Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Reading Part 2: A Christmas Carol

I read this book along with fellow bloggers Riv & Sam. And my friend Christy recently read & reviewed it as well!

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
Series? No
Publisher: Dreamscape Media 
Date: 1843; audiobook published in 2012
How did I get this book? Borrowed from library
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
GoodReads | Publisher

I touched on my nostalgia for this classic Christmas tale in my previous Christmas reading post. The first time I read it I was 16 years old and in Ms. Sweeney's honors English class. Ms. Sweeney is definitely one of the best English teachers I ever had. That woman knew her stuff and she had extremely high expectations of us girls. She was the kind of teacher who pushed her students beyond anything we thought ourselves capable of and we were better for it in the end. Her class was seriously challenging and her exams struck fear in the heart of anyone who dared to skim, skip, or let their mind wander during class. When she gave us her "just checking to make sure you did your homework" quizzes, it was like she knew you started glazing over on page 162 of the reading assignment, so she made sure to ask for the details of that exact portion. Just getting the gist of what was going on was not enough, Ms. Sweeney taught us the importance of thinking critically about what we read. While I am a big fan of quality over quantity, Ms. Sweeney didn't have much choice in the matter since this particular "honors" class was required to cover both American lit and British lit in one year. We got two year's worth of English classes crammed into one and you know what? I remember more of what I learned in that one year than all of my other English classes combined. Seriously.

Anyway, my little trip down memory lane does have a point. You see, the year I took Ms. Sweeney's class and she assigned us A Christmas Carol it was like her little Christmas present to us. Having struggled through the first semester reading much more difficult texts, this little novella was a real treat. It was an easy read and helped get us in the Christmas spirit instead of being just one more thing to get done before we could enjoy our holiday break. Being a Catholic school, I'm sure the moral lesson it teaches was also a consideration, but there is something about this story that really resonates, especially at Christmastime.

I was so happy to realize all these years later that the magic of this story is still there. I'm always afraid that any book I remember with such fondness might fade a bit upon re-reading, but that couldn't be further from the truth in this case. I opted for the audio version this time around, so I could "read" while shoveling snow and doing other Christmas-ey activities around the house. The British narrator was just delightful and I couldn't have been happier with my second experience of this story. I probably wouldn't recommend audio for a first-time read, but for a re-read it worked out perfectly. I will definitely not let another 12 Christmases pass before I re-read this one again!

As a final note, this was truly the perfect book to (finally!) ease my way into tackling my Classics Club list. Yes, it's a novella. Yes, it's short. But it was the perfect reminder of what I already know, but sometimes forget: classics don't need to be intimidating, dull, or feel like a chore. Classics are not all alike and for all the ones I may not care for, there are plenty of others sure to be just as delightful as this one. I'll have to channel my inner Ms. Sweeney when I choose my next selection!

______________________________
This books counts toward my reading goals for:
2013 Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge
The Classics Club
Back to the Classics 2013: a 19th Century classic

Classics Club Review #1
 

8 comments:

  1. I need to re-read this book.

    THANKS for a GREAT post.

    ENJOY your Christmas week.

    Elizabeth
    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth -- it really is a wonderful holiday read :) Hope you enjoy your Christmas week as well!

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  2. I think I also would have loved Ms Sweeney!

    I'm glad you liked the re-read, and of course, I'm especially glad that it made you feel better about classics again! I read a very wide variety of genres, but honestly, once in a while I just develop a craving for an old, good book. (Like now!)

    Maybe we can read some other classic book together in future, this was fun :)

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    1. I do think you would have loved her -- she was pretty awesome :)

      I enjoy many different genres as well, but sometimes I get stuck in certain ones (doesn't help that I'm not a very fast reader!) Looking back on my school days has really made me want to read more classics, so hopefully my new year will see a wider variety.

      And I agree that doing another read together would be fun!

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  3. Ah, I'm glad you ticked another Christmas read of your list Christine :-)
    I haven't got round to my reread of A Christmas Carol yet this year but I'm hoping to get stuck in to it tomorrow... I think it'll make great Christmas Eve reading. I'm not an audio book girl but I like the idea of reading/listening to this whilst doing Christmassy activities. I'm glad you enjoyed your second experience with the book!
    P.S. I hope you have a very merry Christmas!
    :-)
    Bits & Bobs

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    1. It's nice and short, so I do hope you get to it! Though I always say the Christmas season lasts through at least the first few weeks of January :) And a very Merry Christmas to you too!

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  4. I love books with a great story and a better message. This is a great classic and I need to read it again. I have only read one Christmas story so far and I think I will try and do one more. I think a good classic will have the magic forever. Excellent!! :) Merry Christmas Christine! :)

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    1. I hope you do fit in one more Christmas read -- they're so much fun! And a very Merry Christmas to you too Alysia!

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I'd love to hear what you think :)