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Have you ever really read A Christmas Carol???

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Posted 12-15-2010 at 11:06 AM by Jeff Westover

My 20-hour days of December usually end with a few moments with a good book. This year I have dedicated my December reading to A Christmas Carol.

I love Dickens but must admit to never having spent much time on the text of A Christmas Carol because I knew the story so well, thanks to all the movie versions I grew up with.

But having put about a week into now I have to tell you: READ IT.

A few weeks ago as a family we were discussing how we could do a few things different this year and one of the ideas that came up was an expansion upon our tradition of acting out the Nativity story as read in Luke 2. We do that every year and will do that this year, too:

But we thought it would be some fun to try something a little more complex and with a few more characters. Beyond the lessons of the story comes the fun of the experience and my kids can be wildly creative. So I've charged my 18 year old with directing this extravaganza and the kids are, as I write this, practicing lines with costumes made of sheets. I'm hearing a lot of really bad British accents and plenty of giggles and laughs, too.

But as I privately go through the book I'm struck at Dicken's persistent humor, so cleverly hidden within line after line of the story.

"Darkness is cheap and Scrooge loved it."

I am finding, though I know the story inside and out, that the dialogue is so charming that I can't put it down. And, frankly, it has me feeling the Christmas spirit as only a good ghost story can.

You can read it just about anywhere -- heck, we have it here on MMC -- but I recommend sitting down with a book of it either by the fire or in the dead of night.

I'm savoring it. And, once finished, I think I'll start it again.
Total Comments 3


  1. Old Comment
    Hi Jeff. I agree. A Christmas Carol is a must read !!! I read it every year and this year is no exception. I read a version called The Annotated Christmas Carol which has side notes of what some of the British terms mean. For example, "I'll retire to Bedlam" was a slang term for Bethlehem Hospital which was like an insane asymlum, just shortened in Cockney, I believe to Bedlam !! There are many more notes in my version which are just fascinating. It is amazing to me that Charles Dickens had such descriptive genius !!! I actually FEEL the cold when he is describing it. Thank you once again for an amazing blog !!!
    Posted 12-15-2010 at 12:16 PM by caninemom3 caninemom3 is offline
  2. Old Comment
    MerryCarey's Avatar
    As one who's read it multiple times, I wholeheartedly agree with you---READ IT, or listen to a good unabridged audiobook recording. (It wouldn't be Christmas in our house without listening to Geoffrey Palmer's reading.) As fine as the movie versions are, they can't do justice to Dickens' powers of description.
    Posted 12-15-2010 at 02:07 PM by MerryCarey MerryCarey is offline
  3. Old Comment
    JayIsh's Avatar
    I read it every year! In fact, thanks to the Kindle I got for Christmas, I've branched into "Great Expectations" and "A Tale of Two Cities". While those stories don't have the same hook for the that "A Christmas Carol" does, they are really good, my better in fact than my eighth grade mind thought they were!!!
    Posted 03-07-2011 at 12:00 PM by JayIsh JayIsh is offline
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