A Christmas Carol

by Charles Dickens

Hardcover, 1983



A miser learns the true meaning of Christmas when three ghostly visitors review his past and foretell his future.

Library's rating


(4065 ratings; 4.1)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Ganeshaka
My uncle sat me down one Christmas eve past - me, a restless pre-teen brat - and made me take turns with him, reading this book aloud. "Kinda BO-ring and hokey," I thought, "It's Christmas time, I get it." But my uncle had been a sailor. He knew about messages in bottles thrown from ships at sea. Fifty years later, I recall this incident with tears. And somewhere, adrift in The Ether, Dickens nudges my uncle, points at me and winks.… (more)
LibraryThing member readerbynight
I am so glad I decided to read this book again. This one is the original first edition text from 1843. This edition was reproduced from the original by Dover Publications in 1991 with the following note added:
“The Christmas gift presented to the English-speaking world in 1843 by the preeminent novelist Charles Dickens (1812-1870) has never lost its power to delight. Adapted in numerous ways and for a great variety of media over the yeaars, this modern Christmas myth, which is linked to every Christmas celebration and whose characters have become household names, is still best enjoyed in its inimitable original wording. The text in the present volume is that of the first edition (Chapman and Hall, London, 1843)”.

I quote this from the Dover Classics Edition because it is very true. Much as it wouldn't seem like Christmas without "A Christmas Carol" in one form or another, nothing tells it as well as Charles Dickens' original. My favorite movie version is the second made, with Alistair Sim, which sticks to the original fairly well. But the last time I read the book was in 1952. I loved it then and I love it now.

Dickens' descriptions of mid-1800s London are so real and so chilling one wonders how the English survived those times. The attitudes are spot on, as Dickens' characters always are. What makes "A Christmas Carol" different is the absolute fear that Scrooge feels upon seeing his old "dead as a doornail" partner visit him on Christmas Eve. The feel of Dickens' writing is so powerful nothing can be ignored.

The visits of the three spirits are amazing in the depth they are given and in what they accomplish and how. As most people do know the story in one form or another, I won't go into the visits other than how imaginative the story is in the way Scrooge's background and Scroogeness is dealt with so succinctly. This book is a must-read at least once in a reader's life, even if seen as plays, movies, even cartoons and remakes. Nothing is so satisfactory as the book itself.
… (more)
LibraryThing member bplma
Seen every version of the movie possible, but i had never read the book before-- i loved it. Rich in detail and language and setting-- I now have some idea what it felt like to be in one of those crooked streets in London in 1843-- the smells and the dirt and soot and the closeness-- to put a hand out the window and almost touch the dirty window next door...The special foods and the games and the feel of it. i loved it and i am amazed at how true so many of the movies remained to the book. Dickens at his best, i think-- full of imagery and descriptive language and good and evil and redemption...at less than 200 pages. The illustrations by P.J. Lynch help convey the mid 19th century feel. Brilliant.… (more)
LibraryThing member jimmaclachlan
I've read this a couple of times. Dickens was paid by the word & writes like it. He spends way too much time digressing into idiotic areas & filling up space. Example: "Marley was dead, dead as a door nail, although why a door nail should be deader than a coffin nail..." or something like that & goes on about it forever. Never does come to a conclusion - the proper one being a door nail is dead because it was hammered through the door & clinched on the opposite side, hence is dead. Coffin nails are hammered straight in, hence can move with the wood. His stories are classics, but I detest his writing style. Probably worth reading once.… (more)
LibraryThing member Canadian_Down_Under
Every year my mother, bless her heart, sends me a Christmas book. They are always written by contemporary authors like Mary Higgins Clark. Sometimes I am able to make my way through these novels but most times I give up after a couple of chapters and donate the book to my local library.

The truth is there is only one Christmas book as far as I'm concerned and that book is "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. I read this book for the first time a few decades ago and I read it most Christmases now.

