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Christmas Books (A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life, The Haunted Man))
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Christmas Books (A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life, The Haunted Man))

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  32,607 Ratings  ·  671 Reviews
Each of these short stories was written specifically for Christmas. They combine concern for social ills with the myths and memories of childhood and traditional Christmas spirit-lore. The stories are: A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, The Battle of Life, The Haunted Man and The Cricket on the Hearth. These 5 stories were first published together as 'The Christmas Books' in 1 ...more
Paperback, 383 pages
Published October 5th 1995 by Wordsworth Classics (first published 1843)
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Nov 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Joey Woolfardis
[First read: 2010 or thereabouts. 4 stars.
Second read: Christmas 2015. 4 stars.
Third read: Christmas, 2016. 4 stars.]

Ghost stories were the theme of Christmas during Victorian times and it's a tradition that is sorely missed. Charles Dickens is pretty much King of Christmas, and all these stories have a spectral vibe to them. They all contain the same kind of feeling to them, and give us a meaning to Christmas that I think we've let go of a little. Even I of a Scrooge nature feels blessed after

cute! i was warned a million times about dickens's wordiness, but i had no problem with it here. (i'm very wordy myself when writing, so it'd be hypocritical to hate it.)

this never fully grabbed my attention, but i never minded reading it. i've of course seen the story done before (community theater! the mickey cartoon! etc etc) so it wasn't fresh by any means, but i'm glad i read it.

bottom line: this is a good read-in-a-lifetime book! i recommend it.
Dec 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
4 stars for A Christmas Carol/2 or 3 for the others

I'm not sure how I've gotten to be the age I am without ever reading A Christmas Carol (I've never seen the movie either). I'm really glad that I decided to rectify that problem this year. I really enjoyed the well known tale of the ghosts of Christmas. The other stories were not bad but I didn't feel they had the same magic. This collection has some really interesting information in an appendix on Dickens's use of The Arabian Nights, a
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
helen the bookowl
Nov 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whenever I start a book like this, I expect for it to put me in the Christmas mood, and so it did! From the very first page, I could feel the crispness of the snow under my feet and the chill of the weather, and I didn't mind at all that we were in a graveyard!
Most of these Christmas stories contain pure magic - I especially loved the Sexton one and the legendary A Christmas Carol. Other stories didn't intrigue me that much but they still put me in the mood for Christmas. So all in all, I would
Branwen Sedai *of the White Ajah*
"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."
Grace 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
Sean Wilson
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How can you rate one of the greatest morality novellas of all time? It's a Christmas classic! Preaching compassion, sympathy, empathy and generosity, A Christmas Carol is beautifully written, atmospheric, playful and politically charged.
Feb 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: racconti, 2010
Ho letto solo "Canto di Natale", che merita sicuramente 5 stelline. Una di quelle storie che tanto si sanno, ma vale la pena leggere perché lo stile è davvero incantevole...e perché un po' di sano spirito natalizio scalda sempre il cuore!
Reminds me what Christmas is all about...the giving ♥ (2015)
Wonderful story of compassion.
The book also contains two other Christmas stories.
The Haunted Man is what I read this time (2016). Again the story is set at Christmas eve, a darker and more subtle take revolves around the fate of a teacher of chemistry, named Redlaw, whose lonely existence is oppressed by a host of gloomy memories. Redlaw wants to be rid of every bad memory of suffering, unhappiness, and wrong that he has ever known. Hi
Christmas - love and hope - the truest essence of joy, generosity, grace, and mercy - is so beautifully and imaginatively conveyed through Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL. One of my favorite Christmastime stories of all times.

One can be rich in materialism, wealthy beyond measure, but poor and loathsome in spirit. A real Bah Humbug - Scrooge. And one can be poor or of modest means by the world's standards, yet rich in all things of priceless, eternal worth. Such as Bob Cratchit (love the play
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
When it comes to Christmas books, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is probably the first book that comes to mind. Published in 1843, this novella was an instant success and has been a beloved classic since then. I am not going to go into a plot summary because I believe most people know the story but if you don’t, go watch A Muppet’s Christmas Carol. Told in five staves (similar to stanzas or verses) this book has been adapted so many times that A Christmas Carol has just become a part of th ...more
Dec 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"A Christmas Carol" is of course worthy of five stars, but as this is a review of the entire volume as a whole, I have settled on four stars instead.

