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Location: Vero Beach, Florida, United States

My name is Pat and I live in Florida. My skin will never be smooth again and my hair will never see color. I enjoy collecting autographs and playing in Paint Shop Pro.,along with reading and writing. Sometimes, I enjoy myself by doing volunteer "work" helping celebrities at autograph shows. I love animals and at one time I did volunteer work for Tippi Hedren's Shambala Preserve.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Reads

 Before I run out of 2009 (since I have been reading so dang slow lately).. I've decided that these are my next two books to read!

And the first of these will be:

The Man Who Invented Christmas by Les Standiford

Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Crown; (November 4, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0307405788

From Publishers Weekly

Charles Dickens was almost 32 in late 1843, and his career trajectory was downward. Since the megasuccess of The Old Curiosity Shop, dwindling sales of his work and problems with his publisher left little doubt in his mind: he would support his growing household as a travel writer on the Continent. As the disappointing Martin Chuzzlewit continued its serialization, A Christmas Carol appeared in a richly illustrated edition. Although initial sales were brisk, high production costs coupled with spotty advertising and a low retail price made the book unprofitable. But, says Standiford, this modern fable had a profound impact on Anglo-American culture and its author's career. If Dickens did not precisely invent Christmas, his ghost story created a new framework for celebrating it. Standiford (The Last Train to Paradise) covers an impressive amount of ground, from the theological underpinnings of Christmas to Dickens's rocky relations with America, evolving copyright laws and an explanation of how A Christmas Carol became responsible for the slaughter of more turkeys than geese in the months of November and December.

I enjoyed this little book very much.

As you may or may not know, thanks to Carls RIP challenge I found myself not being able to get away for Wilke Collins or Charles Dickens, having read Drood, The Last Dickens and The Woman in White.  After I read those books and the challenge was over I read James Owen's Shadow Dragon... who should be a character in this YA adventure?... Charles Dickens!  Ooooookay.. I read more ya books but found they weren't doing it for me so upon hearing of this little book I decided to give it a go, and I'm glad I did.

I was never a History buff and never really a classics reader.. so why this interest in Dickens at this stage of my life I can't say.

The Man Who Invented Christmas tells not only about Charles Dickens at the time in his life when he wrote A Christmas Carol, but of what England was like during that time and even how Christmas was celebrated back then.  All, fascinating. (to quote a different character I know)

As you can see the cover is very Chrismassy... and inside the title of each chapter at the top of every page is in red ink, along with the first letter of the first word of each page.  I liked that, even though I know it helped keep the price of the small book "up" because anything they do like to add a second color ink or to add illos.. makes the price of the book go up.  Sad, when you think of it.  You want to add to the beauty and the feeling of the book you have written but cost makes  you not able to. 

In the book we find out that Dickens takes over all aspects of his little Christmas Carol book:

Dickens wanted four woodcuts and four hand colored etchings to be included in A Christmas Carol, and Leech would be the man to do them.

As for the design of the book, Dickens decided that it should be bound in red cloth, with the title stamped in gold on the cover, and the edges of the book papers trimmed in gold as well.  In addition, he fixed the price at five shillings, a relative bargain at the time when a modestly packaged three volume novel might sell for thirty-one shillings.(a pound and a half) As a further guide, one might consider that monthly issues of a Dickens novel sold for a single shilling... the the whole would come to twenty shillings in the end, at least it was being purchased on the installment plan.  By contrast, Carol character Bob Cratchit's weekly salary (typical of the time) was fifteen shillings a week which he managed to support a wife and six children.

I am really glad I bought this little book and if there are others out there, like me, who have seen A Christmas Carol on tv more times then they care to say, but have never READ A Christmas Carol, that they might find this little book something they'd enjoy reading before they finally read Dickens Christmas Carol..... which is the next book I am about to read!


Blogger Molly said...

This was the first book I bought for my Kindle last year! I definitely plan to re-read it over the holidays.

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Jenny said...

I've heard of this, and wasn't sure whether it'd be worth reading. Thanks for the recommendation - I may get this for my father for Christmas!

9:54 AM  
Blogger DesLily said...

molly:i've always loved the movies of A Christmas Carol so I found this really interesting.

Jenny: I hope your dad enjoys it too!

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It always amazes me how many different of that one story has been done over time. I don't have one favorite but whatever suits the mood of the time. I even liked Bill Murray's Scrooged. Glad your enjoying reading about Dickens. Vala3

4:34 PM  
Blogger DesLily said...

hey Sher: yeah I like them all too but expecially the really old version and the newer Patrick Stewart version

5:40 PM  
Blogger Cath said...

We even have a new comedy version of A Christmas Carol on the BBC this Christmas. Catherine Tate is doing it - she was Dr. Who's last companion. Looks like it might be a lot of fun.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Ladytink_534 said...

I'm going to go pick up that copy of A Christmas Carol Monday. I haven't heard of The Man Who Invented Christmas before though. I really wish my library had a copy of The Annotated Christmas Carol: A Christmas Carol in Prose :(

Speaking of Christmasy stories, have you ever read The Birds' Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin? It was one of my favorite books as a kid and since it's on Project Gutenberg I'm thinking of reading it soon.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Oh now I want to go get this NOW!! And I certainly don't need to be getting any more books at the moment :p And it's not like I'd have time to fit it in before Christmas anyway, lol. But it does sound fantastic! I think I'll make it my official read for Christmas next year.

10:38 PM  

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