Why do I love this book so much? Because it is the only one I have ever read that imbues the Christmas spirit in ME just by reading it! That is quite a feat especially now that I live in Australia after spending the first 35 years of my life in Canada. So now there is no snow or Christmas lights (it gets dark here about 10:00 by the end of December) to get my Christmas spirit sparked. But Dickens does it for me every time.
… (more)
LibraryThing member sweetiegherkin
Ebenezer Scrooge is the definition of a miser, reluctant even to wish anyone a merry Christmas for Christmas is but a “humbug.” But on Christmas Eve, he is shocked by a visit from the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, who had been like Scrooge in life. Marley warns Scrooge that if he doesn’t change his ways, he’ll be cursed like Marley to walk the earth wearing chains, regretting that he hadn’t been kinder in life. To further prompt Scrooge toward goodwill to men, he is visited by three more spirits – the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future – who show him the cheer others feel on Christmas but also warn him of what may be if he doesn’t become more giving.

A Christmas Carol has been told and adapted so many times as to become trite, but the original is still great to read, even if you know what's coming. The last time I read it I was 14, so coming back to it after all this time, I'm realizing just how funny Dickens can be. For instance, there is his musing right in the beginning as to the expression dead as a doornail: “Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for.” It's this humor that is often missing in all the adaptations, which are either completely serious or completely silly, rather than the perfect combination of both.

In many ways, A Christmas Carol is a morality tale, warning us about being too greedy instead of sharing our wealth with the poorest and neediest in our communities. It’s interesting how this book was so influential in our celebration of Christmas and has even affected our language so that “scrooge” has now become synonymous with miser. But despite all this, do we always remember to take the real story to heart? Do we remember to take care of those living in poverty all the year long, as Scrooge finally does at the end?

For this re-reading, I listened to the audio version read by Frank Muller, who was excellent. If A Christmas Carol isn’t already a part of your holiday tradition, I highly recommend that it become so.
… (more)
LibraryThing member Nodosaurus
Since everyone knows the story, I'll dispense with the usual plot and character analysis.

This book was on my to-read list for many years. I'm glad I finally read it. First, I was surprised how closely some of the movies follow the book. The only differences were some of the adventures with ghosts. For instance, the ghost of Christmas Past took Scrooge on a short trip to a ship at sea, which was never (as far as I know) portrayed in any movie. Many sections of the book take advantage of the written form to provide descriptions that couldn't be provided in video. And a proper portrayal of the ghosts would require some interesting special effects.

I think that some of the extras provided by the films are good addition to the story. There is often an expansion of Scrooge's relationship with Tiny TIm, who becomes more of a focal point than in the book.

Although the book is a good read, the story is well known enough that I think I would have gotten more value out of one of his others. But I'm still glad I read it.
… (more)
LibraryThing member SheReadsNovels
A Christmas Carol is the one classic that almost everyone knows, even if they've never read the book. It's shorter and easier to read than most of Dickens' other books and really is suitable for people of all ages. I loved it as a child and after re-reading it this week for the first time in years, I loved it as an adult too. No matter how many movies, cartoons or TV adaptions you may have seen, it's still worth reading the book for the richness and humour of Dickens' writing and for his wonderful descriptions and imagery.

Although some readers might find it too sentimental at times, it's easy to see why this book has become a timeless classic, as it is everything a good Christmas story should be - heartwarming, inspirational and with an important message for us all.
… (more)
LibraryThing member Virago77
Beautiful Story

I only gave it three stars because it was harder to read than I expected. It's hard to judge with the classics, some are easier than others to get through. I thought this would be easier because I love the story. The only thing I look forward to at Christmas time is watching as many movie versions of this story as I can. I love the story and out of all the versions I've seen, the 1999 Patrick Stewart version stays closest to the original text.

