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Rory Book Discussions > ACC - Marley's Ghost

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message 1: by Sera (new)

Sera Reposted topic so that people could respond.

message 2: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
I am really liking this book a lot. It's so much fun - honestly it's a delight to read. I can't believe I'm liking his style of writing! Actually, I'm loving it for the most part. It's not so... packed with an excessive amount of words and characters like some of his other writings!

I'm only part way through Stave 2 (Past), but if I could get ten minutes together to read, I think I'd get through it fast!

message 3: by Sarah (last edited Dec 12, 2007 07:14PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Love, love, love it! But we knew that already. I think that the opening line is one of the best ever written.

And also, re-reading this now has completely renewed my love for this book. It's probably the fifth time I've read it, and I think I like it better and better every time.

message 4: by Meghan (new)

Meghan I've honestly tried reading this book about 10 times in my lifetime. Always, always, I got stuck on this chapter and ended up giving up. I hated it. I thought it was boring and ill-written and "who cares" is a thought that frequently went through my brain.

However, now that I've taken a Brit Lit class and maybe added a bit of maturity to my reading comprehension, I am in love with this book. I still think this is the part that runs slower than the rest of the story, but Dickens sets it up so well. The language is not so difficult now. And I'm actually quite tickled by his humor "there's more gravy than the grave about you." It's unadulterated cheese, but it's a finely aged brie than velveeta.

So Sarah, you can now say I actually like one of your authors. heh

message 5: by Meghan (new)

Meghan Also, I don't know if I'm mellowing or growing soft in my old age or because I'm now a mom and everything is sentimental, but there is just something "cozy and comforting" about reading this story. I try to read about half a stave a night. It's perfect for this time of year. I think I'm going to make this a holiday tradition from now on!

message 6: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
That's a really good idea... making it a holiday tradition!

message 7: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
Also, I really liked what Marley's chain was cluttered with... adding machines and all that. I went to bed thinking what would be attached to my chain, and was still thinking about it during the day today!

message 8: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Shoes. Shoes would be attached to your chain. ;)

message 9: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
I saw this just now on my update feed and started cracking up! I knew EXACTLY what you were responding to!

Still laughing!

message 10: by Robbie (new)

Robbie Bashore | 592 comments Meghan--

I was loving that gravy and grave line, too. I thought it could be a good quote to add to my profile. (Homer voice: Mmmmmm...gravy!)

And, Michele, I'm loving the language, too. I think the only other Dickens I've read is Oliver Twist, and I wasn't too thrilled with it. Oh, and I was trying to think what would be on my chain, too. But for right now, I can't think of too many regrets I have. Maybe it's something that comes with more age.

Thanks, Sarah, and whoever else voted for this book :)

message 11: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) I love this line too:

"'You're quite a powerful speaker, sir,' he added, turning to his nephew. 'I wonder you don't go into Parliament.'"

message 12: by Sera (new)

Sera What a great story! I haven't read Dickens since high school, even though I loved A Tale of Two Cities. ACC is another Dickens classic. The book I have is 5 Dickens Christmas stories. I'm almost finished the second story entitled "The Chimes".

What's interesting is that the back of the book states that Dickens is the originator of the phrase "Merry Christmas". Has anyone else heard that before?

Marley is a great lead in to the story. He really sets up the theme of "don't end up like me" by showing how his misplacement of priorities haunted him in the afterlife.

message 13: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) It's possible, because I believe the traditional greeting in England is "Happy Christmas."

message 14: by Meghan (new)

Meghan I liked how they talked about how Scrooge was a little sick and so he was having some gruel for his dinner. I don't know, that just struck me as part human but part really sad and pathetic. It really showed what a meager life he really led.

I think that's what Dickens does best here. He paints an extraordinary picture of what things were like. I feel like I'm seeing this story for the first time (although I'm rather influenced by the myriad of movies I've seen over the years).

message 15: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
Robbie, I'm only a year younger than you! Don't be talking like you are all ancient or something!

Sera, I like the phrase "misplacement of priorities." Well said that that is what haunted him.

I say "Happy Christmas" all the time, but frequently get grief for it... especially from my brother. It must have been something I picked up in books, but was reinforced when I lived in Europe. I dunno.

