant. The values the three ghosts strive to show Scrooge the importance of (love, compassion, empathy, generosity, kindness, etc.) are still universally desired traits in today's modern world.
  JocelynPLang | Jun 8, 2014 |
Just finished my annual rereading of this classic. This book has been done and redone for movies and TV, so that it's almost become a cliche. I can't tell you how many different TV movies on Lifetime, ABC Family, and Hallmark Channel are rewwrites of this book. I'm not spoiling anything here by revealing the plotline. Scrooge, the old miser, gets a visit from his old partner, then from spirits of Christmas past, present, and future. After all this, he's a changed man. The power of this book is in the description of the characters and the scenes. It makes Victorian England c. 1843 come alive, something that the TV movies don't do. The spirit Scrooge fears most is the future. The past is secure. However much he hates what happened, it's already happened. The present is where he is. He's used to that. It's the future that is the unknown. It's especially scary when he finds out he's dead and no one cares. That's what shocks him into change. Read the original book, and find out why this is a classic. ( )
  jmcgarry2011 | May 9, 2014 |
Everybody knows the story of 'A Christmas Carol'. It is a timeless classic. But I although I knew it, I had never read it. I'll admit, it was slightly difficult to get into but once I was up to the Last Spirit I flew through it. I think I just needed the time to sit down and devote my attention to it. And I am very, very glad that I did. ( )
  crashmyparty | Apr 22, 2014 |
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