Read A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Books by Charles Dickens Robert Douglas-Fairhurst Online

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A Christmas Carol has gripped the public imagination since it was first published in 1843, and it is now as much a part of the holiday season as is mistletoe or Santa's reindeer. Here is a wonderful collection of Dickens' Christmas stories, graced with many of the original drawings that appeared in the first edition. Pride of place goes to A Christmas Carol, of course, butA Christmas Carol has gripped the public imagination since it was first published in 1843, and it is now as much a part of the holiday season as is mistletoe or Santa's reindeer. Here is a wonderful collection of Dickens' Christmas stories, graced with many of the original drawings that appeared in the first edition. Pride of place goes to A Christmas Carol, of course, but the book also includes four other marvelous tales: The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life, and The Haunted Man. All five stories show Dickens at his unpredictable best, jumbling together comedy and melodrama, genial romance and urgent social satire. The volume also features an excellent introduction by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, who offers invaluable background to the Christmas stories, illuminating the social questions they address, outlining their reception and the enduring popularity of A Christmas Carol and highlighting how their style and themes resonate in more complex ways in his major fictions. In addition, the book 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....

Title : A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Books
Author :
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ISBN : 9780199536306
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 496 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Books Reviews

  • MJ Nicholls
    2019-11-27 18:00

    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 comical and famous for its six-page opening section where a cricket out-chirps a kettle. ‘The Battle of Life’ is pure melodrama and probably the most dated, unessential Dickens out there, closely followed by the near incoherent ‘The Haunted Man.’ But the best of these novellas (the first three) are quintessentially Dickensian and fine amusement for uncynical Xmas reading—complete anathemas to this day and age, but worthwhile bonuses once the novels from Pickwick to Our Mutual Friend have been completed.

  • Michael
    2019-11-30 22:50

    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 the Christmas period.While compassion, forgiveness and getting into the Christmas spirit is the major theme of this novella, one thing that really stuck with me is Dickens’ ideas of isolation and loneliness. While it is true that Ebenezer Scrooge never indicates he is feeling alone, since the death of Jacob Marley seven years earlier there is a sense that he has falling in despair. Marley died on Christmas Eve and appeared to be Scrooge’s only companion, which leads to a disdain for the holiday period.Charles Dickens wanted to emphasise the importance of being with friends and family, especially during Christmas. However I got the sense that he may have treated the idea of isolation poorly. Sure, Scrooge was a grumpy old man who was tight with his money but I got no real indication that he was unhappy to be alone. Scrooge could have been an introvert and enjoyed the quiet solitude; is that really such a bad thing?Then all of a sudden Scrooge is cured from his rationality and becomes an extravert. This is a little strange, Scrooge’s emotional and psychological makeup might not be pleasant or agreeable to the popular worldview but they were his own thoughts. Scrooge was a financial supporter of The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 and didn’t want to give money to a charity that worked against his political ideology.I am not bagging out A Christmas Carol, I do enjoy it but as I was re-reading this novella I kept wondering what this story is saying if we take out the element of Christmas. Basically this is the story of curing someone of his or her personality. I had a lot of fun looking at this book from another point of view, it just gave me a lot more to think about. A Christmas Carol is a nice quick story about the importance of being with your friends and family during this holiday period. Next year I might try Truman Capote’s collection of stories about Christmas.This review originally appeared on my blog; http://literary-exploration.com/2014/...

  • Anne
    2019-11-18 19:16

    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 move me as much as it maybe should have? I knew there was some suspense meant to be in there, but it just didn't have any effect on me whatsoever. The story I probably liked best was Cricket on the Hearth. Great characters, great story with a very surprising twist in the end.End conclusion is that I was planning on reading this book every year around the Christmas holidays, but after reading it for the first time now, I say once every 2-3 years and only the first three stories will be a lot more realistic instead.

