I read A Christmas Carol a few years ago with the intention of reading some sort of Christmas-themed novel every year around Christmas. I haven’t been super-successful, but I read this short collection of Dickens Christmas stories this year.
I’m not really sure how they’re Christmas stories. Two of the three take place around Christmastime, all finish happily, and all were published around Christmas, (after the success of A Christmas Carol Dickens wrote something for Christmas very often, maybe yearly), but other than that they’re not Christmas-focused.
Christmas is coming, and with that in mind I decided last week that my next book should be a Christmas classic. I was divided between Hoffmann’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, (on which the ballet is based), and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Originally I wanted to read The Nutcracker, but the used book store didn’t have a copy, and the only copies in the library are in French, (oddly enough, 2 of the 3 were translated first from the original German to English, then from English to French – that’s one too many translations!), however, I was able to find an anthology of four Dickens novels that contains A Christmas Carol.
It turns out that A Christmas Carol is much shorter than I thought it would be. I’ve had to spend some time waiting for things over the past couple of days and was able to read the whole book while waiting. It took me a bit to get used to Dickens’ style of writing, (I don’t read that many older books – although there are some on the bookshelf waiting to be read), but once I got into the flow it was great, especially since it’s starting to look a lot like Christmas here in Montréal. Even though I have seen several film versions of A Christmas Carol I was pleased to see that there were still surprises for me in the book, which made it even more enjoyable, and I realized that last year’s Jim Carrey film is the closest to the original story that I have seen. I was also delighted to see, after reading about the book Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl a while ago to see that the Ghost of Christmas Present had “seething bowls of punch, that made the chamber dim with their delicious steam” as part of his feast.
A Christmas Carol was a great way to pass a couple of days when I couldn’t be working. Now, I’m back to looking for my next book. Maybe I can find The Nutcracker and the Mouse King in english.