Dickens in December – A Christmas Carol read-along

Xmas carol1 Today marks the day of A Christmas Carol read-along for the Dickens in December event that I am hosting with Caroline (Beauty is a Sleeping Cat). The questions below were sent to those who signed up for the read-along. If you haven’t signed up but would still like to participate, feel free to answer on your blog (or here if you don’t have one) and leave your link in the comment so that we can add you to the list of participants. I look forward to visiting your blog and reading your answers.
Here’s Caroline’s post on the read-along.

Is this the first time you are reading the story?
Yes. I remember watching various movie adaptations when I was younger but never actually reading the original story.

Did you like it?
Very much. It was sad but also funny. I particularly liked the use of the word humbug, that word expresses Scrooge’s nature so well. It really made my day.

Which was your favorite scene?
It’s quite difficult to pick just one but there are a couple of paragraphs two or three pages into the story which describes the cold weather and as I am a summer loving person, it left a very strong impression. It goes like this:
“It was cold, bleak, biting weather: foggy withal: and he could hear the people in the court outside, go wheezing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts, and stamping their feet upon the pavement-stones to warm them.” Very evocative, I did not envy those people.
And there’s another one:

“The door of Scrooge’s counting-house was open that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letters. Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk’s fire was so much smaller that it looked like one coal. But he couldn’t replenish it, for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room; and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel, the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter, and tried to warm himself at the candle; in which effort, not being a man of strong imagination, he failed.”
That small fire that “looked like one coal” really made me shiver.

Which was your least favorite scene?
The scene at Fred’s house, where the Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge. It’s not to say that I disliked it, but if I were to make a “top scene” list, this would be the last. I know Scrooge wasn’t a likeable character but to see him made fun of, compared to “a bear” and the like, it grated on my nerves a little. Maybe it’s because I was already beginning to feel sorry for him.

Which spirit and his stories did you find the most interesting?
The first Spirit’s story was pretty moving because it shed light on Scrooge’s past and made him more human. It shows the reader a possible reason why Scrooge turned up the way he did, shunning Christmas and being grumpy all the time. Even though I did not think his attitude was justified, it gave me a glimpse into his life and made me more understanding of his rejection of anything Christmas-related. After all, people can hurt you, money can’t.

Was there a character you wish you knew more about?
I did wonder about Scrooge’s sister, who is just briefly mentioned, and would have liked to know more about his family. Nevertheless, I don’t think the brief details took away anything from the story.

How did you like the end?
Did you think it was believable?

It fits the festive mood of the season, after all it’s a time for celebration and being happy. As for being believable, I’m standing in the middle here, leaning towards a positive answer.

Do you know anyone like Scrooge?
I know of a few people who could be great candidates for the role in time, but definitely not to that extent.

Did he deserve to be saved?
Given the way he turned out to be afterwards, I’d say a definite yes.

This entry was posted in Challenges. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Dickens in December – A Christmas Carol read-along

  1. Pingback: Dickens in December – A Christmas Carol – Readalong « Beauty is a Sleeping Cat

  2. TBM says:

    This was my first time reading the actual work as well. Like you, I’ve seen so many adaptations but for some reason I never sat down to read it. I’m glad I did. Don’t you just love his descriptions. I know many people find Dickens wordy, but I have to give it to the guy–he can describe things so vividly I feel like I’m stepping into the page and seeing it all firsthand. I do wonder about Scrooge’s sister and his family life. It obviously wasn’t that great, but what was the final straw that made him snap. Thanks for co-hosting this event. It was fun! And I’m glad I met you–it’s always nice to meet a fellow book lover. Happy holidays!

    • Delia says:

      The descriptions are wonderful, he is a magician with words. I was really struck by those paragraphs and the way they made me feel.
      Scrooge’s past was something I would have liked to know more about – there are abused children in many of Dickens’s novels and I was wondering if he was one of them. His sister mentions something about their father being “so much kinder than he used to be” and that’s what made me suspect things may not have been so great at home.
      Thanks for participating in this event and for the kind words. I’m always happy to meet new people, especially those who love books. Happy holidays to you, too!

