Wednesday, December 13, 2006

His favorite Christmas book

Mark D. Roberts' favorite Christmas book is also mine. He begins a series of of postings about A Christmas Carol:
A Christmas Carol still wins the prize for my favorite book.

Notice, I didn't say "best book." Here Les Misérables would get the nod, I think. I wouldn't even contend that A Christmas Carol is Charles Dickens's finest book. A Tale of Two Cities or David Copperfield would get my vote in this category. But, still, A Christmas Carol is my favorite book, favorite in the sense of most beloved.

And favorite also in the sense of most frequently read. For several years now I've made it part of my Christmas tradition to read A Christmas Carol in its entirety. Now, as you probably know, that's not as impressive as it sounds, because the book is relatively short. One can read it in less than two hours. When Dickens himself used to do public, oral readings of the book, he'd take only three hours or so. In truth, A Christmas Carol really isn't a novel. It's more of a novella, or, as Dickens himself labels it, "Ghost Story of Christmas."

Why do I love A Christmas Carol as much as I do? It has many things going for it. It's short enough to be read and re-read with ease. Its main theme is Christmas, one of my favorite events of the year. It's filled with mouthwatering descriptions of luscious food and drink. It's got lots of suspense and lots of humor. And, of course, it's a salient example of Dickens's inimitable narrative style, a kind of "I'm-your-friend" storytelling that draws the reader into the tale. But none of this accounts adequately for my love of A Christmas Carol. It ranks as my favorite book because of what happens in the heart of Ebenezer Scrooge...and because of what happens in my heart through his experience.... [read more]
Source: Christmas according to Dickens

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