You can't say "Christmas" without saying "Dickens". It is an undying rule and also a tribute to how great a writer Dickens truly was. How he managed to capture the perfect essence of the Christmas spirit in one small book and therefore creating an everlasting mark on our way to perceive this particular holiday. It is both an astonishing and remarkab
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
Οσες φορές και αν το διαβάσω σε καθε διασκευή πάντα θα βρίσκω και κάτι νεό να σημειώσω, μα είναι ένα χριστουγεννιάτικο θαύμα, είναι ένα αριστούργημα, η ωραιότερη χριστουγεννιάτικη ιστορία που γράφτηκε ποτέ από χέρι ανθρώπου! Εκπληξη όμως αποτελεί και το χριστουγεννιάτικο δέντρο του Ντίκενς, δεν το'χα ξαναδιαβάσει όπου μιλά για όνειρα, αγάπη, ιστορίες του παρελθόντος που μαγεύουν ενα παιδι. " Αθώα και καλοδεχούμενα να είναι πάντα τα Χριστούγεννα κάτω από τα κλαδιά του Χριστουγεννιατικου δέντρου π ...more
AmberBug **
Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Veridiana Ferreira
What a great read!!! I sometimes struggle with lengthy descriptions but this book is awesome! The descriptions are a big part of the storytelling and Dickens was so clever, what are those plot twists???!!! I could not put the book down!!! I loved the ghost stories so much, and how they were very intriguing and comic, all at once! It's also pretty awesome to see that this incredible work with such incredible stories inspired not only common readers such as myself, but also one of my all time favo ...more
Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
Christmas time is the perfect time to read A Christmas Carol and Penguin's clothbound edition of A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings is a joy to behold on the shelf and in the hand.

My admiration for the writing of Charles Dickens began after reading Oliver Twist, I was interested to see if this classic would live up to my expectations. I'm pleased to report that it did.

It's hard to believe that an author's work from more than 160 years ago can still warm the heart and tantalise the mi
Richard Kramer
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I keep forgetting how much I like Dickens's writing, even if it was padded out to earn more money. I keep saying that everytime I read Dickens but it's true.

For a challenge I'm doing I decided to read The Cricket on the Hearth, but I couldn't find it as a standalone at the library. So I picked up this one which has four other Christmas tales as well. Of course it has A Christmas Carol and I wasn't going to read that one again, but I caved and did. It's as delightful as it was the first time.

Brianne Hepworth
Oct 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own
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 fact, I was excited to see that the productions I've seen have been fairly true to the text.

The language is very true to the standard Victorian form and to other works of Dickens. The descriptions are ornate and flowery. T
Lee Broderick
To begin at the beginning, A Christmas Carol is superb. It's the foundation myth of the secular Christmas for a good reason and no matter how many times you've seen, read or heard any number of different interpretations, the original still maintains an ability to pull on heartstrings. Yes, it moralises (surely the entire point of the story) but somehow it avoids being patronising, just as it can somehow remain magical without being at all mawkish.

Given its incredible power and success, it shou
Oct 19, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 31, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An annual read for me. Don't know how long I've been doing this, but, my daughter was a teenager when I started and is now a Mommy of 3.

My favorite Christmas story. Well, other than the nativity story. Scrooge has become like a part of my family. As well as Bob Cratchett and his family. Just a wonderful read.

Also, watch the movie with George C. Scott as Scrooge. He's my favorite Scrooge. To me, nobody else that I've seen even comes close.

Re-read December 2011.
Re-read December 2012.
Re-read Decemb
Dickens and me really just don't jell well together. This is the second book of his I'm reading (well, trying to read) and while I liked the first few short stories, two pages into A Christmas Carol, I put it down. His superfluous language brings too much repetition to me and doesn't pull me in at all.
I think it's just time we accept that Dickens is not for me.
Tanya (aka ListObsessedReader)
I've previously read A Christmas Carol, but the rest of this collection was a first time read for me. Some of the stories are wonderful, others good, and one I had a bad time with... So I'm giving it three stars overall, but some of the individual stories are definitely worth more. Very glad to have finally read some more of Dickens' Christmas writings!
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Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the twentieth century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and sho ...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.” 792 likes
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