Books, Link Ups

Top Ten Reasons to Read and Love ‘A Christmas Carol’….Plus Other Great Books


A Christmas Carol

To help nudge myself into the Christmas spirit, I recently reread Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It provided everything I could want in a holiday, fireside read and more. I was shocked to discover it had received 10,907 one-star ratings on Goodreads (out of 1,056,409…but still)! This motivated me to write top ten reasons to read A Christmas Carol. Here goes:

1. It’s a classic Christmas tradition.
2. The writing is powerful and leaves the reader with unforgettable images. Here is one of my favourites,
“If you should happen, by any unlikely chance, to know a man more blest in a laugh than Scrooge’s nephew, all I can say is, I should like to know him too. Introduce him to me, and I’ll cultivate his acquaintance.”
How delightful is that?!
3. It inspires with themes of social justice, forgiveness, redemption, and transformation.
4. It encourages the spirit of generosity. Shortly after this novel was first published, there was a reported rise in charitable giving in Britain. Robert Louis Stevenson also wrote that this writing inspired him to give generously (and to be confident in doing so).
5. Its story is timeless and universal. A Christmas Carol has never been out of print, has been translated into numerous languages and has been adapted countless times into theatre and film.
6. Both Charles Dickens and a Christmas Carol have influenced our Christmas customs and practices much more than most realize. Numerous sources credit Dickens with popularizing the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’ (as opposed to ‘Happy Christmas’).
7. Charles Dickens wrote this novella in just six weeks, making the impossible possible.
8. The urgency Scrooge wakes up with, desperate for it not to be too late, seeps off the page and increases the pulse of the reader.
9. You close the book believing there is hope for a better future and that change CAN begin with you.
10. If you are still unconvinced by the above (seriously?), A Christmas Carol is less than 100 pages in most print editions (or a 3-hour audiobook listen). This makes it a wonderful story to share as a family or simply indulge in amidst the busyness of the upcoming holiday. Enjoy!
Still not convinced? Chat with me in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

More Christmas Reads

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The Christmas Letter by Lee Smith and The Christmas Letters by Bret Nicholaus share a core title but are very different from one another. The Deal of a Lifetime is branded as a ‘Christmas book’ (it’s listed on Oprah Daily’s ‘35 Best Christmas Books to Snuggle Up With This Holiday Season.’ I strongly disagree, but have included it here. Click on the titles to see my reviews.

Book Club Selections

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The Professor, No Country for Old Men, Next Year in Havana. Once again, these books are distinctly different from one another.

Books by Antoinette Truglio Martin

The Heart of Bakers and Artists and Dreams of Singers and Sluggers.
I am a huge fan of Antoinette Truglio Martin. I first met her through her blog, Stories Served Around the Table. There she captivated me with her family stories passed down through generations and served between mounds of pasta and mouth-watering sauces. I have previously reviewed her books Hug Everyone You Know and Becoming America’s Food Stories on this blog. The Heart of Bakers and Artists recently won a Purple Dragonfly Book Award as well as a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award.
You can read more about Antoinette here. The third image above is of bookmarks offered by Antoinette to readers who had ordered a copy of one of her recent books. How cool are they?

Another Rabbit Hole Read

A Girl Walks into a Book is a fun, quirky, Brontë-obsessed memoir. How kind of my library to let me know that I had saved $22.49 (Cdn) simply by using their services!

Christmas Reads Poll (Closes midnight, PST, Dec 20, 2021)

Have something on your bookshelf to share? You can use the convient link below, post on social media of your choice (#whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge), or tell us in the comments.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
https://fresh.inlinkz.com/js/widget/load.js?id=a8b40ada7693d64e5923

Anyway that you choose, we will be delighted to hear from you!

Donna
Sue (cohost)
Debbie (cohost)
Jo (cohost)

107 thoughts on “Top Ten Reasons to Read and Love ‘A Christmas Carol’….Plus Other Great Books”

  1. I love The Christmas Carol and think it should be read at Christmas by everyone. I recall, my grade three teacher creating a puppet show based on the story. What fun we had at such a young age. I’m currently reading a cosy mystery by Amy Reade, The Worst Noel and enjoying it. I have a couple of other Christmas books on my TBR pile I plan to read this season. Happy Christmas reading.

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    1. Thanks, Darlene – When I taught Grade 5, our class performed a version of A Christmas Carol for the mid-term concernt. The kids really got into it and we all had a blast!
      I am glad dthat you are enjoying some good Christmas reads.
      Wishing you and your family a very happy holiday and a wonderful new year.

