A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings
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A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings

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4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  21,775 ratings  ·  424 reviews
'Merry Christmas!...every idiot who goes about with "Merry Christmas" on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding'

Dickens' story of solitary miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who is taught the true meaning of Christmas by a series of ghostly visitors, has proved one of his most well-loved works. Ever since it was published in 1843 it has had an enduring influence on the way w...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 30th 2003 by Penguin Classics (first published 1843)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Matt
I am a Christmas traditionalist. That is, I follow various Christmas traditions – both family-inherited and self-imposed – with more faith than usually given to the actual religious underpinnings of the holiday. My wife and therapist both would probably say this is an unconscious attempt on my part to exert control and impose order on my world, but whatever.

On the day after Thanksgiving, I get a tree, a real one, because I’ve already forgotten how hard it was to dispose of last year’s tree. I t...more
Sandy Tjan
I suppose that a story that is so ubiquitous during Christmas time as this one needs no introduction. I can see why it has been constantly popular for more than one hundred years. I appreciate the writing and craft that goes into the story, the social commentary, the worthy morals, and the affection that generations of readers have for it. But I hated it. Yes, it's official, I'm the Grinch and (pre-reformed) Scrooge rolled into one. I have a heart made of stone, or at least something equally har...more
MJ Nicholls
Five Christmas novellas from 1843-1848, Dickens’s Xmas-crazy period (followed by the rest of his career), ranging from the oft-forgotten title piece (who reads that anymore?) to the four others read religiously in homes from Puerto Rico to Portsmouth (or have I mixed that up?). ‘The Chimes’ is the grittiest of these moralistic, blatantly sentimental novellas, with its imagined descent into degradation and squalor if the protag refuses to cherish Xmas, and ‘The Cricket on the Hearth’ is the most...more
Tracey
Only Mr Charles Dickens could ever dream of animating Christmas Fayre with his wonderous prose as he does some chestnuts and a Spanish Onion in A Christmas Carol .
There were great, round, pot-bellied baskets of chestnuts, shaped like the waistcoats of jolly old gentlemen, lolling at the doors, and tumbling out onto the street in there apoplectic opulence. There were ruddy, brown faced, wide –girthed Spanish Onions, shining in the fatness of their growth like Spanish Friars; and winking from thei...more
AmberBug
Dec 17, 2012 AmberBug rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone during Christmas Time
Oh, Dickens... you've done it again. Pulling at my heartstrings during this special time of year, Christmas. I'm so glad I decided to read this during the Holiday. You see, I'm always left with a bad feeling during Christmas because it makes me so neurotic. Cleaning, shopping, making food, parties, no time to do everything... CHAOS! I detest the feeling of "GO GO GO" and "BUY EVERYTHING". I wish we could live in the times when Christmas was all about giving to those in need and gathering round a...more
Brianne Hepworth
I actually enjoyed reading this book. I am obviously familiar with the story, but not completely. My last encounter with Dickens was when I was 16 and I read Great Expectations. While I remember enjoying that book, I also remember I had a REALLY hard time understanding it. Sadly, this book wasn't that different. I often had to reread sentences or paragraphs, or I would just trek on and hope that eventually through context clues I would understand. In the end, I comprehended most everything of wh...more
Richard Kramer
I have lived many years thinking I'd read this, but that was actually a big, big lie. I knew the key stuff, because everyone does. But had I read it? No! So, this Christmas, I did. It explodes with high spirits, sentimentality, comedy, hunger for life and fear of the darkness, like most of his stuff. I had two little insights about it, possibly worthless, but not to me. The first is that Scrooge and Marley were more than business partners. They lived together, were both "bachelors"; I thought, a...more
Chris
I've realized that despite years of watching A Christmas Carol every Christmas (either in movie or play form), I had never actually read the original text. So this year I decided to take some time and read the book prior to seeing the play. I wasn't disappointed...in fact, I was excited to see that the productions I've seen have been fairly true to the text.

Language
The language is very true to the standard Victorian form and to other works of Dickens. The descriptions are ornate and flowery. Th...more
Pink
I've wavered with my rating for this. If I'm totally honest, it was probably only 2 stars in pure enjoyment factor, but I recognise that it's worthy of more. I enjoyed some of the snappy sentences, liked the plot development and appreciated how certain phrases have lasted 170 years to become part of our language. Overall though, I found it saccharinely marketed for the Victorian audience and some parts were just boring. Having just finished and loved Jane Eyre, which was written around the same...more
Loren
Giving this 3 stars makes me look like a Scrooge, but really the lack of 5 stars is for the other stories included in the book, not the one you're familiar with. A Christmas Carol really does hold up on re-reading, even if you can quote parts of it aloud. I'd forgotten that Scrooge sees the housekeeper, the landlady, and the undertaker sell his stuff to the pawnbroker. One of them actually took his best shirt off his corpse in order to sell it. That's seriously harsh.