As to Dickens coining the phrase, I know he did do for a lot of phrases and words that are today common, so it is very likely. But I don't feel like looking it up right now... LOL

message 16: by Robbie (new)

Robbie Bashore | 592 comments Meghan,
funny how the word gruel brings to mind for me something like, oh I don't know, watery lard or something gross. Fortunately, though, my copy of the book has a glossary, and the definition was some kind of hot cereal or something. Although I think you're right that it was a demonstration of his meager life, it also occurred to me that it might really be a comfort food, in spite of the gross. name.

message 17: by Dottie (new)

Dottie  (oxymoronid) | 698 comments Scrooge had gone to the corner pub -- though I'm not sure it was called that -- and had his dinner and sat and sat doing things -- reading papers? -- I'm going to have to go read this again -- good grief. Then he went home and the gruel was like a late night thing because he was ill -- and I think it was as you said Robbie -- sort of a bit of comfort before bed.

message 18: by Dottie (last edited Dec 15, 2007 11:07PM) (new)

Dottie  (oxymoronid) | 698 comments Okay -- it was a tavern -- and he read all the newspapers and beguiled the remainder of the evening with his account books until late when he returned home to go to bed -- having his gruel beforehand.

Thought I'd started having "dreams" myself there.

One of the best parts for me was that door knocker, plain and obscure taking on Marley's image.

JUST SHOOT ME!!!!!!!! I just realized this post was a spoiler -- I shouldn't post when I'm foggy-brained -- trouble is I'm foggy-brained far too often these days! SPOILER follows so if you haven't read this already skip the rest of it. SORRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and then at the end of the entire tale Scrooge taking note to notice it. It was like the current trend of spiritual and de-stressing mantras of be in the things you do -- pay attention to one thing at a time -- etc. AndI'm not saying they are wrong at all -- in fact I think they hold a great deal of truth which bridges the divisions in religions, but that's another thread entirely.

message 19: by Sera (new)

Sera The forward to my book said that Dickens' family grew up extremely poor, and that at one point, his father and the rest of the family, except for Charles, spent time in debtor's prison. When his father was released after a few months, he had been permanently labeled as a debtor. With this family history, it's no wonder that Dickens kept his compassion for the poor, even after he had become very successful.

Another interesting tidbit that I learned from my book is that Dickens was somewhat of a ladies man. He left his wife after twelve years of marriage for a younger woman. I believe that they had 10 children at the time. This backstory on Dickens pointed out that even with everything that he had gone through in life, he was a stilled a flawed human being.

Does knowing any of the foregoing impact your feelings toward Dickens as an author/a person in general?

message 20: by Beth (new)

Beth | 173 comments This is one of my favorite passages:

"Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind-stone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; as secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster."

I listened to the book on my iPod, read by Jim Dale, who also reads the Harry Potter audio books. He is wonderful. He spoke that passage so beautifully, I had to go back and listen again about five times. The alliteration of that last little bit is just delicious.

The theater where my husband works does "A Christmas Carol" every year as their Christmas production. (He spent about the seven years playing Bob Cratchit, but thank god he's taking a break from it this year!) The line about gravy never fails to get a good laugh.

message 21: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Beth, that is my absolute favorite passage too, for the same reason! I love the alliteration. And I love it read aloud.

AND, I do theatre!

I like you. You're neat. :)

message 22: by Alison, the guru of grace (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
Beth: I had that quote on my home page, until I switched to the current quote. That's in the Muppets version, too. Up to the old sinner part. Yes, it's beautiful.

I love it when nephew Fred tells Scrooge that Christmas is the only time when people treat each other like "fellow passengers to the grave" rather than "another race of creatures bound on other journeys."

message 23: by Meghan (new)

Meghan Sera, I love your question about knowing Dickens. I don't know much about him personally, but my Brit Lit class discussed in detail about the period that he wrote in and how many authors were speaking out against the industrial revolution that was happening and how it was effecting the classes. It really helped me to see what he was trying to get across when I read this book now. Before when I tried reading this book or watched the movies, I just saw it as a "treat your fellow man with some compassion" sort of thing. But now I get the smaller, subtle jabs he makes at the establishment and the status quo.