  • Redfox5
    2019-12-08 21:18

    A Christmas Carol (5/5) - If you make time to read one Christmas book, make it this one. Really enjoyed this re-read. Who doesn't love the tale of Mister Scrooge finally finding his Christmas Spirit? If you never read it before, you will know the story as you've no doubt seen it in one of its many adaptations over the years. The best being 'The Muppets Christmas Carol' . But this doesn't take any enjoyment away from it. Some awesome sentences in here. I find myself wanting to shout 'There's more of gravy than of grave about you!' randomly at people but I've held back so far ;) I also love this one 'Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!' It's one of the few books I find myself quoting in my head. A Christmas must read. The Chimes (2/5) - I tried to read this last time I had a copy of this book, and I gave up about halfway through as I was bored to tears. This time I made it through to the end! I understood it better as the meaning of the story was explained in the introduction. I didn't get it last time.Basically rich men passing judgement on the poor and making them feel like it is their own fault for their circumstance. And cursing them when they do something terrible but not passing the same judgement on their peers when they commit a similar act. To use an example not from the book - A rich man who drinks is an alcoholic who needs help for his problem, poor man is a drunk who brought this on himself. Something you see lots of in the media today, which is sad as it means that things haven't moved on much from Victorian times. I hated when they were making poor Toby feel bad for having trout and then bloody eating it themselves! All the while proclaiming themselves to be friends of the poor!While this was good observation of society at the time when Dickens wrote this, it unfortunately doesn't make for great reading. It's not one I would pick up again. The Cricket On The Hearth (2/5) - I feel like I'm being generous giving this two stars as this was not a pleasure to read. Basically a book of misunderstandings that are put right by a magical cricket and all is well at the end.Nothing partially Christmassy about this book either. I don't understand how Dickens can write something as awesome as 'The Christmas Carol' and then follow up with stories like this. The Battle Of Life (2/5) - Another mediocre story. This one involves a sister, giving up her love(even though he loves her back) so her sister can marry him.Then she comes back at the end and tells her sister this. I'd be well annoyed if my sister did this. Who wants to marry their sisters cast offs anyways? This started promising with the sisters dancing in the garden but I soon started to struggle and lost the plot once the Dr and his friends were talking. Only one more to go! Hopefully this will be better! Th Haunted Man (1/5) I am so done with these Christmas stories. I had no idea what was going on in this one. Or what that weird little kid was, or how any of the characters were related to one another. Terrible.Overall the only story worth reading from this collection is 'A Christmas Carol'. I wouldn't bother with any of the others, especially if you are trying to get in a festive mood, as there is nothing Christmassy about them at all. This is a shame as you start with the best story and then just follow with disappointments.

  • Lee Broderick
    2019-11-15 19:03

    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 should be no surprise that both Charles Dickens and his publishers wished to capitalise on it. Whilst Dickens can hardly be accused of being a one-hit wonder it's certainly fair to apply that epithet when we're considering this particular sub-set of stories. Like so many others, Dickens sought desperately to recapture the magic of that first story but fell short time and time again. So desperately did he try, in fact, that his last attempt, The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain, is close to being a parody of his first. You can sense the desperation in this move without having to read it - having failed on three separate occasions to recapture the soul and imagination of that first piece, why not go back to square one and talk about regrets and life-changing spirits on Christmas Eve?To break it down then - the original is fully deserving of five stars but the imitations pale and bring the whole book down to their level.

  • Linda
    2019-11-29 22:14

    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.The other four, including Cricket, were unknown to me. I mean, I'd heard the title The Chimes, but I had never heard of The Battle of Life or The Haunted Man. It was interesting to read these stories as well as the "famous" ones.If you like Dickens, read it. Re-read A Christmas Carol as well. And sit back and enjoy.

  • Morgan
    2019-11-15 18:54

    Besides A Christmas Carol, the other stories in this collection are good to read during Christmas, but don't expect anything better. Most of these seemed like Dickens wrote for the money rather than actually wanting to write the story. Never read his other short stories, but I'm aware his novels aren't as fantastical as these stories. Maybe he was writing out of his element here. IMO, Dickens is a better novelist than writing short stories and novellas.This edition contains A Christmas Carol, the Chimes, the Cricket on the Hearth, Battle of Life, and the Hunted Man. I still liked this book even though I really only liked 2 of the 5 stories. It's well put together and well organized. It says it's illustrated, but only a few for the first two stories and the others don't have any.Each story is about 100 pages long, so you can read each one in a day I would think.