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  2. Love your post Donna and would you believe, I don’t think I’ve ever read the Christmas Carol. I’ve seen the movies but not read the book so on your top 10 reasons why I should, I have downloaded and will rectify this matter. Thanks for co-hosting What’s On Your Bookshelf? I’m so pleased we can share our love of books and even more now as a link party to encourage others to share. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Sue – I’m so glad that you (and Debbie) are now reading A Christmas Carol. It is such an amazing book. Although there are great film adaptions out there (Deb V swears by the 1951 version), none can compete with the mastery of Dickens’ breathtaking words.
      I’m off to read you post now. See you there!

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    1. Hi, Antoinette – Thank you for joining us and linking up this book review. I look forward to reading it.
      It was my pleasure to include your two recent books in this post. I learned a great deal from both of these reads and greatly enjoyed them.

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  3. Lovely post, Donna! I am heading off the library (via the Interwebs) to look for a digital or audiobook copy of Charles Dickens classic tale. I rewatched the 1951 version (with the great Alastair Sim as Scrooge, and a dream cast of character actors) last night on Prime…the best film adaptation of the book, IMHO.

    Deb

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    1. Hi, Deb – Awesome plan. If you can’t get a digial copy of A Christmas Carol, I would be very happy to lend you my hard copy. I was going to watch the 1951 version last night, but then decided to save this viewing until closer to Chritmas. Perhaps tonight will be close enough! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was able to get a digital copy and am on Stave IV already! Thank you very much for the offer, though. If you do watch the movie, pay close attention to the scene where Scrooge is looking in the mirror on Christmas morning – you can see one of the film crew in the reflection 😁. See you soon!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hoorah! I’m so glad that you got a copy — and have already read much of the book. I’m delighted to discuss what you thought of this when we meet tomorrow.
        I plan to watch 1951 Scrooge tonight….that is if I can get Richard unglued from the sports currently on our tv! I will definitely look out for the man in the mirror!

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  4. I am like Sue and don’t think I’ve ever read A Christmas Carol despite hearing so much about it over the years! I have since downloaded a version on Audible read by Hugh Grant 🙂 and will enjoy the 2hrs 44min of this classic tale by Dickens, thanks to your post Donna!
    Another fabulous post for our #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge, great to be involved with you, Sue and Jo as co-hosts!

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  5. I absolutely love A Christmas Carol. It is iconic and myth-like, yet seems quite true and believable as well. There’s a reason this story has been around for ages. I read it once a year if possible, but I also have an ‘abridged’ picture book for kids (older kids). Very fun – your survey. I’m betting you can guess which one I voted for (and it was definitely not ‘watch a movie instead.’ Nonononono. NOTHING better than reading. xo

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    1. Hi, Pam – That’s a great question. At first, I guessed that you would vote for #4…but perhaps you voted for #1? I haven’t peaked inside the survey yet. I believe that it keeps all answers anonymous.
      I wholeheartedly agree with your closing sentence!
      Wishing you and your family a very happy and healthy holiday season.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I haven’t read A Christmas Carol in ages… but have seen several versions of the movie and watched many a stage production over the years. I read your review of The Deal of a Lifetime with interest. I have read several of his books (I just finished, and enjoyed, Anxious People) and would have picked that up had I seen it at the library. I think I would have had a similar reaction to yours discovering that it had little to do with Christmas. I love the library receipt… very clever!

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    1. Hi, Janis – I was soooo disappointed with Deal of A Lifetime. Not only was it marketed as a ‘Christmas read,’ it appears on a list of ‘books to snuggle up with’. Although Backman raises very serious and provocative themes, they are far from ‘snuggly’ and not remotely ‘uplifting’.
      I hope that all is well for you. Miss you!

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  7. Confession time…. I’ve never read it. I think Great Expectations is the only Dickens novel I’ve ever read (I’m such a literary Philistine!) but I have seen several movie versions and I do like the underlying themes that resonate with the true meaning of Christmas.

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  8. I’m not sure that I’ve read A Christmas Carol but definitely seen several tv / movie adaptations.

    My reading choice would be something light. I’ve never read her work but hear good things about Debbie McComber.

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    1. Hi, Deb – Thank you so much for dropping by. I really encourage you to read A Christmas Carol (even the good film adaptions don’t compare). It is such a short book you could likely read it in the bath (seriously). If you do read it, let me know what you think. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

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  9. That does it, I’ll be re-reading it before the end of this festive season. Thanks so much for the movie recommendation too – it brought it so alive.

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    1. I misread this comment as coming from Debbish.
      I first thought that ‘the ability to read A Christmas Carol in the bath’ is what sealed the deal. 😀
      I’m delighted that you’ll be rereading it, Jo. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this reread once you have finished.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Even as a Literature and Linguistics Major in University, I’ve never read A Christmas Carol – but you’ve convinced me! I’ll pick it up from the library tomorrow. I’ll also check out A Girl Walks Into a Book – if I can find it – or it will go on my Amazon list for 2022. Thanks!

