Welcome to this month’s Classic of the Month! Today, we’re looking at an absolute classic of the Christmas season. The story in this book has been told and retold, again and again, in multiple ways, through various mediums. Even if you haven’t read the original yourself, I’m sure that you have experienced it in some form at some time. So, why not use this Christmas as your opportunity to finally read one of the most iconic holiday stories of all time?

Classic of the Month

A Christmas Carol (1843) by Charles Dickens

Opening Words

Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was dead as a door-nail.

A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

What’s it all about?

Ebenezer Scrooge, a man so cold and stingy that his name has become a synonym for “miser” or “killjoy” is going about his day, grumbling about the approaching Christmas festivities and how troublesome the whole thing is. His employee will expect time off work. He might even want a Christmas bonus, for goodness sake! After mistreating everyone around him, Scrooge retires to his rooms for the night, and there is witness to a series of shocking visions, starting with his old business partner, Jacob Marley, who promises that if Scrooge does not change his ways, he will suffer the same torment that Marley does, forced to drag around the chains of his own greed, weighted down with the possessions he accumulated and hoarded in life. What follows are a series of visions with three spirits, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, that show Scrooge the reality that he tries so desperately to ignore.

Read this if you enjoy…

  • Christmas stories
  • Ghosts
  • Tales with a moral lesson
  • Stories set in Victorian London

Final Thoughts

A Christmas Carol was almost as familiar to me as Christmas itself, but I didn’t get around to reading it until I was 30! I’m not overly fond of Dickens, so it didn’t really appeal to me. But, my book club wanted to read it, so I did, too. And wow! What a story! Despite having heard this tale retold in every form, from stage plays to a Disney version with Mickey Mouse, I thought I pretty much “knew” the story. But, I was really surprised. This book is by turns thought-provoking, funny, and even a little frightening. And if you can get a copy of the book illustrated by P.J. Lynch (which I linked above under “Book”), you’ll find yourself in for a real treat, with beautiful illustrations that really pull the whole book together.

I find with a book like this that readers tend to pick it up every year, without fail, or like me, they never read it at all. If you’re in the second category, perhaps considering giving this one a try. It’s a rich and deeply engaging text that you’re sure to enjoy!

Erin

I'm the Reader's Advisory Librarian at WPPL. My interests include old horror films, classic novels, manga and anime, paper-crafting, and plants. If you like my suggestions, you can request personalized recommendations from me on My Librarian page.