  • Mafalda Fernandes
    2019-11-17 19:17

    Only read "A Christmas Carol" and "The Chimes" in the Christmas of 2016.I'll save the rest of the stories for next year.

  • Tom Lee
    2019-12-15 00:48

    A mixed bag of Dickens, though all inferior to his longer works - he seems to thrive more on a large canvas. Christmas Carol is easily the most magical and inventive (which accounts for its continued popularity). The Chimes is insipid and partly a knockoff of A Christmas Carol, while The Cricket on the Hearth and The Battle of Life are pleasant but pedestrian love stories. None have much of the verve, wit and semantic gymnastics that make a true Dickens classic.Interesting to compare A Christmas Carol to the final Christmas book, The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain, which I thought second best in this collection. Where the first Christmas book is all fizz and bubble, the final one is dark and mournful; the message of the former is to be charitable and loving to all, whereas the message of the latter is to remember our sorrows because they make us better people. One gets the feeling that in the intervening years between writing the two, Dickens' attitude to life changed. To quote Coleridge, "A sadder and a wiser man / He rose the morrow morn."

  • Andrew
    2019-11-19 22:00

    This time around my reading was just of “A Christmas Carol” (the idea of experiencing these stories one every year appeals to me, for that’s more or less how they appeared between 1843–1848 or so). Having attended The Great Dickens Fair to much delight and having performed (a small role) in my school’s community production of “A Christmas Carol”, I have to say that there’s no substitute for reading Dickens’ writing. Set a fire in the hearth, grab this beautiful edition, and take a tour with spirits of the past, present, and yet to come. Worth it.

  • Yasiru (reviews will soon be removed and linked to blog)
    2019-11-29 19:14

    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 apart in definite and clear threads as easily as that, but the detail of the whole of these parts, afforded us by a narrative voice of no mean judgement, is breathtaking and unforgettable.All this, one finds exemplified in that much beloved tale, A Christmas Carol. The other stories which appear in this volume are approximations to this polished Dickensian ideal, and afford an interesting look into the great author's range over this one subject and contributions to the story form; from the oddity that is The Chimes, to the paradoxical mediocrity of The Battle of Life, to the less sweeping but decently plotted pieces The Cricket on the Hearth and The Haunted Man. There are also a couple of appendices featuring a reading version of A Christmas Carol and an article by Dickens on Christmas.Most, if not all of these stories might be found on Project Gutenberg. I read the Oxford World's Classics edition with original illustrations, reasonable notes and a chronology, but the slightly differently titled Penguin edition which I believe is much the same, 'A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings' comes also in a handsome cloth-bound hardcover.

  • Lily
    2019-11-27 21:11

    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
    2019-12-01 00:17

    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.

  • Evan Quade
    2019-12-06 00:04

    Merry Xmas!!

  • Marina
    2019-12-13 20:18

    Lido A Christmas Carol, os outros contos serão lidos nos próximos anos :)

  • Jackie
    2019-12-03 01:18

    My favorite holiday classic story that I try to read every year.

  • Tine
    2019-11-16 18:17

    Five Christmas stories, I read one every year in December. 2013 was "A Christmas Carol".No words needed. Just read it! 2014 was "The Chimes". Poverty and warmth in an English town. Ghosts and dreams, the famous recipe works again. 2015 was "The Cricket on the Hearth". A favourite. Somewhat lighter than the other two, I daresay, even a hint comical in the terrible misunderstanding that occurs. But so touching. I would love to knock on this door and spend the evening with this little family, sipping tea and having a chat at the hearth. 2017 was "The Battle of Life". Two sisters, one boy to come home to them, a touch of mystery... Love finds its place in the most unexpected way, at the end of this philosophical family short-story. No ghosts, this time... but I have a mind to weave them into the story myself. Why oh why, my dear Mr. Dickens, do you leave so much of the context for the reader to figure out? ... Perfect dreaming for the time of the year, you would say? 2018 will be "The Haunted Man"...