The book is filled out with...more
Paul Haspel
A Christmas without Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol seems unthinkable, and therefore it’s appropriate that this Penguin Books edition of A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings by Dickens is introduced with the famous anecdote of a child in London responding to the news of Dickens’s 1870 passing by crying out, “Dickens dead? Then will Father Christmas die too?” The great British novelist’s influence on how people around the world think about the Christmas holiday remains just as str...more
David
I must confess that I had seem many film versions of this classic but never taken the time to read it. What I found when I did read of was a story rich with Dicken's brand of clever symbolism and wit. From the very first page Dickens grabbed my attention as be carefully set the stage for a ghost story with a discussion of the need of the reader to know that Jacob Marley was really dead! The reader knows almost at once that this is going to be a ghost story. However, Dickens does this in a clever...more
Tricia
This is one of those books that I'm a little ashamed to say that I haven't read before. But, my online book group is reading it this month and now I am SO GLAD I can say that I have read it.

I know I don't really need to give any kind of a plot synopsis. But, I can see where I would have been turned off by reading it in my younger years. Dickens does occasionally go off on wordy tangents, which for a book that is only 100 pages seems somewhat unnecessary. But, it was a lovely enjoyable read which...more
Yasiru (reviews will soon be removed and linked to blog)
To be Dickensian is, once the (albeit crucial) social commentary is discounted, simply put, to be rich (with all the vaguely ironic connotations). Foremost, this means to be rich in detail and occupy such a spectrum that the detail of an individual's anguish or joy or anything in between is never obscured by the vivid and cacophonous gathering or setting he is depicted as either witness to or finding himself a part of, an observer in his own mind if not a stranger. A whole scene can be picked ap...more
Victoria
Review: A Christmas Carol
★★★★★
(finished 12/29/13)

"I have always thought of Christmas time... as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely."


I must confess, my experiences with Dickens have been limited to my attempt to read Great Expectations in the ninth grade, and Oliver Twist in the tenth. Needless to say, trying to cram Dickens in a short amoun...more
Anne
I liked A Christmas Carol, I liked The Chimes and I liked Cricket on the Hearth. The last two stories however, weren't that great in my opinion. I didn't get into the story of The Battle of Life at all until I was well past the first half of it. It wasn't entirely bad because of a few characters I liked; I also liked the little scene at the inn. Come to think of it, that's probably where I finally stopped sighing and got interested instead...
The Haunted Man was entertainable at most. It didn't m...more
Stefanie Price
Okay, so we all know the story. I know the story, and the various movie adaptations representing it so well that until this was chosen for my book group it had never occurred to me to read it. I am so glad that I now have. Dickens, as always writes in such an evocative manner that you can really feel the bitter, frigid temperatures of dickensian London - it actually makes you feel shivery, so vivid is his descriptive language and powerful storytelling. There is humour that I did not expect in th...more
Peregrine
A Christmas Carol, of course, gets five stars. Tightly and movingly written, it's a masterpiece of a Christmas story. The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain can't decide whether to be frightening or sentimental and, while it does have its moving and its funny bits, does neither frightening nor sentimental very well. The other pieces in this collection come as random pictures meant to spark emotion and feed its flame, to the satiety, or perhaps exhaustion, of the reader. There is something of "s...more
russell barnes
Dec 31, 2013 russell barnes rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Rob Manwaring
Shelves: classics, christmas
Well it *IS* Saint Michaelmastide isn't it?

Obviously A Christmas Carol is brilliant in every, single way however a couple of things occurred to me whilst reading this collection:

1. I didn't realise how many of Dickens' Christmas stories are actually ghost stories, or at least feature ghosts. It's odd when you think about the tales' festive reputation, but it somehow makes them even better;

2. I remember reading an old edition of the Christmas books on the bus in Wundy Wullington NZ, and whilst...more
Phil
This was a bit of an eye opener. I had assumed I had read these at some point, but the re-read of A Christmas Carol promoted by a Christmas party conversation brought me to read(maybe rereading) this strange collection of stories.

