Friday, December 28, 2012

A Christmas Carol :: Reading to Know Book Club

Hello all! I hope you had a very Merry Christmas! After a very fun week we are back with our final Reading to Know Book Club of 2012. (Click to see the 2013 book list.)

Reading to Know - Book Club

This month I selected Dickens' A Christmas Carol to read. It's a quick read and a holiday classic. I'm hoping those of you who have never read it had a chance to do so. If you had read it, hopefully you had a chance to revisit it.

I read this book for the first time just a year or so ago and was surprised by two things:

1. How short it was; and
2. I liked it.

Those of you who know me well know that I have had an aversion to Dickens in the past. This past August/September my in town book club's selection was Bleak House. Declaring to the group: "I will never read Dickens unless you choose a Dickens book for this club" made them somehow gleefully eager to choose a Dickens. So, I read Bleak House and liked it. I can no longer say that I dislike Dickens. That's my story.

A (very) brief overview of this particular work:

  1. Dickens began writing this story in September of 1843 and completed it six weeks later, in December. It was released December 19, 1843.
  2. As a result of a feud with his publisher over the earnings from his previously released novel, Martin Chuzzlewit, instead of accepting a lump sum payment for A Christmas Carol, Dickens arranged for a percentage of the profits. (Ultimately he was dissatisfied with this arrangement as well.)
  3. The book was met with instant critical acclaim and promptly sold out the first printing (6,000 copies) by Christmas Eve. A total of 24 editions were printed in the books original form.
  4. A Christmas Carol is credited as having restored a spirit of celebration to Christmas in England. Saying "Merry Christmas!" was made a popular phrase following the publication of this book.
  5. It is also not without its political themes. Specifically, Dickens had a bone to pick with how the poor in society were treated as his father was placed into a poor house and Dickens bore the shame of that. (That's a very short statement of a very interesting family history.)

As everyone knows there are a thousand (give or take) adaptations of this particular story. Perhaps it is shameful to admit this but all growing up, my exposure to this classic piece of literature came courtesy of Walt Disney. This is still one of my favorite short movies to watch during the Christmas season (though this year I took a disliking to the portrayal of the ghost of Christmas future):

 I'll wrap it up with that confession. ;)

Did you have a chance to read it? If so, what are your thoughts? Any particular memories surrounding this story that you'd care to share with the rest of us? If so, you can leave a note in the comment section. If you wrote up a blog post sharing your thoughts, just leave a link to your post.

With that I'll wish you one more MERRY CHRISTMAS and then let it be . . . until next year.


Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

This was one of our Christmas read-alouds this year:

Barbara H. said...

I think this is one of Dickens' best. I thought it neat to learn, as well, that "Merry Christmas" became a popular greeting after this book came out. My review is here:

BerlinerinPoet said...

I did it! Finally...

Oh how I love Dickens!

Shonya said...

I really, really liked it, Carrie. Thanks for choosing it--I don't know that I would have read it otherwise! :)

Anonymous said...

I finished A Christmas Carol early in the month and only got to see one version of the movie this year...NOT the Muppets version as I was hoping! Like you said it was a quick read and I liked it!

Diary of an Autodidact said...

I didn't get to this book this year (crazy schedule...), but did read it with my kids last year. Here are my thoughts:

Stephanie Kay said...

I didn't get this book read for a multitude of reasons. BUT we did watch the Muppets version, which is MY favorite.

Annette Whipple said...

I didn't post about it, but I read it! It was my first Dickens by choice, AND I enjoyed it!

My husband is now reading it. We also watched a version (somewhat recent) of it, and the kids watched the Mickey version. We also listened to a nice kids' version on audio. :)

Truly classic! And a good choice!

Stephanie said...

I wanted to post about it but didn't. :p

I'm so glad you picked this! I spent many a cozy evening with this and thoroughly enjoyed it. Dickens is much funnier than I realized! I'm already looking forward to tackling him again next December with Jonathan. : )

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