28 December 2012

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

     I'm very happy that I actually participated (mainly) in the last book of 2012 with the Reading to Know book club hosted by Carrie at her blog. The last book of the year was Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. You may already be aware that Dickens is my favorite author, so it will come as no surprise to you that I've already read this one.

Reading to Know - Book Club
     I don't think I'm going to review the book. I have a feeling that most people are generally aware of the plot and either have read it or have watched some film adaptation of it. In a nutshell the story takes us through three nights with the main character Ebenezer Scrooge, a greedy and unfeeling man of business. He is visited first by his dead business partner, Jacob Marley, who comes to warn him of the afterlife to which Scrooge is doomed, and then by three spirits of Christmas past, Christmas present, and Christmas future. Scrooge is shown who he was, who he is, and who he will be if he does not change. It's a story of redemption basically and redemptive stories often top the list of favorite books for Heather.
     I will say that the story is beautiful! Charles Dickens is a masterful writer and his prose is magnificent. Even at twenty-six years old, I still shiver at the description of Jacob Marley dragging his chains up the stairs to confront Scrooge. I still am affected by Scrooge's pleading for mercy from the ghost of Christmas Future. The characters in the story are so real they stay with you after you've turned the last page, and his descriptions (though some may call them wordy) bring everything to life. Every passage serves its purpose, and each sentence is beautifully constructed.  
     Instead of really reviewing the book though, I'm just going to share some personal stories about A Christmas Carol. When I was a wee lass we used to read this every Christmas. There are five parts (or staves) and we have a beautifully illustrated copy, and a week before Christmas my dad read it out loud to us. Somehow this practice has slipped in the last couple of Christmases. In fact, my youngest sister doesn't recall ever hearing the story. So, this year we tried to do it again. I say tried because I think we only got through two staves. But this year we passed the book around and took turns reading aloud. I hope we finish it, but it gets harder to plan nights when we're altogether. I definitely will finish it since I'm counting it as part of my books read this year.
    One more thing that is semi interesting to know about my relationship with this book is that I turned it into a play format when I was about 17 and directed it myself. We were in a small church and I wanted to put a play together for our parents and the other church folk. There were some snags with people who weren't sure about the portraying of ghosts, but I thought the play ended up going well. If I do say so myself.
     Something I should mention that has nothing to do with Charles Dickens, but everything to do with the Reading to Know book club, is that it is happening again in 2013 and you can participate! I have been a tepid participator this year, but I have to for sure be more invested in 2013 because I'm actually leading one  of the discussions. So head on over there and check out the selections! It is all classics in 2013, and the books are going to be SO good.


Barbara H. said...

I agree, this one was a little hard to review because most people are familiar with it. I think it is one of Dickens' best -- maybe since it is so much more concise than his other works.

Shonya said...

This was my first time reading it and I really, REALLY liked it! I had to stop several times to savor his wording choices.

BerlinerinPoet said...

@Barbara H: Have you tried Bleak House? It's not very concise, but that one is my favorite.

@Shonya: Oh that comment made me happy! I love hearing from people reading it for the first time.

Diary of an Autodidact said...

I'm really looking forward to your selection for the book club. I am a George Eliot fan, but have never read Daniel Deronda. This should be fun.

I assume that you, as a Dickens fan, have read the other Christmas Novels. I too love Dickens, and am thrilled to find other fans.

BerlinerinPoet said...

Daniel Deronda is fabulous! Now that I picked it I'm actually worried I won't be able to do it justice, but I will try. I'm really looking forward to this book club year.

Carrie said...

So did your family finish reading A Christmas Carol together this year?! Passing it around and taking turns reading it aloud seems like a great idea.

I am very excited about book club this coming year AND your participation. I have no idea what your book is about and I only recently learned more about who George Eliot IS so this'll be fun.

BerlinerinPoet said...

@Carrie: Sadly, we didn't. I had to finish it up on my own (to make it count toward my 200 books goal...WHICH I MADE BY THE WAY...although don't tell anyone, but six of them were Beatrix Potter. I did say books, and didn't specify which types). BUT, it was fun, and I think we should do it again next year only maybe start earlier than Christmas Eve.

Oh yes, I think you'll like George Eliot then. I'm a little TOO gleeful about introducing you to an author, instead of the other way around.

Anonymous said...

I think we should make a point of reading this while John is here at Christmas time. I'm so glad that was a special time for you. Wish we'd thought of it sooner and acted on it. ~Mom

BerlinerinPoet said...

I agree! Let's do that.