But I love knowing the background of an author and his period before reading the book, especially when it's a classic. I had read up on Stevenson, and I felt it really helped me while reading "Dr. Jekyll".

message 24: by Arctic (new)

Arctic | 571 comments i agree, having the back-stories adds entire new layers to good literature. When I was in school, I used to hate reading forwards and introductions in books. Now I make a point of doing it as it so often provides valuable insights into time-periods and the author's disposition.

Knowing those personal aspects about Dickens disappoints me, yes, but I don't think it tarnishes the story for me. As was mentioned, it just shows that he's human like the rest of us. and people change over time. I suppose this could have been written during one of his more idealistic phases.

Alison, love that line about fellow passengers too. the man definitely has a way of conjuring vivid imagery.

I also love the passage at the beginning where he digresses to talk about what it means to be dead as a doornail and why a doornail precisely. very conversational of him and great way to draw readers in.

Sera, I think i have the same version of the book as were the other 4 stories?

message 25: by Sera (new)

Sera Good points, Meghan. I majored in History in college and minored in English so I really enjoy books that have a historical context or connection to them. I'm sure that in your lit classes that you studied the author prior to reading the book/story/poem. I always enjoyed that part as much as the work itself. Have you ever read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair? It's a classic about conditions in meatpacking plants in the early 1900s.

I started The Alchemist last night and read about half of it until the power went out. I love that book and the theme of finding one's Personal Legends. I'm hoping to finish reading it tonight.

message 26: by Arctic (new)

Arctic | 571 comments and as for etymology, Wikipedia (the definitive encyclopedia) has this to say on the issue:

History of the phrase "Merry/Happy Christmas"

"Merry", derived from the Old English myrige, originally meant merely "pleasant" rather than joyous or jolly (as in the phrase "merry month of May").

Though Christmas has been celebrated since the 4th century AD, the first known usage of any Christmastime greeting, "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year" (thus incorporating two greetings) was in an informal letter written by an English admiral in 1699. The same phrase appeared in the first Christmas card, produced in England in 1843, and in the popular secular carol "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."

The then relatively new term "Merry Christmas" figured prominently in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol in 1843. The cynical Ebenezer Scrooge rudely deflects the friendly greeting and broods on the foolishness of those who utter it. "If I could work my will", says Scrooge, "every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding." After the Spirits of Christmas effect his transformation, he is able to heartily exchange the wish with all he meets. The continued popularity of A Christmas Carol and the Victorian era Christmas traditions it typifies have led some to credit Dickens with popularizing, or even originating, the phrase "Merry Christmas"[3].

The alternative "Happy Christmas" gained wide usage in the late 19th century, and is still common in the United Kingdom and Ireland. One reason may be the alternative meaning, still current there, of "merry" as "tipsy" or "drunk". Queen Elizabeth II is said to prefer "Happy Christmas" for this reason[4]. In American poet Clement Moore's "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (1823), the final line, originally written as "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night", has been changed in many editions to "Merry Christmas to all", perhaps indicating the relative popularity of the phrases in the United States.

message 27: by Liz M (last edited Dec 17, 2007 08:13PM) (new)

Liz M The wikipedia article left out the best part of the first chapter: "every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart."

I have to admit, that line made me laugh out loud.

message 28: by Beth (new)

Beth | 173 comments Sarah, you are so sweet! I like you, too! (I'm a little behind on reading these posts, as you can see...)

message 29: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Yay! I like people who like me! :)

(okay, so I've had a whole bottle of wine, so I might be a little loopy) but i still think you're cool!

message 30: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (last edited Dec 18, 2007 02:50AM) (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
Not "loopy," Sarah... "merry." Tee!

Liz, I totally cracked up at that one, too.

message 31: by Alison, the guru of grace (last edited Dec 18, 2007 09:32AM) (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
Did anyone notice in the Muppets CC, how the line about being boiled in your own pudding was changed to cooked with his own turkey? Interesting, but I liked the original. I guess the writers figured no one boiled pudding anymore (I don't but I don't cook turkeys either. I prefer take-out.)

And I must be the biggest dork of all time, b/c in the Muppets CC, whenever they read direct lines from Dickens CC, I got chills. I can't believe I'm admitting to that!

message 32: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) I don't know if I got chills, Alison, but I do love it whenever they quote the lines from the book.

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