  • Gerry Parle
    2019-12-09 21:54

    I first picked up "A Christmas Carol" in December 2014. I was expecting to read a full length book. I was mildly disappointed to discover it was one of 5 'short' books within a book. But what it lacked in length it made up for in quality. In fact - maybe because of it's brevity - there is very little reason not to read it every Christmas. When I re-read "A Christmas Carol" this year I think I enjoyed it more than the first time.I also decided, this time round, to continue with the remaining short stories (?), novellas (?). I was reminded of & rewarded with the quality of Dickens' writing. While there was a lot to enjoy there were times when I felt adrift. I am putting this down to my lack of familiarity with these stories. I believe they will improve with my re-acquaintance. And that is my intention.

  • Annette
    2019-11-19 20:12

    Something I always wanted to read - the ultimate Christmas classic.Actually finished all the short stories in this edition - a little trying at times (a lot of fantasy intertwined), but the overall message of hope, goodness and family was well worth it. The positive endings, the feeling of goodwill and finally, that man really is good in his heart, is a message not only for the holiday season, but something that should be with all of us every waking moment.

  • Phyllida
    2019-12-12 19:10

    I wanted to re-read A Christmas Carol having seen the film The Man Who Invented Christmas and went on to read the rest. I enjoyed the Cricket on the Hearth most. The Battle of Life was difficult to believe because of the behaviour of Marion. The Chimes was very political and the Haunted Man taught the value of memory. I am not surprised A Christmas Carol is the most famous of Dickens' Christmas books but the others are worth a look for Dickens fans.

  • Rolando Gallegos
    2019-12-15 19:08

    My annual reading of A Christmas Carol is done and as always it is a story that while familiar never fails to bring joy to me. I highly recommend that everyone read the tale of Scrooge no matter how familiar you are with it. Dickens wrote a classic that never loses it's greatness!

  • Carmen Distratto
    2019-12-07 22:18

    With the exception of "A Christmas Carol", of course, and "The Battle of Life", I found this collection quite boring, may the gods of literature forgive me. Maybe it's simply that the great masterpieces of literature cannot be repeated, not even by their own authors.

  • Larry
    2019-12-03 20:13

    Christmas Carol is a classic. The Chimes is...ok. the rest of the book pretty dull and I didn't finish.

  • Bradford
    2019-12-07 01:08

    Dickens is indisputably the master of Christmas. In this niche he found a way to express his unique reverence for the season.

  • Moon Maiden
    2019-11-19 17:50

    Such a great story for Christmas!

  • Gosia
    2019-11-20 01:17

    *2,5

  • Todd Stockslager
    2019-12-13 18:08

    Review title: Dickens Christmas classicsWork recently took me to Portland, Oregon, where I had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours in Powell's Books, which advertises itself as the largest bookstore in the world, a claim which I can believe after two hours of browsing that didn't get me through anywhere near the whole store. Having been to Blackwell's in Oxford and now Powell's, I can safely say that I have seen the best that the booksellers' trade can offer, and can only hope for the chance to return to both when travel, time, money, and luggage space allows.There, I found a used copy of this collection of Dickens's Christmas Books, a reprint of the 1937 Nonesuch Edition, including the original hand-tinted color sketches. Most famous of course, is "A Christmas Carol", as near-perfect a story of Christmas as has ever been used and reused (deservedly so) dozens of times in books, plays, and movies since. "The Chimes" is a story of what-if history along the lines of "It’s a Wonderful Life". "The Cricket on the Hearth" and "The Battle of Life" are similar good-natured variations on self-sacrifice and mistaken assumptions that are set right in the end. The final story "The Haunted Man" is perhaps the best and certainly the darkest of the lesser-known stories. Dickens returns to the use of a shade as in the Carol, but this is not of a dead business partner or ghosts of Christmas past, present and future come back to warn Scrooge of the cost of his misspent life, but that of a younger version of Mr. Redlaw. This ghost offers the unemotional, withdrawn, and work-focused chemist Redlaw a seemingly perfect gift: the forgetfulness of all memories of "sorrow, wrong, and trouble." Mr. Redlaw makes the deal, and finds that it turns him and everyone he encounters into ungrateful, grasping, and self-centered wretches. This story is darker in its implications than even the Christmas Carol, and the cost of of Redlaw's fateful decision lingers on even after the inevitable reversal of the cursed deal. Like the Carol, this is a classic reminder of the power of Dickens' imagination and skill as a story teller.While the Carol is deservedly the best known, all of these stories, particularly "The Haunted Man" and "The Battle of Life" are classic stories that deserve to be read, and all are filled with the spirit and presence of the holiday season. And while many editions are available, this Barnes and Noble edition is a beautiful example of the printer's art, and worth buying if you can find it reasonably priced.