The writing wasn't lacking (clearly), it was just hard to get through the language. But it felt like an accomplishment to finish as it's been on my 'to-read' list for quite some time.
… (more)
LibraryThing member Bill.Bradford
Who does not know the story? This is my fourth time through A Christmas Carol and each time reveals something new. I am currently in the midst of reading God and Charles Dickens: Recovering the Christian Voice of a Classic Author by Gary Colledge, and this time through the Christian references were much more poignant. The illustrations in this edition were a very nice addition, and it is nice to see a standard Kindle edition with them. The book would always get 5 stars, and the Kindle version does as well.… (more)
LibraryThing member Clif
I've seen many movies and dramatic stage performances of A Christmas Carol, but as best as I can recall I've never read the original by Charles Dickens. A book group I belong to selected this book for our December 2009 meeting, so that gave me an excuse to listen to this book is audio format. Dickens' skill as a writer comes through in this short book much as he does in his longer books. It is worth the time to read or listen to the original version of a popular Christmas story.… (more)
LibraryThing member MistyRobinson
Summary: A classic tale about a mean old man named Ebenezer Scrooge who counts his money on Christmas Eve. He mistreats his employee. Three spirits come to visit him. Each brings with them a lesson for him to learn. The first is the spirit of Christmas past from which he revisits his childhood and who he once was. He then is visited by the spirit of Christmas present from whom he gets to see the personal lives of the people in his every day life and how he has affected them. The last spirit is the ghost of Christmas yet to come. This one shows him what his future looks like if he continues down his mean spirited path. He is then given a chance to redeem himself.

Personal Reaction: A classic we all grew up knowing about either through reading, movies, or tv shows, but I have always enjoyed actually reading the classic original story. I never considered the fact before that this would be considered historical fiction until I took this class. Its set in mid 1800's.

Classroom extension: This would be a little tricky per most schools do happy holidays or celebrate winter, and not Christmas itself.

I could have the children reflect on their own holiday/winter memories.

We could compare and contrast how they lived in that time period this was set in to the way we live today

We could watch one of the movies made from this story and have the kids compare and contrast the differences from the book to the movie. To see what the director changed and kept the same.
… (more)
LibraryThing member AnnadelCDye
I have seen the movies lots of times, but reading the book for the first time was awesome. The way the old english is written gives it a special flavor. The story of a miser that hates Christmas and cares for nothing but money and how three ghosts help him change his ways, before is too late. A very good story and a great reading.… (more)
LibraryThing member HolmesGirl221b
This timeless classic has some emotional truth for Dickens. He traveled to the heart of his own emotional loneliness as a young child, packed off the work in a blacking factory because his father was imprisoned for debts. He fictionalised this loneliness in the figure of the young Scrooge, who is left alone at school each Christmas. In a simplistic, but compelling psychological analysis, he portrays Scrooge as a man who has built a wall of money around himself to defeat the loneliness of his childhood.
This book has sentimental value to me, and I love reading this at Christmas time each year, as I follow Ebenezer through a journey of discovery. The three ghosts who appear to haunt Scrooge out of his uncharitable ways. Christmas past taking him back to his childhood, abandoned at school over the festive season, and the happy days of his youth as a clerk in London engaged to the daughter of the wonderfully named Mr Fezzywig. His bitter regret as he foolishly drives her away before his increasingly miserly ways. He is deeply saddened at the sense of a wasted life. The ghost of Christmas present then takes him out to the snowy streets to see how others, such as the family of his humble clerk Bob Cratchit are celebrating.
But it is the third ghost, the terrifying grim reaper of Christmas yet to come, who really has an affect on Scrooge. Seeing his own death, lying forgotten as the very linen from his bed is stolen and sold by the people hated him. He suddenly realises how alone and unhappy he is and how his life could be if he had a change of disposition, and helped others as he would be able to do.
So Scrooge becomes a changed man, promising to help care for Tiny Tim and finally accepting his nephew's invitation to join his own family on Christmas morning.
… (more)
LibraryThing member mmsharp
Another classic I hadn't read, though I've seen plays and movies of course. Reading it how Charles Dickens wrote it was perfect for the season. I have to admit I love Halloween, but this is a great xmas story. You can see how the story has been stretched over the years after reading the original. it really captures the meaning and feeling you should have during the Holiday season. I'm glad I read this. It puts me in a festive mood!… (more)
LibraryThing member alliek710
Great classic that every kid needs to read. I learned about this for the first time in like the third grade when we did a play of it, and I loved it.
LibraryThing member Sile
Why did I read it? Because I enjoy audiobooks, and I also relished Tom Baker's contribution doing voice-overs on "Little Britain".

What's it about? Mr. Scrooge is a miserable, friendless, mean old man, who employes one poor clerk with a large family and a crippled son to support. Christmas arrives and with it, three spirits of the season to show Scrooge the error of his ways.

