Monday 14 January 2008

66. Christmas Books

The book cover seen here isn't at all the book I've actually read, although it is the closest thing you'll find to it in bookstores today.

Tonight I finished Charles Dickens' collection called Christmas Books, which comprises 5 long short stories including A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life, and The Haunted Man.

I've been reading this book since early December and the main reason it's taken me so long to finish is that it's part of the larger Dickens set handed down to Brook from his mother. This set was originally possessed by one Aileen J. Turner, Brook's great-grandmother, who bought the whole set in 1907 - so, of course, I couldn't take the book outside the house for fear of damaging it. (I had planned to show pics of the real book here but couldn't find the digital camera when the time came. Le sigh.)

I very much enjoyed this collection of stories, especially (of course) A Christmas Carol and The Battle of Life. I love how Dickens can be both horribly earnest and incredibly hilarious at the same time; I love, also, the time he takes for patient description (paid as he was by the word, according to Brook who does, admittedly, sometimes make stuff up) - a practice and a skill not very common in the literature being produced these days.

For my future Dickens reading I'm going to invest in a lectern of some sort - I had the left side of Christmas Books propped up on a roll of paper towel today, which seems to me like a pretty ghetto way to read. Dickens deserves better, don't 'e?

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