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A Christmas Carol
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Group Read Archive 2014-16 > Classic Group Read (December 2015) - A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

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message 1: by Holly, That Geeky One (new) - rated it 4 stars

Holly (hollycoulson) | 1949 comments Mod
Once again, we're reading A Christmas Carol as a celebration of Christmas as a group read!

Discussion starts December 1st


Marina (sonnenbarke) If I have enough time, I might join in on this one -- I would like to read it and it's quite short, so I might manage to slip it in my reads. Hope so.


message 3: by Holly, That Geeky One (new) - rated it 4 stars

Holly (hollycoulson) | 1949 comments Mod
It is rather short, Marina! You'll get it done in no time! :)


Veena (veena_singh) | 3 comments I am joining in!


message 5: by Renee, Mistress of the Mini-Challenge (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renee M | 4728 comments Mod
There's a terrific audio version by Patrick Stewart if you are an audiobook person.


Marina (sonnenbarke) Thanks for the suggestion, Renee! I have only just started listening to audiobooks, and I quite like them even though I much prefer written books. However, I already own A Christmas Carol as an ebook, so I'll stick to it. Might try the audio version next year, though, if I like the book.


Cindy  | 384 comments I have been wanting to read A Christmas Carol for a long time. It is like Treasure Island, you hear about the characters all the time. I had trouble finding an original text, there are so many adaptations. I found an interactive original text book in Ibooks. It gives you background information and help with the Victorian words.


message 8: by Renee, Mistress of the Mini-Challenge (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renee M | 4728 comments Mod
That sounds great, Cindy. I love that some ebooks give you so much extra. :)


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) Sounds great, I'll join in. Haven't read it but almost did last year.


Cindy  | 384 comments I am 50 percent finished. This was harder to read than I expected. I have an annotated version and it is not helping. Some of the Victorian references are not familiar, even if explained.


message 11: by Renee, Mistress of the Mini-Challenge (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renee M | 4728 comments Mod
Sometimes I'll actually listen to an audio version of a book WHILE I'm reading it. Especially if I'm finding the reading to be a challenge. By listening y and reading at the same time, I get sensory immersion which really helps with my focus. I never would have gotten through Moby Dick if I didn't both listen and read. I'm so glad I did. Just a thought. It might help.


Deirdre (deirdrereid) | 3 comments I just finished reading the Oxford World's Classics edition. It includes Explanatory Notes in the back which were very helpful, especially for contemporary references, a Dickens chronology, and a good intro. Plus four of his other Christmas books! I'm saving those for later in the season.

I love his descriptions, especially when he personifies objects. And, the way he uses images of dark and light to contrast Scrooge and others.


Veena (veena_singh) | 3 comments I finished reading the book yesterday. Love it how he describes his characters. So much drama! He just brings out life is every thing in the book. Clearly a genius!

I don't know about the other Christmas books that he has written. I will check them out too. :)


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) Cindy wrote: "I am 50 percent finished. This was harder to read than I expected. I have an annotated version and it is not helping. Some of the Victorian references are not familiar, even if explained."

I noticed that too when skimming the first page last year. I will go through with it this year but I haven't been a big Charles Dickens fan yet


Cindy  | 384 comments There was a story on the evening news about how people try to have the perfect Christmas and expectations are so high this time of year. I thought about a Christmas Carol. The Cratchitt family was so poor, but they sat down to a wonderful Christmas dinner of roast goose. They were together and that is what mattered. To me that would be the best type of Christmas, instead of getting caught up in the lights, noise and mile long to do list. Yes I am guilty.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) Agreed Cindy, it's easy to forget the important parts of holiday seasons sometimes


Sam F | 198 comments I just finished it and really loved it. I've been in a more 'bah humbugish' mood lately and it pulled my spirits up. Just imagining Scrooge as giddy made me laugh. Dickens' descriptions of the feasts and foods made me hungry, and I am now looking forward to the busy Christmas season. Having time with family and friends will be joyful!