  • lethe
    2019-12-11 00:55

    I love "A Christmas Carol" (****), but I already own it in two other lovely editions: Een kerstvertelling and A Christmas Carol.I finished "The Chimes" on 9 January 2012 (**) and "The Cricket on the Hearth" on 27 December 2014 (**).This past Christmas I decided to tackle "The Haunted Man: and the Ghost's Bargain", but after two pages of sentences all starting with the word 'When', I gave up. It reminded me of A Christmas Tree, which I hated with its endless summing up of Christmas decorations. I read the rest of "The Haunted Man" diagonally (*).Since the GR reviews for "The Battle of Life" were generally rather negative, I read that diagonally as well. Don't think I missed anything (-).I am willing to give Dickens's non-Christmas books a chance (I've heard David Copperfield is a good one to start with), but apart from "A Christmas Carol", which was my first encounter with Charles, I have not been impressed so far.

  • Erica
    2019-11-26 00:04

    Everyone knows A Christmas Carol, but most people have never heard of the rest of Dickens’ Christmas stories—I certainly hadn’t. Most of them are, unsurprisingly, quite dark and have a lot to say about the plight of the poor in Victorian England. I think Christmas Carol is still my favorite, simply because it seemed like the best written of the collection. The story is familiar—even the Disney version with Scrooge McDuck and Mickey is surprisingly faithful to it—but the writing style is very visual, which is something I never really appreciated about Dickens when I first read A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations in high school. Scrooge’s adventures are easy to follow in your mind’s eye, even the fantastical portions. One of my favorite descriptive passages in this collection, from “The Battle of Life,” is of the dahlias outside a drinking establishment getting water-logged in the rain and acting “drunk” while the other flowers have only flushed a little and are acting merry. I would say my second favorite story in the collection is The Cricket on the Hearth, because it’s a bit lighter than the others, though I can’t say the cartoon version was particularly faithful to the original (I suppose it would be hard to explain to 60s children about May-to-December marriages and suspected infidelity). But even the darkest stories—The Chimes and The Haunted Man—have happy endings, and in general are meant to fill you with a sense of hope. So, this is a good collection to pick up at the holidays.

  • Andrew
    2019-11-24 22:52

    One of the reading groups that I am a member of on here chose to read A Christmas Carol as their December book, and as the only copy of it I had was a set of all five of his Christmas tales, I decided that I ought to read them all. So I did. And A Chistmas Carol was, as it always is, a cracking read. The problem was the other four stories. The Chimes is, in essence, a clumsy reworking of the previous tale, using a similar trick of showing th future to influence the present. Next was the Cricket on the Hearth, which was a tale of assumed infidelity but which turned out to be something completely different, albeit very, very dull. The Battle of Life was the worst of the bunch, I was so bored that I inadvertently skim read it, and ended up havig to read an article on Wikipedia to be sure was it was actually about. The final tale, the Haunted Man, was the best of the other four, it was actually quite a clever tale and the most Christmassy since the first, but none of the other others are remembered with the same fondness as A Christas Carol, and quite rightly too. I almost wish I had just read the first tale, it would have easily been a four star read, but since the volume I chose to read was burdened with three additional dull tales and a final mediocre one, these dragged it down to what, at one point, seemed like an unending pointless dirge. Sorry, Charlie, I usually enjoy your stuff. These are not some of your best.