A book review from the music guy? What is this, Christmas? Oh yeah.
I’ve always enjoyed Christmas as a time of year when the pace of life slows down and we can reconnect with ourselves and each other. A chance to reflect not just on the passing year but also think about our own stamp on it. What did I do and what can I be proud of? This year, for a lot of us it’ll be a difficult time for lots of reasons but if there’s one thing you can do it’s embrace a little old fashioned reflection, remembering the past, taking stock of the present and looking forward to the future – if you’ve never really done that before then picking up Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is the best place to start.
Sure, you probably already know how it goes; an old grumpy bloke has a ghostly dream about the past, present and future Christmas and then wakes up with his life in a whole new perspective and suddenly becomes the most charitable, kind and giving person in the world. It’s a classic and therefore you might never read it, assuming there’s nothing you could possibly gain from picking it up but if you’ve ever wished if only for a moment that you could be/do/help more or if you’re the person who doesn’t see the point in Christmas then I really urge you to give this a read. Light a candle and enjoy it old-school, read it in your dressing gown with a nightcap and by the end of it you might just wake up changed.
My first encounter with this story, as a 90s child was The Muppets Christmas Carol and although I was well aware of Dickens’ classics and their impact on the world I did find it just a little bit tricky trying to get the idea that Bob Cratchet was NOT Kermit the frog out of my head. Once I eventually lost that image the story swept me away.
School English lessons usually cover Dickens’ work, but if you’re under the illusion he’s in the same ancient, dated and incomprehensible bracket as Shakespeare then you’re mistaken. Yes, it’s a story older than anybody still alive but it’s language and the way in which Dickens relays the story, his descriptions and even the dialogue have stood the test of time perfectly. Many an English teacher will tell you that Charles Dickens paved the way for modern story telling and reading this you’ll see why. With engaging and colourful characters he paints a vivid, warts-and-all picture of a Victorian society that we know now as a classic backdrop to an old story but what was then, the world he lived in, expertly captured.
In summary, reading A Christmas Carol opens up a portal to the past that is purely magical in the way it transports us back in time. If a little old fashioned story telling is on your Christmas list, if you’ve lost touch with what the festivities are all about or what’s important to you then making A Christmas Carol your bedtime reading will do wonders for your Christmas spirit.