Marina (sonnenbarke) I started reading this yesterday night. I would have wanted to read it in one session, but I was so tired I fell asleep at about 30% of the book. I'll finish it today, I hope, or tomorrow at the latest.
I wanted to say I'm really enjoying it.
When I was a kid I had read a comic version with Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge, and from that moment on I never could get this story out of mind. So it's curious I only now managed to download and read the actual book.


message 19: by Renee, Mistress of the Mini-Challenge (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renee M | 4728 comments Mod
It's so great that many of you are reading the original for the first time. It's such a truly classic story and has become entirely iconic, with Scrooge creeping into pop culture venues of every kind. When you finish reading it this year, it might be fun to watch some of the movie versions, such as Scrooged with Bill Murray or the Muppets version. There are musical versions and several black and white versions. Someone mention Scrooge McDuck and there's a Mr. Magoo version out there, too.

Another great thing about Dickens's writing is that you can reread A Christmas Carol every year, and every year you'll be struck by something else. I love that Deirdre noticed the symbolism is the light and darkness and that for Cindy it's the Cratchet family which stood out. This has turned into a great discussion!


Not_Your_Typical_Lannister (Leslie)   | 151 comments Renee wrote: "It's so great that many of you are reading the original for the first time. It's such a truly classic story and has become entirely iconic, with Scrooge creeping into pop culture venues of every ki..."

Renee I sadly cannot read this. I wish I could forgive Dickens for what he put me through in Grade 10 - Great Expectations! I struggled so much with that book and that class. One day I will have to face my demons - that book - and forgive him by reading it or something of his.

I have taken a baby step by putting A Tale of Two Cities on my TBR though. One day I will read it I because it is supposed to be amazing as well.

I am currently playing a video game and Dickens is in it (Assassin's Creed Syndicate). I have to help him out and take him to safety. This dude is haunting me!!! lol


message 21: by Renee, Mistress of the Mini-Challenge (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renee M | 4728 comments Mod
Okay, the video-Dickens rescue is hilarious!

I'm gonna advocate audio books again. And A Christmas Carol, (Not one of the other Dickens Christmas stories. There's a reason that they're not as famous.) because it just cracks along and has so much to offer.

I was not asked to read any Dickens in HS or college and now I'm rather glad. I didn't read him until my 20s and my first experience was


message 22: by Renee, Mistress of the Mini-Challenge (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renee M | 4728 comments Mod
The Pickwick Papers which was a scream.


message 24: by Renee, Mistress of the Mini-Challenge (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renee M | 4728 comments Mod
Oh My God! What is this madness called Assassin's Creed???? I watched the entire video!


Not_Your_Typical_Lannister (Leslie)   | 151 comments Ha ha! Assassin's Creed is my other obsession. Reading and A.C. take up a lot of my free time.

The A.C. Series of video games take you to different eras where you complete different quests and uhm ... Kill people and protect others. I have helped people like Leonardo Da Vinci, Alexander Graham Bell, and I hear the one I am playing has Florence Nightengale and Charles Darwin to come too. A.C. is a little twisted but then so am I.


Cindy  | 384 comments I was also afraid of Charles Dickens, I had to really challenge myself to read Great Expectations. A Christmas Carol surprised me, it was hard to read. There were too many Victorian references. Maybe a buddy read in the future?


Not_Your_Typical_Lannister (Leslie)   | 151 comments I would consider a buddy read of A Tale of Two Cities in 2016 Cindy???


Cindy  | 384 comments Sounds good to me, anytime in 2016.


Marina (sonnenbarke) I just finished reading this and I'm so glad I finally did read it! I can't understand why I waited so much time before actually purchasing and reading the book -- I should have done long ago!
Anyway, I really loved it, it's simply wonderful. Too bad I hadn't read any Charles Dickens at University, despite my having studied English Literature.


Not_Your_Typical_Lannister (Leslie)   | 151 comments Alright. You've convinced me to at least listen to the audiobook.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) I'll probably read this one closer to the mid to end of month. Reason being I'm in two group reads for this and they're reading it toward the end. I'm in the middle of a couple other buddy reads right now. So little time, so many books!


message 32: by Renee, Mistress of the Mini-Challenge (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renee M | 4728 comments Mod
That's fine, Erin. We keep the thread open so members can read at their own pace.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) Renee wrote: "That's fine, Erin. We keep the thread open so members can read at their own pace."

Thanks Renee! That's the best way =)


Not_Your_Typical_Lannister (Leslie)   | 151 comments I listened to the audiobook while wrapping presents. I liked it and I guess I forgive Dickens for my Grade 10 Great Expectations experience.