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      1. I read A Christmas Carol over the weekend. What a delight! One of my favorite lines: “for it is always the person not in the predicament who knows what ought to have been done in it, and would unquestionably have done it too –“.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Bah, humbug is right!
      When I began to read through the single-star ratings, many of them were written by students who were forced to read A Christmsa Carol in school. (And apparently forced to write an ‘honest’ review as well). I’m a previous English teacher and shudder at the thought.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I enjoyed this, thank you. Reason #11: Out of the mouth of Scrooge, A Christmas Carol gave the world the phrase “Bah! Humbug!” Defined in the dictionary as an “exclamation of curmudgeonly displeasure” I find myself using it rather a lot these days, not always in relation to Christmas. Tells you a lot (rather too much?) about me, I guess. 🙂

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  12. Donna,
    I promise to download a copy as soon as I sign off. I always enjoy reading the comments of your followers. Very thoughtful folks.
    I bet you were a wonderful fifth grade teacher. Tell us more…
    Happy, happy!

    Joe

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    1. Hi, Joe – I absolutely love the comments made as well. The comment section is always the favourite part of my post. When I was a beginning teacher, I taught grade five for three years in Mildmay, Ontario – population 1000 (‘Wild May from Mildmay). 😀
      I then went into Special Education for the next eight years and then into Administration for the next twenty-one years. I have now been retired for over six years. It is amazing how time flies.
      Wishing you and Helen a wonderful holiday and a very happy New Year.
      I hope that you enjoy A Christmas Carol!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. My very favorite read-aloud for Christmas is Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales. It is (of course) sheer poetry, and the imagery and humor are just wonderful. Some of it reminds me of my own childhood Christmases in England.

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  14. I’ve never read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, even in college. [We studied Great Expectations.] You make a good case for reading it, but not right now. As for your poll, go watch a movie, give your eyes a break!

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  15. I have read a few of Charles Dickens’ books and always liked A Christmas Carol (though now I’m wondering if I have ever read the story of if I just know it from all the retellings and movies).

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  16. Thank you Donna for hosting #WOYBS and sharing your book recommendations. It’s been ages since I read A Christmas Carol. On your Book Club list, I’ve read Next Year in Havana. I’d take a reading break and watch a fun movie. Merry Christmas and happy New Year to you and your family!

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  17. I had to go to “goodreads” to sample some of these 1 star ratings. They seemed to be 1) professional complainers, and/or 2) didn’t really know why they didn’t like it, and 3) not even in English. Thanks for a review that clearly explained why you liked it. To be honest, I’m not sure if I’ve read it myself but what is not to love about that story?? Thanks for the post and Merry Christmas!

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  18. I especially like your #9 reason, Donna! I haven’t read this novella. I don’t have much time to read these months and my TBR-list is already pretty full, so I will disappoint you and tell you I won’t read “A Christmas Carol” (yet). I’m not into a festive mood and don’t care much for the holidays this year. Sorry.

    On another note, do you think some parents named their daughter Carol because of Dickens’s book?

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    1. Hi, Liesbet – Absolutely no problem in not reading A Christmas Carol. I completely understand the concept of ‘so many books, such little time’. Great question about the origin of the name Carol. According to ohbabynames.com:
      “Most commonly, Carol is considered a short form of Caroline, itself the French female version of Carolus (the Medieval Latin form of Charles). Carolus/Charles are ultimately derived from an Old Germanic word “karl” meaning “free man” (the term was used to signify a common man; someone between the noble classes and serfdom). The Olde English cognate “ceorl” (from the same root) defined a “man of low birth, a common man”. In later Middle High German and Middle English, however, both terms evolved their definitions to mean more simply “man, fellow, husband.” The name Caroline was brought to England by way of the Norman-French after the Conquest of 1066; eventually it found a particular audience among the upper-classes of England in the 17th century. In fact, two 18th century Queen Consorts of England, Caroline of Ansbach and Caroline of Brunswick, gave further notice to this lovely French name. Caroline and Carol are only two examples of female names spawning from the ancient Karl – others include Charlotte, Charlize, Carolyn, Charlie, Carla and Carrie (just to name a few). Aside from Carol’s clear connection to Caroline/Carolyn, the name is also an English noun attested to in the early 14th century meaning “joyful song” (borrowed from the French carole – a kind of dance in a ring accompanied by singers). A couple centuries later, the term carol would evolve to mean a Christmas hymn of joy.
      Too much information? Sorry about that! 😀
      Wishing you, Mark and Maya wonderful adventures ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. As you had already read Dickens and I am not a Grisham fan, stupidly I chose one I didn’t know – Hiddensee and as it has only one vote – my vote – it was probably not a good choice. But better than rewatching TV! Happy reading and Happy Christmas, Donna.

