A Christmas Carol and Other Stories

A Christmas Carol

When you’re sick, you have more time to read Dickens! Hooray!

I recently bought the classiest copy of A Christmas Carol I’ve ever seen from a used bookstore. It’s a Readers Digest collection, with two other short stories (and by “short,” I mean they’re still 100 pages apiece), The Chimes and The Cricket on the Hearth. They’re all pretty good, but I’ll give a brief review of each.

A Christmas Carol is a timeless classic for a reason. It’s great. The piece is short enough to stay interested, but still well-crafted enough to get attached to the characters. This says more about my upbringing than my literary taste, but I kept thinking, “Wow, the Muppets really stuck to the text!” Conclusion: this story about finding Christmas spirit is a must-read, followed shortly by the necessity to celebrate the yuletide with the Muppet Christmas Carol.

The Chimes was annoying. I mean, it was good and all – but it was hopelessly depressing for about 3/4 of the story. In the true Dickens Christmas spirit, good triumphs against all odds, but come on, man – I just can’t believe how much pain and hopelessness I had to wade through to get to the end of this. And by the time I got there, I just didn’t care anymore.

The Cricket on the Hearth was much better than The Chimes, but still not as good as the Christmas Carol. The Cricket on the Hearth is a story about a husband discovering that his wife has been keeping secrets, and his arduous decision to forgive her. And, of course, everything ends up happy – by this time, I had come to expect this. But at least this one wasn’t so depressing, and I still cared enough to want things to work out alright.

Well, that was short. But hey – they’re short stories. I would highly recommend A Christmas Carol to just about anyone, but maybe you shouldn’t pick up the other two unless you really like Dickens’s style.

I think this is something like my 30th book this year. I’m kind of proud of myself… and at the same time, if I’m going to hit anywhere near my goal of 50, I’m going to have to read about a book a day from here on out. Maybe I’ll just have to settle for less. Or maybe I’ll have to read a lot of children’s books and poetry this month. ♦

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