What did I like? Tom Baker is an excellent narrator, who breathes life into the words of Dickens like no other I've heard; Mr. Baker really made the book come alive for me, and I have read it several times, so this was a novel experience. Mr. Baker is a masterful storyteller, whose enthusiasm shone through in his performance, without over-acting or any hint of condescension in his reading. I sincerely hope he chooses to do more recordings of books in the future.

Some sound effects were employed in the recording, and these enhanced my enjoyment of the story.

Would I recommend it? I think this audiobook can be enjoyed by all the family, though I would suggest that it may not appeal to children under the age of 9. Better still, if you have a long drive to the grandparents for Christmas, put this on to make that journey a joy.

Overall, a highly enjoyable listen which is just perfect for the winter holiday season.
… (more)
LibraryThing member Orix_Bluewave
I think everyone has heard the title and read this book.
So I need not introduce the story.

I have read this book in Japanese.
But in English, there is another impression.
I felt how wonderful to love people!
And I hope scrooge will become a kind person.
LibraryThing member berthashaver
A delight to re-visit this classic Christmas story.
LibraryThing member tapestry100
Dickens' perennial Christmas classic about Ebenezer Scrooge and his visits from the ghost of his former partner, Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come and the Christmas lessons Scrooge learns from them. I try to read this every year around the holidays, and it never seems to get old.… (more)
LibraryThing member shelley.s
I found this book in an antiques book shop. Its a 1909 pocket size edition and bound in a suede cover with a note in the front saying "To Jacob love Minnie." I love everything about this little book from the Shakespeare quotes at the front to the different size pages throughout. Its a real old treasure. I've owned it for at least 5 years but never actually read it due to its frail state and the fact I know the story in side out. However i had a few days before my new book was due to come through the post so I decided to get into the christmas spirit. It was exactly how I remember it. Normally when I go back and read books from my childhood i'm bitterly disappointed about how rubbish it actually was compared to my amazing childish memory of it however this book was as great today as it was 14 years ago and alas 100 years before that! Everyone should read it at least once.… (more)
LibraryThing member Katie_H
I haven't been in the Christmas spirit this year, so I decided to re-read this to see if it would help, and I'm happy to say that it did! Most people are familiar with this heartwarming story, but I'll recap anyway. Ebeneezer Scrooge, known by all to be an insensitive miser, is visited on Christmas Eve by the ghost of his former partner, Jacob Marley. Jacob shares his misery and regrets with Scrooge and introduces three additional visitors: Ghost of Christmas Past, Ghost of Christmas Present, and Ghost of Christmas Future. The ghosts take Scrooge on a field trip, illustrating how events will unfold if he does not change his ways. Dickens is an amazing writer - his characters are rich, his humor is contagious, and many authors have attempted to imitate his prose. This is THE classic Christmas tale, capturing what the holiday is all about. It's a short novella, weighing in under 100 pages, so if you haven't read it yet, there's still time before Christmas. (First read: Dec 15, 1988)… (more)
LibraryThing member BoundTogetherForGood
Wonderfully and vividly written. Read by Jim Dale!
LibraryThing member ChasidyBrown
Summary: A Christmas Carol is a story about a stingy, groucy scrooge. He is then visited by the ghost ofhristmas Past, Present, and Yet to come. This changes his outlook on Christmas and being a scrooge.
Review: This story is an oldy but a goody! This book is good in the fact that it can teach children not be stingy or even scrooges about the holidays. I have to stop and read this book myself sometimes when I am not quite into the holiday season.
Classroom extension: Christmas Time Story to teach children the gift of giving
Exchanging Gifts
… (more)
LibraryThing member unlikelyaristotle
Even though Dickens isn't exactly known for his conciseness, I can't help but love everything I've read by him (except for Great Expectations, which was more of a lukewarm appreciation, I guess). I'm not a Christian, but having lived in mostly Christian countries most of my life, I love it's traditions, especially Christmas!! And the reading of this book during the holidays has practically become that to many people. The many, many adaptations of this book in practically every holiday special of every sitcom ever aired is, I think, a testament to its greatness to all ye of little faith (in Dickens)!!… (more)



Holiday House

Original publication date





0823404862 / 9780823404865
Page: 0.3462 seconds