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    1. Thank you for voting, Amanda. Hiddensee is a great choice. It’s the story of Drosselmeier, the man responsible for creating the Nutcracker. I would be delighted to read that, or any of the books on the list. In the Dickens volume, I only read the first story (A Christmas Carol) but have not (yet) read the other five.
      As our next few weeks will be full on, I thought that I would have readers choose which Christmas Book I will read (takes all of the pressure off of me). I will likely only get one more Christmas book in this season.
      Wishing you a very happy holiday and a wonderful year ahead.

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  20. Hi Donna – thank you … this is a great post – reminding me I must read more Dickens so need to look at my shelves … but the note your library’s comment made on their receipt is just so apt.

    I seem to be into Orwell – don’t ask me why … oh yes – he wrote a lot of essays … one was on Treacle Tart in the war years … a childhood favourite of ours and many I’m sure. I wrote about it under T for Treacle Tart in 2013 …

    I found this – which is not a link … but the title leads one there … ‘Can Socialists Be Happy’: this will take you there: Orwell Foundation . com/ the orwell foundation / orwell / essays and other works / … to the ‘ can socialists be happy’ … it’s an interesting read on Christmas and other authors.

    Cheers – I’m off to see what your other contributors have to recommend … happy seasonal time – Hilary

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  21. This classic is definitely an inspiration for all of us to look deep within ourselves and really see. No one is perfect but Scrooge embodies the darkness and dissatisfaction that many of us feel, especially two years into a pandemic. The holiday season is the time to enjoy a spiritual reawakening perhaps. I enjoyed your thoughts on the book (who the heck would give it 1 star?). I, too, enjoy library books and prefer ebooks or audiobooks that I can download temporarily. I could definitely read more, Donna, but stuff gets in the way. Enjoy a beautiful Christmas and holiday with your family and cheers to a new year!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Hey! So glad to read your post (I was looking forward to it when we briefly connected about A Christmas Carol
    During the Festive Bonbon)
    – love how you mentioned the nephew and his blessed laugh…. because I think those who laugh like him and have all that joy have the secret sauce of life! This who laugh regality (and not the kind of laugh that is done with belittling or dark humor) but the joyful laugh are indeed rare and great to know!!
    And your reason #3 was important because at that time they really needed to help the poor more and just addrsss inhumane conditions (we’ve come a long way baby? Eh) and it was nice to know his book led to more giving and just rippled into society.

    I am surprised about the Goodreads review, but I think the many one stars relate to two key reasons. First, there are many folks who just don’t want Christianity and this book does have that woven in – through the carols and character limes. So it seems folks want sorcery and maybe even gore (like walking dead) more than faith and specially Christianity (and side note on this / because Christians vary so much – and so many have religiosity – or authoritarian and loveless,
    Cold approaches – many tend to view this as all
    Bad! We know so many that are healing from being raised with oppressive churches and so I have much empathy for the healing – and Ghandi said something about liking Christ but noting his followers do nothing that he suggested or taught! And healing from some tough Christians myself – I can see why some iron hand it!
    Second reason I think the book appeals less is because the culture is shifting in outlook – Lauren Greenfield has a must watch documentary called Generation Wealth, not saying all those readers are like those in the documentary – but we do have a large chunk of society that is spoiled and rich (and maybe shallow from lack of trials)

    Okay enough from moi!
    Enjoyed your succinct ten reasons to read ACC
    🙏😊🎄🎄🎄🎄

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  23. You convinced me, Donna…though admittedly, I didn’t need much convincing. I love A Christmas Carol, but I haven’t read it in ages. I’ve seen a few adaptations of the play and on screen, but I think it’s time to read it again. Thanks for the encouragement.

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  24. I love A Christmas Carol! I co-teach in a fifth grade class, and their teacher was reading that aloud before break. It was always an unexpected treat when they were off schedule and I got to have a listen during the time I was with them. 🙂 I will have to say that the students would have rated it highly!

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  25. Hi, Bethany – (Ages ago), I read A Christmas Carol to my fifth-grade class as well We even used it as our Christmas play.
    I’m so glad that your students enjoyed it and would rate it highly. I hope that my students would have rated it highly as well! 😀

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  26. You have convinced me to get a library card before the first of the year. – a New Year’s Resolution. It was fun to read your spirited review of A Christmas Carol. Have a “Merry Christmas” tomorrow. 🙂

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      1. Your job is almost done. It’s hard to get a library card on Christmas. 🙂 I love that Sue got one too. There’s no way I can afford to read as many books as you all do without one! 🙂

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  27. Hi Donna – I’m a little late in reading this! Ack – life got away from me. I’m glad you enjoyed reading A Christmas Carol. I’m not sure I ever actually read it – the story is so familiar I may have just skipped it. I’m going to try to read a couple Christmas stories next year. I hope you had a nice Christmas 🙂 Happy New Year!

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