  3. Caroline says:

    I’m so glad we chose to read this, I’m not sure i would have picked it up already again but I enjoyed it very much. It’s a perfect tale, the descriptions are wonderful. He has a way with words, very evocative.
    I didn’t really feel all that sorry for him but I still thought he deserved to be “saved” as he felt genuinely sorry for what he did. I think there are people like that, going through life not even realizing that they are as bitter and joyless as Scrooge.

    • Delia says:

      It was a wonderful story, wasn’t it? I will probably read it again at some point, and watch more movie adaptations as well.
      Sadly, you are right, there are people like him, and they don’t see how wrong it is to be like that until they go through something that shakes them to the core. Fortunately he got his chance.

  4. Elisa says:

    It is funny, I liked that it was a short story, it makes it so easy to read – but I really wanted to know more about the family and his old girlfriend too! Because I just rewatched Scrooged I felt he needed a love interest 🙂
    Thanks for hosting, I was thinking about rereading but it was nice to have extra incentive by reading it with others.
    Merry Christmas!

    • Delia says:

      Not much love for old Scrooge, was there? I guess money exerted a stronger attraction.
      I’m glad you decided to join us Elisa, hope to have you along in the future as well.
      Merry Christmas to you, too!

  5. Trish says:

    I’m jumping in a little bit late but thank you and Caroline for hosting this. Like you it was my first time reading even though I’ve read versions of it and seen many adaptations.

    I also had a hard time watching some of the scenes where Scrooge was talk upon so poorly by others. I listened to parts of the book on audio and it was painful to hear the inflection in his voice when he begged the spirits to make it stop. And I absolutely agree about the descriptions! I’m also reading/listening to Bleak House right now and it’s the same–so incredibly rich and vivid.

    Thanks again for putting this together!

    • Delia says:

      Hi Trish,
      You’re not too late, you’re just in time. 🙂
      I can imagine listening to the audio version makes that particular scene even more heartbreaking.
      I look forward to reading your review on Bleak House, I really must add this to my TBR.
      Thanks for taking part, and for your comment.

  6. Pingback: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens « Lynn's Book Blog

  7. Lynn says:

    I really enjoyed revisiting this so thanks to both of you ladies first.
    You’re right about the scene at the nephew’s house, I remember when watching a film and at that point Scrooge was actually taking part, unbeknownst to the others obviously, in the answers – only to find out he was the answer. The look on his face was so sad and it made me feel a little bit naffed off with Scrooge’s nephew at that point.
    Lynn 😀

    • Delia says:

      You’re very welcome, Lynn, I’m glad you could join us.
      Aww, that’s even more sad, to participate in the game only to find out it was him. Still, the nephew gets point for not giving up on Scrooge and inviting him to his house every year.
      I’m off to read your answers now.

  8. Pingback: Dickens in December – Readalong – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens « Vishy’s Blog

  9. Novroz says:

    Thank you for the quotes…I can get a glimpse of how the book was written.

    I wonder if there really is a man out there who acts like Scrooge

  10. Vishy says:

    Wonderful answers, Delia! Your comment on liking the word ‘humbug’ made me smile 🙂 Scrooge saying ‘humbug’ repeatedly made me think of a character called Sheldon in the TV series ‘The Big Bang Theory’ who repeatedly says ‘hokum’. Your choice of the least favourite scene was quite interesting – that scene definitely grated one’s nerves. It would have been nice to know more about Scrooge’s sister because she seems to have been an important person in his life. Thanks for hosting this readalong, Delia. I really enjoyed participating in it.

    • Delia says:

      Hi Vishy,
      The little idiosyncrasies of people, they are funny, aren’t they… 🙂 At least most of them.
      I really need to watch A Christmas Carol again – I have the Jim Carrey version which I liked very much.
      Little Fan, yes, she appeared but briefly and I agree with you that it would have been nice to know more about Scrooge’s family.
      Thanks for taking part in this read-along!

  11. Rachel says:

    I cringed a little at the game of yes-and-no, too…but I decided not to be offended since Scrooge himself took the joke rather well. 🙂

    my review of A Christmas Carol

  12. Pingback: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens « Lynn's Book Blog

  13. Pingback: Dickens in December – Wrap up « Beauty is a Sleeping Cat

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *