A Christmas Carol

by Charles Dickens

Hardcover, 1983

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(4943 ratings; 4.1)

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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
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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.
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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
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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.
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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
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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.
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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 &
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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.
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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
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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.
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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
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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)!!
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LibraryThing member BoundTogetherForGood
Wonderfully and vividly written. Read by Jim Dale!
LibraryThing member tortoisebook
This is the story of an old miserly misery-guts, Ebeneezer Scrooge, who is shown the error of his ways when he is visited by 4 ghosts - that of his late business partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmases past, present and yet to come - and then given the chance to change himself and his
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future and the futures of those around him.

The story is beautifully written and the descriptions of Victorian London at Christmas are evocative and brilliantly capture the feeling of goodwill to all men. Scrooge's encounters with the ghosts are suitably creepy and you feel his shock and fear. Scrooge isn't the villain though - you come to understand how his character has developed as a result of a lonely childhood and always get the feeling that he has a good heart waiting to come out. You find yourself sympathising with him and willing him to be a better person. He doesn't disappoint and comes good in the end with joy and pure abandon.

For me this story captures the true meaning of Christmas. It is not religious at all - with it being a ghost story I guess that would be inappropriate. Rather it is about the season of goodwill, families coming together for one day, forgetting their troubles and poverty, and eating, drinking and being merry. It also considers those far away from their families, at sea or on a lighthouse, and shows that they too pass a moment to think of their loved ones and raise a glass at Christmas.

Please read this book - preferably in the run-up to Christmas. It is short, the language is beautiful, the story familiar and yet so much more. Most of all the message is timeless. A masterpiece.
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LibraryThing member kraaivrouw
This has always been my favorite Christmas story. The first time I came into its presence was in elementary school in Memphis, TN (Snowden Elementary School, in fact). They called us all into the auditorium for an afternoon of Christmas movies - nothing religious, just the secular stuff - mostly
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old classics. I have no clear memory of any of those movies with the exception of A Christmas Carol. It was the 1938 British version with Reginald Owen as Scrooge. I remember being utterly captured by it and looking for the book to read. We read it aloud until I could re-read it on my own.

A Christmas Carol is a story about redemption - how one man, who has led a selfish and greedy life that has brought him no pleasure or kinship, gets a chance to revisit his choices and observe the consequences. It's smart, funny, and, of course, very Victorian.

It is also one of the most timely and relevant books all year. Forget the political reporting, the novels on current events, the magazine articles, and all the other things that have been written about the state of our economy and our political system. Just read this. It will tell you everything you need to know.

From the notion that one's duty is to help the poor and ease their suffering to the punishment exacted of those who ignore this duty, this book is like a treatise on our times, on our ability to walk away from the starving on the way to our Christmas latte; on the fact that in a crushing economy there are no bread lines, no soup kitchens, no government jobs programs - just more children on the street; on the fact that most of our nation's wealth is in the hands of a very few who can't be bothered with anything in their lives other than grubbing for more money to buy their next 25,000 foot house in the country. There is also the existence of people who rise above their poverty, who find joy in the small things of life, who struggle and who sometimes die, but who maintain the giving spirit of Christmas throughout their days.

I was humbled and delight by this book. It was a delight to read, as always, and amazing how relevant it is even though it was written way back in the 1800's. That's why they're classics - in case you ever wondered.
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LibraryThing member alana_leigh
The story of A Christmas Carol is one that most of us in the Western world know fairly well... in fact, I would wager that most children over the age of 7 in the US or UK could give a pretty good breakdown of the general plotpoints with ease. But did we actually read the Charles Dickens classic to
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gain this knowledge? Or is your understanding of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future the result of a film adaptation? I'm not railing against movie adaptations, as I think A Christmas Carol translates brilliantly to film... to the point where we might all know the plot of this particular story as a result of a movie that puts a twist on the original tale. My personal favorite is The Muppet Christmas Carol, though a close second is Scrooged.

My only previous read of the actual text of A Christmas Carol occurred back in sixth grade. It's a short little novella and was a good introduction to Dickens, as his other tomes seemed daunting to an eleven-year-old. One can easily breeze through A Christmas Carol in a single evening, curled up by the fire with Christmas lights twinkling and presents under the tree. That said, A Christmas Carol really isn't something I would opt to re-read year after year. Here's where those film adaptations become very, very useful. You watch the Muppets, Bill Murray, Ebbie, or Scrooge and you've had your yearly dose.

This year, I noticed an Audible performance of A Christmas Carol done by Tim Curry and it simply had to be purchased and immediately loaded on to my ipod. I listened to it over the course of three days, knitting a Christmas present on my commute to work. I was surprised at how few details slip through the cracks in various performances and I was comforted by how familiar the words were to the point where I could have recited many passages along with Curry. (And some of them were even ones I could do without Gonzo's voice.) The story is timeless and it's hard to imagine the holidays without this particular tale in existence, when in fact it was only published in 1843. This might be a bit blasphemous to say, but it's second only to the actual origin story of Christmas in terms of our association with this time of year. Beyond Christmas, think of the cultural contributions of this novel to our general lexicon. Think of such outstanding quotes as "Mankind was my business," "as solitary as an oyster," "there's more of gravy than of grave about you," and even "'Bah,' said Scrooge. 'Humbug!'" Tim Curry gives a fun reading with voices that are never too ridiculous. I'll admit that I hoped for a little bit more, though I'm not quite sure what. Some flash, a bit more panache, something. I've listened to Curry read the first in the Series of Unfortunate Events and that was pure magic. Here, it was certainly amusing enough but I didn't feel the same delight for which I had hoped. I'm not sure I could reconcile the visual of Tim Curry anywhere in the story but as a voice in your ear, it's a fine way to experience A Christmas Carol for the first time in its original form or as a re-telling that isn't brought out with the rest of the Christmas DVDs and tinsel each year.

So on this Christmas Day, I leave you with this, quoted from memory:

"And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any many alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us, every one!"
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LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
Despite the fact that I knew the storyline from multiply adaptations, I found the actual story refreshing and interesting. What surprised me most is how ready Scrooge is to be a changed man. It is only with the ghost of Christmas Past that he is reluctant and unbelieving. After that, he wants only
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to be taught and to change. And he is humble enough to see all the worst about himself and not be angry or get defensive. It makes Scrooge a more sympathetic character. I also liked the way there is a very present narrator, adding his own observations of the various scenes.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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 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
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holidays, and it never seems to get old.
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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
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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
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LibraryThing member berthashaver
A delight to re-visit this classic Christmas story.
LibraryThing member lycomayflower
Sentimental, of course, but in the best way. And the language and descriptions! Top notch. I read this every years for decades, but I skipped a few years recently because I had the story so nearly memorized that I found it hard to really read it anymore. This year I subscribed to a newsletter that
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sent a little snippet of the story each day from 1 December through Christmas Day. The person doing it divided it up masterfully, and it was wonderful to revisit the book again in this way. ~December 2022

An annual reread, these past two years done out loud with the husbeast. One of my most favoritest Christmas traditions and one of my most favorite of favoritest books, actually. Never, ever grows old, and always brings a smile. Some of the best descriptions of food, crowds, the city, and parties I've ever read here. And, of course, brilliant on Christmas. A delight.
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LibraryThing member the.ken.petersen
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
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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!!!!!
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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
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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.
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LibraryThing member JJPCIII
A book which might be avoided by some readers because of the cliches that the text has generated. Any such bias should be overcome though. It is a witty engrossing read, with some enthralling passages, most notably in those parts where Dickens describes family and social scenes. It is also sensuous
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in some places, and is all the more rewarding for it.
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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
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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)
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LibraryThing member Voracious_Reader
Everyone knows the plot to Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol: Scrooge is visited by the ghosts of Past, Present, and Future; he realizes that life is about more than money and that he’d like to be remembered well by friends and family. Its story is familiar and timeless. Scrooge learns that the
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true meaning of Christmas is found in sharing one’s money and time, actively loving the world as God did by giving us his son. In terms of bending time as a plot device, it was probably pretty cutting edge when written; also, Dickens captures ugliness and pettiness like few others can. It’s an enjoyable short read from a writer who composes with true emotion, advocating for the plight of the poor. I wonder what Dickens’ writings would have been like if he’d been born into a less class conscious culture, one where people were freer to move about the economic spectrum.
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LibraryThing member mamzel
As many times as I have watched the movie versions, I have never read the book until now. Not being a literature major in college, I don't know if it is the language of the time or the man, but the descriptions are refreshingly different. One that really stopped me was the lobsters that glowed
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green in the basement. I read the book in installments from Daily Lit.
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LibraryThing member lycomayflower
An annual reread, these past two years done out loud with the husbeast. One of my most favoritest Christmas traditions and one of my most favorite of favoritest books, actually. Never, ever grows old, and always brings a smile. Some of the best descriptions of food, crowds, the city, and parties
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I've ever read here. And, of course, brilliant on Christmas. A delight.
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Publication

Holiday House

Original publication date

1843-12-19
1973: Joyas Literarias Juveniles, No. 90 - "Cuentos de Navidad", Editorial Bruguera, S. A. (in Spanish)

Pages

117

ISBN

0823404862 / 9780823404865
Page: 1.6053 seconds