I am glad you guys had this as a group read. Otherwise I know I would never have given it a go. Thanks.


message 35: by Renee, Mistress of the Mini-Challenge (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renee M | 4728 comments Mod
That is the best post ever! So glad it was a positive experience. :D


Not_Your_Typical_Lannister (Leslie)   | 151 comments Renee wrote: "That is the best post ever! So glad it was a positive experience. :D"

Thanks Renee.


Deborah Pickstone | 563 comments I read it twice in childhood and liked it neither time. On re-reading I find it is actually very lighthearted, in a very dated way. Halfway through currently.

I do not like Dickens. I have never cottoned to his style despite having read most of his books (force-fed at school). I still don't like him and have no desire to re-read anything more but it's more comical than I expected and I have covered the 'book set during Christmas' requirement. Ha!


message 38: by Kjs (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kjs | 9 comments Just received my A Christmas Carol.I started reading it today.I thought I was starting it late but it is a short book that I will be able to finish it. I love the movie!


Stephanie Just finished it. So enjoyable.


message 40: by [deleted user] (new)

I just began listening to the Audible version of A Christmas Carol, performed by Jim Carrey. Although I had not planned to read it, after watching a story about Dickens on CBS Sunday Morning, I thought it would make a nice short book to read until I tackle a longer book after Christmas. Here is a link to the article on CBS, if anyone is interested: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-secon...


message 41: by Renee, Mistress of the Mini-Challenge (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renee M | 4728 comments Mod
So glad to have so many members reading CC this month!

Okay... So I've read this several times over the years, and one year it occurred to me that Ebenezer could never have been able to save the day with his generosity if he hadn't been scrimping and saving and miser-ing all his life.
Thoughts? ;-)


message 42: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 21, 2015 09:24PM) (new)

Renee wrote: "So glad to have so many members reading CC this month!

Okay... So I've read this several times over the years, and one year it occurred to me that Ebenezer could never have been able to save the day with his generosity if he hadn't been scrimping and saving and miser-ing all his life..."


Renee- I am totally laughing right now because I essentially made the same comment to my husband after I viewed that news story on Sunday about A Christmas Carol. Well, it sounded kind of Bah Humbug when I said it, so I am glad someone else has had the same thought.


message 43: by Renee, Mistress of the Mini-Challenge (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renee M | 4728 comments Mod
Right? Hahaha!


message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

This quote (below) kind of triggered that thought because, the whole purpose of A Christmas Carol was to address economic inequity between the classes. Then I thought how ironic it was that Scrooge was able to be so giving with his money, when it was essentially accumulated as product of that same inequity. If throughout his entire career, Scrooge had embraced the same attitude about money as his nephew, then there wouldn't have been much of a story, unless it was soley about generousity of spirit.

Anyway, my two cents on the subject. Thanks so much for posting your thoughts, Renee, as I might not have been brave enough to post mine otherwise. :)

"Dickens, in his childhood, had faced great hardship," said Louisa Price, the head curator of the Charles Dickens Museum. "His father was riddled with debt troubles. And at one point his father was thrown into jail for debt, and at that time as a young boy, only 12 years old, he had to work in a blacking factory, to make ends meet and to support his family."

Price says those early experiences influenced much of Dickens' work. With "A Christmas Carol" he wanted to address the serious social ills that continued to plague the poor in Victorian England.

"He decided that he was going to write a political pamphlet. However, a few days later he wrote to a friend and said, 'I'm not going to do the political pamphlet. I'm going to put out something at Christmas time. And that's going to have 20 times the force.'"


message 45: by Renee, Mistress of the Mini-Challenge (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renee M | 4728 comments Mod
Dickens wrote several Christmas stories with similar themes over the years. But none have taken the public attention over the years as has A Christmas Carol.


Deirdre (deirdrereid) | 3 comments After his transformation, Scrooge loosened his purse strings but the loosening of his heart had the biggest impact. Becoming a loving uncle, boss, and neighbor and receiving love in return -- that story always warms my heart and gets me misty-eyed. I never tire of this story. It's a beautiful annual reminder about generosity and love -- the true gifts of this season.

My edition includes his other Christmas stories. I plan to read them next year during the holiday season -- I have too many books waiting to be read this week. I know they won't be as good as A Christmas Carol but it will be interesting to go back in time with Dickens.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) I finished today - beautifully told story. Dickens writing style hasn't been a friend to me before, but with this book it was a delight to follow.


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