A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens ★★★★★

Reading for A Very Merry Readathon

I don’t know when I first read A Christmas Carol. I think it probably in (or after 2009) because I remember Jim Carrey’s take on Scrooge in Robert Zemeckis’ animated A Christmas Carol. I read it, and I know I’ve tried to reread it these last view years. Reread so is to say, relisten to it. There are so many amazing versions.

Let’s start with what is probably my favorite: narrated by the late Frank Muller. He is my favorite narrated of all time for any audiobook because he did such fantastic voices with an unbelievably pleasing main voice (check out all the audiobooks available by him) . Another worthy mention is Jim Dale, who is famously known for his narration of Harry Potter. Lastly, Patrick Stewart does an amazing rendition; sadly, it is abridged. In my opinion, it’s still worth listening too! You can find many others as well (e.g. Tim Curry, Tom Baker, Simon Prebble, Simon Vance).

Read 12/15/19 – 12/16/19

That was just as amazing it always is. I chose to read the Frank Muller narrated version which was magical. I tried to read along with the illustrated edition shown above in my instagram post, but unfortunately that edition is abridged/modified. I decided to give it away as I continue my quest to find the perfect edition of a Christmas Carol (or until I read the other books in the compilations I own).

I want to think about what it is that makes a Christmas Carol so effective. I’ll start with Dickens writing. I don’t usually care for Victorian dialect, but I find it adds an ere of magic to the story. What’s more, Dickens writes in a type of prose that is itself magical. The descriptions convey every drop of emotion we are meant to feel in each moment. That is magnified by the amazing Frank Muller. I have never read any other Dickens stories because they are huge and intimidating, but I was always afraid they would be dull. After reading the Goldfinch, I do have a desire to explore more of Dicken’s writings.

Dickens writes for the lower class. He brings light to the horrible conditions that they are forced to live under. That is ever present in this story as well. In fact, I think a key trait of this work is its ability to make it about the plight of the lower class while revolving around a wealthy white man. That brings me to my second point on why it is such a great novel.

Dickens story is about empathy and charity. Scrooges problem is his selfishness and his own desire for personal gain. The point Dickens tries to convey is that Christmas is, above all else, about sharing and caring (forgive the poor choice of words). As an atheist, naturalist, agnostic, externalist, etc. I have to decide what the purpose of my life is. Of course, I have my drives and my desires. What I try to be cognizant of is that my happiness is irrevocably linked to the well being of others. I care for myself, my family, and my friends. I also care for my country and my world. I care for life itself. This is because all of these things are extensions of myself. My life is finite, but I (we) are a part of a greater system that we can help flourish to ensure we do live on, at least in part.

Forgive the soapbox, but it is worth thinking about. The core flaw with the Afterlife of Holly Chase is its missing of the point. There is an obsession of saving souls with minimal focus on actually becoming a better person. That requires a fundamental rethinking of how you see the world. The story of Holly Chase constricts it down to being nice to a hot guy you want to hook up with. Sure, it has some of things A Christmas Carol has. We have magic, ghosts, time travel (more or less); these are all my favorite things in books. Nevertheless, it wasn’t enough to give it the same heart as we see here in A Christmas Carol. That is why A Christmas Carol is a favorite. 5/5 stars.

3 Replies to “A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens ★★★★★”

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