A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens,

Book cover of A Christmas Carol

Book description

Tom Baker reads Charles Dickens' timeless seasonal story.

Charles Dickens' story of solitary miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who is taught the true meaning of Christmas by the three ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, has become one of the timeless classics of English literature. First published in 1843, it introduces…


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Why read it?

12 authors picked A Christmas Carol as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Out of all of the books I have read, I have read A Christmas Carol more times than any other. An instant phenomenon when it was first published in 1843, it has never been out of print. It is the embodiment of not just a Christmas ghost story, but of a story that encapsulates the very essence of the spirit of Christmas in the popular imagination in a way that no other story ever has. Although I had always loved watching the 1951 classic film Scrooge with the wonderful Alastar Sim in the title role, I didn’t read the book…

From Andi's list on ghostly Christmas stories.

The Christmas ghost story that popularized the expressions “Merry Christmas!” and “Bah! Humbug!", inspired festive family gatherings around a Christmas tree and holiday food & drink, and landed Scrooge in the Oxford Dictionary as a synonym for Miser (go ahead, look it up). “Squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!” Ebenezer Scrooge must endure three hauntings from three distinctly different ghosts on Christmas Eve—and change his miserly ways—if he wants to escape a hellish afterlife that his former business partner, Jacob Marley, has been condemned to. Written in part as a commentary on child poverty of the time, with…

Obviously just brilliant. I rarely read adult books twice, but this one I read every few years. It’s a simpler world and also quite scary when I first read it for English at school when I was twelve. I think it’s his best book. Pure genius. Maybe my daughter can get this for Christmas. Much cheaper than a phone.

From Ross' list on Christmas nostalgia.

This is, of course, the classic of classics when it comes to Christmas literature, but with so many stage and screen adaptations out there—headlined by everyone from George C. Scott to the Muppets—have you read the actual novella? And if you have, how long has it been? I urge you to read or re-read Dickens’s glorious, terrifying, funny, heart-wrenching tale that asserts forcefully that the Spirit(s) of Christmas can actually redeem our hearts—which I, at least, urgently need at the turning of the solstice.

Well, this is the ultimate festive read. The story of Ebenezer Scrooge is well known and his conversion from a stingy old miser to a generous benefactor is not only touching but life-affirming. However, apart from the story, the book also gives us the pleasure of Dickens' wonderful writing, whether raising a smile with some comic phrase or description or prompting a tear in the sadder passages. A great read.

From David's list on raising the spirits.

Who would think of A Christmas Carol as a magical realism story?

Barely anyone, that’s who!

But it is. Of course it is, and “Bah, humbug!” to anyone who says otherwise.

No writer since has written a Christmas tale that can hope to compete with this timeless classic. It has everything: it’s fanciful, it’s allegorical, it’s totally magical, it’s socially aware, and it boasts more chain-clanking than a dominatrix’s sex dungeon.

A delightful, life-affirming read!

From Kevin's list on magical realism for escapists.

There’s a reason this novella has been a bestseller for decades. With exquisitely-drawn characters, perfectly-described settings, and the most artfully-crafted redemptive character arc in fiction, this is another classic that must be read year after year. What reader can stop themself from longing to make things all better for Tiny Tim and the Cratchits?

From Barbara's list on heartwarming Christmas books.

This is the ultimate second chance book. A miserable old miser—Are there no workhouses?—is visited by three ghosts over the course of Christmas Eve. He has one night to change his life or he will be doomed to a tortured eternity. Will he do it? Well, yes. How could he not save Tiny Tim? But the ride is so joyful and well-written and Scrooge is so wonderfully miserable, and as many times as I get to the end, I’m always moved by the joy he feels when he gets his second chance. This is what I hope, that…

In my book, the main character is a Krampus named Ruprecht, and his best friend is a ghost named Viviana Marley. This book-hungry ghost happens to be the daughter of none other than Jacob Marley, the first of four spirits to visit Ebenezer Scrooge in Dickens’ all-time classic, A Christmas Carol. While the Victorian tradition of Christmas-time ghost stories is sadly no longer en vogue, Dickens’ story has struck a chord with audiences of every generation since its debut in 1843, and it’s easy to see why. A Christmas Carol is, among many things, a delightful celebration of…

At once ghost story and scathing social commentary, this holiday classic recounts the night Ebeneezer Scrooge is visited by three spirits concerned with his welfare. Scarred by his experience growing up in a miserable boarding school, Scrooge rejects kindness toward his fellow man in favour of the financial gain afforded him by the industrial revolution. Over the course of the evening, the spirits show Scrooge the life he came from, the life he has, and the kind of death that awaits him if he fails to reconnect with his humanity. Scrooge speaks one of the cruelest lines of dialogue in…

From Charlene's list on with “difficult” protagonists.

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