Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Classics: Stories for the Whole Family by Charles Dickens, etc. (Audio)

A Christmas can not go by it seems where I don’t read or watch A Christmas Carol. I’ve seen the play numerous times and love the old versions of the movie. This year I decided to try something new and listen to an audiobook version of A Christmas Carol. I selected Christmas Classics: Stories for the Whole Family at the library as it not only had A Christmas Carol on it, but several other Christmas favorites.

The audiobook included the following stories:
1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
2. The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
3. Is There a Santa Claus? (Yes, Virginia . . . ) by Frank P. Church
4. A Visit from Saint Nicholas (‘Twas the Night Before Christmas) by Clement C. Moore
5. A Winter Walk by Henry David Thoreau
6. The Seven Poor Travelers by Charles Dickens
7. The Fir Tree by Hans Christian Anderson
8. Santa Claus at Simpson’s Bar by Bret Harte
9. What Christmas is As We Grow Older by Charles Dickens

There are various readers during the course of the audiobook. I thought they did a great job, particularly the eerie reading of the ghosts in A Christmas Carol. My only complaint is that I really would have loved a reader with a great British accent for A Christmas Carol.

A Christmas Carol is a striking story each time I read, listen, or watch it. The story of a man getting to see the effects of his miserly ways on others and how he is perceived is riveting. I love that he is able to change his entire lifestyle and become a force for good. It’s a relatively simple tale, but it is wonderfully infused with the Christmas spirit. The only thing I don’t like about the story is the very beginning. It goes on and on about how Marley is as dead as a doornail. I think I understood he was dead from line one, but I know how Victorian authors needed to give you ten times the description that you really needed on occasion. Does anyone else feel this way about page one, or am I the one that is being a Scrooge here?

I love The Gift of the Magi. It’s been a few years since I’ve read it, but it still had its charm. Two people in love who in turn give up their prized possessions to give each other a good Christmas gift is such a touching story. I love the twist at the end.

I hadn’t read The Fir Tree since I was a kid. It was nice to listen to it again even though it is a bittersweet tale of a tree that always wants more than it can be and doesn’t enjoy life as he has it. It’s a good moral story.

I’ll admit that I skipped The Seven Poor Travelers. I listened to it for awhile and grew quite bored and skipped the rest. Truthfully, I haven’t been very keen on any of Dickens’s other Christmas tales besides A Christmas Carol and I love Charles Dickens.

Overall this was a great audiobook collection of favorite Christmas stories. This is my third item for the Christmas Reading Challenge.

Audiobook Source: The Kewaunee Public Library


  1. A Christmas favorite! I also love The Gift of the Magi and Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. I go to a play of A Christmas Carol at a local community theatre every year. This year, they changed it up a bit and did Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol. It was very good. I hope they go back to the original next year though...I love it so!

    Great job on completing another read for my challenge! I finally finished The Christmas List (review tomorrow) and I've started Matchless by Gregory Maguire.

  2. Laura, what a perfect find for the Christmas reading challenge! I'm intrigued by the idea of audiobooks although I haven't listened to any in several years. I'm glad you enjoyed many of these stories.