I think anyone who has seen/read/herd anything has come across the Christmas Carol and this is usually the death nail in my enjoyment of ; but that said I have never had such a comfortable moment as snuggled up on the couch waiting for Santa to come for my kid brother a...more
Jade
My very first encounter with Dickens and ooh are these good little Christmas writings!! Little in length, but oh so deep and touching. I love the elaborate, musical prose style, transformations of character, dark humor, and seasonal cheerfulness. The writings at the end should not be missed. From those, I especially loved A Christmas Tree with its toy meditations and the all encompassing spirit of What Christmas Is As We Grow Older. The poem at the end, A Christmas Carol is a lovely tribute to t...more
Charles
I enjoyed reading Dicken's novella "A Christmas Carol". The language is wonderful and begs to be read out loud. You probably know the story - Ebenezer Scrooge is a mean old man who despises Christmas and the idea of helping others and being pleasant. He is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Marley, who was as stingy as Scrooge. Marley warns Scrooge about his fate in the afterlife if he doesn't mend his ways, and warns of 3 visitors - the spirit of Christmas past, the spirit of...more
Afsana
Have read the christmas carol and was shorter then expected and I can see that the films added to the story rather then edited it as normal

I started the chimes but have taken a break and will try again tommorrow when am les tired as it doesn't seem as intersting and at present seems to be about the church bells (chimes)

I enjoyed the christmas carol-never realy got into the chimes

The cricket on the hearth was ok enjoyed the story it had to tell and was impressed with the husband in the story and...more
Jessica
There is a reason why Charles Dickens' most famous Christmas story is A Christmas Carol. That little book (one of my favorite books of all time), is included here. But the other stories? What is the what is the what? I read two of them and then thought, What the HELL did I just read? Was it in English?! There's a delightful description of a Christmas tree, laden with gifts, that somehow wanders into a rambling story about ghosts in a country manor . . . I honestly kept checking to make sure I ha...more
Michael
The Christmas Books, while not always being set during the festive season, each exemplify some aspect of the spirit of charity and "goodwill to all men" that Dickens felt so important in the celebration of Christ's birth, and which he did so much to forge into what is now seen as "a traditional Christmas".

The Battle of Life: Self-sacrifice and familial love are the messages here. Some wonderfully drawn characters in Clemency Newcome (servant) and Messrs. Snitchey and Craggs (lawyers). Expectatio...more
Yahira Potterica
un clásico fantasioso y paranormal, que me encantó, con descripciones muy detalladas, muy lento, con una pluma preciosa y menciones a los lectores para llamar la atención, con una final perfecto y precioso para esa historia. Con un personaje principal que notaremos un gran cambio a lo largo de la historia y unos personajes secundarios que nos enseñaran mucho.

Reseña completa: http://un-gran-mundo-imperfecto.blogs...
Lily
Dickens Carol and a few other Christmas tales (The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth,
The Battle of Life, and The Haunted Man)presented in a beautiful illustrated format on good quality paper. A beautiful hard-backed volume to add to the library for holiday reading.

Also includes:
"two appendices containing Dickens's article, 'What Christmas Is As We Grow Older,' and facsimile pages from Dickens's reading version of A Christmas Carol."
Burt
All of Dicken's Christmas stories are wonderful, but none more so that A Christmas Carol. At first it was just a good story, but as I have aged I have come to discover that Ebenezer Scrooge is very real, and that, if I don't read A Christmas Carol every holiday season, I run the very real risk of turning into him.
Susan McNally
This is a wonderful ghost story and a fantastic read. Old Marley's ghost and Ebenezer Scrooge make a ghoulish pair, I often re-read this around Christmas time as can't resist Tiny Tim and the clattering of the irons that weighed Ebenezer down in life. Mr Dickens is the best!
Christena Rulli
This was not the first time I have read this book and always find it enjoyable. For me, Christmas always involves reading A Christmas Carol and sipping hot chocolate laced with whipped cream. It has become my personal holiday tradition.
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239579
A prolific 19th Century author of short stories, plays, novellas, novels, fiction and non-fiction; during his lifetime Dickens became known the world over for his remarkable characters, his mastery of prose in the telling of their lives, and his depictions of the social classes, morals and values of his times. Some considered him the spokesman for the poor, for he definitely brought much awarenes...more
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“Reflect upon your present blessings -- of which every man has many -- not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” 526 likes
“It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas when the Great Creator was a child himself.” 7 likes
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